Howard talk costs Rockets $150K

The Houston Rockets won the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, but it'll cost them a bit more than they anticipated.

An NBA spokesman confirms the team and its personnel were fined $150,000 by the league for unauthorized public comments about Howard during the league's annual moratorium on player business.

Howard verbally committed Friday to sign a four-year, $88 million contract with the Rockets, passing up a $118 million deal over five years to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers and likewise spurning interest from Dallas, Golden State and Atlanta.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and coach Kevin McHale were both quoted extensively over the weekend after securing Howard's verbal commitment. Teams are not allowed to publicly treat verbal agreements as done deals until the moratorium is lifted and contracts can be officially signed.

Until Wednesday, teams and players can only verbally agree to terms on new contracts for free agents.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.