Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted Friday afternoon that Howard is leaving Los Angeles and finalizing a deal with Houston, and the Lakers were notified shortly thereafter (also via Wojnarowski).
It's looking like Dwight is on his way out of Tinseltown, which means L.A. needs to find a low-post player in the short term and for the future.
Due to the new collective bargaining agreement, the Lakers can't simply use the money they would have spent on retaining Howard on another free agent. Instead, they have about $1.59 million to work with for 2013-14.
In 2014, however, general manager Mitch Kupchak will have ample resources, as almost everyone's contracts come off the books. Then, he can hunt for a premier free agent to replace Howard unless he trades for one sooner.
What are Los Angeles' best realistic options in the paint? Find out as we break down the top candidates.