New Rockets center Dwight Howard, left, and Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon… (Smiley N. Pool / Associated…)
Dwight Howard's deciding factor to join the Houston Rockets instead of return to the Los Angeles Lakers came down to new teammate Chandler Parsons.
Yep, the 6-foot-9 sharpshooter was relentless in requesting that the All-Star center and former defensive player of the year come to Texas to help Parsons, James Harden, Jeremy Lin, et al.
“Chandler is probably the guy you should really thank,” Howard said of who or what ultimately brought him to Houston. “He's been blowing my phone up every day. He's been great.”
Howard was introduced to media and the fans in Houston during a spectacle of a news conference and rally at the Toyota Center. He spurned the Lakers' five-year, $118-million offer to take the Rockets' four-year, $88-million deal.
Parsons said he pressed the fact that Houston had the pieces in place to rise to the top of the highly competitive Western Conference with Howard in the middle.
“I just told him, 'We're going to be really good without you, we're going to win games without you. Come make us great,'" Parsons said.
Parsons and Co. had a little help. Howard said during his news conference that when he was in Aspen, Colo., contemplating his decision, there was a strange recurrence.
“I believe in signs, and when I was in Aspen it seemed like everybody I met was from Houston,” Howard said. “I just had a good feeling in my soul about everything, the direction of the team, and just had a great feeling about what they were trying to accomplish.”
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