Report: Dwight Howard to join Houston Rockets

USA TODAY says Howard has made decision; Howard changes Twitter avatar

Published On: Jul 05 2013 06:03:56 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 06 2013 12:36:06 AM EDT
Howard in Houston uniform
HOUSTON -

Dwight Howard changed his Twitter avatar to a picture of himself in a Houston Rockets jersey Friday evening, and changed his hometown to Houston.

Followed by the change of his profile picture, Howard tweeted, "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. I want to thank the fans in Los Angeles and wish them the best."

Howard had told four of the five teams he was considering that they were no longer in the running and he would not be signing with them, according to ESPN.com. That left Houston as the winner of the Howard free-agent sweepstakes.

The highly coveted center told the Los Angeles Lakers that he would not be returning after just one season with the team, though the Lakers would not confirm they were out, ESPN reported.

After wrapping up meetings with all of the contenders on Tuesday, Howard indicated that a decision would be made by Friday on his destination next season: the Rockets, Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks. Howard reportedly was in Aspen, Colo., the past few days with his advisers discussing his options.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban confirmed Friday that his team did not land Howard.

A source told ESPN that the Lakers may have dropped to as low as fourth on Howard's final list.

--- Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he would have helped the team recruit free agent center Dwight Howard, if he were asked.

Jackson has worked with the team as an unofficial consultant. It was earlier reported that he was scheduled to be among the team's representatives meeting with Howard this week, but that was not the case.

---The Golden State Warriors signed free agent guard Andre Iguodala to a four-year, $48 million contract Friday, according to Yahoo! Sports.

The Warriors cleared $20 million in salary cap space to sign Iguodala by trading center Andris Biedrins, guard Brandon Rush and forward Richard Jefferson to the Utah Jazz, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. All three have contracts that expire next summer. The Jazz will also get the Warriors' 2014 and 2017 first-round picks.

The Jazz sent Kevin Murphy to the Warriors in return.

Iguodala averaged 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 80 games last season for the Denver Nuggets.

---The Boston Celtics introduced Brad Stevens as their new coach at a press conference at the team's training center in Waltham, Mass.

Stevens is the 17th head coach in the franchise's history.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and members of the team's ownership group were also present.

"One of the things that I am so thrilled about is working at a place that has such high standards and places such a value on culture," Stevens said.

He added that he is "absolutely humbled" by the chance to coach the Celtics.

Stevens said he is looking forward to working with Rajon Rondo. The two have already spoken over the phone and Stevens plans to meet with him soon.

---Josh McRoberts has found a home in Charlotte and won't be leaving anytime soon.

The six-year power forward out of Duke and the Bobcats agreed to a two-year deal worth $5.5 million on Friday.

McRoberts started 19 games after being acquired last season from the Orlando Magic. He averaged 9.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 26 games with the Bobcats.

---Former longtime NBA referee Hue Hollins died. He was believed to be 70.

Hollins' death was announced by the NBA Referees Association.

Hollins officiated 19 NBA Finals games and five All-Star games during his 27-year career.