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Howard says bye to L.A, picks Rockets

Howard spent two days thinking before calling the Rockets and flying to Los Angeles to inform the Lakers of his decision. (Associated Press)
Howard spent two days thinking before calling the Rockets and flying to Los Angeles to inform the Lakers of his decision. (Associated Press)

Basketball: Dwight Howard is joining the Rockets, leaving Los Angeles after one season to chase championships in Houston.

“I’ve decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets. I feel (it’s) the best place for me and I am excited about joining the Rockets and I’m looking forward to a great season,” Howard wrote on Twitter on Friday night.

“I want to thank the fans in Los Angeles and wish them the best.”

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,” general manager Daryl Morey tweeted.

USA Today first reported earlier Friday that Howard would join the Rockets, where he would team with All-Star James Harden to give the Rockets a potentially potent inside-outside combination.

That didn’t quite end the Howard saga, which has dragged on a couple of years. He spoke again with the Lakers amid reports he was changing his mind.

Turns out, he was just saying goodbye.

The deal can’t become official until July 10, 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.

• Mavs, Calderon agree on deal: The Mavericks moved quickly once they were out of the running for Dwight Howard. A source says Dallas and free-agent point guard Jose Calderon have an agreement on a four-year, $28 million contract.

Calderon spent his first seven years with Toronto before the Raptors traded him to Detroit in January.

• Barnes returns to Clippers: The Los Angeles Clippers resigned forward Matt Barnes to a three-year deal believed to be $11 million-12 million, with the third year not guaranteed.

In order to re-sign Barnes, the Clippers had to use a good chunk of their midlevel exception, leaving about $1.5 million left.

Barnes averaged 25.7 minutes and a career-best 10.3 points per game last season. He hit 34.2 percent of his 3-point shots and gave the team a long, lockdown defender.

• 76ers acquire White from Rockets: The Philadelphia 76ers have acquired the rights to Houston Rockets forward Royce White.

The 76ers also acquired the rights to 2012 draft pick Furkan Aldemir. The Sixers will send Houston future considerations.

White was a first-round pick (16th overall) last summer and never played for the Rockets. The 6-foot-8 White was on the inactive list as he worked on an arrangement with the team to balance his acknowledged anxiety disorder with the demands of the NBA schedule.

• McRoberts stays with Bobcats: Free-agent forward Josh McRoberts has agreed to a two-year, $5.5 million deal to remain with the Charlotte Bobcats.

McRoberts outperformed expectations after being acquired in a trade with the Orlando Magic on Feb. 21. He wound up starting 19 games and averaged 9.3 points and 7.2 rebounds in 26 total games for Charlotte.

Every takes lead at Greenbrier Classic

Golf: The first page of the Greenbrier Classic leaderboard is filled with golfers who’ll get to do something they’re unaccustomed to lately: Playing on the weekend.

Matt Every shot an 8-under 62 for a one-stroke lead over five other players midway through the Greenbrier Classic at White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Every, still looking for his first PGA Tour victory, needed just 26 putts during his best round of the year and is at 9 under for the tournament on the Old White TPC course. He missed four putts inside 12 feet that could have made his bogey-free second round even more special.

One stroke behind him at 8 under are Russell Henley (65), Bill Lunde (66), Daniel Summerhays (67), Steven Bowditch (67) and first-round co-leader Johnson Wagner (70).

Because 81 players made the cut at 1 under, there will be a 54-hole cut to get to the top 70 scores, plus ties.

Phil Mickelson is already assured of getting the weekend off. He shot 68 on Friday and finished at 2 over.

It marked the first time in his career that Mickelson missed three consecutive cuts at one tournament. Mickelson blamed his lackluster showings at the Greenbrier Classic on estimating distances with his iron shots.

John Daly withdrew at 7 over after playing just three holes Friday. He shot a 5-over 75 Thursday with a birdie on No. 12.

The PGA said Daly withdrew with an elbow injury. Daly said later on Twitter that he would have surgery next week and miss three to four months. He followed with another tweet saying he had a “bionic new arm coming soon.”

Grand jury to hear from shooting victim

Miscellany: A Connecticut man who says he lost an eye after being shot by Aaron Hernandez in February has been ordered to appear before a grand jury in Massachusetts that’s investigating the former New England Patriots tight end.

Superior Court Judge Joan Alexander in Hartford on Friday ordered Alexander Bradley to appear July 17 in Fall River, Mass.

Bradley had been fighting an interstate subpoena, asserting he needed to return to Florida for medical treatment.

Bradley claims in a lawsuit he was shot by Hernandez with a handgun as they were driving in Florida after arguing in a Miami nightclub. At the time, he told police he did not know who had shot him.

Hernandez is facing a murder charge in Massachusetts in the shooting of his friend Odin Lloyd.

• UW rows into semifinals: The University of Washington beat a Spanish crew from Real Sevilla and Real Mediterranoe de Malaga by 3 lengths in the quarterfinals of the Ladies’ Plate for international eights at Henley Royal Regatta on the Thames at Henley, England.

Washington will meet a British national squad development crew today.

In the quarterfinals of the Thames Cup for club eights, Green Lake Crew, from Seattle, went down by 1 1/2 lengths to England’s Griffen Boat Club. In the Temple Cup for student eights, Harvard University emerged victorious in the all-American quarterfinal against the University of Virginia by 1 2/3 lengths to move into the semifinals against Newcastle University.