Watching the following videos of Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard after Friday's 101-77 win over the Golden State Warriors, a few things are abundantly clear.
1) Mike Brown's dismissal created a very emotionally draining set of circumstances for his former players to play through. Even if, as I've long suspected, they never fully bought into Brown as a coach, they certainly liked him as a person and recognized the human element at play. This may have been the Lakers' best performance of the season, but it wasn't an easy night.
2) Kobe really wants a third go-around with Phil Jackson. I mean, he really wants it. That's not to doubt the sincerity of his endorsements of Mike D'Antoni and Brian Shaw. He has long-standing, strong relationships with both and I genuinely believe he'd be happy were either hired. There are probably other names that would also earn his thumbs up, too. But there's no question Phil is his first choice. Just talk of a reunion has Bryant licking his chops.
3) Howard took lessons from The Dwightmare to heart. Unless alone with Mitch Kupchak in an office previously swept for bugs, dude wisely ain't touching "Who replaces Brown?" with a 10-foot pole.
4) Kobe is familiar with the game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon."
Kobe Bryant, on Mike Brown's dismissal:
Kobe, on his relationship with Phil Jackson:
Kobe, on PJ and other coaching candidates:
Kobe, on the struggles this season:
Dwight Howard, on Mike Brown's dismissal:
Howard, on Bernie Bickerstaff, and the coaching search: