Dwight Howard unhappy with his team in Taiwan for cutting his pay
Dwight Howard’s honeymoon phase in Taiwan appears to be over.
In an interview this week with TVBS News (a Taiwanese TV channel), the eight-time NBA All-Star Howard called out his team, the Taoyuan Leopards. Howard said that the Leopards offered him a contract for next season with a 65 percent reduction in pay (relative to his first season). He called it “very disrespectful” and “very disappointing.”
Howard also said in the interview that he is now eyeing a return to the NBA (but did leave open the possibility of playing another season in Taiwan).
According to Keoni Everington of the Taiwan News, Leopards CEO Chang Chien-wei said the contract offer for Howard was based on a new calculation method (involving escalators for the team winning as well as de-escalators for the team losing and for Howard himself not playing). Chien-wei also noted that Howard missed ten of the Leopards’ 30 games this season.
Howard, 37, was a difference-maker in the games he did play, averaging 23.2 points and 16.2 rebounds per game. But the Leopards as a whole had the worst record in the T1 League this season, going a fetid 6-24 (.200).
The ex-NBA Defensive Player of the Year Howard actually got a much larger contract from the Leopards this season than the T1 League usually allows for foreign players. He also really appeared to be loving life in Taiwan and was recruiting a number of high-profile basketball figures to join him there.
But earlier this week, Howard expressed interest in returning to the NBA (with one particular team). Now we have a better idea of why he had the sudden change of heart.