"I want to do whatever I can to bring a championship home," Howard said Tuesday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I know it's not going to be easy. I've worked extremely hard this summer, every summer. I'm very motivated. I'm really [ticked] off about last season. I'm looking forward to coming back with a different mentality."
Howard has agreed to a three-year, $70.5 million deal with the Hawks, his agent, Perry Rogers, told ESPN's Chris Broussard on Friday.
Howard, 30, returns to his hometown after three seasons in Houston, where he battled injuries and wasn't the force he was earlier in his career. He managed just 13.7 points and 8.5 field goal attempts per game last season, his lowest numbers since his rookie season with Orlando in 2004-05. He had an opportunity to remain with Houston but declined a player option that would have paid him $23.2 million.
Attending a Dream game at Philips Arena, Howard was asked why he was angry about last season.
"Losing," he said, according to the newspaper. "A lot of people see me with smiles and all that stuff and think I don't care, but I hate losing. I hate seeing other people stand up on the podium and hold up that trophy and I worked so hard for it. That's the main thing."
Despite having MVP candidate James Harden, the Rockets stumbled to a 41-41 record last season. That was good enough to make the playoffs, but only as the No. 8 seed, which resulted in a first-round matchup with the Golden State Warriors. Houston lost in five games.
Atlanta is now making some significant roster changes. Free-agent big man Al Horford signed with the Boston Celtics. Point guard Jeff Teague was traded to the Indiana Pacers for the 12th pick in the draft, which was used to select Baylor wing Taurean Prince. Small forward Kent Bazemore agreed to a new four-year, $70 million deal with the Hawks. And Howard returned home.
Even if his offense isn't there, Howard can at times be a dominant rebounder and shot-blocker, although not quite at the level that won him three straight defensive player of the year awards from 2009 to 2011.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Calvin Watkins and Ramona Shelburne and The Associated Press contributed to this report.