Dwight Howard signs with the Rockets, and now we should leave him alone

Friday evening, Dwight Howard chose the Houston Rockets as his future home. But, as is typical with any Dwight Howard event, his free agency choice turned into a circus.

It started with Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, who first reported that Dwight had signed with the Rockets. All was great – Dwight had made his decision, it was a good decision, and we could all move on. Dwight was even classy when he called the Warriors, Mavericks and Hawks himself to tell them he would be signing elsewhere. But then reports started circulating that Howard had yet to finalize his decision with Houston, which lit the fuse for the circus that followed.

 

A few minutes later, Patrick Beverley – the feisty backup point guard for the Rockets – tweeted that the Rockets did in fact acquire Howard. The tweet has since been deleted, but you can find it on Larry Brown Sports.

About a half hour later, and shortly after Patrick Beverley’s tweet, Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey joined in, trying to clear the air.

Then Dave McMenamin (beat writer for the Lakers) showed up and really set things off.

  So now this is really nuts. So Dwight HASN’T made a decision yet? What? Again, notice that nothing actually came from Dwight himself. This is no indictment on the reporting of Wojanrowski, McMenemin or any reporter Friday night. They do and did an incredible job and the confusion was no fault of their own. Those around Dwight were leaking information left and right and the reporters did their job of reporting what the “sources” told them. But then it got really bizarre. Reports circulated that Dwight was flying to L.A. to meet with Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers.

 

 

So now, not only is Dwight reconsidering the $30 million he’s leaving on the table, he’s actually meeting with the Lakers again and there’s a 50/50 chance between the Rockets and Lakers now? Anyone else’s brain hurt? Let me just say this though: The fact that Dwight was being ridiculed for reconsidering $30 MILLION is absurd. It’s so easy for people to sit there and say, “If i made a decision I’d stick with it.” Um, no. No you wouldn’t. It’s $30 million. Most of us wouldn’t even reconsider, we would take that offer right away. But Dwight actually went the way of LESS MONEY. Wow, what a terrible guy. But guess what? He wasn’t even reconsidering the $30 million.

 

The saga finally came to an end when Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak released a statement saying that Dwight will not be resigning with the Lakers. Howard then finally called Rockets GM Daryl Morey to tell him the good news, who reacted as we all may have if we were pursuing Dwight Howard.

 

The whole night was an ordeal but people need to understand that Dwight did nothing wrong Friday night. The guy is trying to make a decision about his future; excuse him for wanting to get it right. While I agree that he earned the reputation for being an indecisive flip-flopper with the happenings in Orlando (well chronicled by SBNation), the chaos on Friday night came from the “sources” in Dwight’s camp. The first time we heard from Dwight was when the dust settled and he finally tweeted (or is that “twitted”?) on TwitLonger and changed his Twitter avatar.


Howard then spoke to ESPNLosAngeles.com Friday night in a phone interview.

“[A championship is] the priority. That’s the priority. [Shoot], I’m betting $30 million on it,” Howard said, referencing the amount of money he likely will leave on the table by bolting Los Angeles for Houston.

“I just looked at both teams and I felt like Houston was going in one direction — they got a lot of young players, they got a good coach in Kevin McHale and I just felt like having him as a coach, he could really help me in the post and help me develop like I want to. That was mainly the big reason right there, and having the opportunity to grow with a team, a young team, like the Rockets. That’s the reason why [I decided to leave].”

It was obvious Dwight didn’t want to be in L.A. It was obvious he and Kobe clashed and it was obvious Dwight wasn’t a fan of coach Mike D’antoni. So now we get to bash a guy for wanting to leave a place he was unhappy in? We all get to make those choices, whether we are unhappy at a job, school, etc. Why can’t Dwight do the same? Situations change; Dwight wasn’t happy so he left. Get over it.

Does Dwight have A LITTLE too much fun sometimes? Does he goof off a little too much? Yes he does. But we have been conditioned from the Jordan years that you have to be ruthless and serious all the time. Dwight likes to have fun when he plays. That should be the worst thing in the world he does. He needs to tone it down – and he will – but now that he’s in a place he wants to be in, I think we see the Dwight Howard of old. He’s in a place where he can learn from two of the greatest big men ever in Kevin McHale and Hakeen Olajuwon, and he’s in a place where he won’t have someone like Kobe breathing down his neck 24/7.

As for the Lakers? They’ll be fine. Yeah they may stink this year, but they will have significant cap room in 2014 to sign star free agents, including LeBron James. So chill, Laker fans. You guys will be great again in a year. Enough with the “Oh, we are the Los Angeles Lakers how can we ever be bad? How can someone ever leave this organization?” Every franchise stinks at one point. One year won’t kill you.

Oh, and another thing; I thought it was very childish of Kobe to post a photo of him and Pau Gasol on Instagram and unfollow Dwight on Twitter. Are we 5 years old, Kobe? We get it man, you were pissed Howard didn’t sign and now it’s you and Pau against the world. A suitable alternative would have been to call Pau, say, “Hey man, Dwight’s gone, lets bust our tails and come back better than ever in 2013.” But no, Kobe likes the attention. I just thought that was childish.

Dwight will sign his four-year, $88 million contract on July 10 (when the league moratorium ends) and we can all just move on and appreciate what should be an entertaining 2013 NBA season. The media-created “Dwightmare” is over, and it’s time to let Dwight alone and enjoy the fact that there’s an incredibly fun team in Houston. He made his mistakes, now let’s move on. Rockets-Lakers opening night anyone?