Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Free agent center Dwight Howard has decided to
join the Houston Rockets.
The seven-time All-Star posted a picture of himself wearing a red Rockets
jersey, ending a nearly 20-month saga regarding the future of the dominant
Howard's deal is worth $88 million over four years, according to USA Today.
Had Howard decided to remain with Los Angeles, the Lakers could have offered
him a five-year deal worth up to $118 million.
"I've decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets. I feel its the best
place for me and I am excited about joining the Rockets and I'm looking
forward to a great season. I want to thank the fans in Los Angeles and wish
them the best," Howard said via Twitter Friday night.
Howard informed the Lakers prior to his message on Friday that he would not
return to the team.
"We have been informed of Dwight's decision to not return to the Lakers.
Naturally we're disappointed," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said.
"However, we will now move forward in a different direction with the future of
the franchise and, as always, will do our best to build the best team
possible, one our great Lakers fans will be proud to support. To Dwight, we
thank him for his time and consideration, and for his efforts with us last
season. We wish him the best of luck on the remainder of his NBA career."
Howard, the most coveted free agent of the 2013 offseason, was traded to the
Lakers from the Orlando Magic following several trade requests last summer
in a four-team deal.
His decision apparently came down to the Lakers or Rockets, but the Dallas
Mavericks, Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks were also involved in the
"Everybody welcome my boy DwightHoward to the HoustonRockets!!," Rockets
forward Chandler Parsons tweeted Friday night.
Howard underwent back surgery last April and spent much of the offseason
rehabbing. Howard is currently suffering from a torn labrum in his right
shoulder, but that injury will not require surgery to repair.
The 27-year-old averaged 17.1 points and a league-leading 12.4 rebounds per
Howard was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year three times (2009-2011) and
led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009, where they were ousted by the Lakers
in five games.
In Houston, Howard will team up with All-Star guard James Harden, along with
guard Jeremy Lin and forwards Chandler Parson and Omer Asik. Asik, however,
reportedly has said he has no interest in being Howard's backup.
The Rockets were eliminated in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs in six
games by the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Sports Network