Charlotte Hornets Rumors
It’s no surprise he clashed with Bryant, whose persona is famously confrontational, but in Houston he also engaged in a cold war with the mild-mannered James Harden. “James is not the kind of guy who is going to say, ‘Yo, man, you got a problem?’ and I’m not either,” Howard says. “When I don’t like what’s going on, I tend to shut down, put my headphones on and ignore everything. I don’t talk about things. That happened to me in L.A. It happened to me again in Houston. I should have communicated better.” One Rockets official called a meeting with Howard and Harden that felt more like an intervention. Harden voiced what he wanted from Howard, namely stronger screens and tougher rim protection, but Howard didn’t express much in response. The freeze deepened.
At a low point with the Rockets, after the 2014–15 season, he considered retiring. The jolly giant who supposedly had too much fun on the floor was miserable. “The joy,” Howard says, “was sucked out of it.” But what would retirement accomplish? He had to change his life regardless of his occupation. So he did what his teenage self would have done. He saw a pastor.
This summer Howard bought a 700-acre farm in north Georgia where he relaxes with the cows, hogs, turkeys and deer. He is particularly fond of the donkeys, which keep the coyotes away. To prepare for retirement, Howard has written what he calls his “99-year plan,” in which he hopes to become Farmer Dwight. “My dad grew up in the country, and whenever we drove to my grandma’s house, I was always fascinated by the farms we passed, how neat everything was,” Howard recalls. “I want to go out there, milk the cows, work the field. I’ll be able to tell you what watermelon came from what row.”
Howard is considering suing some of his former associates, but he is not ready to divulge names or make public allegations. He is rehiring Aaron Goodwin, his original agent, because he appreciates Goodwin’s blunt honesty in addition to his deft marketing. Goodwin agreed to return after Deebo downsized his unwieldy circle. The revamped crew includes Justin Zormelo, skills coach to John Wall, and Ed Downs, personal trainer for Chris Bosh.
Malik Monk: “I’m playing for the greatest player who ever played basketball,” Monk said Tuesday of Hornets owner and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. “I can call and ask him questions, and I have (new teammates) Kemba (Walker) and Dwight (Howard), too.”
Hornets coach Steve Clifford wanted to experiment some with Monk playing the point at Orlando Summer League. Monk’s ankle sprain delayed that experiment, but the Hornets figure to explore that option in the preseason. As to Monk’s playmaking ability, he’s already made an impression on a veteran teammate in a handful of pre-camp workouts. “I didn’t know (his game) a whole lot when we drafted him, just highlights,” said Hornets center Cody Zeller. “These past few weeks have been really good (in demonstrating) his knack for the game, particularly offensively.”
On what he wants to work on: “Putting way more effort in on the defensive end,” Monk said, when asked what most needs improvement. “You’ve got to know that every possession in this league counts. You can’t take anything for granted.”