Something went badly wrong with this year’s Houston Rockets. The same group that went to the Western Conference Finals last season was a disaster from the jump in 2015-16, firing Kevin McHale two weeks into the season and battling recurring rumors of tension between James Harden and Dwight Howard. In a new interview with ESPN.com’s Jackie MacMullan, Howard all but confirms the team’s chemistry issues, and pins the source of his frustration on GM Daryl Morey’s desire to dictate his role on the court.
ESPN: You mentioned your season in Houston didn’t end the way you wanted. You have also admitted you were “disinterested” during parts of the year. Why was that?
Howard: “There were times I was disinterested because of situations that happened behind the scenes that really hurt me. It left me thinking, ‘This is not what I signed up for.’ ”
ESPN: What specifically are you referring to?
Howard: “I felt like my role was being reduced. I went to [Rockets general manager] Daryl [Morey] and said, ‘I want to be more involved.’ Daryl said, ‘No, we don’t want you to be.’ My response was, ‘Why not? Why am I here?’ It was shocking to me that it came from him instead of our coach. So I said to him, ‘No disrespect to what you do, but you’ve never played the game. I’ve been in this game a long time. I know what it takes to be effective.’ ”