Believing he had agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal to remain with L.A., Howard sent out a since-deleted celebratory tweet announcing that he was "staying right where I belong." According to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, no official offer was ever made to Howard.
Instead, the Lakers had presented the big man with a "deal concept" that Howard believed was a formal offer.
The Sixers deal came together while Howard was awaiting further word from the Lakers.
Haynes noted Philadelphia general manager Daryl Morey was "ultra-aggressive" in his pursuit of Howard while Sixers star Joel Embiid reached out to recruit the 34-year-old.
In the meantime, the Lakers reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with forward Montrezl Harrell.
That seemingly eliminated any need for Los Angeles to bring Howard back into the fold while upgrading its frontcourt.
Harrell was named Sixth Man of the Year in 2019-20 while averaging 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 27.8 minutes with the Clippers.
While Howard had a successful campaign as a backup to Anthony Davis last season, his 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game don't come close to the type of production Harrell brings.
Notably, the Lakers kept communication strictly through Howard's agent, per Haynes. That left more room for miscommunication between the two sides and eventually led to Howard's erroneous post.