Dwight Howard Reportedly Griped About Kobe Bryant, Could Team Up with Chris Paul

Let the Los Angeles Lakers' worst nightmare commence.

Considered a favorite to retain Dwight Howard, Mark Heisler of Lakers Nation reports that Superman's return to Hollywood is far from a sure thing. And why? Because of Kobe Bryant, among other things:

Not to mention his frustration with Kobe Bryant. ESPN L.A.’s Dave McMenamin reported Howard told GM Mitch Kupchak he felt marginalized by D’Antoni, who looked to Bryant and Steve Nash for leadership but not him.

Worse, a league source told me that despite the apparent thaw between Howard and Bryant, Dwight complained privately about Kobe late in the season.

The rift between Howard and Mike D'Antoni is one thing. Magic Mike can be replaced if need be. Any falling out with Bryant is much more complicated.

Los Angeles isn't going to part ways (via trade or the NBA's amnesty provision) with Kobe, even if it means securing Howard. The Black Mamba has done too much for the franchise and holds five championship rings to Howard's zero. Dwight is the future of the Lakers, yet they're not about to re-sign him at Kobe's expense.

Any feud between the two being characterized as "irreparable" is difficult to believe as well.

Both have conceded they have their differences, but Kobe has made keeping Dwight in Tinseltown a priority of his. It's difficult to envision their relationship is then fractured beyond mending.

Abandoning the Lakers won't just be about Kobe or D'Antoni should Howard choose to leave. There will have to be something else in play—like teaming up with Chris Paul on the Atlanta Hawks.

Laugh if you must (even I'm giggling a bit), but Heisler says the two have already discussed forming a superteam of their own in Atlanta:

In any case, a league source says Paul will check out other teams, as Howard is expected to do....

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