Fresh off winning his first NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard said Wednesday that he’s willing to do whatever he’s asked in order to win another with his new team, the Philadelphia 76ers.
“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 in his introductory video call after signing a one-year deal for the minimum with Philadelphia in free agency. “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.”
After trading Al Horford to the Oklahoma City Thunder on draft night to better balance the roster, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said that he would have coach Doc Rivers try to sell the best candidates available in free agency to come to Philadelphia and back up the team’s star center, Joel Embiid.
According to Howard, Rivers did exactly that, calling Howard shortly after free agency began at 6 p.m. ET Friday and telling him the Sixers wanted to sign him.
Howard, who turns 35 next month, said that ultimately was what pushed him to join the team.
“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. “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.”
Howard’s Hall of Fame career has taken a circuitous route over the past several seasons, as he went from playing for the Orlando Magic for the first eight seasons of his career to playing for six teams — the Lakers, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards and then the Lakers again — over the past eight seasons.
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