Dwight Howard: ‘Decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets’

7320bfb38e015927fb6ca8716e26bc89Free-agent center Dwight Howard announced Friday evening that he has decided to sign with the Houston Rockets.

“I’ve decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets. I feel its 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,” said Howard on Twitter.

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak statement on Howard:

“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 will likely now sign a four-year, $88 million deal with the Houston Rockets.  The contract can’t officially be signed until Wednesday.

Howard, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 76 games last season for the Lakers.

According to ESPN, “By going to Houston, Howard will leave $9.3 million on the table in net guaranteed dollars, because he could have received a five-year deal and more money from the Lakers, rather than the four-year maximum deal he will get by signing with another team. This assumes that Howard will be a resident of Texas instead of California, since Texas has no state income taxes, while California has the highest state income taxes in the country.

“Comparing just the first four years of what the Lakers could pay Howard with what the Rockets likely will pay him, Howard will net $2.6 million more after taxes in Houston if he becomes a Texas resident.”

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