Howard upset with final season in Houston, has bold expectations after joining the Hawks
In the latest of the Dwight Howard saga, Howard opened up about this past season with the Houston Rockets. When asked on his decision to leave the Rockets and sign with his hometown, the Atlanta Hawks, Howard said last years season left a bad taste in his mouth.
“I’m really (ticked) off about last season,” Howard told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chris Vivlamore on Tuesday. “I’m looking forward to coming back with a different mentality.”
Howard’s struggles in Houston were highly publicized throughout last year. Howard and James Harden continued to struggle all year long with their chemistry on the court and they finished the season with a pedestrian 41-41 record and a first-round elimination.
This isn’t the first time Howard expressed his frustration with his former team as a similar situation occurred when Howard left the Lakers to play with Harden and the Rockets.
When Howard agreed to a three-year deal worth $70.5 million with the Hawks, he said it was all about bringing a championship to his hometown.
“I want to do whatever I can to bring a championship home,” said Howard. “I know it’s not going to be easy. I’ve worked extremely hard this summer, every summer. I’m very motivated.”
Ever since Howard’s departure from the Lakers, his desire to win has always been challenged around the league after former teammate Kobe Bryant called him out on his competitive drive. The Hawks are now the fourth team that Howard will start an NBA season with in his 12-year career.
Howard has joined a few teams with a ready to “win now” mentality before. Some may say with Howard moving back to the Eastern Conference that may help him find the success he once had with the Magic. It’s still tough to see Howard going back to dominating games with the NBA having transitioned to a backourt oriented league and Hassan Whiteside and Andre Drummond competing in the Eastern Conference with Howard.
The Hawks finished 4th in the Eastern Conference last year and have been active in Free Agency, bringing back Kent Bazemore and not trading Paul Millsap amidst all the trade rumors. The Howard signing fills a void the Hawks had after losing Al Hortford to the Boston Celtics this offseason, and only time will tell if a Howard homecoming is enough to put the Hawks over the edge and make a deep postseason run.
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