2:24pm: Bucher clarifies his earlier post, writing that Howard never specifically told the Lakers that he'd re-sign if the team fired D'Antoni (Sulia link). Bucher doesn't add any more about Howard's feelings toward Bryant, however.
8:41am: Since signing with the Rockets this summer, Dwight Howard has denied that he issued demands to the Lakers that weren't met. However, various people close to the situation say that there were two prerequisites for the big man to stay: fire coach Mike D'Antoni and amnesty, or "at the very least muzzle," Kobe Bryant, according to Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (Sulia link).
The Lakers asked Dwight to be patient on both fronts for at least another season, telling him that he would have to tough things out for another year, according to one source. However, Lakers VP of basketball operations Jim Buss spoke with Bucher and it sounds as though he's planning to keep Kobe well beyond 2014.
"Dwight didn't want to play with Kobe for 2-3 more years," Buss said. "I'm going to stand behind Kobe because of his history with the franchise."
Howard's rift with D'Antoni is well known and the big man reportedly felt as though he was lost in the Lakers' offense last season. This isn't the first time that we've heard that Howard was looking for a change on the bench or for Kobe to get out of the picture, but it now appears that his requests were closer to demands and those demands being met could have kept him in L.A.
Howard's gutsy demands don't come completely without precedent in Lakers' history. When Bryant re-signed in 2004, it coincided with Shaq being shipped to Miami and Phil Jackson being let go. However, the front office didn't need to be pressured to make either move at the time as they were unhappy with both men.
Nearly ten years later, it seems that the Lakers had the opportunity to hold on to the summer's most prized free agent. However, the price tag was simply too high for them.