Dwight Howard met with the Philadelphia 76ers’ media on Wednesday and admitted that Sixers head coach Doc Rivers and Rajon Rondo played a big role in his decision to sign with Philly, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.
Rivers was the only coach to call and recruit Howard in free agency, while Rondo helped Howard get an appreciation for what playing for Rivers would be like.
Rondo, who signed with the Atlanta Hawks in free agency, won the 2008 championship with Rivers on the Boston Celtics.
Dwight Howard said Doc Rivers was the only coach to call and recruit him directly during free agency. He said that locked him in on coming to the Sixers, and he said talking to Rajon Rondo helped him get an appreciation for what playing for Rivers would be like.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) November 25, 2020
Dwight Howard will back up Sixers All-Star Joel Embiid in Philly. The former superstar big man appeared in 69 games for the Los Angeles Lakers last season. He averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 72.9 percent from the field and 51.4 percent from the free throw line.
The Sixers, who got swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2020 playoffs at Walt Disney World, hired Doc Rivers after the Chicago native and the Los Angeles Clippers parted ways. Philly also hired former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey as its new president of basketball operations.
Sixers fans are hoping Rivers and Morey can be the duo who unlocks the full potential of Embiid and Ben Simmons, who didn’t play in the 2020 playoffs due to a knee injury that required surgery.
Howard was on his best behavior with the Lakers last season, so Sixers fans are hoping that’s the case in 2020-21 in Philadelphia.