August 10, 2012; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard stands between Jeanie Buss and Jim Buss as he holds his jersey during a press conference held to introduce the three-time defensive player of the year who was aquired in a four-team trade from the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
It seems like off-season news has been slow in Laker-Land, so what could Lakers nation possibly talk about? For the Buss family, the subject of Dwight Howard seems to still linger around in the atmosphere. In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jim Buss stated that Howard was “never really a Laker”.
Jim insists he’s just following his father’s blueprint, but the Howard situation suggests he missed a page. Instead of Jim spending time with Howard, the team launched a widely derided media campaign that implored “Stay” on billboards. After Howard bolted, Jim turned on his former star, saying he wasn’t surprised or dismayed. “He was never really a Laker,” says Jim. “He was just passing through.”
Those close to Howard say the Lakers could have persuaded him to stay. Even Jeanie believes that if her father had not been sick, he would have sealed the deal like so many before it. “It’s disappointing that Dwight isn’t here,” she says. “I feel like we failed him.” -via The Hollylwood Reporter
It’s no secret that there has been a power struggle with Lakers ownership after the passing of Dr. Jerry Buss, and the situation becomes more and more awkward each and every day. Jeanie Buss, who recently stated that if her late father was still alive, would have influenced Howard into staying with the Lakers, has voiced that she feels left out in basketball decisions.
For Howard, he is eager to put the past behind him and begin his new chapter with the Houston Rockets, but he will be constantly reminded and criticized for leaving The City of Angels. The Lakers and Rockets first meet on Nov. 7.