There wereno “I wanna kill” the Atlanta Hawks proclamations this time around for Charlotte Hornets center Dwight Howard.
Howard had some fun at the expense of his former team last Friday when the Hawks came to Charlotte. Howard made it clear (though he did it with a smile) that playing against the team that traded him out of his hometown last June represented extra juice. He finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks in a Hornets’ victory.
The Hornets and Hawks play again Wednesday night at Philips Arena. Howard was more understated following morning shootaround, talking to media mostly from Atlanta in a group setting.
The Hawks traded Howard to the Hornets for Miles Plumlee and Marco Belinelli, moving the remaining two seasons and nearly $50 million in guaranteed salary on to the Hornets’ ledger.
Howard grew up in Atlanta. The situation with the Hawks went south quickly, with coach Mike Budenholzer trimming back Howard’s minutes significantly in the playoff series loss to the Washington Wizards. Then the Hawks tore down a veteran team and went into rebuilding mode.
“The business side of basketball can sometimes take away the joy of the game,” Howard said.
“Anything you do in life which has to do with business or money or whatever, sometimes those things can take away the joy that you have for (your craft). It’s just about finding that joy and passion I’ve always had for this game. Realize that this sport could end at any moment, so take advantage of it and enjoy it while I’m playing.”
Howard said he wasn’t interested in reflecting on what went wrong in his one season with the Hawks.
“Every season is different, every opportunity is different. I don’t go in (to a new season) saying, ‘I could have done this on this team or that on that team.’” Howard said. “Everything happens when it’s supposed to happen. I try not to think about the past and what has transpired.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell