Dwight Howard has been speaking with several reporters in the wake of his choice of the Rockets earlier this evening. HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy is one of them, and he delivers the big man's thoughts in Q-and-A format, including Howard's revelation that he asked the Lakers to hire Phil Jackson as coach. The entire piece is worth a read, but we'll pass along a few highlights here:
On the decision-making process and how the Rockets swayed him:
"It wasn’t really the presentation. Every team that I talked to had a great presentation. And it’s not like I came in thinking that the Rockets would be the team and didn’t pay attention in the other meetings or anything like that. I really listened. I took notes. I asked questions. I did everything I could to make sure I was making the best possible decision for myself. I just looked at everything in the end and I just felt like this was the place to go."
On turning down the Lakers:
“Very tough. Very, very, very tough. Very, very tough. People wouldn’t understand. Walking away from them and walking away from $30MM. 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 $30MM, 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. All of that makes it tough and it makes it a really, really big risk. I learned a lot from the situation in Orlando though, when I was afraid to walk away because I didn’t want to hurt people. I was afraid to leave because everything seemed like it was great. But now, I’m doing what’s best for Dwight. People are going to be mad and upset either way, so I’d rather be happy. I want to be happy playing basketball rather than upset doing what everyone wants me to do.”
On whether the Rockets pitched the idea of playing with Josh Smith:
“They didn’t talk to me about it. They just talked about the opportunity that they have for me and what they can provide for me as a player. That’s what was intriguing for me. But like I said in the beginning, it was very tough. Very, very tough.”