Dwight Howard said Thursday afternoon that his "infamous" tweet in the opening hours of free agency about returning to the Los Angeles Lakers -- only to be followed a short time later by him agreeing to join the Philadelphia 76ers -- was the product of a misunderstanding over whether he officially had an offer to return to the defending NBA champions.
"At one point, I did," Howard said with a smile, when asked if he thought he had an offer in the opening hours of free agency. "That's when you saw the infamous tweet, because I really thought I was going back. But it was no offer.
"And I understand it's a business. The Lakers did what they felt was in their best interest, and I'm just very thankful for them giving me an opportunity to come back to L.A., and to just have an opportunity to win a championship.
"It's very difficult, but everything happens for a reason. I'm super excited about my purpose on this team, and moving forward."
Howard rejoined the Lakers on a non-guaranteed minimum contract last summer, after it appeared his career was potentially over after an injury-plagued season with the Washington Wizards saw him appear in only nine games. But Howard revived his career with a terrific season primarily playing off the bench in Los Angeles, and helped the Lakers win a championship in the bubble earlier this fall.
While Howard said he was excited to be in Philadelphia, he admitted it's been a whirlwind to adjust to moving to a new city and playing for a new team less than two months after the Lakers won that title in Orlando on Oct. 11.
"It's been a step," he said. "Every day has been a step into a different direction. It's very hard. I just finished playing with one team, and I was headed up here to Philly a couple days ago and trying to figure out what mask to wear, and all my masks said Lakers on them. I was like, 'I can't wear this anymore.'
"So, it was pretty tough, just the adjustment from being on one team and playing with this team for a full year ... we played basketball from October to October, and then now I'm with the 76ers, so just the clothing, being in Philly, I'm just trying to take everything in. But I'm very thankful and blessed to be part of this organization, and it's been great so far."
Beyond changing masks, Howard said another challenge was trying to keep his body right after the rigors of playing, essentially, from October to October with the Lakers, and now trying to pick things up with the Sixers a short time later. Still, he said he isn't concerned about the quick turnaround, and that he feels good about where his body is at heading into the new season.
"I try to keep myself in pretty good shape to get ready for this season," Howard said. "I wasn't expecting it to start so early, but I'll be ready and the main thing is just being there for the young fellas and just trying to help them out right now.
"It [feels] like we finished playing. I tried to take some time off, get off my feet, but just had the urge to get back in the gym, get back on the court, and try to get another championship."