The LA Dwightmare ends, and the Texas one begins

Enzo Flojo
Dwight Howard will sign with the Rockets. Will the 'Dwightmare' end in LA or will it extend to Houston?

BIG ROCKET. Dwight Howard leaves the bright lights of LA to team up with young All-Star guard James Harden in Houston. Photo from Howard's Twitter account

MANILA, Philippines – One can never really know with Dwight Howard. Up until Saturday morning (Manila time), it seemed like he would dilly-dally all the way to the opening of the preseason.

Was he going to stay in California – by either continuing his telenovela with the Lakers or moving to the promising Warriors?

Was he going back home to Atlanta?

Or was he going to the Lone Star State, to team up with either fellow star big man Dirk Nowitzki or All-Star wingman James Harden?

Now, Saturday afternoon here in Manila, we know where the big fella is headed.

READ: Dwight Howard to sign with the Houston Rockets

Dwight Howard is going to be a Houston Rocket, and, with all due respect to Chinese giant Yao Ming, he has the potential to be the franchise’s best center since Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon.

His confirmation tweet:

“I’ve decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets. I feel its 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.”

Aside from the missing apostrophe and conjunctions, there’s nothing really offensive or disturbing about the tweet.

We all knew he was probably going to leave LA. Things just didn’t work out as well as a lot of people expected, and, throughout all the noise, he just wasn’t ready to return to that kind of situation, to those expectations.

NOT SOLD. Kobe Bryant told Dwight Howard if he wants to know how to 'get it done' he should stay in LA. Photo by Michael Nelson/EPA

It doesn’t mean the expectations in Houston won’t be sky-high. On the contrary, Rockets fans are dreaming of not just a return to the Playoffs in 2014, but maybe even a return to the West Finals and beyond.

Rockets lineup championship material?

As of now, one possible starting combo for the Rockets can look like this: Dwight Howard, Omer Asik, Chandler Parsons, James Harden, and Jeremy Lin. It’s a unit with great size, great athleticism, great shooting, and great playmaking.

In short, on paper, Howard makes the Rockets instant title contenders.

NBA world championships, however, aren’t won on paper.

I see Houston moving Asik and maybe even Lin (for the simple reason both are overpaid) out of Texas for other key pieces who can complement the core trio of Howard, Parsons, and Harden.

One possibility is making a run at Atlanta’s Josh Smith, who is maybe the best forward available in the market. Get him in Houston, and, BOOM, the Rockets are cemented as another Super Team to challenge the ones in LA, Miami, and New York.

READ: Top 5 NBA Free Agents of 2013

Another potential deal is trading away Asik and some other pieces for New Orleans Pelican Ryan Anderson. This deal does not have as much star factor, but Anderson might be a better fit given Howard’s preferred style of play. He is more effective with four guys on the wings who can all spread the floor rather than in tandem with a fellow low-post operator (hello, Pau). That’s what he had when Orlando made the 2009 Finals.

Anderson helped spread the floor for Howard in Orlando from 2009-2012.

The 6’10” stretch-four is coming off one of his best NBA seasons yet, averaging 16.2ppg and 6.4rpg while shooting 38% from downtown as a New Orleans Hornet. If he does get nabbed by Houston, then things get much much sweeter.

Oh but it all depends on how healthy Dwight is going to be. Are we going to see the Dwight Howard of last season, or the one who dominated the interior for Orlando from 2004-2012?

ONE-TWO PUNCH. The All-Star pairing of James Harden and Dwight Howard can potentially be one of the best tandems in NBA history. Photo by Michael Nelson/EPA

And how will he mesh with James Harden, who was, at times, a better shooting guard last season than Kobe Bryant was? Will Howard open things up for Harden (like he should), or will he take away possessions from the former OKC Thunder 6th man?

It all remains to be seen.

In fact, I daresay that even if Howard has already verbally (and tweet-ally?) committed to Houston, I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if things suddenly changed before he is allowed to sign a contract.

For all we know, he might go back on his word (it wouldn’t be the first time) and go elsewhere.

I mean, this is Dwight Howard, and we can never know with him. – Rappler.com

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