LAS VEGAS — Dwight Howard is going back to Cali.
The 76ers reserve center agreed to one-year deal to return to the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent Qais Haider told The Athletic. The two sides came to an agreement after the 6 p.m. start to free agency. His contract can be finalized after noon on Friday.
Perhaps surprised, Sixers starting center Joel Embiid tweeted, “What’s going on??” after news broke that Howard was heading back to the Lakers.
Howard won an NBA championship in Los Angeles during the 2019-20 season. However, Howard signed a one-year guaranteed veteran minimum deal with the Sixers back in November. The 35-year-old averaged 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds as Joel Embiid’s backup center.
Back then, a league source said Howard was upset because he felt the Lakers reneged on a one-year, $3 million handshake deal, which prompted a tweet stating he was “staying right where I belong.” However, Yahoo Sports said sources within the organization were adamant that no formal offer was made, stating it was only a “deal concept.” The miscommunication forced him to delete the tweet.
At the time, the Sixers were aggressively pursuing Howard. So he agreed to join the Sixers after not hearing back from the Lakers.