When Dwight Howard takes the floor in October to start the 2018-2019 NBA season, he will once again be wearing a new uniform.
The Charlotte Hornets, Howard’s team in 2017-2018, have agreed to trade the former All-Star to the Brooklyn Nets in-exchange for center Timofey Mozgov, two second-round draft picks, and cash in a deal that can’t become official until July 6th when the NBA’s new league year begins.
For Howard, this is the second straight off-season he has been traded simply for a team to shed money off it’s cap sheet. It was exactly one year ago today that the Atlanta Hawks traded Howard and a 2017 second-round draft pick to the Hornets for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli, and a 2017 second-round draft pick. While there are always reports questioning how popular Howard is in the locker room, the decision to move Howard is usually mostly tied to the money aspect.
Howard, who signed a three-year, $70.5 million contract with the Hawks in July 2016, is set to make $23.8 million this season after making $23.5 million last season, and $23.1 million in 2016-2017. By unloading Mozgov’s contract (four-year, $64 million), the Nets will save $16.7 million in cap space next off-season since Howard’s deal will end after this season.
Shooting guard/small forward Allen Crabbe has a player option for the 2019-2020 season worth $18.5 million, and will certainly opt-in to that option to become Brooklyn’s only player with a guaranteed contract for that season. That means the Nets could potentially have $60 million in cap room available to sign free agents that summer, but they will have to decide the futures of D’Angelo Russell and Ronade Hollis-Jefferson before that off-season comes, as Bobby Marks of ESPN notes.
One of the second-round picks that Charlotte acquired in this trade will be in the 2018 NBA Draft, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. That second-round pick this year will be the 45th overall pick, while the next second-round draft pick is slated to be due in 2021.
The 32-year-old Howard averaged 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 1.3 assists per game in 81 regular season games last year. His best game of the season ironically came against the Nets on March 21, when he had 32 points and 30 rebounds on 10-17 shooting from the field in 34 minutes. It was the NBA’s first 30-30 game since Kevin Love in 2010.
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