Jae C. Hong, AP
After visiting with different NBA franchises and much consideration, Dwight Howard narrowed his final destination down to one team.
As first reported by USA Today, Howard has chosen to sign with the Houston Rockets.
Since USA Today first broke the news, ESPN, Yahoo! Sports and CBS Sports have all published reports corroborating initial reports on Howard's decision. According to these publications, a formal announcement is expected to come soon.
This is big news for the Rockets, who were missing the presence of an all-star post player all season. The Rockets finished with the 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference this year, and the addition of Howard makes them instantly better.
With the emergence of shooting guard James Harden, it already seemed that the future would be bright for the Rockets. With Howard, the Rockets add to their offensive and defensive presence. Howard is a three-time winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award and a seven-time NBA All-Star.
Howard is widely considered to be the best center in the NBA and impacts the game on both ends of the floor. He commands double-teams in the post, which will open up the court for shooters like Harden and Chandler Parsons to get open looks.
The Los Angeles Lakers, the team for which Howard played this past season, will most likely look to sign some solid role players to build around Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, though the franchise has not made their intentions clear as of yet. It is speculated that the Lakers will now look to clear space by 2014 to take a shot at signing four-time MVP LeBron James.
Howard and Bryant never were on the same page this past season, and due to injuries, their season ended in disappointment.
The new-look Rockets will be one of many teams changing the face of the NBA and setting NBA fans up with what looks to be an exciting season.
You can follow Mitch Kunzler on Twitter at: @MitchKunzler
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