For a moment it appeared as though the Los Angeles Lakers had managed to keep a key piece of their frontcourt by re-signing Dwight Howard.
Howard sent out a tweet early into free agency that voiced excitement about returning to the team. However, the update ultimately proved to be premature as it was followed by news of his signing with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Howard successfully managed to restore his image in the eyes of fans in Los Angeles following a first failed stint with the team. It seems even he got a bit overzealous when it came to his plans as a free agent.
Howard explained that he legitimately thought he was going to re-sign with the Lakers and although it did not pan out, he is still happy with where the journey has taken him, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps:
“At one point, I did,” Howard said with a smile, when asked if he thought he did have an offer in the opening hours of free agency. “That’s when you saw the infamous tweet, because I really thought I was going back. But it was no offer. And I understand it’s a business. The Lakers did what they felt was in their best interest, and I’m just very thankful for them giving me an opportunity to come back to L.A., and to just have an opportunity to win a championship. It’s very difficult, but everything happens for a reason. I’m super excited about my purpose on this team, and moving forward.”
Howard enjoyed quite the resurgence in L.A. after enduring an injury-plagued stretch to his career. He signed with the team on a non-guaranteed minimum contract and wasted no time in providing plenty of bang for his buck as an integral part of the rotation.
The nature of how this news unfolded was hardly ideal given Howard’s contributions to the championship in the bubble. Regardless, there is no denying that both sides benefitted greatly from their time together.
Howard is now looking to have a similar impact as a backup to star big man Joel Embiid. Either way, he goes into Philadelphia having already put the finishing touches on a Hall of Fame career.
Sixers, Lakers fill major void in frontcourt
The Sixers were already in the market for a new big man following the departure of Al Horford. Once the misunderstanding with the Lakers went down and Howard had not heard back from the Lakers, Embiid reportedly wasted no time in recruiting him as his backup.
Meanwhile, L.A. managed to fill the void with major pieces on both ends of the floor. Not only did they bring Montrezl Harrell to provide a much-needed scoring punch, but the arrival of Marc Gasol gives them another presence on the defensive end did.
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