Houston Rockets Rumors: Kobe Bryant's Refusal To 'Pass The Torch' Reason For Dwight Howard's Departure From Los Angeles

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Jul 11, 2013 10:57 AM EDT
Kobe Bryant
Los Angeles Lakers Dwight Howard (L) and Kobe Bryant watch as the ball goes out of bounds during their NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in Los Angeles, November 13, 2012. (Photo : Reuters ) "

Since Dwight Howard decided to sign with the Houston Rockets over re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, many have speculated that Mike D'Antoni's offense to being the key factor in Howard's decision.

However, sources of ESPN have strongly suggested that Howard had a difficult time re-signing with the team if guard Kobe Bryant stayed with the franchise beyond the 2013-14 season, which is the final year of his contract.

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Just last week Bryant said he had intentions of playing at least two or three more seasons, and because of that it was hard for Howard to envision when he would assume the leadership role on the team, sources said.

"How can it be Kobe's team and Dwight's team?" one source said. "It was about the passing of the torch."

Howard, however, gave a different reason to why he bolted for Houston:

"I just looked at both teams and I felt like Houston was going in one direction -- they got a lot of young players, they got a good coach in Kevin McHale and I just felt like having him as a coach, he could really help me in the post and help me develop like I want to," Howard said in an interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com. "That was mainly the big reason right there, and having the opportunity to grow with a team, a young team, like the Rockets. That's the reason why [I decided to leave]."

Howard added:

"It was tough," Howard said of leaving Los Angeles. "I enjoyed, for the most part, living here in L.A. I just really think the timing in L.A., it wasn't right for me. Maybe two years ago, or 2-3 years from now, it would have been the right time. But I just think right now the timing was off for me. That's not saying that L.A. is a bad place, but I just think it's all about timing and fit when you're talking about basketball. You can put anybody together on the court and expect them to win, but the pieces have to really fit in order for a team to be successful and it was very, very tough, man. It's probably one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make in my life."

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