It’s only been a couple of hours since Dwight Howard became an unofficial member of the Houston Rockets – teams can’t sign free agents until July 10th disputed the notion that anything Kobe Bryant had to say factored into choosing the Rockets over the Lakers. Dwight also said that he’s already a winner and that the opportunity to play for Rockets’ head coach, Kevin McHale had a lot to do with it.
“No offense to Mike D’Antoni but we’re talking about Kevin McHale, who had a million moves in the post.”
D’Antoni’s offense never really worked well with Dwight’s game. Howard reportedly didn’t like the way he was being utilized. Coaching was obviously a major factor. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith mentioned that one reason Dwight didn’t get serious about the Golden State Warriors is because they hadn’t committed to head coach Mark Jackson long-term.
On Kobe allegedly saying he would teach Dwight to be a winner. Dwight says Kobe didn’t say that. But then goes on to explain the ways in which he was already a winner:
in my personal opinion, I’m a winner. I’m a winner because I’ve been playing for nine years when the average career for an NBA player is three years. I’m a winner because I made it to the NBA from a small school in Atlanta, GA, with 16 people in a class. I’m a winner because I’m succeeding in life.
On the topic of leaving the Lakers AND $30 million on the table:
Walking away from them and walking away from $30 million. That shows you right there that I want to win. I want to win. Nothing else matters other than winning. I don’t think anybody would’ve ever walked away from $30 million, but I want to win. But yeah, just walking away was tough. I was walking away from six million fans. I was walking away from a storied franchise.
In truth, Dwight Howard made a business decision. The Lakers as a franchise are at a crossroads. A scary payroll complete with an aging but still high performing superstar, no youth on the team and an unstable front office. From a business perspective it probably made the most sense for Dwight to go where he can be a big fish in a medium-sized pond
Southern California must have had some impact on Dwight. He also mentioned Walt Disney as an example of why he decided to take less money and join the Rockets.
Howard also mentioned Walt Disney: “He put everything into Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs…now there’s Disneyland and Disneyworld.”
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 6, 2013
I’ll tell you who the real unsung hero is in all of this, Slim Thug. His pitch of “bad chicks, lower child support and cheap bottle service” probably helped nail it for the Rockets.