Phil Jackson says in book update Dwight Howard left Lakers because of Kobe, new CBA hurts team continuity
Phil Jackson has been busy this past year — getting engaged, almost getting to run a Seattle franchise, actually getting to run the Knicks franchise and more.
With that he updated his latest autobiography, 11 Rings — which you should have read already anyway so now you just need to read the updated part.
In it Jackson talks about how the fractured Kobe Bryant/Dwight Howard relationship ended up being what killed any shot of a Howard return to the Lakers.
The Lakers invited Kobe and Steve (Nash) to the final pitch meeting to help persuade Dwight to come on board. It sounded like a good idea. Steve sent out an amusing tweet before the meeting: “Dwight Howard we’re coming for you. You’re going to love the statue we build for you outside Staples in 20yrs!” And Kobe made a moving speech during the pitch, promising to teach Dwight the secret of winning championships that he’d learned from the best in the game.
If the meeting had ended there, it might have worked. But after the presentation, Dwight asked Kobe what he was planning to do after he recovered from his Achilles injury. Was this going to be his last year? “No,” replied Kobe. “I’m planning to be around for three or four more years.”
At that point, according to others in the room, Dwight’s eyes went blank and he drifted away. In his mind, the game was over.
There’s a lot more in this excerpt — Jackson talks about the Lakers discussions in hiring him and how he is pretty sure Mike D’Antoni was a Jim Buss not Jerry Buss call, how things ended with Dr. Buss, his engagement, his dalliance with the failed bid to bring a team to Seattle, and more. It’s worth a read.
But the other part I found most interesting was his take on the current CBA and it’s impacts.
It tightened up teams spending and has led to increased player movement, which has led to increased off-season player movement and interest from fans. The NBA has a real “hot stove league” now that fans are eating up.
However, Jackson says this comes at the expense of team building.