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Dwight Howard On: Opt Out, Morey, Harden

Rockets center Dwight Howard is widely expected to opt out of his contract for 2016/17 and become an unrestricted free agent. The big man spoke candidly with Jackie MacMullen of ESPN.com on a number of topics, including about his time spent in Orlando and Los Angeles. The entire interview is certainly worth a look, but here are some of the highlights regarding his current team:

On whether or not he intends to opt out of his deal:

To be honest, I have had some conversations with close friends on what would happen if I do opt out. But I haven’t really come out and said, ‘I’m going to opt out and do this and that.’ I just can’t focus on that right now. We didn’t have the kind of season we wanted, and I didn’t have the kind of season I wanted and it was really upsetting to me. So my thinking is, ‘I’m going to get in the gym, get my body right and when the playoffs are over take a look at everything.’ As much as it may seem crazy or unbelievable that I’m not thinking about it, every time I do think about it, my mind starts racing back and forth. I don’t need that kind of pressure right now. My agent [Perry Rogers] is smart. He’s done this for years. Let him worry about the teams and the [contract] numbers.”

On his comments about being disinterested at times during this season:

“There were times I was disinterested because of situations that happened behind the scenes that really hurt me. It left me thinking, ‘This is not what I signed up for.’ I felt like my role was being reduced. I went to [Rockets general manager] Daryl [Morey] and said, ‘I want to be more involved.’ Daryl said, ‘No, we don’t want you to be.’ My response was, ‘Why not? Why am I here?’ It was shocking to me that it came from him instead of our coach. So I said to him, ‘No disrespect to what you do, but you’ve never played the game. I’ve been in this game a long time. I know what it takes to be effective.”’

On his teammates reportedly being upset with him:

“My friends kept telling me, ‘Even if you aren’t getting shots, there are so many other things you can control while you are on the floor.’ And they were right. I allowed not getting the ball to affect me. That’s on me. As a big, someone who has been the focal point of the team, who is still young, who still has some great years in front of me, you run the floor, you sprint as hard as you can, you duck in, and still, you don’t get the ball. It brings you down. It sucks the energy out of you. I had long conversations with people close to me who said, ‘Dwight, this is going to make you look bad. Don’t keep doing this.’ So I listened to them.”

On his relationship with shooting guard James Harden:

“Before I got to Houston, I didn’t know him as a person. What made me really interested in James Harden was the way he attacked the basket when he was at OKC. He was the glue of the team, attacking, making plays, dunking. I was thinking, ‘Man, this guy could be special.’ When I hit free agency, I watched YouTube tapes of James for hours. I looked at us as a mini Shaq and Kobe. I was thinking, ‘Man, this could be a new life for both of us.’ And we had some good stretches together. Made it to the Conference finals last season.'”

On a possible return to Houston given his unhappiness:

“You never know what will happen. I’m not ready to rule anything out. But, no matter what the situation [is], I have to be true to myself, both on and off the floor. I can’t alienate myself by letting my frustration get the best of me. A lot of the situations I’ve dealt with the past couple of seasons have made me realize some things about myself. These situations I’ve dealt with have made me stronger. You could say I’ve hit the ‘reset’ button.”

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6 thoughts on “Dwight Howard On: Opt Out, Morey, Harden

  1. bobhutt99

    Just listening to his quotes reveals there’s a great deal of tension between the player, coaches, management and his teammates. He is opting out and heading to a new team where’s he The Man. He would be great on the Knicks. Oh I forgot they got that old ball-stopper, coach-killer himself, Melo. Can you play with 2 basketballs on the court at the same time?

    • Dshuttlesworth

      How is Melo a “coach killer” ? Don’t just say things just to say them. Only two coaches he’s had any issues with are DAntoni and Karl who have had issues with everyone it seems

    • Thronson5

      I think he will go to either Knicks, Heat or Orlando.

  2. mark47

    the heat lose Whiteside he ends up in miami

  3. Dana Gauruder

    True stars don’t need others to tell them to stay focused and engaged.

  4. Jeremy

    I saw a HUGE red flag on Dwight Howard here…. Over and over he said “my friends tell me…” or “my friends told me….”…. Dwight, you’re a grown 30 year old man. Grow up. If you need friends, buddies, or anyone but your own mind to tell you what to do on a major life decision, you probably aren’t mature enough to earn the 20 million you make each year. I have this paranoia with Hassan Whiteside here in Miami… I think it’s worse with Dwight.

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