Dwight Howard

Wizards Officially Sign Dwight Howard

A three-week saga that saw Dwight Howard traded by one team, bought out by a second team, and signed by a third team has come to an end. According to the NBA’s official transactions log, Howard formally signed his new contract with the Wizards on Wednesday.

Howard, who had initially been owed nearly $24MM as he entered a contract year, was traded from the Hornets to the Nets in a deal that saw Charlotte acquire Timofey Mozgov, a pair of second-round picks, and $5MM in cash. While that trade was agreed upon before June’s draft, it couldn’t be finalized until July for salary cap reasons.

The former No. 1 overall pick was subsequently bought out by the Nets, giving back a reported $5MM to the team in that agreement. After clearing waivers earlier this week, Howard was able to officially finalize his new contract agreement with the Wizards, a two-year deal that will use the taxpayer mid-level exception.

As our chart of this year’s mid-level values shows, the contract will pay him $5,337,000 in 2018/19, with a 2019/20 player option worth $5,603,850.

Howard projects to slot in as the Wizards’ starting center after the team traded former starter Marcin Gortat to the Clippers in a June deal. Based on Washington’s current roster, Howard would be backed up by Ian Mahinmi, Jason Smith, and Thomas Bryant at the center position.

While Howard has seemingly worn out his welcome at his last several NBA stops, the 32-year-old remains a productive NBA center and should provide the Wizards with a big man who can finish at the rim, grab double-digit rebounds, and block some shots. Last season in Charlotte, Howard averaged 16.6 PPG, 12.5 RPG, and 1.6 BPG in 81 starts (30.4 MPG).

Having added Howard, Austin Rivers, Jeff Green, and rookie Troy Brown so far this offseason, the Wizards are up to 14 players with a team salary approaching $135MM. Barring cost-cutting moves, Washington figures to be a taxpayer again in 2018/19. If the team wants to fill out the last spot on its roster, it will only have the minimum salary exception available to do so.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hornets Notes: Trades, Howard, Biyombo, Parker

In exchange for taking on an extra year of salary when they traded Dwight Howard for Timofey Mozgov, the Hornets acquired a pair of second-round picks. However, the Nets also sent cash to Charlotte in that deal, and now we know just how much. According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), the Hornets received $5MM for their troubles.

During the 2018/19 league year, an NBA team can only acquire up to $5.243MM in cash in trades, so the Hornets nearly reached their limit in that transactions with the Nets. Charlotte did reach its limit shortly thereafter, when the team flipped one of the second-rounders it acquired from Brooklyn to the Thunder. In that swap, which sent Hamidou Diallo to Oklahoma City, the Hornets received $243K in cash along with a 2019 second-round pick, tweets Pincus.

The Hornets now won’t be able to acquire any more cash in a trade until the 2019/20 league year begins, though they can still send out up to $5.243MM in deals this season.

Here’s more out of Charlotte:

  • Explaining the decision to trade Howard, Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said the team considered waiving and stretching the veteran center like the Nets ultimately did, but decided the trade with Brooklyn was the best way to go. Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer has the details, along with the quotes from Kupchak.
  • According to Kupchak, Bismack Biyombo‘s rebounding and rim-protecting abilities are a key reason why the Hornets flipped Mozgov to Orlando for him (link via Rick Bonnell). Kupchak also spoke about the increasing value of second-round picks around the NBA — Charlotte has made five trades so far this offseason, and all five have included at least one incoming or outgoing second-rounder.
  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com doesn’t believe the Hornets will receive great value from the two-year, $10MM deal they gave Tony Parker. Pelton cites Parker’s .498 true shooting percentage, which ranked 252 out of the 275 players who played at least 1000 minutes last season, as one reason for pessimism, adding that Charlotte failed to take advantage of a buyer’s market for point guards.
  • Even if Parker’s on-court numbers for the Hornets are lacking, new head coach James Borrego values the veteran leadership the longtime Spurs point guard will bring to the franchise, as Rick Bonnell writes. “We were trying to find a player in free agency that had experience, had wisdom, had winning DNA,” Borrego said. “He is such a valuable piece and has been to that San Antonio organization. We’re very fortunate right now.”

Nets Notes: Howard, Lin, Cap Room, Davis

Dwight Howard would have happily played for the Nets if the team hadn’t insisted on a buyout, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Howard tried to force a trade to Brooklyn in 2012 before being shipped from the Magic to the Lakers, and he still likes the idea of living and playing in New York City, sources tell Lewis. However, Brooklyn’s front office had no interest in a long-term arrangement and was focused solely on creating cap space for next summer when it acquired Howard from the Hornets in exchange for Timofey Mozgov and two second-round picks.

“If you look at the way we’re trying to build a team and you look at going forward years out from now, this is something that helps us going forward for next year,” GM Sean Marks said. “Dwight’s a terrific player. He’s been a terrific player in this league for a long time. I think this is something that we mutually agreed on, to give him an opportunity elsewhere.”

There’s more tonight out of Brooklyn:

  • The Nets have a large group of point guards on their roster, but Marks says there’s no urgency to do anything to resolve it now, including a trade of Jeremy Lin, Lewis writes in the same story. Injuries limited Lin to one game last season and 37 in his two years with the organization. “There’s absolutely no need for us to rush and go out there to do any particular deals to solve the so-called glut,” Marks said. “You look at the team now, that’s what we’ve got and that’s what we’re planning on. We’re planning on going into the season with that team.”
  • Howard, who has already agreed to a two-year, $11MM deal in Washington once he clears waivers, gave back $5MM in his buyout with the Nets, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. That leaves Brooklyn with about $11.6MM in remaining cap room, according to Lewis (Twitter link).
  • Marks was ecstatic to add former Trail Blazers big man Ed Davis in free agency at the bargain price of $4.4MM, relays Tom Dowd of NBA.com. Brooklyn suffered from a lack of size on its roster last season and didn’t have an effective backup to starting center Jarrett Allen“We need an enforcer type,” Marks said. “We need toughness, and Ed brings a lot of that to our group. He’s been around winning organizations, so for him to come in and bring some of that expertise and experience will be great for our group and our younger guys.”

Dwight Howard Finalizes Buyout, Headed To Wizards

The Nets have finalized their buyout of Dwight Howard‘s contract, paving the way for the veteran center to join the Wizards, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Howard will sign a two-year, $11MM contract that will include a player option for the second year, Wojnarowski adds.

Howard had one year and $23,819,725 remaining on his contract when he was dealt by the Hornets to the Nets, who had no intention of keeping him. The trade was agreed to last month but wasn’t officially announced until Friday.

By adding Howard, the Wizards now have 14 players with guaranteed contracts. Their projected luxury tax bill has increased from $11.5MM to $18.3MM, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

Howard will be worth any tax penalties if Washington can advance deeper in the postseason. The Wizards were bounced by the top-seeded Raptors in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs this past season.

The Wizards will make Howard their starting center after dealing Marcin Gortat to the Clippers for guard Austin Rivers. Howard averaged 16.6 PPG and 12.5 RPG in his lone season with the Hornets.

The buyout gives the Nets a projected $9-$11MM in cap space, Marks adds.

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.

Wizards Notes: Rivers, Howard, Green, Bryant

It was already common knowledge that the NBA’s Western Conference has long been stronger than the Eastern Conference. Critics continue to call for a conference realignment even when the odds of it happening are slim to none.

But now that the game’s best player has moved from the East to the West, the gap has widened even more, leaving many Eastern Conference players, including newly acquired Wizards’ guard Austin Rivers, more confident in their team’s chances to make a run at the NBA Finals, reports Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

“This training camp, this season is just gonna be a different type of mindset,” Rivers said. “[Before] you would play and you know you’re going to run into Golden State. Here, in the East, it’s really like everybody can get there. You can go to the Finals or the conference finals if you’re a playoff-caliber team, which this team is. 

I think that puts a different confidence, focus and energy on a team. I think that will probably be a focal point in training camp, I’m sure the coaches and everyone will say this is something we need to take advantage of.” 

Per Hughes, Rivers did acknowledge that the Celtics are probably the favorites now, having been Eastern Conference runners-up the last two seasons despite missing two of their best players during the 2017/18 playoffs. But, Rivers is excited to see what he and his new teammates are capable of after falling short in the playoffs in four of the last five seasons.

There’s more out of the D.C. area tonight:

  • Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated takes a look at the Wizards’ reported free agent signings of veterans Jeff Green and Dwight Howard. Woo gives both signings a “B” grade, calling both moves thrifty and low-risk due in large part to the one-year length of both deals.
  • In another piece for NBC Sports Washington, Hughes gives his own analysis of the Howard signing, agreeing that the move is low-risk, high-reward. Hughes writes that Howard gives Washington an upgrade from last season at center and that he should be at his best surrounded by three-point shooters like Otto Porter and Bradley Beal.
  • In another, albeit more under-the-radar move we relayed earlier this week, the Wizards claimed promising young big man Thomas Bryant off waivers from the Lakers after he was cut to increase L.A.’s cap room.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Howard, Knicks, Bolden

The Nets could have an extra $8MM in cap space to work with if the Dwight Howard buyout falls in the 30-40% range that many such agreements typically come to, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes.

That, coupled with the $6.6MM in room cap room the Nets had prior to the buyout, would give them close to $15MM in overall space to absorb another bad deal in return for assets or even go out and target their own player.

Lewis writes that Howard wasn’t interested in giving back more than $3-5MM and wasn’t incentivized to agree to the Nets’ buyout proposal until he knew that the Wizards were interested. It remains to be seen what the final numbers on that buyout agreement will look like.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division today:

  • Incoming first-round pick Robert Williams hasn’t made a great impression on the Celtics but an Associated Press report suggests that the big man won’t face any discipline for missing several team commitments less than a week into his NBA career. Not formal discipline, at least. “They discipline you with words,” the 20-year-old said. “More than you may know.
  • While Knicks acquisitions Mario Hezonja and Kevin Knox are a far cry from the future Hall-of-Famers David Fizdale worked with as a member of the Heat‘s coaching staff, the head coach believes that those flexible wings can play similar roles to the ones Dwyane Wade and LeBron James filled in Miami. Marc Berman of The New York Post spoke with Fizdale about his desire to play more positionless basketball.
  • The Sixers expect 2017 draft-and-stash prospect Jonah Bolden to participate in Summer League, Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets. International basketball reporter David Pick first tweeted that the Sixers had asked Maccabi Tel Aviv to clear Bolden to play in Las Vegas. The 22-year-old forward is a candidate to play in the NBA this season.

Free Agent Notes: Clippers, Harrell, Papanikolaou

We heard earlier today that the Clippers, who already have veteran centers Marcin Gortat and Boban Marjanovic under contract, are exploring the idea of adding Kyle O’Quinn, having met with him on Tuesday. In addition to their pursuit of O’Quinn, the Clips also maintain interest in re-signing Montrezl Harrell, reports Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Harrell is currently a restricted free agent.

As they weight their options at center, the Clippers will also have to be wary of their roster limits. The team entered the offseason with 12 players under contract, not counting rookies Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson. L.A. also reached deals with Mike Scott and Avery Bradley, increase the team’s tentative roster count to 16. Adding O’Quinn or re-signing Harrell would bump that total to 17, meaning two players would have to be waived or traded at some point.

Milos Teodosic, who has a partially guaranteed contract, and C.J. Williams, who is on a non-guaranteed contract, may be at risk of losing their roster spots with the Clippers, though that’s just my speculation.

Here are a few more free agent notes from around the league:

  • Dwight Howard is on track to sign with the Wizards when he officially becomes a free agent, but before he reached a deal with Washington, the veteran was said to have interest in the Warriors. In an appearance on Zach Lowe’s ESPN podcast (hat tip to RealGM), Tim Kawkami of The Athletic suggested the idea of adding Howard was internally discussed in Golden State, but he “was a ‘no’ in a lot of precincts of the Warriors.” We previously heard that the Dubs’ interest in Howard was tepid at best.
  • Former NBA forward Kostas Papanikolaou, who appeared in 69 total games for Houston and Denver between 2014 and 2016, is considering the possibility of an NBA return, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Papanikolaou played for Olympiacos in Greece last season.
  • One former NBA contributor who won’t be returning from Europe anytime soon is veteran guard Rudy Fernandez. The ex-Blazer signed a new two-year deal with Real Madrid in Spain, and said in a statement that he hopes to spend the rest of his career with the club.
  • In an informative piece for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks takes a team-by-team look at every club’s free agency situation, examining cap exceptions available, outstanding contract decisions, and much more.

Dwight Howard Finalizes Buyout Agreement, Will Sign With Wizards

4:34pm: Howard has finalized his buyout with the Nets and will sign a one-year deal with the Wizards for the MLE after he clears waivers, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

4:11pm: The Wizards plan to offer a contract to Dwight Howard once his expected buyout with the Nets is complete, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.

Howard is technically still a member of the Hornets, but that will change once the moratorium is lifted on Friday. He will be sent to Brooklyn under a deal agreed to two weeks ago, then will hit the open market if buyout negotiations go as planned.

Washington still has its $5.3MM mini mid-level exception to offer, along with a starting job. The Wizards need help in the middle after trading Marcin Gortat to the Clippers for Austin Rivers .

A three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Howard could provide a defensive anchor and a strong rebounding presence in Washington. Regardless of where he ends up, Howard will be with his fourth team in four years, but he remains productive at age 32. He averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds in 81 games for Charlotte this season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Parker, Kings, O’Quinn, Howard

The Kings are no longer believed to be pursuing restricted free agent forward Jabari Parker, a league source tells Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Reports from last week indicated that Parker was one of several free agents on the radar for the Kings, who were also linked to Zach LaVine and others.

Sacramento was one of the few NBA teams with cap room available, so if the Kings are out of the running for Parker, it will be interesting to see if the former No. 2 overall pick can find a lucrative offer elsewhere. The Bucks’ reported agreement with Ersan Ilyasova appears likely to hard-cap them, so a team could put pressure on Milwaukee with an aggressive offer sheet for Parker, but it remains to be seen which club might put such an offer on the table.

Here are a few more rumors from around the league on day two of free agency:

  • The Sixers continue to express interest in free agent center Kyle O’Quinn, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, who reports (via Twitter) that the Clippers and Pelicans are also in the mix for O’Quinn.
  • Dwight Howard still has to be traded and then bought out before he officially becomes a free agent, but he could hit the market in about a week. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders tweets that he keeps hearing the Wizards and Warriors as potential landing spots for Howard. Sam Amick of USA Today reported over the weekend that the former No. 1 pick has interest in the Pelicans, Warriors, and Wizards, though Amick and others have suggested Golden State may not be sold on Howard’s fit.
  • Former All-EuroLeague big man Nicolo Melli had a chance to pursue NBA opportunities this offseason, but has elected to return to Turkish team Fenerbahce, reports international basketball journalist David Pick (via Twitter). According to Pick, the Nets had “serious interest” in Melli, who figures to field NBA offers in 2019.