Dwight Howard fires back, strongly denies any dissatisfaction in Houston

 

On Tuesday, reports surfaced that Houston Rockets star center Dwight Howard was “unhappy” with becoming James Harden’s sidekick, towards the point where the Rockets have been hunting at the idea of potentially trading Howard just after signing him as a cost-free agent in 2013. We outlined some of the motives that stuff did not necessarily look into. Now Howard has come out in the gate firing, denying that there is a rift with Harden, and denying that he desires out.

In short: Dwight Howard is mad. From USA Today:

“I chose to go to Houston [via cost-free agency in the summer of 2013], so why would I just say, ‘I’m not happy’ and leave,” Howard, who is widely expected to become a totally free agent again this summer, told USA Now Sports. “I chose this place, you know what I’m saying? And I want to make this thing work here. Obviously we haven’t been playing great basketball, and personally for myself my numbers don’t seem like I’ve been playing great, but the only thing on my mind is trying to grow as a man and grow as a teammate and  a leader. All the BS that’s around, sometimes it is frustrating to hear it, because I know who I am as a man and I know what I’m trying to do for this city.”

Specifically, Howard knows there’s an ill-timed subplot brewing about how he can’t co-exist with fellow All-Star James Harden anymore. But Howard, who missed all but one game in the preseason because of back problems, insists that this is the farthest thing from a repeat from the dysfunctional Kobe Bryant situation that will be front and center yet again in this latest Lakers matchup.

“People can say what they want about me and James and that whole situation, but I came here and the biggest reason was because of him, because I want both of us to grow and be great basketball players and be great teammates together,” Howard said. “It’s on us to do it. We are the ones who are held accountable for the good things and the bad things that happen to this team, and I came here with that mission, so that both of us can grow.

“He’s rising as a star, and I’ve seen all the things that he’s done and I’ve been through almost all in the things that he’s done as a basketball player. And I want to help him grow and reach even higher heights. All the other stuff is just noise. I just hate hearing it.”

 

Howard, along  with Harden, has failed as a leader.

So that’s why these rumors start. If the Rockets had been blasting through a suddenly-weak Western Conference, there would be no talk about Howard’s unhappiness. Those rumors would never arise, unless he wanted them to. Winning cures all. But even beyond winning, if the Rockets were just competitive, if they  have been just beating teams they should on paper beat, this wouldn’t be a problem.

It’s good that Howard took this step. He did not issue a non-denial denial. He went out and said, to reporters on record, not just to USA Today but to reporters after the Rockets’ loss to Sacramento on Tuesday, that none of it is true. He defended himself and put his name on it. That’s all he can do.