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#pounditMonday, November 28, 2022

Report: Dwight Howard, James Harden relationship is ‘cordially bad’

James Harden

The Houston Rockets’ season could very well end Wednesday night, bringing to a close a season marked by dysfunction and underachievement from a team that went to the Western Conference Finals in 2015.

ESPN’s Calvin Watkins details how things went downhill, particularly the tension between the team’s two stars, James Harden and Dwight Howard.

According to Watkins, the duo have tried to be friends, even trying to talk out their on-court issues during All-Star break. However, Howard hasn’t seen much of the ball, with some players reportedly unhappy with him. Howard himself, meanwhile, believes Harden doesn’t respect him enough. A team source characterized the relationship between the two stars as “cordially bad.”

One particular incident came in February, when Howard didn’t speak up during a team meeting about getting more touches.

“If you want the ball, you need to speak up about it,” one person close to the team said. “He lost players’ respect.”

There is also a fundamental disconnect between Harden and Howard personality-wise. Harden is more guarded, with a dry sense of humor and a passion to win. Howard is more outgoing, friendly and bubbly, even during games, which can lead to accusations of disinterest.

Harden is the franchise’s cornerstone, and much has been invested in him. Howard will be gone once he opts out of his contract this summer, with Orlando, Milwaukee, Portland, and Charlotte cited as potential destinations.

Perhaps Shaq was right about Harden, though it seems as though Houston’s dynamic duo can’t see eye to eye no matter what they do. While it doesn’t sound like the pair hate each other or anything like that, it will ultimately be a big part of the reason that, no matter what Jason Terry says, Houston’s dysfunctional season is likely to end this week.

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