Sports

Happy and healthy, Dwight Howard ready to help Houston Rockets contend for a championship

Houston Rocket's Dwight Howard, right, dunks over Dallas Maverick's Vince Carter, left,  and Dallas Maverick's  Samuel Dalembert, center, in the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)

Houston Rocket's Dwight Howard, right, dunks over Dallas Maverick's Vince Carter, left, and Dallas Maverick's Samuel Dalembert, center, in the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)  (The Associated Press)

Dwight Howard says he is happy again.

The star center has put his lone disappointing and drama-filled season in Los Angeles behind him. He says he is ecstatic about joining the Houston Rockets and helping the young team compete for a championship.

Howard says: "I'm in a better place mentally, physically and spiritually now."

His delight is evident in watching him interact with his new teammates. He wears a broad smile fits of laughter are common as he chats with his fellow Rockets.

Howard spurned the Lakers to sign an $88 million deal with Houston, joining James Harden and a team that made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2009.