You would think by now, Dwight Howard would know not to talk about the past, his past teammates or anything to the media other than the task at hand.
After spending nearly two years saying the wrong things over and over again, Howard just cannot seem to get out of his own way.
With Jameer Nelson on the market and available to sign, and Houston needing a point guard for cheap to replace Jeremy Lin, it would make sense for Dwight Howard to reach out to his former teammate and see if he is interested in joining up. That is exactly what Howard did:
Jameer Nelson balanced finances and winning in free agency. Dwight Howard made multiple calls recruiting Nelson to Houston, sources say.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 24, 2014
Nelson opted not to rejoin with his former co-captain in Orlando. He decided to sign with the rival Mavericks, along with another former Rocket and Orlando resident in Chandler Parsons.
Howard took a “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” approach to Parson’s departure.
Parsons averaged 16.6 points per game and was a floor spacer with his ability to shoot and drive and slash. He was on a ridiculously cheap contract as a second round pick and finally got his chance to get paid. He took it.
And he felt a little sour the Rockets did not consider him the third star and pushed him to the wayside to chase Carmelo Anthony. Parsons ended up signing a three-year deal worth a little more than $46 million.
James Harden said he and Howard were the cornerstones and Parsons was a role player that was somewhat expendable. Parsons did not like that, as he told Jay Mohr Sports on Fox Sports Radio (h/t Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas):
“That’s a pretty ridiculous statement if he meant that. That’s part of the reason I wanted to go to Dallas, because I’m ready for that next step. I’m ready for a bigger role, and I’m ready for more leadership.
“If anybody should understand that, it’s James, because he was in the same situation in Oklahoma City and then he got his chance to come to Houston and shine. I’m not real sure what that means.”
Howard also said of Parsons’s departure that it would not affect the team at all. Coming on the heels of the Harden comments. Parsons said he did not mind the comments, but called them “ridiculous.”
The callousness from Howard might hurt Parsons even more. He grew up in Orlando and did have a relationship with Howard as one of the area’s best players in Howard’s city. He helped recruit Howard to Houston and make him comfortable in a new city. His free agency departure was about role and business.
Howard continues to throw former teammates under the bus unintentionally it seems as he moves forward through his career. It takes us back to the Jameer Nelson comments.
Despite seven very good years playing together that included two trips to the Conference Finals and a trip to the NBA Finals in 2009, things did not end so well. As Steven LeBron of DIME Magazine gathers, Howard continued to publicly ask the Magic to upgrade at point guard and push Nelson aside. Reportedly, the two nearly went to blows in that final season in Orlando.
After being traded to the Lakers, Howard reflected that his teams in Orlando were a bunch of role players or players “nobody wanted.” Nelson responded to those comments by asking Howard to keep those thoughts to himself. Obviously that is not happening.
Then in his first year in Houston, feeling nostalgic, he compared the Rockets to that 2009 Magic team. He inadvertently insulted several of his new teammates.
Howard does not quite get the whole tact thing yet. He should. He is losing friends in this league fast.