76ers have Doc Rivers to thank for Dwight Howard signing

Dwight Howard shocked the world by joining the Philadelphia 76ers, and it’s all thanks to the communication skills of Doc Rivers.

Every year there are strange NBA free agency stories, like the time various LA Clippers players and personnel locking DeAndre Jordan in his own house to successfully persuade him to re-sign with the team after initially agreeing to a lucrative deal with the Dallas Mavericks.

While not on the same level, Dwight Howard’s free agency this year was strange. At the start of the offseason, Howard sent out a tweet saying that he was rejoining the Los Angeles Lakers. Not even an hour later, the tweet was deleted, and reports indicated that Howard had actually opted to sign on with the Philadelphia 76ers, leaving everyone in a state of confusion. Many were wondering — what made Howard change his mind?

While it was revealed the Lakers had offered a “concept deal” and then rescinded it long before Wednesday, Howard revealed another important tidbit when talking to the media: that new Sixers head coach Doc Rivers was the only coach to recruit him this offseason (per Tim Bontemps of ESPN). Additionally, Howard mentions that former Lakers teammate Rajon Rondo sold him on what it’s like playing for Rivers.

Doc Rivers is one hell of a recruiter

Recruiting a player with actual communication skills? Who’d have thought that would work! But it goes to show that Rivers was very interested in bringing Howard aboard, and Howard happily obliged by signing a one-year, $2.56 million veteran minimum deal.

This past season with the Lakers, Howard solidified himself as a quality option off the bench. In 69 regular-season games, Howard averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds a night while shooting an impressive 72.9 percent from the field. Howard started in seven of 18 NBA playoff games inside the Orlando bubble, where he averaged 5.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per games and walked out with his first-ever championship.

Now, Howard has the chance to run it back with a vastly improved 76ers squad. Not only did new general manager Daryl Morey add Howard, but he also acquired the likes of quality shooters in Danny Green and Seth Curry. That, and the veteran will get to play alongside faces of the franchise in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

The “Dwight Howard mystery” has finally been solved, and the man responsible for the Sixers signing was Doc Rivers. Case closed.

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