|Kobe Bryant is talking to Dwight Howard, but is he moving Howard away from the Lakers? (Getty Images)|
There are various rules and regulations that prohibit NBA teams and players from talking to one another in regards to recruiting for a trade. But when that player has been given permission to talk to other teams, that all goes out the window. Such is the case with Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant, who have apparently become like teenage girls gabbing on the phone with Howard weighing where he wants to be traded to, if at all. Unfortuntely for Lakers fans, it doesn't sound like Bryant's doing a great job as a pitch man. From the Los Angeles Times:
Kobe Bryant has had at least one in-depth phone conversation with Howard recently, even discussing how Howard might fit in with the Lakers' scheme.via Lakers-Magic center swap might be on back burner - latimes.com.
One person with knowledge of the conversation said Howard came away feeling as if he wouldn't be the Lakers' top option, for obvious reasons. It's Bryant's team.
It's slightly bizarre that two stars on different teams playing Friday night have been chatting casually about their prospective dynamic should one of them join the other. But that's the new NBA.
Bryant scaring off Howard is pretty much the most Kobe thing ever. Yes, the Lakers are 10-5, but they've also looked very beatable this season, more like a "good team that isn't winning a title" than a true contender, never more so than against the Heat (without Dwyane Wade) Thursday night. And yet Bryant has to make sure Howard knows the pecking order. It's his team, and no Defensive Player of the Year, MVP candidate, most dominant center in the league is going to come in and take touches away from him. Bryant feels he's earned the right to determine his order in the pecking order, what with the rings and the Hall of Fame eventually and everything.
But this isn't how you bring a talent like Howard in. That's not how his makeup is geared. You have to try and get him excited. But if Bryant is good with his guys, this is a great effort to sabotage a trade, which the Times says is on the back burner, with both teams not having talked for weeks.
At least if Howard does push for and agree to a trade to the Lakers, he'll know for sure what he's getting into. It won't be Dwight's team. It will be Bryant's.