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2014 Free Agency, NBA / Jul 25, 2014 / 5:30 pm

Dwight Howard Actually Tried To Recruit Jameer Nelson To Houston

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Free agent point guard Jameer Nelson signed a two-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks this week. If Dwight Howard had his way, Nelson would be in Houston instead.

According to Shams Charania’s sources, Nelson made his decision despite a push from Howard to join the Rockets:

You might remember Howard sent some shots towards his teammates after he was traded by the Orlando Magic. Reflecting on his time in Orlando, Howard talked about his frustrations with being the leader:

“My team in Orlando was a team full of people who nobody wanted, and I was the leader and I led that team with a smile on my face.”

Nelson heard those comments and fired back:

“At some point, when are you gonna, as a man, when are you going to take ownership and stay out of the media in a professional manner?” Nelson said of Howard.

“I would be less of a man to comment on certain things that people comment on about me and my teammates. We had a great run as a group, as core guys, and he was a part of it (reaching the 2009 NBA Finals) and for him to say things about anybody in a negative manner, that’s up to him.

“That’s his opinion. If that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels.”

This exchange happened in 2013, so perhaps it’s now just water under the bridge for the two. It would be a reach to say Nelson chose Dallas over Houston because of those comments. The Mavericks have arguably as strong as team as the Rockets, so that must have factored into his decision as well.

But it’s interesting to remember those comments Howard made, because it’s very similar to what was said this week about Chandler Parsons. Howard came out and said the Rockets wouldn’t miss Parsons this year. James Harden echoed those sentiments by calling himself and Howard the cornerstones of the franchise, calling everyone else role players.

These are strong words, and perhaps there’s some truth to what Howard and Harden are saying. But they also feel empty coming from two players who’ve had very little team success in recent years. Since being traded to Houston, Harden has lost in the first round of the playoffs twice. As for Howard, he hasn’t won a playoff series since the 2009-10 season.

It’s one thing for someone with an established track record like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant to come out and say these things. But when the two leaders of your team are setting the tone in public by degrading their teammates and demonstrating a level of confidence not backed by any recent results, it doesn’t look good.

Players should want to team up with Harden and Howard; they’re two very talented players. But that doesn’t appear to be the case, at least judging from this past summer. There were many reasons why players like Carmelo Anthony, LeBron and Chris Bosh didn’t give serious thought to joining the Rockets this year. The Rockets couldn’t offer the same amount of money as ‘Melo and Bosh received from New York and Miami; LeBron just wanted to go home.

But until Harden and Howard can deliver results on the floor, and not just fighting words off of it, the questions will remain as to whether other players really want to play with them. After all, money and the comforts of home aside, players also want to feel like they’re part of a winning environment.

What do you think?

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  • Onaje

    Even more of a reason to roast Howard and Harden when they come up short…this is the year they need to take steps forward as leaders and competitors…a rough start by just running their mouth like teenage boys…

    You can state that your team will be fine with diminishing former players…guys know they have a role, but being called a “role player” has somewhat of a negative connotation. I guess it is more of a negative word on non-contending teams…

  • Ryne Mehan

    I enjoyed this read, and it’s a nice little twist on things.

    As humans, I am sure it is something that is going to drive guys like Parsons and Nelson and will motivate them even further, especially because they aren’t just “role” players or just complimentary pieces to a puzzle. Y

    Yes, in a sense every player is a role player, because every player fills a role, whether it’s scoring 22 a game, rebounding at a high clip, or being a great defender, but Harden used the words “role player” as if Chandler Parsons’ production can be easily replaced or replicated, and that’s where he was wrong, in my opinion.

    Same goes for Nelson. Is he an elite guard? No, but on a team with a lot of depth and versatility, such as this Dallas one, he will fit it in and make this team better in some sort of, even if it’s simply replacing Calderon’s three point shooting that they lost.

    I’m not saying it’s a big deal or anything, but he and Dwight both know that they will miss Parsons, particularly when those two are getting zoned in on and are the only offensive threats out there, or when Dwight is in foul trouble and Harden is getting doubled because Howard is on the bench.

    Something that can’t be properly measured by stats is the pressure that guys like Parsons and Vince Carter take away from guys like Dirk, Howard, Harden, Monta, and how those players all make each other better, and I think that’s something that Harden and Howard are both going to realize this season, when they struggle to get it going like they did at times last season.

  • Austin Dudley

    to be completely fair and unbias to the situation. The media isn’t feeding you the whole context because controversy sells, truth does not…. With that said, Parsons did not take issue with what Dwight said because what dwight said was worded much more differently than what Harden said.. and maybe you should get total context before you jump to conclusions..

  • Speedz

    Howard must have short memories of what he said or he cant remember the sheer amount of rubbish he have been spewing since he entered the league.

    I used to respect the Rockets when Yao and Lin was playing (Being Asian myself), now all respect is lost after this whole thing in the offseason. (Even though they dont care afaik)

  • Henauder Titzhoff

    The NBA Bible sez: Do not build your house on shifting cornerstones.

  • Wesley Broussard

    Harden disappeared in his only Finals appearance and has nothing since signing with the Rockets. Howard had a very cool team that one year in Orlando and they made a great run, but got skulldrug in the finals – it happens. Happen to Shaq his first Finals against none other than Houston. So, for those two to run their mouths shows immaturity and elitism. Two things that cost Lebron a ring against Dallas. Two things, nobody in the NBA is interested in dealing with from anyone – whether they be role players or cornerstones.

  • Onaje

    you who?? Total context as in what you have? You were there and had personal conversations with all parties involved?? Thought not…Bottom line is as leaders and self-proclaimed and generally acknowledged “cornerstones” you have to approach the oh so evil bogey man media with wisdom.

    Those of us who excel at reading and comprehension can read an entire interview and disseminate where journalistic liberties where taken or where tone could influence what may be lost in translation.

    Harden was wrong in the way he articulated his point that the team would be fine as currently construed…and with regard to what this particular article is referencing about Howard in his departure from Orlando he was wrong.

    There is no need for further context….

  • bridgebuilder78

    Dwight, what goes up must come down, and you should be nice to people not just because it is the right thing to do, but because you will meet the same people again on your way down.