Dwight Howard is officially a 76er.
The team announced Saturday that he signed a one-year guaranteed veteran minimum deal of $2.56 million.
Free agency began at 6 p.m. Friday. Most deals that have been agreed upon can’t be signed until 12:01 p.m. Sunday. However, Howard was able to sign his earlier because it is for a minimum salary.
This move reunites Howard with Daryl Morey, the new Sixers president of basketball operations. As the general manager of the Houston Rockets, Morey signed Howard to a three-year, $70 million free-agent contract in July 2013.
This time around, he got the soon-to-be 35-year-old at a cap-friendly bargain.
“Welcome to the @sixers @DwightHoward!” Morey tweeted at 2:48 p.m. Saturday.
Howard responded three minutes later, “Thank you. I am very grateful for this opportunity. Let’s bring a chip to Philly.”
Howard will wear jersey No. 39 and serve as a backup for three-time All-Star Joel Embiid.
Howard averaged 7.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks this past season as the Los Angeles Lakers’ backup center. He played a key role as the Lakers won their 17th NBA title.
The Sixers are getting an eight-time All-Star and three-time league defensive player of the year. He also won back-to-back shot-blocking titles. Howard has averaged 16.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in 1,113 career games, with 1,045 starts.
At one point Friday night, it appeared that Howard would remain with the Lakers. At 7:17 p.m., he announced on Twitter that he was returning to the Lakers, stating: “I’m staying right where I belong. Laker nation I love y’all. Purple and gold never gets old.”
That tweet was deleted within five minutes and the 16-year veteran was heading to the Sixers instead. Apparently, there was miscommunication between Howard and the Lakers in regard to his status in Los Angeles.
In other news, former Sixers reserve point guard Raul Neto signed a one-year veteran minimum deal with the Washington Wizards.