It took new Charlotte Hornet Dwight Howard 13 NBA seasons before he played for his hometown Atlanta Hawks, and one season to be sent packing.
The interaction between Atlanta and eight-time All-Star Howard didn’t sit well with Howard’s sister, Tashanda, who went on Atlanta sports-talk station 92.9 The Game.
“I hear how people talk and the things they say, and I just don’t think that Atlanta is a loyal city. I really don’t,” Tashanda Howard said Tuesday night.
“I hate to hear all the negative calls talking about my brother and the things that have been going on with the Hawks.”
Howard signed with the Hawks last summer, after playing for the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets. Howard starred at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy before being chosen by the Magic No. 1 overall in the 2004 draft.
Howard posted decent statistics last season as a Hawk – 13.5 points per game and 12.7 rebounds – but the Hawks had a mediocre season, going 43-39 and losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Washington Wizards.
Howard was traded to the Hornets Tuesday, and for little compensation considering his Hall of Fame-type career. The Hornets sent Miles Plumlee and Marco Belinelli to the Hawks, who agreed to send the 31st overall pick Thursday to Charlotte for the Hornets’ 41st pick.
It looked like a transparent dumping of Howard’s contract; he’ll make about $23 million each of the next two seasons.
“He was one of the first big free agents to come here, and I think a lot of the free agents are going to look at that and see how they do their free-agency and they are not going to want to come to this city,” Howard’s sister continued.
Atlanta sports fans have a reputation for being frontrunners, casting off the NFL Falcons, MLB Braves and Hawks whenever they are having down seasons. Trading Howard appears to signal a rebuilding period ahead for the Hawks.
“I understand the rebuilding process, but I don’t think that was the best move,” Howard’s sister said of the trade. “There were some other players that were making some pretty decent money that they could have looked at trading before Dwight.
“I don’t like the decision, I don’t like the way people are talking. Dwight Howard wasn’t a problem with the Hawks this season.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell