So Dwight Howard will be a Houston Rocket next year. We know because Dwight Howard changed his Twitter avatar and apparently woke up James Harden in Houston to take late-night selfies, and because Kobe Bryant unfollowed Howard and published this vaguely heart-wrenching photo of himself with another guy he publicly talked shit about last season. We know because Rockets GM Daryl Morey and head coach Kevin McHale gushed about the deal all weekend.
But the problem is that Howard isn't a Rocket yet. He is, of course, but he isn't, because for the first nine days of July, the NBA league office has implemented a moratorium as it wraps up last season's accounting. In that time, players can make verbal agreements with teams, but teams can't officially announce a verbal agreement as a done deal. Because it's not.
The league fined the Rockets $150,000. The Los Angeles Lakers, who replaced Dwight Howard with Chris Kaman, toed the line themselves, but they're not morons, and thusly didn't get fined.
"The team has been engaged in negotiations with free-agent center Chris Kaman and intends to sign him to a contract at the conclusion of the NBA moratorium period," Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. Because he used the very important term "intends," the Lakers didn't announce the Kaman signing as official. Because it's not, even though it is.
Meanwhile, Morey was saying shit like, "I gave out a little whoop. A little non-presidential yell."
Dozens of players have moved already this offseason, but only the Rockets are whooping and yelling about it. And fair play, since in less than 12 short months, the sucky Kevin Martin-led Rockets somehow transmogrified into a team boasting two likely All-NBA first-teamers with a front office that can't or doesn't follow the most elementary of league rules. So it's funny, and a little sad, maybe, to think about how many more games Houston will win than LA next year.
Photo: Associated Press