Dwight Howard's smirks still suggest he mixes business with pleasure, but he will no longer be intertwining it with family.
Per Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, Howard has parted ways with his longtime business manager and first cousin, Kevin Samples:
Howard is growing all on his own, single-mindedly focused on who he wants to be, and he has taken another major step forward in his career by leaving the business manager who has been Howard's primary advisor his entire career, Kevin Samples.
"We had nine great years together," Howard told me late Monday night. "Just time to go separate ways."
Showing Samples the door after a nearly decade-long partnership seems cold, but as he looks to move forward with the Los Angeles Lakers, it's necessary.
Take into consideration that Samples was Howard's "primary advisor," or, as he shall be remembered, "a key cog in the Dwightmare machine."
By no means can you place the bulk of the blame on Samples. Howard is his own man, capable of making his own decisions. He could have put a stop to what transpired with the Orlando Magic, if he wanted to.
The difference now, though, is that Howard no longer has someone in Samples' position whispering in his ear. He no longer has the option of making his own decisions—he has to. Just like he has to distance himself from the ramifications of his departure from Orlando.
As Howard begins the next chapter of his career, he cannot be tied to a partner that either helped perpetuate the painstaking soap opera or didn't do a proper job of shielding his client.
Or worse: both.
From his indecision, to repeated trade demands, to being accused of quitting on his teammates, last year's incessantly chaotic episodes reeked of bad advice. It also showed Howard's need to mature.
But mostly, it exemplified a failing business model.
So Howard terminated the alliance, further removing himself from a self-imposed hell and the perils of working with family.
Will Howard be better off for moving on from Samples?
Relatives and big business don't (usually) mix. In order to make efficient and productive career decisions, especially in the NBA, combining occupational hazards with personal relationships is a recipe for catastrophe.
When you're first starting out, it's not so bad. You need someone by your side who you can trust. There does come a time, however, when you must admit that being too emotionally involved is doing more damage than good.
Finally, Howard did.
"He's still my cousin, my family, so we'll always be around each other," he said (via Ding). "But we just parted ways on the business side."
Hopefully, this will be the first of many good business decisions to come from Howard.