Dwight Howard knows what people think.
In Central Florida, many people who once adored him now regard him as a villain because he forced the Orlando Magic to trade him in 2012. In Southern California, many call him a “coward” because he left the Los Angeles Lakers via free agency and signed with the Houston Rockets.
But here’s the thing: Even though he still cares what people think, he didn’t let that stop him from doing what will make him happiest.
Houston, he said, is the best place for him, and when he chose the Rockets, he didn’t repeat the mistakes he made during his painful, drawn-out final year with the Magic.
“Everybody’s saying I was a ‘coward’ for leaving [the Lakers], and I knew I was going to get that,” Howard said Tuesday. “But I think with the situation I had to do what was best for Dwight.
“I know when I wanted to leave Orlando, and I decided to stay, I wasn’t happy on the inside. I wanted to please everybody else and ended up hurting a lot of people by doing it the way I did. So, this time it’s like I had a second chance.
“I said, ‘You know what? People are going to hate me for whatever reason, so I can’t allow that to stop me from making my decision.’ I thought that my decision took a lot of guts because everybody’s saying, ‘How could you leave the Lakers and 6 billion fans?’ But I don’t care about being an outcast or about being somebody that may look bad. All I’ve got to do is win now, and I’m in the right situation.”
Tonight, Howard and the Rockets will face the Magic in a preseason exhibition.
Utah guard has surgery
Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke underwent surgery to repair his fractured right index finger. Burke, the ninth overall pick in this year’s NBA draft who was acquired in a trade with Minnesota, will wear a cast or splint for the next three weeks before being re-evaluated.
Burke broke his finger during last Saturday night’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Bad tooth bites Jennings
Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Jennings is expected to miss three weeks because of problems with one of his wisdom teeth.
The Pistons say Jennings will be re-evaluated after a three-week immobilization period.
He has an impacted wisdom tooth and a hairline fracture on the mandible at the base of the tooth.
Spurs waive three players
The San Antonio Spurs waived center Marcus Cousin, guard Myck Kabongo and veteran forward Corey Maggette.
Cousin appeared in two preseason games, averaging 1.5 points and 2.0 rebounds. Kabongo finished with six points in five minutes at Denver on Oct. 14. Maggette appeared in two preseason games, averaging 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 24.0 minutes.