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Mark Cuban: Dwight Howard made wrong decision going to Houston

mark-cubanMark Cuban still believes that Dwight Howard made the wrong decision by choosing the Houston Rockets in free agency instead of the Dallas Mavericks. What else is new?

The Mavericks are one of the handful of teams Howard considered in free agency. He also looked at the Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Lakers in addition to Houston and Dallas.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban and superstar Dirk Nowitzki were among the team reps who were part of the team’s presentation to Howard in free agency. In August, Cuban shared the video the team created and played for Howard. Even though Cuban says the Mavericks are better off without Howard, he still believes the center made the wrong choice.

“Obviously, he made a mistake in judgment,” Cuban said Thursday via ESPN Dallas. “Do I blame him? No, that’s what young kids do. They make mistakes in judgment.”

Cuban continued to explain where Howard went wrong.

“You choose teams. You don’t choose players,” Cuban said. “If he made a choice off of an individual player, yeah, he made a mistake. You choose teams. You choose organizations. You choose coaches. And it’s just not relative to Houston.”

Cuban was obviously talking about Howard going to Houston to pair with James Harden, whom many consider to be one of the top young players in the game.

“That’s just the way I look at it, because if he’s that good, then the right organization … Put aside Dwight. Any young superstar looking to make a move, if you’re that good, then the right organization gets all the right pieces around you. So it’s not about, you’d rather play with this guy. If you’re that good and you have [salary cap] flexibility, the right organization will put the right pieces around you and get you there.”

This just sounds to me like more bitterness from Cuban, and it makes me believe that Cuban still wishes Dwight chose Dallas instead of Houston, despite what he says. Dwight absolutely think he made the right decision, and I think it was a smart move to team up with Harden. Pairing with other players is the most important factor when you’re a superstar like him. Putting in the right coaches and supporting cast is easier to do once you have the right talent in place the way Houston does.

Mike D’Antoni admits he felt pressure to run offense through Dwight Howard, not Pau Gasol

Pau-Gasol-Steve-Nash-LakersPrior to last season, the Los Angeles Lakers were one of the better offensive teams in the NBA. Then they got Dwight Howard. The Lakers were the preseason favorite to win the Western Conference, but things went south in a hurry. Part of the reason for that was they couldn’t score.

During a recent interview with Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, Mike D’Antoni acknowledged the issue of having to run his offense through Howard when the team had been so fluid running it through Pau Gasol in previous seasons. D’Antoni basically admitted he had no choice.

“It was very uncomfortable,” he said. “I knew I was messing on (Gasol) last year. That’s not fair to him. But that was the situation we were in. How do we make the best of it? I was just trying to make the best of it. But no, it wasn’t fair to him.

“I think it was all (politics). It was all that. We wouldn’t do that (normally). If nobody had names on their jerseys, and we were just playing? You go through Pau. There’s not a question. No question.”

Gasol was relegated to a bench role last season before D’Antoni finally admitted that he was wrong to not play both Gasol and Howard. He initially thought his offense would not work with two big men, but it turned out to be more effective when Gasol was on the floor. Even Kobe Bryant sent out some tweets while he was injured about how his team needed to put Gasol in the post and feed him the ball.

The air between D’Antoni and Gasol is supposedly cleared, and Gasol will need to be the player he was before the Howard era if LA wants to stand any chance this season.

“I definitely believe I can do it,” Gasol said. “I know it. I bounced back really well. The procedure went well, my tendons are a lot healthier now than they were before. I have a lot more healthy tissue that regenerated well. I worked hard during the summer to be in the position that I’m in today, and I look forward to just to going out there and doing what I know best.”

With Kobe coming back from a torn Achilles’ and Steve Nash nursing a number of injuries, Gasol could be the go-to guy in the early part of the season.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Dwight Howard ‘a little upset’ Orlando Magic let Tobias Harris wear No. 12

Dwight-Howard-loves-OrlandoDwight Howard would like to think that he left behind a legacy when he was traded from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers. He is the Magic’s franchise leader in points, rebounds and blocked shots. However, Howard never won a championship with Orlando and left the team on sour terms. And now he expects the Magic to essentially retire his jersey number?

In a recent interview with Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, during which Howard said he left the Lakers because he “had to do what was best for Dwight,” the 27-year-old admitted he would have liked his former team to block players from wearing No. 12. The jersey is currently worn by 21-year-old small forward Tobias Harris.

“I just think that despite whatever happened, there was a lot of things that I did and that we did as a team, and that number was special down there,” Howard said. “And I was a little bit upset about that.”

Howard also expressed regret for the way his career in Orlando ended. That being said, how delusional is this guy? No one is saying the Magic have to despise him, but is everyone just supposed to forget about the way he embarrassed the team with his phony relationship with Stan Van Gundy toward the end? Or how about all the reports that he was disgusted with Orlando and wanted out, all of which were followed with infamous Dwight denials?

As a side note, Harris is wearing No. 12 to honor a close friend of his who died from leukemia at age 17. We’re assuming Howard was unaware of that.

Maybe Howard will win a championship with the Houston Rockets and the fans will love him. Perhaps some day his number will be retired in Houston. But as of now, he doesn’t exactly have massive fan bases in Orlando and LA. Why should he?

H/T Ball Don’t Lie

Kobe Bryant: I don’t give a s— about Dwight Howard leaving (Video)

You think Kobe Bryant is sick of talking about Dwight Howard yet?

Speaking at Los Angeles Lakers Media Day Saturday, Bryant was surrounded by reporters and asked questions about Howard’s choice to leave the Lakers for the Houston Rockets. They were the same questions Bryant answered all summer, so no doubt he was tired of hearing about the subject.
Dwight Howard Kobe Bryant
Bryant said he wasn’t surprised that Howard chose to sign with Houston, indicating he felt that was going to happen. When asked why he got that feeling, Kobe said “honestly man, I really don’t give a s—. It is what it is. If he came back, it would’ve been great. If he didn’t, it’s not. It is what it is.”

It is what it is. Kobe isn’t the first Laker to say he felt Dwight wasn’t going to come back, so what can they really do? Dwight didn’t want to be there for a variety of reasons. Having to be second in line to Kobe was probably the biggest reason. Now it’s time for both sides to move on. The Lakers will move on to mediocrity, while Houston will move forward to being one of the top teams in the Western Conference. It is what it is.

H/T The Point Forward

Dwight Howard reportedly wanted Mike D’Antoni fired, Kobe released or muzzled

Dwight Howard Kobe BryantDwight Howard had two conditions he wanted the Los Angeles Lakers to meet in order to remain with the team, according to a report.

NBA reporter Ric Bucher says the current Houston Rockets center wanted the Lakers to fire Mike D’Antoni as coach, and to either amnesty or at least “muzzle” Kobe Bryant. Neither condition should come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed the situation.

It was previously reported that Howard was frustrated with the way D’Antoni used him last season, and that he disliked D’Antoni’s system. Another report from July said Howard wanted the Lakers to move past the Kobe Bryant era. Howard even admitted that the “timing” wasn’t right for him to stay with the Lakers.

The Lakers made the difficult — and in many cases unpopular — decision to make Kobe their franchise cornerstone in 2004 and trade Shaq to the Miami Heat. Though Shaq was the more dominant player at the time — he won a title in his second season with the Heat — Bryant was the better long-term investment for the franchise. The Lakers were in the same situation now but, instead of taking the better long-term play, they opted to keep the franchise in the hands of Kobe. I think it was a bad decision.

Houston Rockets will experiment with Dwight Howard at forward

Dwight Howard RocketsThe Houston Rockets have a fairly stacked front court after signing free agent centers in consecutive years. This offseason, they managed to land Dwight Howard, who was the most coveted player on the market. The year before, they signed Omer Asik to a three-year deal.

Asik was said to be upset after the team acquired Howard and reportedly wanted to be traded. He is still with Houston, and it looks like the team will try to make the most of having both players.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey conducted an “ask me anything” session on Reddit Friday and explained Asik’s role on the team.

“Omer would prefer to be a starter and is certainly a starter+ quality player. That said, he is a winner first & likes being on a winning team,” Morey said in response to someone who asked about Asik and Howard sharing the center position.

Morey was also asked if Asik could see minutes as a power forward, which would allow him and Howard to be on the court at the same time. Morey says they will explore that possibility, only with the positions reversed.

“Coach McHale plans to experiment with Dwight at PF and Omer as C in training camp. If it works and helps us win, obviously we would look at using it,” Morey wrote.

There is speculation that Morey saying he will play Asik and Howard together is a claim intended to boost Asik’s trade value. It certainly doesn’t seem like having Howard and Asik — both big rebounders and defensive presences who can’t shoot free throws very well — together on the court at the same time would be a great idea.

Another interesting quote came when Morey was asked about the report that Chris Paul was threatening the Clippers that he would sign with the Rockets. In response, Morey called Chris Paul the best point guard in the NBA and said it was flattering to hear the Clippers guard had interest in joining their team.

H/T Rotoworld

Jim Buss: Dwight Howard was never really a Laker

Dwight Howard LakersDwight Howard spent very little time with the Los Angeles Lakers before heading off to Houston. Most NBA fans envisioned Howard becoming the face of the Lakers’ franchise after Kobe Bryant retired, but the plan never came to fruition. Team executive vice president Jim Buss does not sound surprised.

Rick Bucher interviewed Buss for a recent profile of the Lakers front office in The Hollywood Reporter, and the son of the late Jerry Buss offered some straight-forward comments about Howard.

Jim insists he’s just following his father’s blueprint, but the Howard situation suggests he missed a page. Instead of Jim spending time with Howard, the team launched a widely derided media campaign that implored ‘Stay’ on billboards. After Howard bolted, Jim turned on his former star, saying he wasn’t surprised or dismayed. ‘He was never really a Laker,’ says Jim. ‘He was just passing through.’

Those close to Howard say the Lakers could have persuaded him to stay. Even Jeanie believes that if her father had not been sick, he would have sealed the deal like so many before it. ‘It’s disappointing that Dwight isn’t here,’ she says. ‘I feel like we failed him.’”

This is not the first time Jeanie has said she felt her father could have kept Howard in LA. At the end of the day, the Lakers should not feel badly about losing Howard. If his heart wasn’t in it, it’s probably best to let him go to another city. That being said, it’s obvious a number of factors could have influenced the situation.

In addition to the passing of Jerry Buss, Howard has essentially admitted that things would have been different if the Lakers hired Phil Jackson instead of Mike D’Antoni. The team may have had more success last season and Howard may have wanted to stay to play for Jackson, especially since he did not get along with D’Antoni during his one season in LA.

Instead, Howard wound up “just passing through.” Whether or not that was a foregone conclusion is a matter of personal opinion.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk