Party-hardy Josh Howard punched his own ticket to Washington

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UPDATE 2/20 1:35 am: After the Wizards win on Friday night, Josh Howard called he accusation he was too hung over to play on Jan 19 a lie. He would not go into details, only to say that, “he would not respond to a lie.”

2/19 12:13 pm: Josh Howard’s (lack of) production and past infractions may have set things in motion long ago, but the inciting moment that may have led to Howard’s ticket out of Dallas seems to be a DNP- Hangover. From Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News:

The juicy piece of irony is that Howard ended up in Washington, which may well have been the site where he had the beginning of the end, according to several Maverick sources. They say Howard had a long night of partying on Jan. 19, the night after the Mavericks had won in Boston and less than 24 hours before playing the Wizards. The team officially said he missed the game against Washington on Jan. 20 with a stomach illness. But sources said team officials could not deny that it was a self-inflicted game off.

It certainly be the first time that Howard was out of line, as his notorious 2008 birthday party — that he threw during a playoff series in which the Mavs were getting creamed by the New Orleans Hornets — drew ire from then-coach Avery Johnson and Mavs’ management. Oh, and then there the YouTube video about the national anthem. And the drag racing. And the admission of marijuana use.

It’s worth noting, however, that Howard’s off-court issues were assumed to be a thing of the past. Josh showed tremendous maturity in tackling trade rumors during this last year in Dallas, and he legitimately looked to keep his mouth shut, fall in line, and play basketball. It’s no secret that the Mavs went to tremendous lengths to protect Howard from the media (and himself), which is why the emergence of incidences like these should be surprising, but hardly shocking.