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Welcome Way Gone: Brooklyn’s Turn As Howard Traded Again

The league’s active leading rebounder gets bounced to his fifth different team since 2012

Dwight Howard

The league’s active leading rebounder gets bounced to his fifth different team since 2012

For someone who has accomplished so much individually in his NBA career, Dwight Howard has ricocheted around the league with astonishing regularity since 2012, when the Orlando Magic dealt him to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Howard, 32, an eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, caromed again Wednesday when the Charlotte Hornets shipped him to Brooklyn for center Timofey Mozgov, two future second-round picks and cash, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Dwight Howard

Streeter Lecka / Getty

The Hornets will get the Nets’ second-round pick (No. 45) in Thursday’s NBA Draft and a 2021 second-round pick.

Perhaps the Nets remember March 21, when Howard had 32 points and 30 rebounds against them in a 111-105 win? How could they forget, right?

Nevertheless, let us recap: Since 2012, Howard has been with the Lakers, Houston (2013-16), Atlanta (2016-17) and the Hornets (2017-18).

Why? Well, the suggestion has been made that Howard has regularly worn out his welcome wherever he has been. Kobe Bryant wasn’t a big fan of his in L.A. and, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Hawks were totally overjoyed when informed of Howard’s departure.

Still, even though he has never won an NBA championship, he will come to Brooklyn as the league’s top active rebounder (13,101) and shot blocker (2,047). There seems to be plenty of equity left in Howard, who skipped college to become the first overall pick in the 2004 Draft.

It appears this was strictly a financial concession for the Hornets, who have also been considering sending the dynamic Kemba Walker to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Walker is now the Hornets’ all-time leading scorer (9,907) and has one year left (at $12 million) on a deal he signed in 2014.

Although Walker might be in Cleveland for just one season, Cavaliers’ fans would love the trade to happen, since they’d view Walker as a possible enticement to keep LeBron James with the team.

According to Wojnarowski, Mozgov has two years and $32.7 million remaining on the four-year, $64 million deal he signed with the Lakers two seasons ago.

Dwight Howard

Maddie Meyer / Getty

Although it was widely reported Wednesday, the trade can’t be deemed official until the league’s financial calendar turns over July 6. The NBA allows its teams to hold contract negotiations and make conditional deals, but contracts can’t be signed during the time the NBA and its players association conduct the audit that determines the new salary cap.

The Nets, who were 28-54 last season and have not made the playoffs 2013-14, will need money to expire off the salary cap to absorb Howard’s salary. They will save $17 million thanks to this deal in the 2019-20, creating two max salary slots for another stellar free agent class.

Ironically, the Hornets acquired Howard from the Hawks just prior to the draft last season for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and a swap of No. 2 picks. The Nets got Mozgov from the Lakers with D’Angelo Russell in the Brook Lopez deal.

The Nets are doing what they can to rebuild. Since Sean Marks became general manager in  2016, they have drafted 6-11 center Jarrett Allen in 2017 and acquired 6-7 Caris LeVert in a 2016 deal with Indiana, who had just selected him in the draft. Howard will add another element to the front court.

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