Howard explains timing, motive for departure

September 30, 2013

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard made up his mind to leave the Lakers a day prior to his July 5 announcement.

"The night before, when I had decided, I sat down with everybody -- my agent, my best friend who was there, and my bodyguard, and we talked.  I said this is where I want to go," said Howard to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports.

"I said tomorrow, when I get home, we're going to talk to the Lakers. I'm going to tell the other teams on the phone, and that's what I did," Howard continued.

The Lakers traded for Howard in the summer of 2012 (from the Orlando Magic) but the veteran center played just one, injury-riddled season with the franchise.

Howard said he felt it was important to tell the Lakers of the decision himself.

"I felt like for them it wouldn't have been personal enough," he continued. "They were the team that decided to take me from Orlando, so I wanted to give them that respect -- especially [General Manager] Mitch [Kupchak], because that was somebody who I had conversations with all summer. I wanted to let him know personally, and to thank him for the opportunity to play for the Lakers."

A big part of Howard's decision was the opportunity to play with Houston's James Harden, who is age 24.

"James Harden doesn't come by every 10 years. It doesn't happen," Howard said.

While the Lakers have Kobe Bryant, he's 35 years old and recovering from a devastating Achilles injury.

Howard and the Rockets will host the Lakers in Houston on Nov. 7.

--Eric Pincus