By Jim Hill

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles Lakers have been notified by Dwight Howard that he will not be returning as he will reportedly sign with the Houston Rockets

“This was the toughest decision that I have ever made,” Howard told CBS2/KCAL9 director Jim Hill Friday evening. “I know the pros and cons of leaving a storied franchise like the Lakers. I prayed on it a lot, but I decided to follow my heart (Houston) and wish the Lakers well.”

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Before speaking with Hill Howard tweeted, “I’ve decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets. I feel its the best place for me and I am excited about joining the Rockets and I’m looking forward to a great season. I want to thank the fans in Los Angeles and wish them the best.”

Howard flew to Los Angeles to meet with Mitch Kupchak face-to-face for one last time before making his decision.

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“We have been informed of Dwight’s decision to not return to the Lakers. Naturally we’re disappointed,” read the statement.

“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, one our great Lakers fans will be proud to support. To Dwight, we thank him for his time and consideration, and for his efforts with us last season. We wish him the best of luck on the remainder of his NBA career.”

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When Howard signs with the Rockets, he will leave a possible $30 million on the table for leaving the Los Angeles Lakers.