Wednesday’s Dwight Howard trade between the Nets and Hornets looked to send the eight-time All-Star to a team that he once had a long dalliance with. Back in 2012, Howard was the subject of numerous trade rumors, as the Nets reportedly looked to pair him with point guard Deron Williams.
A lot has changed in the last six years. Few things have changed more than Howard’s address.
He wound up leaving the Orlando Magic in 2013 for the Los Angeles Lakers. His career has been in a slide since.
After just one tumultuous year in Los Angeles, Howard played three with the Houston Rockets. He then signed a three year deal with his hometown Atlanta Hawks, but only played one of those seasons before being dealt to the Charlotte Hornets.
After one year, the Hornets sent him packing to Brooklyn, which acquired him as an expiring contract, and to move off of Timofey Mozgov’s huge deal.
For Brooklyn, the trade was clearly done for cap purposes. It opens up around $17 million ahead of the 2019-2020 season, giving the Nets two maximum salary slots to work with. Howard’s play was always a secondary concern, but now he may never suit up with Brooklyn.
According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, the Brooklyn Nets and Dwight Howard are negotiating a buyout.
Dwight Howard and Brooklyn will negotiate a buyout to enter free-agency, league sources tell ESPN.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 21, 2018
Howard’s deal is worth $23.8 million, and expires at the end of the 2018-19 season. He would then be free to latch onto another team.
The question is: who wants Dwight?
Even at 32, he can still play a bit. Just last season, Howard averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds, and two blocks per game. He has averaged a double-double in each of his 14 NBA seasons.
The natural conclusion would be to latch on to a team like the Golden State Warriors and chase a ring, but the Dubs aren’t a good fit as currently constituted. The team has entirely too many rim-running big men, and needs more wings, not players like Howard.
“When The Warriors Signed Dwight Howard and Everything Went To Hell” – my June 2019 column that’s coming in 12 months
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 21, 2018
The bridge with James Harden and the Houston Rockets is very burned, as is the one with the Los Angeles Lakers, as they attempt to lure superstars like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard.
There is probably a place in the NBA for Howard in 2018-19. The game has changed, he seems like a frustrating teammate, and just isn’t an obvious piece to add for today’s game, though.