I hope you saved some fireworks for the 5th of July because after nearly a week of anticipation, the wait has come to an end.
Dwight Howard has chosen to sign with the Houston Rockets.
“I’ve decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets,” tweeted Howard Friday evening. “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.”
Several reports (the first by Sam Amick of USA Today Sports) confirmed this afternoon that Houston was Howard’s choice, and Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley didn’t waste any time, either.
My original number is 21 so I will be wearing 21 next season!!!! And yep we got Dwight Howard!!!! Wow
— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) July 5, 2013
There’s no overstating it, really. This is a defining moment for the franchise, a move that catapults this team on paper from young upstart to title contender. I wrote previously why Howard to Houston makes so much sense and those reasons are just as valid today.
With one single move, the Rockets delivered a crushing knockout to the Los Angeles Lakers, a brutal gut punch to the Dallas Mavericks and a slap across the face to the Golden State Warriors.
But most importantly, the Rockets will be able to compete with just about any team in the league as they now have the best defensive center in the game anchoring them in the middle to pair with one of the league’s brightest young stars in James Harden, reminiscent of an early Yao Ming–Tracy McGrady pairing.
This will be a case study for the NBA in team building as the job Daryl Morey and staff have done over the last year has been absolutely extraordinary. In a 12-month span, they flipped a disgruntled Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin and a first round pick (Jeremy Lamb) into Harden and Howard.
Plenty more to come as there are reports of the Rockets preparing to sign-and-trade for Josh Smith, but the big fish has been reeled in. So now is the time to celebrate, Houston. Those long, hot days of begging for superstars to come to this town?
Those days are history.