July 5, 2013 will be known as “D-Day” in the basketball world, when Dwight Howard once again had everyone pulling hair with his unpredictable future.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets were the two remaining teams in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, but the Golden State Warriors were slowly becoming serious threats early on in the day. Lakers Nation wrote that the Warriors were dumping salaries in order to make room for Howard and it seemed as though they were poised to acquire him.
However, the Warriors stunned many people and signed coveted free agent Andre Iguodala, which essentially took them out of the race for the center.
As time went on, Howard and his camp slowly began telling teams that they would not be receiving his services. The center informed the Hawks, Warriors and Mavericks that they are out of contention, meaning as everyone expecting, the Lakers and Rockets were the only remaining destination.
The only teams that have been informed that they’re out of the running are the Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 6, 2013
And then, things got a little interesting.
The first to report that Howard finally made his decision was Sam Amick of USA Today who said that the center will make his new home Houston.
Dwight Howard has chosen to sign with the Houston Rockets, @USATODAYSports has learned. Story to come. – http://t.co/eNYYg63uJo
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 5, 2013
However, there were multiple reports that Howard still had not made a decision and was contemplating between the Lakers and Rockets. Eventually, news surfaced that the center was 50-50 and since no official word had been released, many people believed the center remained an unrestricted free agent.
UPDATE: A source has told ESPN that Dwight Howard has “changed his mind.” Howard has told Lakers he’s now 50-50.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 6, 2013
The Lakers have been a franchise that has signed and re-signed superstar free agents over the years and never in their history has a player of Dwight’s caliber ever willingly left. Nevertheless, Dwight Howard became the first player to turn his back on the team and forgo everything the team and the city have to offer.
Statement from GM Mitch Kupchak: http://t.co/FaGcAfbsMK “We have been informed of Dwight’s decision to not return to the Lakers.”
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 6, 2013
Dwight Howard took his meetings, left for two-plus days to think, made a decision, flew to LA, told Lakers face-to-face and called Houston. — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 6, 2013
The reaction on Twitter was fairly negative on the Lakers side as fans showed their frustration with the center. Howard did not live up to expectations and people found that he could not handle the pressures of Los Angeles and the legacies he’d be compared to while playing for the Lakers.
Still, the best response to the Howard signing was that of Kobe Bryant’s. Not only did Bryant unfollow Howard on Twitter, he posted this picture on his Instagram account.
Kobe….NEVER change. I love you @kobebryant pic.twitter.com/CAnQf3VWu3 — Arielle Moyal (@ajmoyal) July 6, 2013
The Lakers will recover like always and even though they may struggle this upcoming season, they have a lot of cap space to work with in 2014 and will likely become a title contender in the near future.
Maybe not this upcoming year, but the years beyond that . . the Lakers future looks pretty damn bright with all that CAP SPACE! #VAMOS
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) July 6, 2013