Morey: 'Expectations are going to be sky high'
The Rockets have long wanted Dwight Howard. On Friday, Dwight Howard made it mutual. He decided his next NBA stop will be in Houston.
Thing is, that decision wasn't always clear cut before he made his decision. At about 5 p.m., Sam Amick of USA Today broke the story of Howard deciding on Houston. In the hours to come, other reports surfaced suggesting less certainty. Red Nation got visibly anxious on Twitter. Daryl Morey admitted the same.
"Everything was agony for me," Morey said of the final few hours before Howard informed him of his decision. "I hope it was better for Dwight."
That agonizing feeling turned into one of ecstasy a few hours later.
"There might have been a little screaming, a little whooping," Morey said. "I was pretty excited because there was so much work by so many people in the Rockets' organization and so much work from Dwight Howard to put himself in the position that he earned to be a free agent and pick the best chance for him. It's a special moment. We haven't accomplished anything yet, but we're putting something pretty cool together."
And now, Morey knows his team is better positioned for the big task at hand: trying to position the Rockets into becoming a championship contender.
“Well, I think this season coming up, obviously expectations are going to be sky high," Morey said. "That said, we’ve got to give a lot of respect. Obviously, the Miami Heat are favored as long as they’re champions and probably, as long as LeBron James is there. And then, take the Spurs and the Thunder as two other teams who are just unbelievably well-run organizations and unbelievable teams. So we have our work cut out for us. We’re going to set ourselves up to compete with them.
"This move, obviously, is the most important one. And we’ll let the chips fall where they may. But we know that we’ve accomplished nothing, but we’re excited how things are coming together with James (Harden) and Jeremy (Lin) and Chandler (Parsons) and Patrick (Beverley) and Omer (Asik) and all the young players on our team that are going to contribute over time.”
Howard comes to Houston after leading the league in rebounding last season with 12.4 rebounds a contest. He also averaged 17.1 points. For his career, Howard averages 18.3 points and 12.9 rebounds. He has led the league in rebounding five times, has led the league blocked shots twice, and has been an NBA All-Star seven times in his nine-year career.
While Howard himself announced via Twitter his decision to join the Rockets, signings become official starting July 10, the date free agents can start putting their names on the dotted line.