Dwight Howard trade details make it seem like the Charlotte Hornets pulled off quite the steal from the Atlanta Hawks. After only one season in Atlanta, the Hawks just traded him to the Hornets, putting Howard on his fifth NBA team since joining the league with the Orlando Magic. A report by ESPN states that the Hawks have agreed to trade Howard and the 31st pick of the 2017 NBA Draft to the Hornets for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli, and the 41st pick of the draft. League approval came through overnight on the deal.
Dwight Howard’s stats during the 2016-17 NBA season were pretty good, as he averaged 13.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game for the Atlanta Hawks. It was the first season of a three-year contract Howard had signed in free agency, making this a very surprising offseason move. Howard will earn $23.5 million during the upcoming season and then roughly $23.8 million the following year.
As for the other players in this deal, Miles Plumlee makes $12.5 million a year through the 2019-20 NBA season, and Marco Belinelli will make about $6.3 million during the final year of his contract. It appears that this was simply a huge salary dump for the Hawks, helping the team save a lot of money it owed Howard over the next two NBA seasons. The Hawks now have only three players under contract for the 2018-19 NBA season, and they are Plumlee, Kent Bazemore, and Dennis Schroder.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 21, 2017
Most of the time, NBA trade rumors will forecast when an All-Star player is about to get dealt, but that wasn’t the case with this Dwight Howard trade. While the Atlanta Hawks didn’t play as well as the front office had hoped during the 2016-17 NBA season, it didn’t seem like the team was ready to simply dump Howard at the first chance it got. The Charlotte Hornets basically swooped in and added a center who they just need to rebound and block shots on the defensive end of the court. Did the Hornets just become contenders in the Eastern Conference?
Can’t believe this Steve Nash/Dwight Howard cover is less than five years old. pic.twitter.com/JLI6JpQBFe
— SI Vault (@si_vault) June 21, 2017
This deal has already received league approval, so the picks and players have been officially exchanged. Howard now joins a team that already has Kemba Walker leading the offense and which has been looking for a true center since losing Al Jefferson to free agency last year. The Hornets have a lot of youth on the roster, including Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lamb, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, so the hope may be that this Dwight Howard trade can fill out the roster and put the team right into the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
[Featured Image by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images]