Dwight Howard has made his choice, possibly. It might be the Houston Rockets, maybe. Unless, of course, the Los Angeles Lakers are still in the running, which they might be.
In a typically dramatic day in the Dwightstakes, it was first reported by Sam Amick of USA Today that the 27-year-old center had chosen to sign with the Houston Rockets.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 5, 2013
A short while after that initial report by Amick, Howard's agent spoke with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and indicated that his decision had not been finalized.
Dwight Howard's agent, Dan Fegan tells Y! Sports: "Dwight has not finalized his decision."
Fegan to Yahoo! Sports: "He hopes to finalize his decision tonight or tomorrow morning."
Although it remained unclear if Howard and the Rockets had reached an agreement on a deal, it was confirmed that the Dallas Mavericks were out of the running. As first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN, Howard's camp had informed the Mavs on Friday that they were out of contention.
Time to get back to work. The Mavs are back open for business.
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) July 5, 2013
The Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks had also heard they were not going to land the seven-time All-Star, per Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA.
According to a source close to Howard, Dwight has informed DAL, GSW and ATL they're out of the running. Lakers yet to hear anything
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 5, 2013
The Lakers' ability to offer Howard a more lucrative contract was being weighed by Howard, as reported by Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD.
Source: Dwight Howard is still deciding between Houston and L.A. The additional money he can earn with the Lakers is a big factor.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 5, 2013
Amid the tweets coming from all ends of the NBA Twitterspehere, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey shared his cautious optimism.
While we are excited & cautiously optimistic @DwightHoward might choose Houston, we have not yet heard about his decision
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) July 5, 2013
Whether or not a decision had been finalized, Morey seemed to have ample reason to be confident that Houston was the ultimate destination for Howard. Wojnarowski, Ken Berger of CBS and David Aldridge of NBA.com also reported that Howard had decided on the Rockets, each citing unnamed sources.
It's confirmed: Dwight Howard will go with the Houston Rockets when the July 10 moratorium ends. @sam_amick was first with the info.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 5, 2013
Two league sources confirm @sam_amick report that Dwight Howard has chosen to sign with the Houston Rockets.
— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 5, 2013
Nevertheless, multiple sources tell Y! Sports Howard has chosen the Rockets but is still finalizing details of agreement.
Perhaps buoyed by the multiple reports that Howard would be wearing a Rockets uniform next season, one of his potential future teammates seemed more certain than Morey. Houston guard Patrick Beverley seemed convinced Howard was coming, quite excited about it and tweeted that he would be willing to surrender the No. 12.
My original number is 21 so I will be wearing 21 next season!!!! And yep we got Dwight Howard!!!! Wow
— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) July 5, 2013
Not long after Beverley's exuberant tweet, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times shared flight plan that could have taken a few of the exclamation points out of Beverley's celebration. Related or not, Beverley would later delete his tweet.
Dwight Howard is currently flying from Colorado to Los Angeles and plans to speak to Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak later today.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 5, 2013
Having arrived in Los Angeles, Howard told the Lakers that no decision had been made, according to the source of ESPN's Chris Broussard.
Source: D12 has landed in LA & told Lakers it's 50-50 btwn them and the Rockets. He's having 2nd thoughts about leaving $30 mill on table
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 6, 2013
Not long after Broussard's tweet, the Lakers' official Twitter account revealed that Howard was 100% not returning to Los Angeles.
"We have been informed of Dwight's decision to not return to the Lakers," Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement published at the team's website. "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."
A short while after the Lakers' statement, Howard issued his own via Twitter. As was widely remarked upon, his updated avatar featured an image of him wearing a Rockets uniform.
"I've decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets," Howard said in a brief statement issued via his Twitter account. "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."
Given the attention paid to the courtship of Howard and his history of drama going back to Orlando, these latest reports sparked plenty of conversation on Twitter.