Seven-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard has decided to join the Houston Rockets after one season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Like every free agent looking to join an NBA team during the offseason, all deals are not official until July 10th.
The Rockets were considered the favorites to sign Howard despite speaking with other teams including the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks.
Kobe Bryant and the Lakers also spoke to Howard about re-signing with the team.
The Rockets met with Howard in Los Angeles on July 1st, when free agency began.
The Rockets representatives during that meeting included head coach Kevin McHale, current players James Harden and Chandler Parsons and former Rockets’ player Hakeem Olajuwon.
Howard will now be compared to the Rockets’ top big men such as Olajuwon and Yao Ming and not the Lakers’ big men such as Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal.
The Warriors made the latest push for Howard by signing Andre Iguodala to a four-year deal. The team also traded away three players and two future first round picks to the Utah Jazz to make cap room for Howard.
The Warriors and the Lakers will have some salary cap room that can prove valuable going into the offseason next year with players such as LeBron James possibly becoming a free agent.
Update: After reports of Dwight Howard flying back to Los Angeles, a short time later Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak put out an official statement that Howard will not return to the Lakers.
Howard also spoke with Stephen A. Smith of ESPN and told him that he decided to join the Rockets and he had never flip-flopped with second thoughts of returning to Los Angeles after reports surfaced he was originally going to Houston.
UPDATE: “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.” – @DwightHoward