James Harden insists he had no “beef” with former teammate Dwight Howard, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Howard, who signed with the Hawks in the offseason, will face Harden and the Rockets tonight in Atlanta. There were many stories of discord between the two stars during last year’s 41-41 season, but Harden says there are no lingering bad feelings. “I know what the truth is,” Harden said. “There’s no beef. We never got into a heated argument or anything. It just didn’t work out.”
There’s more news from the Southwest Division:
- New Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who was hired at the start of June, never made an appeal to Howard to stay with the team, Feigen adds in the same piece. Houston focused on former Hawks center Al Horford in free agency, and there was a feeling that a low-post player like Howard wouldn’t be effective in D’Antoni’s system. “I don’t think I was the right guy to have conversations,” said D’Antoni, who briefly coached Howard with the Lakers. “I’m sure there were conversations with [GM] Daryl [Morey]. If he wanted to come back, great. That wasn’t my role to have conversations.”
- Chandler Parsons is expected to play his first game for the Grizzlies on Tuesday, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. It will be the small forward’s first time on the court since undergoing right knee surgery in March when he was still with Dallas. Memphis signed Parsons to a four-year, $94MM contract this summer.
- The Mavericks‘ Dirk Nowitzki will be “shut down” for at least a week after aggravating an Achilles problem Friday, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Nowitzki said he has been experiencing pain in that area since the season opener. “He’s going to be out for a while,” explained coach Rick Carlisle. “We’ll update [things] in about seven days. He didn’t reinjure the Achilles, it’s just lingering. It’s not getting better the way it needs to, so we got to shut him down. Is it bad news, yes. But we’ll get through it. His health is the most important thing. He’s more than willing to continue playing, but it’s pretty obvious that things just aren’t right. We’ve got to do the right thing here and get it fixed.”