ESPN Dwight Howard’s camp has informed four of the five teams pursuing him that the free agent center will not be signing with them, sources said Friday, leaving the Houston Rockets as Howard’s likely destination. Howard’s camp has informed the Los Angeles Lakers that he will not be re-signing in L.A., a league source told ESPN’s Chris Broussard. A Lakers spokesman denied Broussard’s report. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban confirmed the Mavs are fully out of contention for Howard. The Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks have also been told they are out of the running for Howard, a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com. Numerous rival executives believe that Howard is headed to the Rockets, the only remaining team that pursued him, and will spurn the Lakers after one star-crossed season. USA Today, citing a source with knowledge of Howard’s decision, reported that Howard has indeed chosen to join the Rockets. Howard has not notified the Rockets of his decision, a source close to the player told ESPNLosAngeles.com, but a final decision is expected to come Friday night. “Dwight has not finalized his decision,” Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, told Yahoo! Sports. There has been no confirmation from Howard about his intentions, but sources say multiple teams competing for his services in free agency are convinced he’s headed for Houston. Rockets general manager wrote on Twitter that no deal has been completed. While we are excited & cautiously optimistic @DwightHoward might choose Houston, we have not yet heard about his decision — Daryl Morey (@dmorey) July 5, 2013 A Lakers source who was in the team’s pitch meeting last Tuesday said they felt Howard had essentially “made up his mind” before even meeting with Lakers and described him as “emotionless.” “He would barely look us in the eye,” the source said. “Got word we are out of the DH sweepstakes,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban told ESPNDallas.com and other local media in an email. “We gave it a shot and it didn’t work out. It was truly an experience. At some point I will post our video and presentation we made.” Cuban said he had no knowledge of the free agent center’s decision on a team. “I have no idea what team he is going to,” Cuban wrote. “They wouldn’t tell me.” Earlier Friday, the Warriors reached a verbal agreement on a four-year, $48 million contract with Andre Iguodala after completing a salary-cap clearing trade with the Utah Jazz, according to ESPN and media reports.
Dwightmare on Elm Street Two is officially over. Howard will join the Houston Rockets after much wining, dining and deliberation, leaving the Los Angeles Lakers in the cold. This is the first time in the history of basketball that I can remember a superstar in their prime making the decision to leave the Lakers. For the Rockets, they get the best center in the NBA (Mark Gasol may have something to say about that) to pair with star shooting guard James Harden to form an excellent core that should contend for NBA Titles right away. The supporting cast around these two stars is solid, but look for them to add another All-Star by trading some of their role players like Omer Asik (who now wants out) and the rumor is the Rockets could target Howard’s best friend Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith in a sign-and-trade next. The power in the Western Conference has again shifted.