While NBA trade rumors will die down for a bit as new stars settle with their teams, one former All-Star has brought excitement to the Atlanta Hawks. However, it’s not because the Hawks acquired or are planning to acquire him. Instead, recent reports suggest that several of the Atlanta players were excited over the fact their team traded away big man Dwight Howard. He’ll now join his fifth team this coming NBA season and the Charlotte Hornets are hoping the move pays off. As far as Atlanta players and many of the team’s fans go, it seems they’re exuberant over the move.
There were no tears of sorrow, only tears of joy from Howard’s former teammates when the big man was sent to a new team. Back in June, the Atlanta Hawks were able to reach a deal with the Charlotte Hornets to send them big man Dwight Howard. That NBA trade brought the Hawks center Miles Plumlee, shooting guard Marco Belinelli, and the 41st pick in the NBA Draft, as well as clearing a player who is considered detrimental by many around the league. The Hornets are now the “beneficiaries” of that particular player but they believe it will pay off. Quite a few of Atlanta’s current players couldn’t be happier, though.
A recent podcast from ESPN‘s Zach Lowe indicates that Howards’ former Hawks teammates were excited and “screaming in jubilation” when they learned of the news of the trade. Lowe went on to explain exactly why there were players so overjoyed about getting rid of the eight-time NBA All-Star and five-time All-NBA First Team member.
“You ask why, and one account was that Dwight would give these speeches before the game about how everyone is playing hard, we want unity, we’re going to… and then go out and play like a blah game where he demands post touches and doesn’t rotate as hard as he could. And everyone is like, ‘Why are you speaking in the locker room?’ But that’s all anecdotal. It’s just crazy how these stories come out after every stop in his career.”
Howard, who will now be a part of the Hornets, reached a high level of success with his original franchise, the Orlando Magic. He averaged career highs in points (22.9), blocks (2.9), and rebounds (14.5) between his 2007-08 and 2011-12 NBA regular seasons. That said, his numbers have dropped off some since he’s played with the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, and most recently, the Atlanta Hawks, but he’s still a double-double machine who could help the Hornets return to the postseason. That said, he can also be a liability in the late stages of a close game due to his free throw shooting woes.
The Atlanta Hawks are now a team that appears to clearly be in rebuild mode as they also lost All-Star Paul Millsap during the offseason to the Denver Nuggets, and former point guard Jeff Teague signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves ahead of that. With those three gone, there are no All-Star players left in the “ATL.” The newer personnel including NBA Draft pick John Collins can focus on a system that doesn’t involve Dwight Howard. However, CBS Sports‘ Colin Ward-Henninger suggested the Hawks have a “bleak” outlook for the coming season where they’ll win about 28 games or so. Either way, they’re excited about the upcoming season without Howard there.
That’s because the “Howard experiment” has failed in Los Angeles, Houston, and Atlanta. Now Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets will take on the veteran project. As with each team he’s arrived to, the organization, new teammates, and the fans are hoping this is the one that works out for Dwight Howard.
[Featured Image by Rob Carr/Getty Images]