Rockets center Dwight Howard isn’t concerned about the perception that he’s following in the footsteps of Shaquille O’Neal once again with his selection of Perry Rogers as his new agent, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. “[O’Neal] reached out to me [weeks ago] and felt like this could be something that could really help me in my future,” Howard said. “We talked, more so about basketball. And then we started talking about agents and all that stuff. He said, ‘Hey, I’ve got somebody who really helped change my life and really sculptured the Shaq that you see today.’ He introduced me to Perry. Perry came down to Houston. We had a really good conversation. It was a decision I made on my own. That’s why I liked it, because I decided to make it. There wasn’t anybody who was around, anybody who could say, ‘Yo, what do you think?’ I went with what I felt was right [for] me.”
As for any potential criticism he may receive regarding the agent switch, Howard told Amick, “People are always going to have something to say about anything that we do, but I did it because this guy has no other clients, so he can focus on me solely,” Howard said of Rogers. “That’s one thing that I think is very important. When you can simplify a lot of things and focus on a couple areas of your life, it just makes everything in your life easier. I just felt like it was a great situation. At the end of the day, I can decide whether I’m going to stay long-term, or whatever it may be, with him, but for right now I think this is somebody who can really help me grow on the business side and on the court.” The Rockets center is expected to turn down a player option of more than $23.282MM and test the free agent market this summer.
Here’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Grizzlies swingman Tony Allen is still adjusting to being called upon as a primary option on offense after being utilized as a role player throughout his career, Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal relays. “It’s definitely a new role for me,” Allen said. “I haven’t been in that mindset of trying to score. I’m normally the receiver from Mike Conley or Marc Gasol or Z-Bo [Zach Randolph]. Now, I’m just being aggressive and trying to be a playmaker. It drains you. It takes a lot of energy. But I’m just trying to adapt.“
- Wesley Matthews hasn’t lived up to his status as the Mavericks‘ highest paid player this season, but the swingman isn’t shying away from his responsibility as a team leader, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes. Matthews noted that he and his teammates have been letting their frustrations on offense lessen their defensive intensity, something that needs to change if Dallas wants a shot at making the playoffs. “It’s not about X’s and O’s,” Matthews said. “It’s not about this [stats] any more. We’re a .500 team. We deserve to be a .500 team, and we’re at that crossroads — where do we want to go, what do we want to do about it. It’s heart. It’s competing. It’s ‘I don’t want to be done April [13th].’ We all got to wear it on our sleeves. It’s our pride. It’s, ‘I’m going to get this ball before you.’ And if you make this shot, it’s going to be one of the toughest shots you made all season.“