The Los Angeles Lakers are finally in the win column this season with a 121-118 over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still issues. We just recently saw tempers flare when Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard got into a physical altercation during the game against the Phoenix Suns. It’s never a good sign when two teammates are getting physical in the middle of a game.
The two have both expressed that the beef is squashed but it’s hard to know for sure if all the animosity is gone. If it’s not and the two continue to have issues, it’s a battle that Davis will win. Stephen A. Smith discussed the fight on ESPN’s First Take and put Howard on notice.
“You’re Dwight Howard. I like Dwight Howard. Look at me right now Dwight Howard. I would strongly advise you not to get on the nerves of Anthony Davis,” Smith said in a direct address to Howard. “You are lucky to be in this league. Now I think he should be, don’t get me wrong. I think he’s a major contributor when he’s focused.”
“But if you find yourself on the outside looking in and Anthony Davis got a problem with you, remember it wasn’t too long ago where Dwight Howard was wondering whether or not he’d have a job in the NBA. Landed with the Lakers, won a title, ended up going to Philly, they bring him back. You’re still making veteran minimum over two million dollars. This is Anthony Davis we talk about here. Do not mess that up.”
It’s a stretch to say that Howard wouldn’t be in the league if it weren’t for the Lakers but Smith is right to say that getting on Davis’ bad side could be a major mistake for the former All-Star.
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Howard & Davis ‘Get Along Very Well’
A beef between two key players can cause serious issues for a team. Howard has a big personality and isn’t going to back down to even his superstar teammate. However, the two should be fine. Guard Rajon Rondo has spent a lot of time with both Davis and Howard and doesn’t think there’s any serious issue between the two.
“It can happen. … But nevertheless, like I said, those two guys, I wouldn’t say they’re best friends, but they get along very well,” Rondo said, via The Athletic’s Jovan Buha.
It’s notable that the Lakers brought Howard back this offseason. Had Davis not wanted him there, he likely wouldn’t be with the team. There’s no reason to believe the two had any kind of lingering beef prior to the incident during the Suns game.
Howard Should Be Careful
Howard’s passion and enthusiasm are big reasons why the Lakers brought him back. Even when he’s not playing, he’s invested and cheering his team on. That said, he should tread lightly going forward. Davis is the Lakers’ most important player and has a lot of pull in the franchise. He’s also incredibly close with LeBron James, who may just be the most powerful voice in the organization.
Obviously, the Lakers aren’t going to bench or cut Howard for altercation but it can’t become a trend. If he starts becoming a distraction, it may not be worth it to keep him around.