Will Lakers Being Kobe Bryant’s Team Force Dwight Howard out of LA?

Dwight Howard's future with the Los Angeles Lakers is directly related to Kobe Bryant's pursuit of another NBA championship.

All along, it was expected (known, really) that the Lakers would become Howard's team after Bryant retired. The allure of leading the Lakers toward another dynasty was supposed to be too good for Howard to pass up.

Even if he couldn't stomach playing under Bryant, there was light at the end of the tunnel. The Lakers would eventually be his. Only Los Angeles has no idea if he's willing to wait that long.

Bryant has been as indecisive about his impending retirement as Howard himself was about leaving the Orlando Magic. Depending on the day, his career is either nearing its conclusion or he's aspiring to play until he's 40 or older.

Recently speaking with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN radio on the winning formula Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs put together, Bryant was in one of his I'm-nowhere-near-done moods.

"My goal is to win more than five," said Bryant, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times' Eric Pincus. "If he does win five, hopefully that pushes our organization upstairs to be even more determined and more driven to make the necessary expenses to make sure we continue the next year and the year after that."

If Bryant intends to be a part of the Lakers next year and the year after that and even still the year after that, Los Angeles could have a problem with Howard.

Their feud (or non-feud) has been well documented. The two admitted they weren't best friends and their personalities couldn't be more different. Bryant can be overwhelming, a fierce competitor to his very core. Howard is perceived as a rhapsodic jokester, frowning only when the conversation shifts to his desire to win, as if questioning his resolve were one of the cardinal sins.

That in itself is a recipe for disaster. Howard was new to the bright lights and...

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