The Rockets expect that Dwight Howard will turn down his more than $23.282MM player option for next season, a source told USA Today’s Sam Amick. That’s no surprise, since the 30-year-old Dan Fegan client can lock in up to five more years of guaranteed salary with a new contract in free agency next summer, when his maximum salary is projected to come in at $29.3MM. Howard hasn’t expressed any desire that the Rockets trade him, sources told Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com, and in the interview with Amick, the center reiterated his public denial that he’s unhappy playing a secondary role to James Harden.
“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 to Amick.”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.“
The team still envisions Howard as a key part of its future and isn’t thinking about trading him, according to Amick. Here’s more from around the league:
- The Thunder recalled Cameron Payne and Josh Huestis from their D-League affiliate, the team announced. Huestis has appeared in nine games for the Blue this season, averaging 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 33.3 minutes per game, while Payne has made two D-League appearances, notching 23.5 points, 7.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.00 steals in 34.0 minutes per night.
- The Jazz have recalled center Tibor Pleiss from the Idaho Stampede, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This was the first D-League assignment of the campaign for Pleiss, who has been with the Stampede since November 30th.
- The Clippers assigned C.J. Wilcox to the D-League, the team announced via a press release. Since the team does not have its own affiliate, Wilcox will report to the Canton Charge, the Cavs‘ affiliate, as part of the flexible assignment system.
- The Spurs have assigned point guard Ray McCallum to their D-League affiliate in Austin, the team announced. The will be second stint with Austin this season. He logged 12 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds during his first D-League trip of the campaign.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.