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REPORT: Dwight Howard ‘assumed’ to be leaving Rockets if Mike D’Antoni is hired as coach

The Houston Rockets have a finalist in their search for a new coach, and chances are he will be standing when the smoke clears. After going through their list of potential candidates, which also included TNT analyst Kenny Smith, the Rockets look like they might settle on Mike D’Antoni as their guy. While he might seem like the perfect coach to run the type of offense that Houston prefers, it won’t make Dwight Howard happy.

Dwight is a player who formerly played under D’Antoni for the Los Angeles Lakers. To put it mildly, that didn’t work out very well, and Howard left the Lakers in free agency. D’Antoni loves a spread offense, the pick and roll, and shots from the perimeter – and none of those categories fit Howard’s play.

According Howard revealed to ESPN, he doesn’t like taking jump shots because he’s afraid to miss.

“I’d practice and practice them but then I’d be so afraid to take them in a game because I was so worried I would miss. I hate messing up. I hate failure.”

In the same interview, Howard also revealed that once the Lakers hired D’Antoni, he felt they didn’t care what he thought, which tells us he has no interest in D’Antoni as his coach this time around either.

There were already factors in Dwight being unsure about returning to Houston such as chemistry problems with James Harden, not being involved in the offense as much as he’d like, and his perception that general manager Daryl Morey wanted to keep it that way.

Houston is about to add a former coach with a style that already didn’t mesh with Dwight, and he is once again a free agent in a similar situation as with the Lakers: Howard has issues with the team’s other star player, or vice versa – see Harden and Kobe Bryant. There is a coach, the same coach that he never wanted in the first place in D’Antoni. And there’s that disaster of a season they just had and pending free agency.

dwight howard mike dantoni

Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS

This is a story we all saw play out in Los Angeles, ending with Howard deciding it was best to move on. To Howard, it’s the same situation but in a different city, despite whatever he’s still publicly saying about the Rockets not being off the table.

If history has anything to say, you can expect to see him looking on the outside for a new contract.

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