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Dwight Howard chooses Houston

The Dwight Howard saga has come to an end as the All-Star center has decided to sign for the Houston Rockets.

Howard has decided to sign a free-agent contract, opting out of a three-year deal he had with the Los Angeles Lakers.

USA Today reporter Sam Amick first broke the story on his Twitter feed regarding Howard’s move to Texas; a tweet that got nearly 6,700 retweets. Howard himself confirmed the news on his Twitter feed nearly six hours after Amick first broke the news and the new Houston Rocket wasted no time in removing his Lakers profile picture before uploading an image of him in a Rockets vest. Howard even changed his location to “Houston TX”.

It brings to an end what has been a truly exhausting experience as Howard made his latest decision on which team he would play for a complete free-for-all, almost similar to LeBron James’ decision when he decided to play for Miami Heat.

The Rockets, along with Howard’s team last season, the Los Angeles Lakers were the two front-runners. The Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks were ruled out of the bidding in the early stages, leaving the door to either the Rockets or Lakers. ESPN.com reported that Howard was uncomfortable playing for Mike D’Antoni in LA and didn’t want to be a sidekick to Kobe Bryant.

ESPN.com also stated that during the meeting with the Lakers, Howard was “emotionless” and that it looked like he had already made up his mind.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Howard informed the club that he would not return to Los Angeles.

“We have been informed of Dwight’s decision to not return to the Lakers,” Kupchak said in a statement on 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.”

It’s reported that The Lakers could have given Howard a five-year deal worth $118 million while Houston can only offer $88 million over four years.

By deciding to move to Houston, Howard will leave $9.3 million on the table in net guaranteed dollars, because he could have received a five-year deal and more money from the Lakers, rather than the four-year maximum deal he will get by signing with another team. The chances are that that Howard will now be a resident of Texas instead of California, since Texas has no state income taxes, while California has the highest state income taxes in the country.

Comparing just the first four years of what the Lakers could pay Howard with what the Rockets are likely to pay him, Howard will end up getting around $2.6 million more after taxes in Houston if he becomes a Texas resident.

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