After an afternoon of rumors, reports, sources and denials, it’s now as official as it can be at this point: Dwight Howard is going to the Houston Rockets.
Players can’t officially sign until July 10, per league rules.
But at 7:25 p.m. PST, Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak issued this statement:
“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.”
Howard has even changed his Twitter avatar, which is as official as this story is going to get:
Meanwhile, the Rockets got rid of the troubled Royce White, dealing him to the 76ers for future draft considerations, and cash.
Actually the deal is not yet finalized, but sources have told USA Today’s @sam_amick that Howard is going to the Rockets, to team with Jeremy Lin and James Harden. Which should be fun. That was at 6:29 p.m. ET.
But Howard’s agent was proceeding with caution, as of 6:09.
Dwight Howard's agent, Dan Fegan tells Y! Sports: "Dwight has not finalized his decision."
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 5, 2013
Then the fun began:
Source close to Dwight Howard: "The reports are inaccurate. The Lakers haven't been informed of anything" WHY WON'T THIS END!?
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 6, 2013
"Wait, I just gave up $30 million dollars" is apparently a thing that Dwight just realized
— Dennis G (@bigpumpkin4real) July 6, 2013
With how far the Rockets have gone out on the limb based on indications from him, if he switches, Houston's going to be like Borderlands 2.
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 6, 2013
So this remains unofficial until it’s official.
Howard told Rockets GM Daryl Morey in their meeting that he wants him to add a third star, preferably Howard’s childhood friend Josh Smith. To do this, Morey will have to execute a sign-and-trade with the Atlanta Hawks involving one or both of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, or move them elsewhere. It won’t be easy, but it’s doable.
Wow. We’ll keep you posted.
Projected Rockets starting lineup: Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Chandler Parsons, James Harden, Jeremy Lin. Wow.
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) July 5, 2013
RT @WindhorstESPN Rockets center Omer Asik has no interest in backing up or playing next Dwight Howard, per sources. Could force trade.
— Bulls by the Horns (@BullsbytheHorns) July 5, 2013
— Sean Pendergast (@SeanCablinasian) July 5, 2013
Anyway, thanks, Jim Parsons!