Dwight Howard prayed. He needed just one more push, one more reason. He needed a sign.

Howard had a decision to make. Time was running out. He wanted it to feel right. For all the information given him in all those meetings in Los Angeles, all the travails along the way to this moment and all the arguments careening in his head, he just needed something, one last piece of evidence, to be at peace with his choice.

“It was on the Fourth of July,” Howard said. “That’s when I felt it was Houston. I was in Colorado. It seemed like every person that I met was from Houston. It was just so ironic. I’d walk around. Someone would ask for a picture. They’d give me a business card and it would say Houston on it. I was like, “Is everybody in Colorado from Houston right now?’ It was unbelievable.

“I was like, ‘You know what, this has to be from God.’ You pray for things to happen. You pray for signs, for God to show you things. It just seemed like, this was it.”

A day after his decision was final, Howard was as relieved as Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was elated, as content as he could have imagined. The tough part, the decision and the conversations that followed when he told representatives of the Mavericks, Hawks, Warriors and especially the Lakers, was over. The anxiety of his controversial, injury-marred final season in Orlando and frustrating one season in Los Angeles were behind him.

He felt empowered to have made the choice that he considered best for him, rather than to please others. He finally had no second thoughts, no regrets.

While much as been made of the state of the Rockets a year, clearing out the roster for the moves they hoped would come, Howard was coming off back surgery, confined almost entirely to a bed or recliner, venturing out only for a one-block walk around his hotel home. But he too was making plans.

“When I had the back surgery, the one thing I kept envisioning was holding up that (championship) trophy,” Howard said. “Every day in the gym, before I even got an opportunity to run, I just envisioned myself holding that trophy. That’s what gave me the drive to want to get up and get back to basketball. Even though physically, I might not have been all the way there, I wanted to get back into it so bad.

“For the first four months I couldn’t do anything but lay on my back and walk. I watched as the Heat won and I sat in that room. I was just so upset. I just hated that taste, that bad taste of getting to The Finals and watching somebody else win. I wanted to win.”

To Howard, no consideration meant more to him when he weighed his options this week than “championship potential.” He had been moved by the conversations with Hakeem Olajuwon and excited by the plan described by Kevin McHale. He said his private conversation with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander might have meant more than even all the talks with Chandler Parsons and James Harden. But the greatest issue, he said, was the chance to win championships.

When The Finals ended this season, Parsons watched the Heat celebrate and sent Howard a text that read, “Come to Houston. That could be us.” Howard, however, said that he could not stand watching another championship won by another team.