Apr 28, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) is surrounded by San Antonio Spurs power forward Matt Bonner (15) guard Gary Neal (14) and guard Manu Ginobili (20) during first quarter action in game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers Should Celebrate Dwight Howard’s Leaving

The Los Angeles Clippers were big winners on Friday when Dwight Howard announced he was signing with the Houston Rockets. How? The Clippers kicked the Los Angeles Lakers teeth in with Howard in purple and gold. So what did it matter really?

The Lakers dynasty is now officially over. Think about when the last time the Lakers really wanted a player and didn’t get him. I suppose there was Chris Paul, but that was David Stern’s doing. The Lakers have a massive collection of championship banners, Hall of Famers, retired numbers, and statues outside Staples Center for a reason. They always get their man. They wanted Wilt Chamberlain , they got him. They wanted Magic Johnson, they got him. They wanted James Worthy, they got him. They wanted Shaquille O’Neal, they got him. Then they wanted Kobe Bryant and, of course, they got him too.

Whether it was working a trade to move ahead in the draft, convincing a free agent to come to them, or whatever, the Lakers have always gotten the players they want. But that is now over. The most coveted free agent in this year’s class, a guy who had already spent a season in their uniform and stood to make an extra $30 million just to stay put, left one of the most successful franchises in sports history for the Houston Rockets. The Rockets? Houston? Really?

The Rockets have won a couple of championships back in the day. But they are not the Lakers.

So what does this have to do with the Clippers? It makes them the best team in the Los Angeles market. If there are big time free agents looking to get closer to Hollywood, the Clippers are now the more attractive destination. The Clippers are younger. They have a coach wearing a championship ring in Doc Rivers. They have one of the game’s best assist men in Paul. If Lebron James is thinking of leaving the Miami Heat after next season and of Los Angeles as a place he might like to try, then why would he choose the Lakers over the Clippers?

Also, the reason for the Lakers demise is that Jerry Buss is no more. Instead the team is run by Jim Buss, who seems determined to refuse to listen to his star players and run things his way, even if it means those star players will leave for places like Houston. Buss fired Mike Brown as head coach after only five games a season ago. That is something championship caliber franchises do not do, which is panic after one sixteenth of a season. Can you imagine the Pittsburgh Steelers firing a head coach after one opening game loss? Then, he spurned Phil Jackson even though Jackson was interested in taking the job. What possible reason could he have had for that other than wanting to distance himself from his father?

Jim Buss is trying to do the opposite of what Jerry would do. What he needs to think about is the fact that what Jerry did was win championships. But since being his own man is more important to him than winning, the Clippers will be the beneficiaries. Now all they have to do is take advantage.

Tags: Dwight Howard Houston Rockets Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers NBA NBA Free Agency Phil Jackson

  • Martin Susman

    Jim Buss is without question going to be the ruin of the Lakers team and more importantly the over all value of the teams worth…. Dwight leaving was great, BUT not getting “ANYTHING” in return was the worst, bumbest thing he has done… Think of having say Harridson Barnes, Klay Thompson on the tesm now, think of how GREAT that would be for the future Lakers & Buss screwed it up…. He screwed up allowing this worthless coach to ruin Gasol as a player & ruin his trade value as well…. He killed Clark, he could only get his brother to work for him & so on….. The Buss Family NEEDS to vote him OUT & in his place put Phil, West, Magic & as coach he needs to start with Byron Scott, asst. K. Rambus, N. Nixon, J. Salley, J. Jabbar, L. Walton . Fish… That lineup of coachs will, have the fans in the seats screeming & the players that will be free agents next year excited to be here………….. e also need to fire this COACH NOW !!!!!!!!! & trade Gasol, Nash & Blake & Pece for NOTHING but first round picks nexrt year…. There are plenty of teams that would love to get Nash for two years, Gasol & Blake & Peace go as part of the package & the Lakers end up with a ton of forst rounders this next draft & zero bucks under contract. (Kobe will sign for 20% of this years contract at most)………

    • ClipShip

      I think Jim Buss has gotten a bad rap. Let’s not forget that he did the Chris Paul trade, before David Stern broke it up. He also did the Dwight Howard trade, which everyone agreed at the time was a blockbuster win for the Lakers. The only major mistake he’s made is hiring D’Antoni over Phil, but by all accounts that was more Dr. Buss’ decision than Jim’s.

      In my opinion, the man most responsible for the Lakers’ current predicament is Kobe Bryant. Despite his claims that winning championships is his top priority, his actions do not support that. He is a ball hog and offense killer. He doesn’t play hard on defense anymore. He ran Shaq out of town several years ago, and now he ran Dwight out of town. No star players want to play with him. Kobe’s downside is now greater than his upside. As long as the Lakers are his team, they will be mediocre and not contend for championships. I believe the Lakers will begin to rise back to the top once Kobe leaves.

  • ClipShip

    I for one am very happy that Dwight Howard left. Myopic Laker fans continue to live in the past and worship Kobe Bryant. But Kobe is continuing to destroy this team for the foreseeable future. A lot of the reporting has indicated that Dwight left because he couldn’t handle the LA spotlight and he didn’t want to play with D’Antoni. But I’d bet the #1 reason he left was because he didn’t want to play with Kobe anymore. Kobe’s recent statement that he’s going to play another 3-4 years was intentionally trying to push Dwight out the door.

    So Kobe got what he wanted with Dwight’s departure, but he has condemned the Lakers to mediocrity (at best). Maybe Kobe will win a scoring championship in the next couple of years, but he sure as hell won’t even get a sniff of another championship. And this is the guy who says that winning championships is his top (and only) priority.

    As for any Laker dreams about luring LeBron or Carmelo after next season, good luck with that. Although they will never say it publicly, I guarantee those guys don’t want to play with Kobe either. The Lakers will not rise to greatness again until Kobe is gone. Sad and shocking to say, but true.