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Josh Howard reflects on past, ponders present

I spoke with Josh Howard for a good while on Tuesday afternoon. He said he might have to settle for the No. 55, since Dominic McGuire wears the No. 5 that he's worn since his senior year in high school. He sounds like someone who really wants to focus on the positive, but I asked him about the sour end to his 6 ½ year stint with the Dallas Mavericks. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he thought Howard would be "re-energized" by a change of scenery.

"Whatever," Howard said with a shrug. "It's a new start. I'm going to give it my all. As far as being reenergized, that's the question you have to ask him because I was energized when I was down there."

Howard rose from a late first-round pick to an all-star in Dallas, but his last two seasons with the Mavericks were mired in injuries and some forgettable missteps. He also was unable to carry the weight as the second option to Dirk Nowitzki. When the team came up short, Howard said he often became "the one that they thought was the problem. The one thing that I can say is unfair, is the guy that came back from injury, came back early, still came out and gave you positive minutes and you trade him. It's that simple. If anything, you can say that's hard feelings, but other than that, it's a business."

He said he doesn't have any regrets about how things ended in Dallas and was pleased to have been a part of some of the best moments in Mavericks franchise history -- from reaching the NBA Finals and winning 67 games the following season.

"I did a lot. I contributed to that team, but I know I helped them get to that," he said. "Even with the negative stuff, it showed me people's true colors. If I could take it all back I wouldn't. The bad things I spoke from the heart and I said it at the time and I apologized for a lot of that stuff. I deeply regret it, but those things are in the past. You can change nothing. You just have to keep moving forward and bettering yourself."

The Wizards have a team option worth $11.8 next season, but he understands that it is unlikely that he returns at that price. That won't stop him from trying to prove that he's worth it. "I know I ain't going to go out there and chuck up shots to get them to sign me. I want to work for it and make them see that I want that option," he said.

Howard said he always wanted to finish his career with the Mavericks, but understands that few players are fortunate enough to do that. He said he heard rumblings about the Mavericks looking to move him for Caron Butler when the team came to Washington in January (the infamous "Caron goes rogue" game). "I heard some talk," he said. "I done been through so much, I don't pay that stuff no attention. A lot of times, 99 percent of what you hear ain't true, but that one percent was true this time. Take it in stride."

When he arrived in Washington on Tuesday, he said the first thing the Wizards told him was, "We wanted you."

"They said other teams tried to get me, but Washington got me and I'm happy," he said. "Players, sometimes, you feel like a piece of meat, they beat you up, chew you and spit you out, but it all revolves back to the business part. But that's what you get yourself into when you enter into the draft, pretty much. You just got to be ready up here. I have no problem being here. I love my new city, my new team."

Howard said he expects to come off the bench against Minnesota on Wednesday. Although the Wizards are eight games out of the eight spot, Howard said he still believes that they can sneak through the back door and into the playoff picture. "I want to push for the playoffs," he said. "I do not want to sit out this summer, so that's my No. 1 focus. It's a push, but the opportunity is there. A lot of people are going to sleep on it."

By Michael Lee  |  February 17, 2010; 12:09 PM ET
 
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Comments

Howard rose from a late first-round pick to an all-star in Dallas?

I thought late first-round picks were worthless?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 17, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I love my new city, my new team.

I would like to see if he is saying the same thing come April?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 17, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"I know I ain't going to go out there and chuck up shots to get them to sign me. I want to work for it and make them see that I want that option," he said.

Sorry, Josh but you won't fit in if you do that.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 17, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I just wish Flip or somebody would come out and say: Playoffs are an extreme long shot. While we'll try to win every game, I want to use these next thirty games as an extended tryout to see who we want to keep and who we want to move. Everyone is going to see significant minutes at some point. Let the dogs loose. And if we keep Jamison, don't play him for 40-plus minutes every night. We're killing that guy for no good reason.

Posted by: jweber1 | February 17, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

David Stern, who is always concerned about the image of the league needs to put each and every NBA in public speaking classes. The classes are a guise for having the player learn simple subject verb agreement. the 2nd part is to make them realize each and every DANG time they talk to a reporter, they are being qouted. so speak proper fpucking english.

this guy graduated from Wake Forest, he's no dummy. newspapers used to clean up folks quotes, but i guess the budget cuts ended that.

Posted by: oknow1 | February 17, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I am legitimately excited to see howard on the floor for the wiz a few years ago he was quickly becoming a favorite of mine around the league, I always hated him while he was at wake (good sign from a md fan) and his hustle play will hopefully show someone the right path, his team option has no chance of being picked up but if he plays up to his potential I would certainly be interested in resigning him for 7-8 mil

Posted by: bford1kb | February 17, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The following question was asked on ESPN.COM. Look at Legler'stupid answer. Amare might not play defense, but neither does Antawn.

Who should the Cavaliers pursue: Amare or Antawn?

Adande: Amare, because this isn't just about now, it's about keeping LeBron James around in the future; Amare's 27, Antawn is 33.

Legler: Antawn, because I worry about the effects of how bad the Cavaliers can become defensively up front at times with Amare and Shaq together.

Posted by: G-Man11 | February 17, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse


David Stern, who is always concerned about the image of the league needs to put each and every NBA in public speaking classes. The classes are a guise for having the player learn simple subject verb agreement. the 2nd part is to make them realize each and every DANG time they talk to a reporter, they are being qouted. so speak proper fpucking english.

this guy graduated from Wake Forest, he's no dummy. newspapers used to clean up folks quotes, but i guess the budget cuts ended that.

Posted by: oknow1

Several grammatical errors and typos in this post, perhaps you should focus on your own writing rather than Howard's speaking?

Posted by: divi3 | February 17, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

>>Howard said he expects to come off the bench against Minnesota on Wednesday

ESPN lineups has Howard starting as well as Gooden.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 17, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

We've all seen that Gooden doesn't want to be here and that's fine. Two questions. Why has he been with eight teams in eight years and why does he expect the always be with a contender? Does he think he carries that much clout in this league?

Posted by: thecomedian1 | February 17, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Playoffs! playoffs! I like his attitude but I don't buy it.

Posted by: tundey | February 17, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"Legler: Antawn, because I worry about the effects of how bad the Cavaliers can become defensively up front at times with Amare and Shaq together." priceless, thanks gman, their commentary about caron during coast to coast last night was equally ,legs could certainly shoot but apparently he hasn't watched the wiz in three years

Posted by: bford1kb | February 17, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

equally laughable*

Posted by: bford1kb | February 17, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"We've all seen that Gooden doesn't want to be here and that's fine. Two questions. Why has he been with eight teams in eight years and why does he expect the always be with a contender? Does he think he carries that much clout in this league?"

He's one of those guys who's clearly talented enough to make teams think he can help them, but so inconsistent in terms of effort and focus that he wears out his welcome in short order when it doesn't happen. Teams keep on acquiring him because every team thinks that they're the "fresh start" or "change of scenery" that'll make everything click for him. That's how it is with big men. If you can play beyond scrub level, teams will keep giving you a chance.

His asking for a buyout probably has nothing to do with him thinking he has clout. The Wizards are a rebuilding team headed down the chute. No matter what they may say to the press, no player wants to be stuck in that situation. And since Gooden knows the Wiz most likely have no intention of keeping him after this season, he probably figures why put off the inevitable. There are good teams that would snap him up if he were available. Knowing all that, why shouldn't he try to put himself in position to take advantage of it?

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 17, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"I would like to see if he is saying the same thing come April?"

Oh my goodness, so much negativity. ;)

Saying that I sure wish this season was over. It feels like "Groundhog Day" every day in Wiz county.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | February 17, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"Players, sometimes, you feel like a piece of meat, they beat you up, chew you and spit you out..."

Josh. You just summed up how Wiz fans feel every season. Welcome.

Posted by: maxer18 | February 17, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Knowing all that, why shouldn't he try to put himself in position to take advantage of it?

I agree. The Wizards had to know this though. As soon has I heard he was involved I already knew he wasn't coming. I guess there is plan to all of this and where not privied.

Posted by: thecomedian1 | February 17, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Any predictions on Mike Lee's headline after tonight's game? Here's mine:

"New Faces, Same Result - Wizards Lose"

Posted by: t-train | February 17, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

If we buy Gooden out does it provide extra cap relief? What's the benefit to us?


And sorry to tell you, Josh, but the Wiz did NOT want you. You ARE just a piece of meat to them and they took you because you just so happened to be attached to an expiring contract.

And everyone knows that you don't want to be here and will eagerly look forward to moving on at the end of the season, but thank you for saying some nice things anyway.

...welcome to DC.

Posted by: p1funk | February 17, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"If we buy Gooden out does it provide extra cap relief?"

For the remainder of this season, yes.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 17, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Mind you, I am in favor of the Dallas trade(salary dump).

But, what would any of you suppose should be the over/under for points in the paint, for the T'Wolves tonight?

I'm guessing sixty-five!!

I have a feeling Kevin Love and Al Jefferson are going to have a field day.

Posted by: bozomoeman | February 17, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I love this. The Wiz are listed as 41/2 favorites over the Wolves tonight. What's that based on. 3/5 of our starting lineup was traded. No one even knows who is starting. Are the Wolves that bad and is home court with whomever for th Wiz that great. Funny.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 17, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Gooden will be bought out and resurface either in Dallas, San Antonio or Orlando. He's a hired gun and there is no way he's going to waste the last 30+ games here in D.C. I'm sure San Antonio could use him given their lack of depth at the 4 and 5.

Dallas probably will want him back also given the injury to Dampier last night and their overall lack of depth up front. Orlando is pretty thin up front after Howard and Gortat so picking up Gooden may be a good move for them. Sounds like Haywood will be starting for them tonight with Dampier out with the disclocated finger for at least a few games.

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 17, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Howard rose from a late first-round pick to an all-star in Dallas?

I thought late first-round picks were worthless?

Only if you have an eye talent. Just make sure you're not picking some random 6'7" forward name Mike Jones.

Posted by: thecomedian1 | February 17, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

if/when gooden plays our starting lineup will be betteR than before:

foye
miller
howard
jamison
gooden

Posted by: bbachrac | February 17, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Knowing all that, why shouldn't he try to put himself in position to take advantage of it?

I agree. The Wizards had to know this though. As soon has I heard he was involved I already knew he wasn't coming. I guess there is plan to all of this and where not privied.

Posted by: thecomedian1 | February 17, 2010 1:58 PM

The league knows what kind of player he is already. There is nothing he can do to change the perception (see kal's post above) they have of him.

Posted by: anacostia85 | February 17, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy Josh Howard. The term, you can have him comes to mind. He will hustle just enough to make you think you are getting something you are not. His defense has declined since entering the league, and it also doesn't help because you can not defend really well when you are on the bench due to injuries. He will play in about 65% of your remaining games.

H-E-A-D-C-A-S-E. Put on your kids gloves with him, because he is the most fragile human being in the world. Tuck him in every night and tell him you love him the most, or he is going to get jealous. If he breaks the vase, blame it on the dog......even though you saw him break it. Get what I am saying?

The Mavs locker room is about as easy going as you can get. So, when you have 12 guys on one side and Howard on the other, makes you think something stinks. Well, something did stink......J-Ho. Don't call him that, by the way. He hates it. He might call you a name back.....you know, when his seat for the game is right beside yours because (you guessed it), he is injured again or benched in the 4th.

He is the shot chucker of all shot chuckers, so do not let his tell you what you wanna hear speak fool ya'.

I know some of you were happy to see some of your guys go, but they should fit into Dallas'system pretty well. They (at least 2 of 'em) are good players. Stevenson may have been a turd, but taking a turd and placing it on a good team......well, that turd could help a flower blossom by just pitching in his little contribution. On the other hand, if you have a turd that is not making any flowers grow in a good climate, sending him off to a worse situation will only make him stink more. Sure, the turd's numbers will increase, but that is because he is now the first, second, and third option.....at least in his head. When you score 20 by taking 35 shots, is it really a good 20?

Gooden is a good guy. He will be coming back to us. I know Washington needed cap space. Thank Goodness you got what you needed, because I would not be able to look you in the eye on the street without being embarrased by the absolute fleecing the Mavs got away with in this trade. Gooden back, too? Hee. Hee Hee. Haa. Hee Hee Haa. Bwahahahahahahahahhahahahahaha.

Q Ross - Do not bother remembering what he looks like. He is a scrapper......well, that is what we were told. He is a great defender supposedly, but we never saw it. Just look for the skinniest guy on the court. When he turns sideways, he dissapears.

Singleton - I like him. He is a great guy, and can shine athletically if given the chance. No A star, B star, or C star. But, he can dunk on your pumpkin head.

So, just rent Josh. I wish him well, but he was a cancer here......or at least an annoyance to those in the know. I guess the Wiz need a black hole on offense? If so, you got your man!!!!!!!!

Posted by: chris_saffle | February 17, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Chris_Saffle...or should i just call you smug.

You want the down low. Calling Debrick a turd is too nice. He's like an 8 year old who will drink out of your just opened gallon milk carton and backwash the entire thing...he'll pee in your pool too if you let him. Can't wait to the playoffs he and soulja boy will piss off and motivate whomever the mavs play...enjoy that.

B-wood is just a rental for you as well and then he'll go for the highest dollar. If you re-sign him then you will ultimately over pay. He is a great dunker. Beyond that look for the sucking sound b/c the ball never comes back out of the post once it goes in there...he'll get you rebounds and block some shots...just enough to entice you and lull you into thinking he is helping you...oh yeah...great guy in the locker room too...as you said so eloquently Hee. Hee Hee. Haa. Hee Hee Haa. Bwahahahahahahahahhahahahahaha.

As for Caron. Solid player having a horrible year...did you see his maverick's debut? he can fill it up but hasn't been consistent for a while now. He won't get you past the 2nd round and then you can just take your place back in the draft line way behind us. Oh yeah...enjoy his salary too...its a peach!

Posted by: IZZY3 | February 17, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

caron's game over the past two seasons has regressed horribly, deshawn is trash and haywood is clearly trying harder than he ever has before(contract year) but lacks all skill and is afraid to play like the biggest man on the floor, i still like caron to some degree but i'm in no way sad to see any of them go

Posted by: bford1kb | February 17, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

First off, not smug at all. Just happy to rid the team of Howard. It was actually more of a lighthearted post than what it came across as.

The great thing is, Stevenson will not be in our playoff rotation.

Haywood, we have Bird rights. Say whatever you want, but you will miss him at center and soon realize that a decent big man is REALLY hard to find. If we overpay, oh well. Somebody will. Dirk needs a big man that actually can defend and need to be defended down low to free him up more. No superstar, but I really think he is a quality big man. There are so very few out there.

Carons contract. His contract is not a hindrance, and it is not long term. He is the type of player that I want on my team. The Mavs have always had a soft label, and most of the time, deservedly so. Howard was fake tough. Butler is a man. We actually lowered our. If we had to trade him again in the offseason, he would be easier to move than if we waited to move Howard because he would have ZERO value.

I know these guys all have warts. I am not thumbing my nose at Washington fans. I am thunbing my nose at Howard and warning anyone that will listen of what you are getting. It is a shame. I thought you guys had a scary team at the start of the season. I really think Caron and Haywood will be good fits for us. If not, we get cap space to toy with. On that end, it is a winning deal for both teams. As ugly a trade for the Wiz as it was, it was completely necessary. Just giving y'all a hard time.

Posted by: chris_saffle | February 17, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the first post. I think I got all my Josh Howard venom out in one shot.

You said we would be in the draft line way behind you? Doesn't matter where we draft. We pick up foreign players and stash them overseas, never to be heard from again. That is why we have one youngster on the team. The NBA must have mandated to Cuban that he carry at least one player under 30.

The Mavs are far from a perfect bunch, and this trade doesnt put us over the top. It does get us things we needs, and it got Josh out of town. We hope the Dampier contract in the offseason allows the Mavs to add the major piece. His contract will be voidable to the team he is traded to. So, if someone has a star they think is about to walk, we can provide them 12mil in cap relief if they sign and trade their free agent to be to us. Just think, to get a star in FA, most teams will have to gut their roster. Who would want to go somewhere that had to give up the good stuff to get you? Here, a FA could be surrounded by Dirk, Caron, Haywood, Jet, Kidd, Marion, and probably Damp when his new team buys his contract out when he boomerangs back to us. If we can offer the same salary, it would seem pretty attractive.

Posted by: chris_saffle | February 17, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

AB goes for 26pts tonight!

Posted by: gregorymccormick | February 17, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Give Howard a chance, at least. He's no more of a knucklehead than a lot of the people who post on this blog.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | February 17, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

The stuff about Howard being a problem is way overblown. He admitted in an interview that he smoked pot in the offseason, which makes him different from most other NBA players only because he admitted it. He's never been suspended for violating the league's drug policy, which suggests that he's never failed an in-season drug test. And that stuff with the national anthem was major ado about absolutely nothing. Nothing he did or said about that had any impact on his game or his team. He's allowed to have opinions the fans, coaches, and owners don't necessarily like.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 17, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse


I hope the next trade is Ernie Grunfeld for a bag of bagles, his comments that Arenas is wanted here as a player?? realy? not by most of the fans I talk with. He is the most divisive person in the locker room or on the team. Anyone else who would bring a weapon to work would be fired, no questions asked. Because he is an athelet, he gets a pass?.. NO

Posted by: ajoboyl | February 19, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I dont care what anyone says or thinks! Josh is one of the best of the best and will continue to be!! Keep up the good work Josh, the MAV'S made a big mistake letting you go!!! Your #1 Fan for life!! Laura H, Dallas,TX

Posted by: JH1FAN | February 23, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

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