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NBA roundup: Howard excited about 'fresh start'

The SportsXchange

The Houston Rockets formally introduced center Dwight Howard at a press conference in Houston on Saturday.

Howard's main message was that he is looking forward to making a "fresh start" after signing a four-year, $88 million contract earlier this week.

Former Rockets -- Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon and center Yao Ming -- were on hand for Howard's signing.

"This is a great opportunity, a great feeling to be here, to have a fresh start," Howard said. "I made this decision for me. I want to be happy. If you can't be happy when you're playing, it's not fun. I want to get back to being that guy who was playing and having fun but at the same time dominating.

"If we dedicate ourselves and sacrifice everything we've got for a championship, at the end of the season we should be holding up a trophy."

Howard left the Los Angeles Lakers after just one year. He took one year and $30 million less than what the Lakers could have offered to be with the Rockets. He played the first eight years of his career with the Orlando Magic.

"He's going to be phenomenal," owner Leslie Alexander said.

The Rockets are coming off their first playoff appearance since 2009. Howard joins co-star James Harden on a team that could potentially rise in the West.

Howard battled shoulder and back injuries to average 17.1 points, a league-best 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game last season. For his career, he has averaged 18.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.

---The Boston Celtics are hoping to trade away newly-acquired veteran forwards Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace, according to Comcast Sports Net New England.

The Celtics officially acquired Humphries and Wallace on Friday in a nine-player deal that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, among others, to the Brooklyn Nets.

However, the rebuilding Celtics want to unload Humphries and Wallace. Humphries should be easier to trade because he only has a year left on his contract but Wallace has three years remaining on his deal. The Celtics want to get younger and already have more than enough players signed on to their roster.

---The Milwaukee Bucks signed free-agent guard O.J. Mayo to a three-year, $24 million contract on Saturday.

The deal was agreed to Wednesday but could not be made official until Saturday because of a series of moves the team made that affected its salary cap space.

Mayo, 25, averaged 15.3 points for the Dallas Mavericks last season. He played just one season with Dallas before opting out of his contract.

---Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni joined star Kobe Bryant in publicly disagreeing with the team's decision to amnesty forward Metta World Peace.

D'Antoni said in the New York Post that he wanted to keep World Peace, but the decision by Lakers management was purely financial.

"Obviously it's a byproduct of the CBA," D'Antoni said at the team's Summer League in Las Vegas. "As a person and player, I couldn't find anyone better. He's great. I enjoyed coaching him. I hope he finds something great. He deserves it. It's not the coaches. It's management. They have to manage the cap."

Previously, Bryant sent out tweets expressing his disappointment that the team let World Peace go.

---The Philadelphia 76ers announced Saturday that they acquired the rights to center/forward Furkan Aldemir of Turkey, forward Royce White and additional consideration from the Houston Rockets for future draft considerations.

Aldemir, 21, was taken 53rd overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2012 draft. His rights were then traded to the Rockets as part of a four-team deal that also involved the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz.

White, 22, was selected No. 16 overall by the Rockets in the 2012 draft. He averaged 11.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.8 blocks in 25.6 minutes per game last season for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League.
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