According to ESPN.com, GM Daryl Morey and owner Leslie Alexander wanted to see Clint Capela receive more minutes at Howard’s expense. Input from James Harden “heavily influenced” Houston management’s decision, according to the report.
Ultimately, interim head coach JB Bickerstaff resisted complying with management’s wishes, but word eventually got back to the big man, further deteriorating Howard’s trust of the franchise.
More from ESPN:
Former Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff resisted complying with the wishes of general manager Daryl Morey and owner Leslie Alexander regarding a drastic reduction in Howard’s playing time. Team sources said Alexander never participated in the meetings with Morey and Bickerstaff but fully supported the general manager’s plan to prioritize Capela’s development.
League sources said input from face-of-the-franchise James Harden heavily influenced Houston management’s desire to decrease Howard’s minutes. However, team sources insisted that Harden was not involved in those discussions.