James Harden explains what went wrong with him and Dwight Howard
James Harden and Dwight Howard were teammates on the Houston Rockets from 2013-2016 and reached the Western Conference Finals together, but the pairing did not pan out as hoped.
Harden and Howard clashed, and the Rockets’ poor start to last season resulted in the firing of Kevin McHale. Howard left for Atlanta in free agency over the offseason, while Houston hired Mike D’Antoni as head coach, who has turned Harden into an MVP candidate.
Ahead of Thursday’s game between the Rockets and Hawks, both Harden and Howard were asked by TNT what went wrong between them in Houston.
Harden says there was no animosity between them. Instead, he says their differences were in their styles on the court.
“Just personalities. We never got into any arguments and cursed each other out or anything. That’s the crazy part,” Harden told TNT. “In life, just two people just can’t get along. What I mean is that on the court it just doesn’t work — it doesn’t mesh.”
Howard ascribed the problems to communication issues.
“I thought that after we went to the Western Conference Finals that we were really going to take off. But it didn’t happen that way. I want to say part of it was because the communication wasn’t there between me and James. We allowed outside sources to manipulate our thoughts and things like that.”
Things have turned out well for Harden and the Rockets, as they are now one of the top teams in the West. Howard is similarly having a strong season for Atlanta, as they entered Thursday fifth in the East.
As the Rockets were dissolving last season, there were a lot of reasons given for the team’s problems. The relationship between Harden and Howard at the time was said to be cordially bad, which doesn’t sound too far off from reality.