Tensions reportedly boiled over in the Lakers’ locker room after a New Year’s Day loss to the Sixers, when Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard got in a “heated exchange” and had to be separated, according to Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News.From Bondy:
A league source told the Daily News that the Lakers stars got into a heated exchange following a New Year’s Day loss to the 76ers, and Bryant went for a low blow – referencing and agreeing with Shaquille O’Neal’s criticisms of Howard being soft.
Howard was restrained from going at his teammate, according to the source, and there have been rumblings from the centre’s camp that he’s been unhappy with Bryant since earlier in the season.
This was three days before Howard made some cryptic comments about the team not getting along off the court:
“We have to play like we like each other. Even if we don’t want to be friends off the court, whatever that may be, when we step in between the lines or we step in the locker room or the gym, we have to respect each other and what we bring to the table.”
The Lakers are still struggling mightily. They’re 11th in the Western Conference with a 15-18 record, and they’ve lost three-straight since January 1st.
The more serious issue for the team is whether a strained relationship with Kobe would affect Dwight’s willingness to sign a long-term deal with the team this summer. The Lakers traded for Howard under the assumption that he’d sign there after the season. But technically he could test the waters and go elsewhere if he wanted to.
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