Dwight Howard considered retirement following his disappointing 2014/15 campaign, Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated passes along in a full-length piece that’s worth a read. Injuries certainly played a role in Howard evaluating that option, as he missed 41 games because of knee issues in 2014/15. Other factors, including his fit on the Rockets and his mindset toward the game of basketball, also were major factors.
“The joy was sucked out of it,” Howard said about his mindset toward the game that season.
The former No. 1 overall pick signed a four-year deal with Houston during the summer of 2013 and the team expected him to mesh well with rising star James Harden. The Harden-Howard pairing never came together as the franchise had hoped for, though the team attempted to create chemistry between the two by setting up a meeting during the 2014/15 season. Harden reportedly explained to Howard that he wanted the big man to set stronger screens and be a tougher rim protector, and Howard reportedly didn’t provide much of a response. One team source tells Jenkins that the gathering felt more like an intervention than a typical NBA player meeting.
Howard acknowledges that his communication skills are partially to blame for him not working in Houston and previously in Los Angeles.
“When I don’t like what’s going on, I tend to shut down, put my headphones on and ignore everything. I don’t talk about things. That happened to me in L.A. It happened to me again in Houston. I should have communicated better,” Howard said.
The big man was traded to the Hornets this offseason just one season into a three-year contract with the Hawks. Charlotte will be the center’s fourth team since he forced a trade from the Magic back in 2012.