LOS ANGELES — Dwight Howard isn’t regretting leaving the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s happy in Houston and confident he made the right decision last July to spurn the Lakers’ five-year, $118 million offer for the Rockets’ four-year, $87.6 million deal.
But on the eve of his first game against his former team at Staples Center, he did admit there were things that could’ve changed the outcome.
“There’s a couple things that could’ve been done, but that’s over with now,” Howard said with a coy smile Tuesday afternoon. “I’m in a better place, our team is doing great and the Lakers, they’ll come back. But hopefully this is the Rockets’ time.”
Howard didn’t elaborate on what those things were, but ESPN previously reported he made his preference for former coach Phil Jackson well known to management, and that he was concerned about the real timetable for him to ascend to face-of-the-franchise status with Kobe Bryant determined to play at least another three seasons.
Whatever the case, both sides have moved on — in largely different directions.
Howard’s Rockets won seven games in a row heading into the All-Star break. The Lakers (18-35) are lottery bound after losing seven straight home games. Their .340 winning percentage is the franchise’s worst since 1959-60. ESPN
The Rockets are getting no publicity for it but they are in third place in the Eastern Conference after enduring various injuries to the most guards on the team, and a pouting Omer Asik who killed all his trade value. This is a travesty considering the fact that teams like the Golden State Warriors are still heralded as contenders by the national media when they are close to missing the playoffs as we speak.
We have to let the Dwight Howard bias die down some and admit that the Rockets are legitimate threat to win the title this year. – AL