UPDATE: At 9:30 p.m. ET, it became official. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld reported Dwight Howard informed the Lakers he would not sign with Los Angeles and would join the Houston Rockets.
It's Houston. Source close to Dwight Howard confirms that he'll join the Rockets. He'll inform the Lakers and make an official announcement.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 6, 2013
Shortly after, Dwight Howard changed his Twitter profile photo to an image of him wearing a Rockets uniform and changed his location to Houston, Texas.
After a good amount of deliberating, and swaying back and forth, All-Star center Dwight Howard decided to sign with the Houston Rockets over the Los Angeles Lakers, sources told Crossover Chronicles. The agreement between Howard’s representatives and the Rockets is not finalized yet, but the two sides are working to get the deal done, and that should happen fairly soon.
Howard’s deal with the Rockets can be a four-year, $88 million deal at most, unless the Rockets attempt to engage in talks with Los Angeles about a sign-and-trade agreement. The Rockets earlier contemplated doing so, a league source said, but they gave no indication Friday afternoon that they actually would pursue such a deal.
At around 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Howard's camp informed the Lakers that Howard would not be re-signing with them and that he had instead opted to join the Rockets, a source said. Earlier, there were conflicting reports by Lakers beat writers, saying that the Lakers were still in the hunt for Howard, but that stemmed from some confusion, as the Lakers simply were not informed of Howard’s decision at the time.
Previously, Howard had been considering the Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, and Atlanta Hawks, but only the Rockets, Warriors, and Lakers had a legitimate shot.
Howard now joins rising star James Harden in Houston, and some early signs are already indicating that the Rockets may not be done shopping. The Rockets have inquired about New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson, along with Hawks forward Josh Smith, an NBA source said.
Houston is looking to acquire Josh Smith from Atlanta and wants to trade Omer Asik, source tells CC.
— Max Luckan (@MaxLuckan) July 5, 2013
But for now, the Rockets have turned themselves into a strong force in the Western Conference.