Dwight Howard is joining the Rockets, leaving Los Angeles after one season to chase championships in Houston.
‘‘I've decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets. I feel [it’s] the best place for me and I am excited about joining the Rockets and I’m looking forward to a great season,’’ Howard wrote on Twitter Friday night.
‘‘I want to thank the fans in Los Angeles and wish them the best.’’
Howard leaves behind an extra $30 million and an offense under Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni that he was never fully comfortable with, joining a Rockets team that could become an immediate contender in the Western Conference.
‘‘Years of work by Dwight & Rockets went into this. This team is going to be special,’’ general manager Daryl Morey tweeted.
USA Today first reported that Howard would join the Rockets, where he would team with All-Star James Harden to give the Rockets a potentially potent inside-outside combination.
That didn’t quite end the Howard saga, which has dragged on a couple of years. He spoke again with the Lakers amid reports he was changing his mind.
Turns out, he was just saying goodbye.
‘‘We have been informed of Dwight’s decision to not return to the Lakers,’’ Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. ‘‘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.
Dallas, Golden State, and Atlanta were the other suitors interested in Howard.
The deal can’t become official until Wednesday, after next season’s salary cap has been set. The Rockets can give him a four-year deal worth about $88 million, a year less and far below the $118 million the Lakers could have offered.
Meanwhile, the Rockets traded the rights to forward Royce White and the rights to 2012 draft pick Furkan Aldemir to the 76ers for future considerations.
Iguodala a Warrior
The Golden State Warriors reached an agreement with swingman Andre Iguodala on a $48 million, four-year deal, two people with knowledge of the situation said. The Warriors cleared more than $24 million in salary cap space by sending Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, and Brandon Rush to the Utah Jazz along with several unspecified draft picks.
Yahoo! Sports, which first reported the deal, said the Warriors were only taking back Kevin Murphy and his non-guaranteed $788,000 deal for next season.
While the Warriors had hoped to sign Howard, the team was informed by the seven-time All-Star he would not be signing with them. Instead, Golden State shook up its roster for what it believes was the next best player on the market.
Iguodala averaged 13 points, 5.4 assists, and 5.3 rebounds last season for the Denver Nuggets, who lost in six games to the Warriors in the opening round of the playoffs. He spent his first eight years in the NBA with the 76ers.
Mayo, Bucks agree
The Milwaukee Bucks reached a verbal agreement with free agent shooting guard O.J. Mayo on a deal worth three years and $24 million, according to a person with knowledge of the deal . . . The Mavericks and free agent point guard Jose Calderon agreed on a four-year, $28 million contract. Calderon spent his first seven years with Toronto before the Raptors traded him to Detroit in January . . . Forward Josh McRoberts agreed to a two-year, $5.5 million deal to remain with the Bobcats.