The Philadelphia 76ers have been very busy during the 2020 offseason as they quickly prepare for the 2020-21 season. They overhauled their front office. They have a new coach. And they made a lot of changes to their list.
The change of head coach is significant. Doc Rivers has an excellent reputation with players in the league, and the team were counting on him to help him make additions to his team in free agency. After the trade they made on draft night, the Sixers still needed a rescue center and Rivers got to work quickly.
The team signed big man Dwight Howard to a one-year, $ 2.6 million contract and he is expected to be the team’s veteran leader and make sure the team doesn’t fall off a cliff when Joel Embiid goes to the bench.
“The reason I was so stuck on Philly is that Doc was the only coach who called me during this free agency process,” Howard said. “The first one to call me and he said ‘We want you. We want you on our team. Then Daryl (Morey) called, and I said that’s where I need to be right now. This is where my journey calls me. I was so glad Doc called me and gave me an opportunity and I said ‘yes’ to him.
One of Howard’s teammates with the Los Angeles Lakers also had an influence on his decision. Rajon Rondo played for Rivers for seven seasons in Boston, and Howard spoke to Rondo about playing for Rivers.
“Rondo was probably a big contributor,” Howard added. “Just talking with him and his relationship with Doc.” So I would say Doc and also Elton Brand.
There is a lot of familiarity in Philadelphia for Howard. Danny Green was his teammate with the Lakers last season, and he also has Morey in his corner, who was the general manager who brought him to the Houston Rockets in 2013.
“Daryl and I are going back to Houston, and it’s great to see each other again,” he added. “Our time in Houston, we thought we had a chance to win a championship, but it was not the right time. I believe we are both in good condition mentally, physically and spiritually, and it would be a great opportunity to win the championship together.
The Sixers are one of the most talented teams in the league, and Howard could be the guy who can help them stabilize them, bring them together and deliver a good game on the bench to make sure the team gets over the bump. For just $ 2.6 million, the Sixers could walk away from free agency with one of the best players in the league.
“I am very excited to join the 76ers,” he said with a smile. “It’s a team that I’ve watched from afar for a few years. I would always tell people how great I think this team can be and now we are here. I am very happy to be part of the organization. “