Rumor: Dwight Howard unhappy taking backseat to James Harden with Rockets

AP
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James Harden‘s teammates reportedly complained about his play and aloofness during a players-only meeting.

Was one of the critics Dwight Howard?

Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops:

Dwight Howard is extremely unhappy in Houston playing second fiddle to alpha dog James Harden, multiple league sources tell SheridanHoops.com.

Sheridan is hit or miss. He was ahead of the game on LeBron James returning to the Cavaliers and completely whiffed on a mystery coach getting fired last May. Sheridan doesn’t have a high enough accuracy rate, but he has also developed many great sources in his years covering the NBA. Take this report in that context.

Circumstantially, it makes some sense.

The Rockets are 12-13, and that type of losing creates problems and brings festering ones to the surface.

Howard ranks fifth on the team in shots per game – behind Harden, Trevor Ariza, Marcus Thornton and Terrence Jones. At age 30, Howard might not be capable of carrying a huge load, but that doesn’t mean he thinks that way. Earlier this year, he said he believes he’s the NBA’s best player.

It’s not easy for anyone who has played at Howard’s level to defer to a teammate. Howard would probably do it to win – after all, Harden was already in Houston when Howard signed – but the Rockets aren’t winning.

Howard can opt out this summer, and Houston already has a viable replacement starting centerClint Capela, who’s nine years younger than Howard. Both factors nudge the needle toward a trade. Howard being unhappy would push it even further.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has called working with the current roster a priority over trading, but if Howard is this unhappy, something has to give.

The Rockets could play better, and I bet Howard’s attitude changes. But if they continue to struggle, it’s difficult to see Howard becoming more pleased with his situation – however he feels about it now.