Howard Selects Houston in Free Agency

HOUSTONHouston Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander announced today that the team has signed unrestricted free agent center Dwight Howard. The three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year inked a four-year max deal with the Rockets.

“Dwight is the biggest free agent acquisition in the history of the Rockets,” said Alexander. “His addition puts us in contention. This is good for the city and especially the fans. Fans are going to have a great time this year. This team will be tremendous fun to watch.”

Howard (6-11, 265, Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy) owns career averages of 18.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.20 blocks in 697 games (696 starts) with the Orlando Magic and L.A. Lakers. He has also started 61 career postseason contests, averaging 19.7 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.72 blocks, as well as leading the 2008-09 Magic to the NBA Finals. A seven-time NBA All-Star, and six-time starter, Howard stands as the first player in league history to win three consecutive NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards (2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11). Howard has been named to the All-NBA First Team five times (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12) and has earned All-NBA Third Team twice (2006-07 and 2012-13). In addition, Howard made the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team three straight seasons (2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11) and All-Defensive Second Team once (2007-08). As the youngest player to record 9,000 rebounds in NBA history (27 years, 130 days), Howard was also a unanimous selection to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team in 2004-05. Howard, who captured the 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Championship, was acquired last year by the Lakers from Orlando as part of a four-team trade also involving Denver and Philadelphia on July 10, 2012.

“I’m just very excited to here. Leslie and everyone at the Rockets have been great to me so far,” said Howard. “This is very special. Words really can’t explain how I feel about being here. It is a fresh start, a clean slate. I am looking forward to doing it in Houston with these beautiful fans behind me. I think it is going to be great. I am looking forward to embracing this city and giving them everything I got.”

Selected by the Magic first overall in the 2004 NBA Draft, Howard still stands as Orlando’s all-time leader in total minutes played (22,471 - 36.2 mpg), total points scored (11,435 - 18.4 ppg), free throws made and attempted (3,366-5,727 FT), offensive rebounds (5,806), defensive boards (2,266), total rebounds (8,072 - 13.0 rpg) and blocked shots (1,344 - 21.6 bpg). While with the Magic, Howard became the first player in NBA history to lead the league in both rebounding and blocks in the same season for more than just one campaign. He also became just the fifth player in league annals to top the NBA in rebounding for at least three consecutive seasons.

Internationally, Howard is a member of the USA Men’s Senior National Team program and helped the USA capture the gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.