Dwight Howard Jokes He Doesn't Know If He Can Watch Rockets Win NBA Title

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 8, 2018

Dwight Howard pauses on the court during a timeout in the second half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, Sunday, April 24, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Dwight Howard's unceremonious split from the Houston Rockets two years ago still lingers for the eight-time All-Star. 

Appearing on ESPN's Get Up! on Tuesday, Howard joked he would have a hard time watching the Rockets win an NBA title this year, via Matt Young of the Houston Chronicle:

"I would just say for James (Harden) and his crew, this is their moment. I don't know if I can watch them win a championship, but this is their moment. They've been playing great all year. Chris Paul, James, Clint Capela has had an amazing year. That whole team. Trevor (Ariza). You've got Joe Johnson. You've got Mike D'Antoni. I'm happy for him. It's going to be a tough, tough series, but I think if they play 48 minutes every night, they can win."

Howard played three seasons with the Rockets from 2013-16. He was the No. 2 option, behind Harden, three years ago when they reached the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Golden State Warriors. 

After the 2015-16 season, Howard opted out of his deal with the Rockets and signed a three-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks. 

Howard told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan in May 2016 that he expressed frustration with his role in the Rockets' system:

"I felt like my role was being reduced. I went to [Rockets general manager] Daryl [Morey] and said, 'I want to be more involved.' Daryl said, 'No, we don't want you to be.' My response was, 'Why not? Why am I here?' It was shocking to me that it came from him instead of our coach. So I said to him, 'No disrespect to what you do, but you've never played the game. I've been in this game a long time. I know what it takes to be effective.'''

Howard has since been traded to the Charlotte Hornets after spending one year in Atlanta. 

The Rockets have won 120 games over the past two seasons since Howard left, including a franchise-record 65 victories in 2017-18. They lead the Utah Jazz 3-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals with a chance to close out the series in Game 5 on Tuesday. 

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