Phil Jackson Calls Dwight Howard’s New Team ‘Astros’ Instead of Rockets

Phil JacksonMaybe this is the Zen Master being passive-aggressive, or maybe this is some sort of regional nickname we’re not familiar with, like the way anybody from Indiana is known as a “Hoosier.” Anyway, we’re pretty sure Dwight Howard didn’t just agree to sign with a baseball team.

Howard, who pledged to sign with the Houston Rockets once the moratorium period ends July 10, has not been gracefully ushered out of town by the Lakers. Since Howard announced his intentions Friday, the Lakers and their associates have not taken the news well. Even those who seem to be satisfied with Howard’s decision can’t seem to avoid tweaking the big man.

Phil Jackson, the former Lakers coach who Howard tried to get onto the bench in Los Angeles last season, took to Twitter to defend Howard’s decision — sort of.

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Yes, the Astros. Now Howard can follow in the footsteps of ‘Stros greats like Jeff Bagwell, Nolan Ryan and Roy Oswalt. His massive strike zone might be a hindrance as a batter, but an ambidextrous 7-footer could be mean on the mound. Presumably, Howard is not interested in winning the World Series anytime soon. At 32-57, the Astros have the worst record in the American League.

Jackson is absolutely correct about the first part of his tweet, however. The fact that Howard rushed back from back surgery and was basically rehabbing while he played was overlooked amid the criticism of Howard’s first (and only) year in L.A. He should be close to 100 percent in Houston, where a short rehab stint in the minors should help his recovery.

Best of all, the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate is in Oklahoma City, so he can catch some really great hoops by watching Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook at Thunder games.

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