NBA: New teams for Howard, Iguodala

2013-07-06T00:00:00Z NBA: New teams for Howard, IguodalaThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Dwight Howard says he is signing with the Houston Rockets, and former UA star Andre Iguodala is headed from Denver to Golden State as the Warriors sent another former Wildcat, Richard Jefferson, to Utah.

Howard posted a message on Twitter on Friday night saying he thought Houston was "the best place for me."

"I am excited about joining the Rockets and I'm looking forward to a great season," said the All-Star center, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers last season.

Howard will join All-Star James Harden to give Houston a potentially potent inside-outside combination.

"We wish (Howard) the best of luck on the remainder of his NBA career," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement.

Dallas, Golden State and Atlanta were the other suitors interested in Howard.

After the Warriors couldn't get Howard, they unloaded their expiring contracts for what they believe was the next best player on the market - Iguodala.

Golden State reached an agreement with the swingman on a $48 million, four-year deal Friday. NBA rules prevent confirmation of moves until Wednesday, but Iguodala confirmed the deal in a tweet to Golden State guard Stephen Curry that ended with the phrase, "LETS GET IT!!!!" Curry responded by saying it would be a great four years.

The Warriors cleared more than $24 million in salary cap space by sending Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush to the Utah Jazz along with unspecified draft picks.

The moves give the rejuvenated franchise, fresh off an appearance in the second round of the playoffs and with a stockpile of promising young talent, a potent scorer and perimeter defender to team with point guard Curry and company. And for Iguodala, it's a chance to play with another contender.

Iguodala averaged 13 points, 5.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds last season for the Nuggets, who lost in six games to the Warriors in the opening round of the playoffs. He spent his first eight years in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers and has averaged 15.1 points on 46 percent shooting for his career.

Howard leaves behind an extra $30 million and an offense under Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni that he was never fully comfortable with, joining a Rockets team that could become an immediate contender in the Western Conference with the All-Star center in the middle.

"Years of work by Dwight & Rockets went into this. This team is going to be special," Houston general manager Daryl Morey tweeted.

Howard thanked "the fans in Los Angeles," and Kupchak said, "naturally we're disappointed.

"However, we will now move forward in a different direction with the future of the franchise and, as always, will do our best to build the best team possible."

The Rockets brought Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon with them when they made their pitch to Howard on Monday.

The deal can't become official until Wednesday, after next season's salary cap has been set. The Rockets can give him a four-year deal worth about $88 million, a year less and far below the $118 million the Lakers could have offered.

Denver tried to entice Iguodala to come back to the Mile High City, especially because he could return on a five-year deal while the most he could get elsewhere was four years. Sacramento, led by new general manager and former Denver executive Pete D'Alessandro, also sought the top defender.

On Twitter, Denver players reacted to Iguodala's decision to bolt for the Warriors.

"It was a pleasure. Great guy!" forward Wilson Chandler wrote.

Speedy point guard Ty Lawson said: "Smh!!!!" (shaking my head) and later added, "Business is business."

The Warriors will renounce their rights to restricted free agent guard Jarrett Jack and forward Carl Landry to clear space for Iguodala.

The biggest boon for Utah might be three veterans with expiring contracts, which will give the Jazz tons of space when a slew of top free agents hit the open market next summer. Jefferson is due about $11 million, Biedrins $9 million and Rush $4 million in the final year of their deals.

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