We can all agree that Dwight Howard is in the Hall of Fame when it comes to athletes mishandling their impending free agency. In his last months in Orlando, Howard was a mess. He demanded that Stan Van Gundy be fired, later denied he wanted Van Gundy fired, only to have Van Gundy confirm that Howard wanted him fired. Add in that Howard even decided to waive his opt-out clause at the last minute and you have a case study on how not to handle free agency.
Then, he went to Los Angeles and added on to his legacy of handling free agency in the worst way possible. He fought with Kobe Bryant on and off the court while the Lakers’ season went down in flames. Then, he walked away and headed to Houston.
Despite how bad Howard was at handling free agency, you have to assume that he learned something from the experience. And according to Sam Amick of USA Today, Howard is sharing what he learned with impending free agent Carmelo Anthony.
In an interview with USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday, Howard said he has discussed this fascinating dynamic privately with Anthony on several occasions. While he doesn’t yet know what Anthony will do, his view of what’s important in this process has clearly not changed: focus on the winning, and the rest will follow suit.
“He has been in the league for a long time,” Howard said about Anthony. “He hasn’t made it to the Finals and at this point in his career he wants to win. You can see it every night when he plays. I know he has to take a lot of shots and all that stuff, but he just wants to win.
“I can’t say (what he’ll do). That’s on him. He’s got to decide. (But) he can’t be what everybody else wants. In this situation, you’ve got to take your heart out of it…So I’d just say for him, take his heart out of it and think with his head and think about business.”
Howard has also been discussing the importance of find a place where he can win. The same advice Anthony has received from his former college coach, Jim Boeheim.
“If you don’t win, you’re not going to get all the (off-court) stuff you want anyway,” Howard said. “I saw that last year (in Los Angeles). I was in the biggest market for the NBA, and we lost, so those (companies) aren’t going to be coming to you for losing.
“When I was in Orlando, a small market, and we were winning. I was very popular with a lot of different deals on the table. So it’s moreso about winning, and you’ve got to put yourself in a position to where you’re winning basketball games and you’re having fun doing it. Losing is not fun, and Melo wants to win.”
Anthony has said over and over that he wants to remain in New York. But as the days pass and the losses continue to pile up, it’s feeling more and more like Anthony will look elsewhere for a chance at a championship.