NBA: Howard headed to Houston - report

Dwight Howard, the most coveted player in the NBA's 2013 free agent class, is poised to depart the Los Angeles Lakers for the Houston Rockets, US media reported Friday.

USA Today and ESPN reported the seven-time All-Star center will sign with Houston, although team officials did not immediately confirm any deal.

ESPN cited a league source as saying Howard had told the Lakers he wouldn't return, but a Lakers' spokesman denied they had been notified of the players' decision.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said on Twitter that Houston had not been contacted by Howard and had no deal in place.

"While we are excited & cautiously optimistic Dwight Howard might choose Houston, we have not yet heard about his decision," Morey said on the social networking site.

But Howard's options appeared to be narrowing.

Earlier Friday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban confirmed his team was out of the running for Howard, and hopes of landing him also appeared to be fading for Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks.

The Lakers acquired Howard from the Orlando Magic in a 12-player, four-team deal in August of 2012.

Howard was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year three times (2009-2011) with Orlando and had helped the club reach the 2009 NBA finals, where they lost to the Lakers.

He had become disenchanted with the Magic and asked to be traded.

He arrived in Los Angeles having spent the off-season recovering from back surgery, and was further slowed by a torn labrum in his right shoulder.