Will Kobe Bryant’s Reputation Scare More Stars Away from LA Lakers?

Kobe Bryant is regarded as the league’s fiercest competitor, and it is only fair to wonder if his reputation will frighten potential stars from signing on with the Los Angeles Lakers going forward.

Indeed, the franchise has typically been able to acquire whichever superstar it desired once upon a time. However, Dwight Howard’s departure from the Lakers appears to be a signal worth keeping an eye on.

Many assumed Howard would remain with the Purple and Gold given the team’s rich history in terms of championships and dominant big men. Mind you, he left Los Angeles during the 2013 offseason in favor of the Houston Rockets.

On the surface, his exit makes sense. The Rockets are younger and have an amazing perimeter talent in James Harden to complement the former Olympian for years to come.

With that said, no superstar willingly leaves the Lakers. This is where Bryant comes in. His competitive spirit coupled with his singular focus to win at all costs can rub certain teammates the wrong way. And in the case of Howard, it seems fairly obvious that is what occurred when reading between the lines.

During the 2013 free-agency period, Howard manifested some interest in remaining with the Lakers. Mind you, his willingness to rejoin the franchise depended on Bryant’s status. Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein had the story at ESPNLA:

Sources told ESPN.com that Howard and his representatives -- in a handful of meetings with Lakers officials before he became a free agent July 1 -- strongly suggested the center would have a difficult time re-signing with the team if [Kobe] Bryant stayed with the franchise beyond the 2013-14 season, the final year of his contract.

In other words, Howard would consider the Lakers as an attractive destination provided Bryant was no longer on board. However, the flirtation between both parties simply was not meant to be.

The five-time ...

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