Three-time Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, a prominent figure in the NBA world, is once again in the spotlight. Having last played for the Lakers in 2022, Howard, an accomplished player with an impressive resume including an NBA championship win in 2020, eight All-Star appearances, and three Defensive Player of the Year awards, has reemerged on the scene.
Howard’s recent endeavor involves his role in the Taiwanese club, the Taoyuan Leopards. Since joining the club last autumn, he has developed a pattern of attempting to bring renowned NBA players abroad, often accompanied by a playful demeanor, understanding that many of these players still have opportunities in the United States. His current focus? None other than the 2018 MVP, James Harden, who had been Howard’s teammate on the Houston Rockets from 2013 to 2016. Their partnership yielded a notable appearance in the 2015 Western Conference Finals, but their relationship turned sour following a disappointing first-round exit in 2016. Subsequently, Howard found himself transferred to his hometown team, the Atlanta Hawks.
Harden’s professional journey has taken him through various teams. From the Rockets in 2020 to the Brooklyn Nets in 2022, and now to the Philadelphia 76ers in 2023, Harden has continually sought trades, showcasing his desire for new challenges and opportunities.
Recently, during an Adidas sportswear event in China, Harden openly criticized Daryl Morey, the president of the Philadelphia 76ers and the person responsible for bringing both Howard and Harden to the Houston Rockets during his tenure there. Harden labeled Morey a “liar” and pledged to never play for him again. Despite this strong statement, Harden had earlier decided to extend his contract with the 76ers for another year, with hopes that Morey would negotiate a trade to accommodate his departure.
“Aye James I’m about to buy a team, you can be the franchise player and a partner 🤷🏾♂️ forget 84 you gone score 100 😂,” Howard wrote on his Instagram account. “Come on you already in Asia just stay right there it’s a shorter flight to Taiwan 😅.”
The details of Harden’s allegations against Morey remain ambiguous. Speculation surrounds whether Morey had made commitments, such as a trade promise or a long-term contract extension, which Harden now feels were not fulfilled. Harden’s prowess on the court is undeniable, but his inconsistent playoff performance, averaging 21 points on .441/.385/.867 shooting percentages, along with 10.7 assists and 6.1 rebounds over 58 regular season games last year, raises questions about his potential international move. Howard, being well-aware of these factors, is actively engaged in pursuing Harden for overseas play, acknowledging Harden’s significant skills and value within the league.
As the basketball world watches the unfolding drama surrounding Harden’s career choices, the prospect of Howard’s recruitment efforts in the overseas basketball arena adds a new dimension to the ongoing narrative.