Howard: 'Not responding to a lie'

Updated: February 19, 2010, 11:34 PM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Forward Josh Howard missed a game because of a hangover, according to multiple team sources, adding to his list of questionable off-court conduct toward the end of his tenure with the Dallas Mavericks.

Multiple team sources said Howard missed the Mavericks' Jan. 20 win over the Washington Wizards because of a hangover after a night of partying.

Howard, who earlier refused comment, told ESPN 103.3 FM host Ben Rogers via text message that he was "not responding to a lie.. My lawyers ar taking action... Thanks.. That's a response."

The incident reaffirmed the Mavericks' intention to move forward without Howard, who did not start another game after sitting out against the Wizards, when he missed the morning shootaround and did not dress for that game. The Mavericks, who were already shopping Howard and wanted to protect his trade value, announced that he had a stomach illness.

Howard, who was traded to the Wizards last week as part of a seven-player deal that brought Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood to Dallas, told reporters after his Washington debut that he intended to "stick it to the Mavs."

Members of Dallas' front office stood behind Howard after a controversial stretch in 2008. Howard revealed in a radio interview during a playoff series against the New Orleans Hornets that he occasionally smoked marijuana. Days later, after a critical loss, Howard in the locker room passed out flyers to his birthday party, prompting then-coach Avery Johnson to cancel the next day's practice.

That summer, Howard was arrested in North Carolina for street racing. The incident was followed by a video surfacing of him disparaging the national anthem at a charity flag football game, with Howard saying, "I don't celebrate this [expletive]. I'm black."

Howard often clashed with Mavs coach Rick Carlisle over the last season and a half, although Carlisle has been nothing but complimentary of Howard before and since the trade. According to a source, Howard's diminished work ethic had become a problematic issue with players and coaches, which was one of the factors that led to the team's decision to trade him.

Howard had value to the cost-cutting Wizards because his contract, which includes a team option for $11.8 million for next season, is expiring.

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

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