Storyline: Bryant-Howard Dynamic

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New Atlanta Hawks big man Dwight Howard discussed his recent past in Los Angeles and Houston. Here is his discussion with Dan: Dan Patrick: Tougher to play with James Harden or Kobe Bryant? Dwight Howard: Both of those guys are great competitors. I just think the timing was off for all of us. You know we were all on different paths in our career. Kobe was at the tail end and James is on the rise. You know it was just two different types of teams. But I think that timing is important. And playing with the Hawks is the right time for me because I’m in a different space physically, mentally, and spiritually. And the Hawks two years ago we’re in a different position than they are now – especially with the new management. So I thinks it’s the perfect time to be home.

DP: Oh that’s a veteran answer there. C’mon answer it. Who’s tougher to play with Harden or Kobe? DH: Well I can’t really say man. I don’t want to stir up anything. I think both of those guys are great players. And you know despite what people say me and Kobe didn’t have one of those bad relationships. Like I said, we were in two different parts of our career. And I think a lot of the things that were going on [were] hyped up and people thought it was more than what it really was. Personally I can never hate any player or hate on any player. You know all of us are blessed to be able to play in the NBA. It’s not easy to make it here, it’s not easy to stay here you know. So I’d never want to hate on anybody else who made it. I’m proud of anyone who made it to the NBA.

ESPN: Kobe also questioned your toughness when he urged you to come back and play through your shoulder injury. Howard: “Kobe put some pressure on me. He said something like, ‘We don’t have time for Dwight to be hurt.’ The media is asking me, ‘Did you talk to Kobe about your injuries?’ I said, ‘I didn’t realize I was supposed to check with another player about my health.’ When I first got there, I said to Kobe in front of the whole team, ‘The only way we win is if we put our egos aside and play together.’ I wanted to play with him. I don’t know if he didn’t want to play with me — if he felt I wasn’t a killer like him.”
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March 20, 2018 | 5:14 am EDT Update

Stephen Curry back Friday?

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is targeting a return to action on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks, the team’s next opponent, league sources told ESPN. The two-time MVP will have his right ankle re-evaluated on Tuesday. If the evaluation reveals enough progress and there are no unforeseen setbacks from this point to Friday, the sharpshooter intends to play after missing the past five games, sources said.
3 hours ago via ESPN
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Marc Gasol said he will have questions about the direction of the team after the offseason. How will you reassure him that Memphis remains the best fit for him at this stage of his career? Chris Wallace: Marc is having a terrific career here, both individually – being a multiple All-Star, being defensive player of the year, the All-NBA recognition. And he’s had tremendous team success. So, I don’t think one off year from the team success side tarnishes what he’s achieved or necessarily is going to be the norm going forward for the Grizzlies. This happens to all sorts of teams, where you have not as good a year as where you expect to be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t jump right back in and be successful again next year and that’s what our goal is. And he’s a big part of that.
Shumpert is almost certain to opt in for next season. Having dealt with foot and knee injuries, this is not the time for Shumpert to test free agency when he has $11 million guaranteed for next season, even if he’s not a part of the Kings’ long-term plans. I’m intrigued by what Shumpert might add. He’s only 27 and has shown he can play in pressure situations, having been a part of Cleveland’s 2016 NBA championship team. Shumpert will be motivated to show the rest of the league he is healthy and that he can play a key role on a team.
Now that you’re in New York, this is a totally different market. How have you felt about the way the city has embraced you? Michael Beasley: Honestly, I couldn’t ask for anything better. For the city and fans to embrace not only the way I play but who I am as much as they did – it feels great to be able to be yourself and be accepted. I thank the city forever for that. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t win as much as we wanted to this year.
Players like DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love have talked about that anxiety. Do you think that has helped others be more open with their own struggles? Michael Beasley: Hats off to those guys, man. More people than you think go through that. I go through it. It took me awhile to realize it because we’re raised to believe that it’s an embarrassing thing. It’s definitely inspiring for them to be honest about what they are experiencing. They opened up the floodgates, they opened up the doors, for the next great NBA player or even the next great scientist. The next shy kid with anxiety can break out of their shell because of this.
I watched your interview with Taylor Rooks on SNY where you talked about parenting your daughter, painting your nails. I thought that was super cool. Michael Beasley: [Laughs] Listen, man. I lost my hood card because I’ve got paint on my nails, bro. So that’s good to hear. My four-year-old will be five in April. Not much will change in those years. I think it’s cool. People should be themselves no matter what anyone says and how it feels. Just be comfortable with being yourself.