“Dwightmare” down to too much responsibility says MWP.
Following the disappointing end to their season with a first-round playoff series sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, the Los Angeles Lakers have decisions to make this off season.
Question marks remain over the future of the likes of Pau Gasol and various other reserve players on the roster, but in what has been an on-going issue throughout the year, whether or not the franchise will extend Dwight Howard’s stay at the Staples Center remains to be seen.
Dubbed the “Dwightmare”, the year has been anything but easy for D-12 in his first campaign in Los Angeles. The former Orlando Magic big man has had to deal with his fair share of issues, which have included reported run-ins with team-mates, injuries and doubts over his desire to win.
A jovial character that is never shy to play up to the cameras, Howard can entertain and infuriate in equal measure, but his performance in the last game of the season would have done little to help his cause.
Already missing the likes of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash through injury, much was needed, and expected, of Howard in the closing stages of the Playoffs, However, two technical fouls and an automatic ejection in the third quarter of Game 4 could quite possibly be the last we see of Howard in a Lakers jersey.
Then came the tweet, which suggested Howard is open to the possibility of staying in LA next season, and improving on what has been overall a dismal year.
I hope I get the chance to make it up to you!” Thank u la.
— Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) April 29, 2013
The 27-year-old is set to become a free agent on July 1, and it is not clear as to whether or not he will sign a five-year, $118 contract extension or venture elsewhere in his pursuit of a Championship ring.
Gasol and Metta World Peace have both revealed that their future is uncertain, with the latter suggesting that there was too much pressure on Howard to deliver this year.
“I think we put a little too much pressure on Dwight and as responsible leaders, we gave him a little too much responsibility,” he told the media in his season exit interview as reported by ESPN.
“Kobe, Pau and myself, we weren’t responsible enough. We should have been louder voices. So, I take a lot of responsibility and I’m sure Kobe and Pau do also. So next year, we definitely will. We have to be the voice in the locker room consistently,” he added.
Nash echoed his thoughts and suggested that the Lakers have the right pieces, but will now have to work through the summer to make things work and thus make next season “phenomenal”.
Despite their confidence, whether this core of players get another chance to do so next season, is a question that has yet to be answered.