The Houston Rockets' notoriously aggressive way of luring players to their fold has paid off for the second straight offseason. Less than 12 months after landing James Harden and Jeremy Lin, it was reported that Houston has now acquired the services of the most sought-after player in this year's free agency, Dwight Howard. Shiznit of the year? Shiznit of the year.
"I've decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets," Howard announced through his Twitter account. "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." The 7-time All-NBA center will be receiving a four-year, $88 million contract that is set to be signed on July 10.
By agreeing to join Houston, Howard will be leaving a heartbroken Lakers squad that totally, madly, deeply hoped he'd carry the torch for them after Kobe Bryant calls it a career. "We have been informed of Dwight's decision to not return to the Lakers. Naturally we're disappointed," says Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. "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 career."
So how is Kobe taking all this? It's not like he's furious at Dwight for taking off, but we guess this particular Instagram post pretty much sums up how he feels:
For the record, the Black Mamba has reportedly unfollowed D-12 on social media, which, in web terms, marks the end of their friendship. Awww, buddies no more?
Star player and ball club relationships have gotten much more personal in recent years, thus the lingering drama when a guy like Dwight decides to leave for greener pastures during free agency period. Here are a few other cases:
Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen
Tampuhan peak: Garnett deletes Allen's number on his phone
When: NBA Free Agency 2012
Why: Allen, who was a key part of the Celtics' 2008 championship run, decided to take his talents to Miami, amidst constant trade rumors and the off-court issues he had with head coach Doc Rivers and teammate Rajon Rondo. Garnett, who arrived to Boston the same year as Allen, took his departure personally and chose to cease all communications with him.
What KG said: "I don't have Ray's number anymore. I'm not trying to communicate. I'm just being honest with everybody here. It is what it is. I choose not to. That's a choice I personally made. I told you all, I'm very close to Ray. I know his family. I wish nothing but the best for him and his family. I'm just making a choice on my own. That's all."
Have they made up? Between Ray-Ray winning another NBA title with Miami and KG's contract being dumped in Brooklyn? Nope, not at all.
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