Dwight Howard said Doc Rivers, 76ers were only team to reach out to him during free agency

Dwight Howard’s free agency wasn’t a smooth process by any means.

By the time he had signed with the Philadelphia 76ers, however, Howard was more than happy to be headed East.

After all, 76ers coach Doc Rivers was apparently the only one to hit him up this offseason.

“The reason why I was super locked in on being here in Philly is that Doc was the only coach that called me during this free-agency process,” Howard said Wednesday, via ESPN. “He was the first one to call me and he said we want you. We want you on our team. And then Daryl called. I said this is where I need to be right now. This is where my journey is calling me. To Philly. I’m super happy that Doc called me, that he gave me the opportunity, and I told him yes. I told him I would come.”

Dwight Howard’s Lakers fakeout

Though Howard said on Wednesday that the 76ers were the only team to reach out to him, league sources told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that he was actually under the impression that he was going to return to the Lakers.

Howard — who is fresh off a title run with Los Angeles in his 16th season in the league, where he averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds off the bench — even tweeted out that he was “staying right where I belong” and that “purple and gold never gets old.”

Howard, however, quickly deleted that tweet. Lakers sources said that the idea for a one-year deal was merely a “concept” despite Howard thinking that it was a done deal.

Regardless, Howard sounds content now that he’s with the 76ers — and is ready to do whatever it takes to win another NBA title, something he thinks they’re more than capable of doing.

“Winning the championship was everything, and it made me realize I could have the best stats in the world and it don’t mean nothing,” Howard said, via ESPN. “Because here it was, I won a championship and there was games where I didn’t score a bucket, or get a field goal, or get minutes in a game. What really matters is just holding up that trophy.

“That would be my message to everybody on the team: What are you willing to give up to get that trophy? Sometimes you got to give up everything. Sometimes your role and what’s required of you [is] to give up the things you want to do the most. For me, I would have loved to be the guy to score all the points and rebounds, but my team needed me for a specific purpose, and that was to provide the spirit and energy on and off the court.

“I think I did a pretty good job at it, and whatever this team asks me to do, I’m willing to do it.”

Los Angeles Lakers' Dwight HowardLos Angeles Lakers' Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard apparently thought that he had a deal to return to the Lakers, and even tweeted out that he was staying put before landing in Philadelphia. (AP/Mark J. Terrill)

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