Dwight Howard told the Los Angeles Lakers he was leaving. Then he told the team he changed his mind and wasn’t ready to leave.
Then, the NBA’s most dominant big man decided he was leaving after all.
After much wavering Friday, the 27-year-old All-Star forward said he will join the Houston Rockets, leaving Los Angeles after one season to chase championships with .
“I’ve decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets,” he wrote on Twitter. “I feel (it’s) 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.”
Howard, who averaged 17.1 points and a league-high 12.4 rebounds last season, could have earned $118 million on a five-year contract with the Lakers. He can sign a four-year contract with Houston for a maximum of $88 million.
USA Today first reported earlier Friday that Howard would join the Rockets, where he will team with All-Star James Harden to give the Rockets a potentially potent inside-outside combination.
That didn’t quite end the Howard saga, though. He spoke again with the Lakers amid reports he was changing his mind.
Ultimately, he confirmed that he would sign with Houston.
“We have been informed of Dwight’s decision to not return to the Lakers,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “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.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Howard is the biggest-name free agent to spurn the Lakers since A.C. Green left for Phoenix in 1993.
Dallas, Golden State and Atlanta were the other suitors interested in Howard.
The deal can’t become official until Wednesday, after next season’s salary cap has been set.
Free-agent point guard Jose Calderon agreed to a four-year, $28 million contract with the Mavericks. … The 76ers acquired the rights to Rockets forward Royce White, a 2012 first-round pick who was on the inactive list all season because of an anxiety disorder.