Dwight Howard returned to Staples Center on Thursday for the first time since he won a title with the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s done a good job showing the team what kind of shenanigans it lost when it refused to sign him up for off-season free agency.
First, the Philadelphia 76ers center received its championship ring alongside teammate Danny Green in a pregame ceremonyThe pair were the main rotational players on the Lakers 2019-20 team, with Green starting every playoff game and Howard leading the team in the center within minutes.
Howard went on to play against his old team, and he soon started it with Laker’s great man Montrezl Harrell.
First, Howard and Harrell got into an awkward chest-to-chest interaction that ended with Harrell pushing Howard away. Both players suffered technical errors for the confrontation. Howard received another tech (and another nudge) a minute later when he walked into Harrell – you can be the judge if it was willful – at the end of the first quarter.
It caused an automatic rejection:
Ben Simmons got another technical foul, resulting in two free throws by Laker at the opening of the second quarter. Howard finished the game with six points, two rebounds, and two blocks in six minutes.
Sixers coach Doc Rivers was not amused by the incident during a halftime interview:
Things like this that happen during a player’s ring night really feel like something that can only happen to Dwight Howard. On the other hand, JaVale McGee and JR Smith were also members of the Lakers’ champion team.
It’s also worth noting that there is a backstory here between Howard and Harrell.
Dwight Howard and Montrezl Harrell have an uncomfortable history
Last off-season, Howard entered the NBA free agent market and seemed very interested in a Lakers reunion. Then things got tricky when Howard proudly tweeted that he was returning to the team, and then silently deleted the tweet.
About an hour later, it was reported that Howard was going to Philadelphia instead.
It was later revealed that Howard believed he had a $ 3 million offer from the Lakers for a year, but in reality the team never made a formal offer and was just a “deal concept.” The team told Howard’s agent it was necessary to get the offer approved by the owner, but after an hour of no communication, Howard decided to heed the Sixers’ call instead.
After that awkward divorce, the Lakers signed Harrell, reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year, and Marc Gasol to replace his big man tandem Howard and McGee. So you can imagine why Howard had another little weirdness aimed directly at Harrell on Thursday.
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