Dwight Howard says he wants to deliver NBA title to hometown Atlanta
Dwight Howard is returning home to play for the Atlanta Hawks. And he says nothing would please him more than delivering an NBA title to his hometown.
The veteran center — who opted out of the final year of his deal with the Houston Rockets — will sign a reported three-year, $70.5 million deal with the Hawks on Friday once a league moratorium is lifted on Thursday. But he’s already envisioning the potential success he and the Hawks can enjoy in the coming seasons.
“I want to do whatever I can to bring a championship home,” Howard said Tuesday, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chris Vivlamore. “I know it’s not going to be easy. I’ve worked extremely hard this summer, every summer. I’m very motivated. I’m really (ticked) off about last season. I’m looking forward to coming back with a different mentality.”
Howard, 30, was born in Atlanta and starred at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy before being selected by the Orlando Magic as the first overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012 for one disappointing season before jumping to the Rockets, where three seasons alongside James Harden produced one appearance in the Western Conference Finals book-ended by two first-round eliminations.
Howard and Harden were never able to get on the same page, it seemed, and the partnership — especially Harden’s possession-heavy playing style — seemed to have a negative impact on Howard’s productivity on the offensive end.
Howard also admitted that Houston’s 41-41 campaign last season left him frustrated and angry.
“Losing,” he said of the source of his anger. “A lot of people see me with smiles and all that stuff and think I don’t care but I hate losing. I hate seeing other people stand up on the podium and hold up that trophy and I worked so hard for it. That’s the main thing.”
The case can be made that the Hawks may be able to make some semblance of noise in the inferior Eastern Conference. But the departures of Al Horford and Jeff Teague from last season’s squad obviously will be felt by the Hawks. Whether Howard at 30 can adequately replace those two players remains to be seen.