NBA -- Howard spurns Lakers, bolts to Houston
By Jeremy Zuniga
Sun, 07 Jul 2013
CHICAGO -- The Houston Rockets won the Dwight Howard lottery Friday night when the fee agent center decided to shift uniforms and loyalties, spurning the Los Angeles Laker and three other suitors in the process.
"I've decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets. I feel it's the best place for me and I'm excited," the 7-time All-Star announced via Twitter.
By opting Houston, Howard left $30 million on the table.
The Lakers could have signed him to a five-year deal worth $118 million while the Rockets are limited to four years and $88 million. But since Texas has no state income taxes compared to California, which has the highest state income taxes in the U.S., Howard's financial hit will be mitigated, according to an ESPN report.
Besides the Lakers, the Golden State Warriors, the Dallas Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks vigorously pursued the 6-foot-11, 265-pound Howard, who led the NBA in rebounds last season with 12.4 a game. But the Lakers took the hardest hit after allowing the game's best center walk to away for nothing.
With Howard on board alongside James Harden, one of the NBA's most prolific young stars, the Rockets now have a legitimate inside-out punch that makes them a legitimate contender in the Western Conference.
Multiples reports also indicate that the Rockets are trying to bring in Atlanta Hawk Josh Smith in a trade for center Omer Asik, who made it clear he doesn't want to play with Howard. If that deal pushes through, the Rockets could have a Big 3 of Howard, Harden and Smith.
But that's a story for another day.
For now, it's all about Howard, a very solid piece for any franchise trying to win a championship. (JZ)
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Jeremy Zuniga.
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