According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Howard has expressed interest in a buyout, and the Nets will attempt to accommodate him. The two sides are expected to finalize an agreement that will allow Howard to reach free agency sometime after Charlotte and Brooklyn complete their trade in the new league year, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.
“I want to be in a situation where I have an opportunity to help a team win,” Howard told Haynes. “That’s my only goal. All I need is a real chance and a clean slate where it’s not people talking about my past.”
Howard is coming off a productive 2017/18 season in which he averaged 16.6 PPG, 12.5 RPG, and 1.6 BPG in 81 games for the Hornets. Despite his solid numbers, there’s a perception that Howard isn’t a great fit for teams in terms of chemistry and locker-room presence. He’ll be moving onto his fourth team in the last four seasons, but pushes back on the idea that he’s not a great teammate.
“If you come into the locker room, I’m literally somebody that tries to bring joy in the locker room,” Howard told Haynes. “I try to talk to everybody to get to know them more on a personal level. But I’m not somebody that goes around trying to destroy your team or the locker room because I want to win, but now that I’ve been traded, that seems like it’s a subject to get people to talk about that instead of the value that I bring to a team.”
Howard, who likely would have backed up Jarrett Allen if he remained in Brooklyn, has a $23.5MM salary for 2018/19, so it will be interesting to see how much of that money he’s willing to give up to find a new team. Dwyane Wade‘s buyout last summer could be a logical point of reference — Wade had a $23MM+ expiring contract too, and gave back about $8MM to complete a buyout with the Bulls, though Brooklyn might not drive as hard a bargain as Chicago did.
Howard is expected to draw interest from contending teams if and when he becomes a free agent, writes Haynes.