Nets, Hornets Finalize Mozgov, Howard Trade

JULY 6: The long-awaited deal between the Nets and Hornets has finally been completed, the Hornets announced today in a press release. Howard will now work on finalizing his buyout with the Nets, and has already lined up a deal with the Wizards. Meanwhile, Hamidou Diallo – the 45th overall pick in the draft – will be flipped from Charlotte to Oklahoma City.

JUNE 20: The Nets and Hornets are finalizing a deal that would send Timofey Mozgov to Charlotte and Dwight Howard to Brooklyn, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Hornets will also acquire a pair of second-round picks and cash considerations in the deal, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

In his full report on the trade, Wojnarowski provides more details on the picks involved in the deal, reporting that Charlotte will receive the No. 45 pick in this year’s draft, along with Brooklyn’s 2021 second-rounder.

The swap will allow the Nets to acquire a more productive center in the short term while also further clearing their cap sheet for the 2019 offseason. Howard’s contract is set to expire at that point, as are DeMarre Carroll‘s and Jeremy Lin‘s. By clearing Mozgov’s 2019/20 salary from their books, the Nets should have the flexibility to create two maximum-salary slots that summer.

As for the Hornets, they’ll save some money in the short term, since Mozgov’s $16MM salary for 2018/19 is more modest than Howard’s $23.82MM cap charge. While Charlotte is taking on the longer-term contract in the deal, the club will have far more breathing room below the projected luxury-tax line in ’18/19, and will pick up a few extra assets for its willingness to take on Mozgov.

The inclusion of Mozgov in the trade, one year after he was sent from the Lakers to the Nets, is interesting for a couple reasons. For one, the veteran had recently expressed dissatisfaction with his role – or lack thereof – in Brooklyn, suggesting that his relationship with head coach Kenny Atkinson had reached a “breaking point,” as Brian Lewis of The New York Post wrote this week. By moving him, the Nets should avoid a potential locker-room issue.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the general manager who is taking on Mozgov now is the one who initially signed him to his current four-year contract back in 2016. This is Mitch Kupchak‘s first roster move since being named the Hornets’ president of basketball operations and GM in the spring. His 2017 ouster in Los Angeles was largely attributed to the Lakers’ signings of Mozgov and Luol Deng in the summer of ’16, so this is a somewhat ominous start to his time in Charlotte.

Howard, meanwhile, will finally land in Brooklyn, which was his preferred landing spot several years ago when the former first overall pick was still a member of the Magic. Howard never made it to the Nets at that point in his career, but he’ll do so now, joining his fourth team in the last four years.

Howard is coming off a solid season for the Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 PPG and 12.5 RPG with 1.6 BPG in 81 contests. As for Mozgov, he fell out of the rotation early in the season, appearing in just 31 games for Brooklyn and averaging 4.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 11.6 MPG.

If the two teams intend to finalize the trade before the new league year begins on July 1, at least one more player would have to be included, since Howard’s cap hit for 2017/18 ($23.5MM) is substantially larger than Mozgov’s ($15.28MM), and Brooklyn doesn’t have the cap space to accommodate the difference. However, the Nets could create the necessary cap room after July 1, so there’s a good chance it won’t be finalized until after the July moratorium ends, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter).

Assuming the Nets and Hornets wait until the new league year to make the trade official, Brooklyn will become a cap-room team for 2018/19, losing access to its mid-level, bi-annual, and trade exceptions. Meanwhile, Charlotte would create a trade exception worth $7,819,725.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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44 thoughts on “Nets, Hornets Finalize Mozgov, Howard Trade

  1. acarneglia

    Wow! I kind of saw this coming for Charlotte with the history between Dwight and Kupchak. Dwight was really good last year and I hope he does well in Brooklyn. Now wtf do we do with Mozgov

        • acarneglia

          I’m thinking we might see a trade involving Kemba and Mozgov to either Sacramento or Phoenix and including those 2nd rd picks.

    • pbwalk

      Good! Maybe he wants to take that ridiculous Deng contract off of us while he’s at it!

  2. knickscavsfan

    Dang it. I had suggested the Cavs pursue either of them. They need a rim protector and while Mozzy is overpaid the Cavs have some bad contracts to move too. The Cavs couldn’t beat that deal? Hill’s 1/$21 mil for Howard and some 2nd rnd picks???

    I doubt Brooklyn wants to hold on to him. Maybe it can be worked out.

    • brewcrew08

      So leave CLE with no reliable point guard and two grossly overpaid centers? Plus there is no way LeBron and Howard would get along.

      • knickscavsfan

        George Hill wasn’t that impressive this year. There are several FA veteran point guards that can be had. They may look to draft a guard as well. Howard at 1/$23 mil having a 17 pt/13 reb/1.6 blocks on 55% shooting does not make Howard “grossly overpaid”. Also, Howard and LBJ should get along famously. LBJ has show he has a high IQ and ALWAYS gets the ball to the open man or exploits obvious mismatches. I could easily see a combo of Howard in the post, Love in one of the corners and LBJ at the top of the key with shooters on the wings being a highly efficient set. Other than your opinion there’s no reason at all to think he wouldn’t get along with Howard. Howard would probably play with a chip on his shoulder as he’s been productive for each of his last few teams and I assume he has a desire to win a chip and if LBJ stays then that might be the closest he’ll come to winning it all at this point of his career. I’ll take Howard over G. Hill all day and worry about the PG position later.

        • knickscavsfan

          And the Cavs have a GLARING need for a rim protector. Having Howard play C would also help Kevin Love as he can go back to PF if kept.

          • yoyo137

            It’s not smart for the Cavs to keep getting players based on who they were 8 years ago imo.

            • x%sure

              Nased on last year Howard would be effective. James is going to want Hill retained though, probably more then TT or Smith IMO.

            • knickscavsfan

              I’m basing it off of what he did last year. 17pts/13reb/1.6 blocks

  3. Jordan

    Wow. How far has Dwight fallen. Just think no one would of envisioned a trade like this a few years back. Now he’s being traded for mozgov? Your still a star in your own mind Dwight even though no one wants to play with you.

  4. FromTheCheapSeats

    This has to be tied to a subsequent move. It saves the Hornets $7.5mil next year, but adds $16mil the following season.

    The only way it makes sense is if the Hornets have something else in place that requires that cap room immediately.

  5. Jon L

    While Howard is a minus locker room personality, I think he’s still a productive player. His per 36 numbers last year were pretty good and he is a good defender. I think it’s overall a good move for both teams, but it does suck for Jarrett Allen cause his minutes will likely be reduced.

    • knickscavsfan

      I have to think that Brooklyn has no desire to keep Howard for 2018 either. I could see them using Howard to get back a similar expiring contract and maybe get more draft picks back, late 1st rnd or 2nd rnd picks.

  6. oriolesravenstimberwolves04

    Further Genius by the nets. They have really played their cards right.

  7. Makes sense only as a swap of bad contracts. Nets take on another 8 mm this year and save 16 mm next year. Charlotte gets breathing room wrt the tax line, and some 2nds. I doubt the Nets are going to let this affect Allen’s development (if they do, then it’s not a good deal). I suspect that Howard will be available this season (or earlier) if anyone wants him.

    • x%sure

      The pieces are being put in place… the bodies tense, the eyes shift… a familiar sound breaks the chill cool air… who is the prey, who is the predator?

  8. yoyo137

    I never thought the team getting Dwight would be the one making off like bandits. Shows you just how bad Mozgov is and that Mitch Kupchak definitely is not the guy to fix the Hornets. Took a step back already.

  9. Z-A

    Wonder if they’re going to stretch him over 5 years at 6.5M? I don’t really get this move to be honest. Dwight was an expiring contract. They could have just given Jeremy Lamb away for a 2nd and gotten under the luxury tax if they were desperate.

    They could have stretched Howard over 3 years at 7-8M too.

  10. formerlyz

    I dont really get this deal for Charlotte. They add the 45th pick, where they should be able to get a wing/guard, which is nice for them, but now they’re stuck with Mozgov the extra year. Zeller is a good defender, and should be able to replace Dwight relatively decently, but I would have just held onto Dwight’s expiring contract. With this, I dont think they’re done

    As for Brooklyn, losing the 2nd rounders doesnt hurt them b/c ot all the young guys they already have, plus all of the 2nd round picks they have. I think this is another good deal for them. I find it interesting that they added Dwight, with Jarred Allen being so good last year, but now they can let him continue to develop, and always have rim protection, and defense, and rebounding on the floor. They also get Dwight’s expiring deal to set up for next year. I expect they’ll try to add a big that can shoot at some point, or preferably someone that can play the 5 in smaller lineups.

  11. all in ad

    Howard…never has a player had so much talent but no success. He’s lazy…would not put in the work to fix his liability @ free throw line….he’s a locker room cancer….have you heard anyone say he is great teammate….you hear “good riddance” after he leaves. Deadbeat Dad….how many kids from how many women? Mitch has no time for the punk. Mozgov can play….give him minutes….get your money’s worth hornets!

  12. tatumszn2018

    Moment Kupchak went to Charlotte I knew Howard was getting dealt. Remember back in 2013 Howard got ejected from game 4 1st rd with Lakers where he cussed out Kupchak.

  13. Connorsoxfan

    If Portland doesn’t want to keep Nurkic, they should be calling Brooklyn right now to see if they’d take on a contract with a pick in exchange for Howard. Something like Turner and a pick, or maybe Aminu, Leonard, and no pick because Aminu actually has some value? Not sure if the salaries on those work, but they’d be close at least, so maybe some minor tweaks, but that’d be the base.

  14. x%sure

    Brooklyn gets some protection for their 6-7 PF, and their perimeter players can really stick their long arms into their opponent’s business with Howard on duty behind them. Actually I would have said that last year about Mozgov but it turns out his defense declined.

    Charlotte gets to quit wasting Zeller, and they got rid of a guy who always looks so lackadaisical and casual. It’s not a good look for an underperforming team.
    I bet Atkinson will be good for Howard in the sense of being good for everyone else putting up with him.
    Meanwhile the new CHA coach from the Spurs, Borrego, gets a stronger leadership start.

  15. hill

    So Charlotte just paid $9.0m to get an unplayable C and two 2nd Round picks, one of which they won’t see for 3 years.

    Same old same old in Charlotte.

  16. I read way early in all these comments someone saying that George Hill is more important/better than DH12, are you serious? DH12 is a better more important player than Hill even with a broken leg man, DH12 is a future HoF, while Hill never was a star, maybe a decent average player.

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