The Houston Rockets off season is just as peculiar as the season that preceded it.
There are a ton of uncertainties — particularly who will coach this team next season, if they’re going to be active in the NBA Draft and who the hell will be featured alongside James Harden in 2016-17?
If I were a guessing man, the answers to those questions in respective would be: Sam Cassell, no and I have no earthly idea.
I know, I know — the season is still underway as we’re about at the halfway point of the NBA playoffs with two more rounds to go but as a Rockets’ fan, I’m plenty intrigued as to what’s going on with my team.
But you want to know another uncertainty?
The future of Dwight Howard as a Rocket.
Howard tends to purposely have a vague demeanor when it comes to business and it’s always tough to figure what’s going up in that head of his.
Will he stay in H-Town or go?
That remains to be seen but he did give some interesting insight as to his feelings about his role on the team last night when he appeared on “Inside the NBA,” TNT’s highly-successful, award-winning post game show.
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His conversations between analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith — a Rockets coaching candidate — were quite frank as both prodded him with variety of topics ranging from analyzing his career up to this point, his situation with the Rockets to his overall commitment to win.
Here some of the things he spoke about when asked upon last night via the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen:
He did mention that he hasn’t made a decision on whether or not he’ll pick up the $23.3 million option on his contract to stay with the Rockets for a fourth season or if he’ll opt-out and test a free agent market that will be flush with cash.
Here’s what he said about if he returns, if he can succeed with Harden:
"“I think we can (succeed together),” Howard said. “I believe we can. Both of us have to put our egos and our pride to the side and say ‘hey, we need each other to win.’ That’s the only way we’re going to win.”"
At least he acknowledged that there is some sort of a rift between the two.
I mean, come on, a blind man could see that the two weren’t exactly getting along with each other but this is the first time that we’ve received some sort of confirmation of such a thing.
He also discussed his frustrations on the court with the team this season and continued reiterate that winning is a priority for him:
"“I’m always interested in winning,” Howard said. “As a big, sometimes you want to feel a part of what’s going on. I have to rely on my teammates … to get the ball. There’s been times I’ve been upset and I’ve taken myself out of games and situations. That’s on me. I have to go and be a better player at that."
That’s certainly true.
We’ve witnessed on many occasions where he’d take himself out of the game because of boiling emotions about him not being able to get the ball.
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But the fact of the matter is that he is not as deft in the post as he once was, he still is one of most talented centers in the NBA but I’d naive to think that he hasn’t lost a step as he surpasses age 30.
And to be honest, he never really has been but has carved his own niche of being able to find creative ways to score.
It’s a shame because he has unfettered access to Hakeem Olajuwon — a full-time Rockets employee by the way — one of the greatest centers to take to the hardwood.
You’d think by now that he’d have that craft mastered but he doesn’t and I don’t know if he ever will.
Howard is best-suited now to rebound and make advantage of opportunities when the ball comes into his hands.
If he’s going to stay here, he’s got to come grips that the offense will not flow through him as in his yesteryear of career.
Space City Scoop
It will flow through Harden and Howard must make the most of the moments when the offense transitions to him.
But this is just theoretical talk as I’m nearly 100 percent positive that he’s going to bolt for what he may think is greener pastures.
Barkley did mention last night that he needs to be in a situation where he would be in position to win a championship.
And quite honestly, the destination where he’d be happy in terms of dollars paid out and his best chance to win would be right here in the H.
If he chases the dollars, he’s going to be in situation where he’d be on a team that may not necessarily be that close to contention.
I actually believe Dwight when he says he wants to win but as far as how much of priority it is to him versus the amount he’s getting paid is something that I deserve to rightfully question.
So what will happen?
We’ll have to see but it’s highly-likely that the Rockets chapter of the book of Howard’s career will have an appropriate epilogue likely accentuated with an asterisk because of what would’ve been if things had worked out.
Howard, 30, averaged 13.7 points and 11.8 rebounds while shooting 62 percent from the field in 71 games last season.