Before Dwight Howard leaves the Los Angeles to play for the Houston Rockets, Orlando Sentinel reporter Jon Busdeker gave the former Magic center a lesson on how to be a true Texan.
This is not necessarily a compliment.
Houston is the perfect place to enable Howard’s deficiencies - lack of leadership and accountability, coupled with an ego that needs constant stroking. It reminds me of Orlando, but we’ve been there done that and have the scorched jerseys to prove it.
He’s already endearing himself to the folks in Houston by going to a famous local joint, the breakfast klub, and picking up the tab for the entire restaurant. What a guy!
It’s obvious Howard wanted no part of LA, where he Kobe Bryant would have been chirping in his ear, demanding accountability. And who wants that?
As arch-nemesis Shaquille O’Neal told me a few days ago in Daytona, “Whenever you feel pressure you have to face it. It seems to me he keeps running.”
And he’s found the perfect landing spot - a talented team without the big media glare staring him in the face. It will be a fun team to watch, but buyer beware: The team has no leader on the floor to take charge when things get dicey. It’s certainly not Howard, and it won’t be James Harden either.
As for the Lakers, I’m not convinced they were “all-in” with Dwight. If they really wanted to keep him, they would have fired coach Mike D’Antoni and brought in Phil Jackson, and/or told Kobe that the meeting with Howard was on a different day, thereby preventing Kobe from giving Howard the ‘man-up’ or leave town speech.
“Ultimately, I think Dwight wasn’t comfortable here and didn’t want to be here,” Lakers guard Steve Nash told ESPN Radio on Tuesday. “And if he didn’t want to be here, there’s no point for anyone in him being here. So we wish him the best and move on.”
For the Lakers, it means rebuilding mode for a year. For Houston, it’s good times and free chicken and waffles.
But remember, there will be a price to pay. There always is with the Happy Go-Luckiest Man in the NBA.