Dwight Howard has chosen to sign with the Houston Rockets, USA Today's Sam Amick first reported. However, Howard's agent told Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski that nothing is finalized. The holdup by Howard's camp appears to be more of a practical one that a refute of the report, Wojnarowski writes: "Dwight Howard and his representatives still need to go through details of a proposed contract with the Rockets."
Howard began the free agency process open and willing for a new start. His season with the Los Angeles Lakers didn't go as planned, as he struggled to play through last summer’s back surgery and a shoulder injury. He also struggled to adjust to playing alongside power forward Pau Gasol and within coach Mike D'Antoni’s offense.
But even in a down year, Howard still averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game in 2012-13.
Expected to be fully recovered from the back surgery, Howard would make the Rockets an immediate playoff contender.
The reality of Daryl Morey’s vision couldn't have been more perfect if Howard does indeed sign with Houston. The Rockets effectively disassembled a roster to gain the most financial flexibility possible, but still managed to make a blockbuster deal last summer when they traded with the Oklahoma City Thunder to acquire shooting guard James Harden. That move effectively gave Houston the star power to convince Howard that his addition would transform the team into a powerful playoff contender.
Morey’s foundation is appealing because the roster fits Howard well. Houston can play inside-out with Howard as the paint force and Harden as the primary playmaker. The rest of the Rockets can then stretch the floor, giving the two stars room to operate and ways to escape double-teams. Houston often went with four perimeter-oriented players on the floor last season, rarely putting the onus on looking for center Omer Asik to score in the paint.
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