Dwight Howard Chooses Houston Rockets as Next Destination

Alex KayCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2013

Conflicting reports surrounded Dwight Howard's decision, but the saga is now over. 

UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 11:15 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Howard made his decision official Friday night:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 10:45 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak informed everyone via NBA.com that Howard won't return to the Lakers:

We have been informed of Dwight's decision to not return to the Lakers. Naturally we're disappointed. 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.

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 10:10 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Los Angeles Daily News reporter Mark Medina provides updates on Howard's situation:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 9:51 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

SportsCenter reports that Howard is still undecided on his team for next season:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 7:42 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

The LA Times' Mike Bresnahan claims Howard will be visiting LA today, though it's unclear why at this time:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 7:22 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

ESPN's SportsCenter provides the latest on Howard's reported reasoning behind leaving the Lakers:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 6:38 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

Rockets GM Daryl Morey says the team has not yet received word that Howard has chosen the Rockets:

Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski claims a deal is being finalized:

Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA disputes previous reports that Howard's camp informed the Lakers that he won't sign with them:

WSB's Zach Klein says a plan to land Josh Smith may be in the works for the Rockets:

Brian Windhorst of ESPN speaks on how the potential signing would impact Omer Asik:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, 6:19 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

Ken Berger of CBS Sports states multiple sources confirmed that Howard selected the Rockets:

SI's Chris Mannix claims that Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, says Howard has yet to come to a final decision:

Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski provides an update that makes it seem as though the Rockets and Howard are simply finalizing the deal:

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times offers a quote from Fegan that complicates matters even more:

HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy says money may be factoring into Howard's decision (or lack thereof):

ESPN's SportsCenter claims Chris Broussard says the Lakers are out of play:

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Dwight Howard, one of the main prizes of the 2013 NBA offseason, has reportedly chosen the Houston Rockets as his next destination.

USA Today's Sam Amick had the report:

After months of speculation and rumors, D12 finally made the controversial choice to leave the Los Angeles Lakers and choose a new home for next season.

He now joins James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Houston's rising squad, which has suddenly become a serious contender in the Western Conference.

Prior to making this decision, Howard entertained offers and was heavily recruited by the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors as well. However, he felt that Houston provided the best chance for him to win a title, the main goal at this point in his career.

The superstar big man will certainly help the Rockets' odds of making the Finals, as he’s a genuine force inside and—when healthy—a top-tier player in the league.

Over the course of his nine-year career, Howard holds averages of 18.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steal per game.

Prior to the blockbuster trade last summer that sent him to Los Angeles, Howard played his entire career with the Orlando Magic—the organization that selected him No. 1 overall in the 2004 draft.

At 27 years of age, Superman must realize that his powers won’t be at their peak forever and may already be in decline. If he’s going to win a ring during his career, the time is now.

Over the past two seasons, Howard’s contributions have significantly dipped. After averaging 22.9 points on 59.3 percent shooting back in 2010-11, he managed to score only 17.1 points on 57.8 percent shooting in his first year with the Lakers.

While the Lakers' team-wide struggles and offseason back surgery may be to blame, it’s becoming harder to believe that the 6’11”, 265-pound star will ever be the same player he was a few years ago.

If he’s able to improve his stats and stay healthy during the 2013-14 campaign, Houston should feel extremely good about its decision to sign the star center to a max deal this summer.

Howard still has championship upside and the ability to be one of the better players in the NBA, so now it's up to him to prove it and live up to his new contract. 


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