After injuries wiped out nearly all of his 2018/19 season, Dwight Howard made promises to new Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard that he never got a chance to fulfill, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. Howard suffered a back injury before training camp and played just nine games last year. Entering the second season of his two-year contract, Howard vowed to Sheppard that things were going to be different.
“I told Tommy I was gonna lose 30 pounds and come back in the best shape of my life and we were gonna have a shot at winning a championship,” Howard said. “That was my goal all summer, to lose weight and come back better than ever.”
Howard delivered on his promises, but not in D.C. He was traded to Memphis in July to create more minutes for centers Thomas Bryant, who re-signed this summer, and Moritz Wagner, who was acquired in a trade. Howard reached a buyout with the Grizzlies and accepted a non-guaranteed offer from the Lakers. It marked his second straight summer with a buyout arrangement and his seventh team in the past five years, but he’s grateful for the chance to rebuild his reputation.
“A lot of times, you gotta outlive the lie,” he said. “I’ve been lied on for many years about who I am as a player, person, my character. So, I just wanted to get into good shape. If I say something, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna be that way, and (that’s) not gonna change.”
There’s more Wizards news to pass along:
- The team is holding out hope that C.J. Miles won’t need surgery for his injured left wrist, relays Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Miles damaged ligaments while taking a charge in Tuesday’s game and can’t visit a specialist until Monday when the Wizards are back from their current road trip. An operation would sideline him for about four months and likely end his season. “Right now, they’re talking to the doctors, talking to C.J. as well and our staff and have a game plan, I’m sure, the next couple of days,” coach Scott Brooks said.
- Bradley Beal doesn’t regret his decision to accept a two-year extension, even though Washington is off to a poor start at 6-11, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. Beal could have turned down the offer and possibly paved the way for a trade to a contender, but he opted to commit to the organization through at least 2021/22. “It’s easy for people in all walks of life to see the grass as greener on the other side and not to see and appreciate your current environment,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “And I do admire that in Bradley.”
- Beal blamed weight gain over the past two seasons on Couvade Syndrome, also known as “sympathetic pregnancy,” writes Quinton Mayo of NBC Sports Washington. Beal’s partner has delivered two children in the past two years. “I gained about 12-15 pounds,” he said. “Coach Brooks used to make fun of me and say my uniform was fitting a little tighter, and not in a good way. I was up at 3, 4 o’clock in the morning eating ice cream when I shouldn’t have been eating ice cream. That’s all because momma was pregnant and I had the exact same symptoms. I was craving stuff that I never had the desire to eat before.”