Dwight Howard buys ad in Orlando

Three weeks after finally finding the exit door, Dwight Howard has something to say to Orlando.

Much obliged.

Howard took out a full-page advertisement in Sunday's Orlando Sentinel.

In it, he expresses "love" for the city and a gratitude for the chance to play there after a blockbuster trade last month sent him from the Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers.

"To play the game of basketball in the NBA is a blessing and to have had the opportunity to play before the Orlando fans for eight years was truly a privilege and an honor," Howard says in the advertisement, which according to a story on the newspaper's website appears on Page C7.

"Words cannot express the love that I have for Orlando. With your support we have done great things in this city from hanging banners to impacting our youth."

The text is featured below a montage of seven photographs showing Howard with fans, on the court with teammates and holding an oversized check at an apparent charity event.

"Although my career with the Magic has come to a close, my love for the city and the people that make it beautiful will never end," the ad says.

It's remains uncertain when Howard will make his Lakers debut after season-ending back surgery in April and whether he will be returning to the L.A. after this season -- or testing the free-agent market.

A lot of players found new homes in the blockbuster trade, including Andrew Bynum, sent by the Lakers to the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers shipped Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets.

The deal left Orlando with new additions in guard Arron Afflalo and forward Al Harrington from Denver, forward Moe Harkless and center Nikola Vucevic from Philadelphia, and forward Josh McRoberts and guard Christian Eyenga from the Lakers.

The Lakers got Howard, guard Chris Duhon and forward Earl Clark from Orlando. The Magic also traded guard Jason Richardson to Philadelphia.

The Magic also will get a second-round draft pick from Denver next year, a first-round pick from either Denver or New York in 2014, a conditional first-round pick from Philadelphia and a conditional second-round pick from the Lakers in 2015, and a conditional first-round pick from the Lakers in 2017. Orlando also will have a $17.8 million trade exception to use over the next year.

Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Arash Markazi was used in this report.