The Dwight Howard era with the Nets lasted barely 24 hours. According to an ESPN report, Howard and the Nets are expected to negotiate a buyout of the final year of his contract valued at $23.8 million.
The Nets acquired Howard on Wednesday for Timofey Mozgov, who had two years remaining on his deal worth $32.7 million, plus the No. 45 overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft, the Nets’ second-round pick in 2021 and cash considerations. The move created salary cap space for the Nets in 2019 that could range anywhere from $50 million to $80 million and allowed the Hornets to get below the luxury tax threshold this year.
Howard told ESPN’s Chris Haynes he was blindsided by the deal, which won’t become official until the moratorium ends on July 6. “I was just really in total shock because I wasn’t expecting it to happen,” Howard told ESPN. “I thought this season was really good.”
The report said Howard and the Nets have agreed to enter buyout talks and further quoted Howard saying, “I want to be in a situation where I have an opportunity to help a team win. All I need is a real chance and a clean slate where it’s not people talking about my past.”
The Nets would have been Howard’s sixth team in the past eight seasons, and he has been widely described as a difficult locker-room presence. Although Howard certainly would have given the Nets a physical frontcourt presence, he’s not the mobile type of center that fits their modern spread offense. There also would have been questions about his ability to fit into the culture of an organization that has spent the past two years under general manager Sean Marks rebuilding.
So, the Nets enter Thursday night’s draft with the No. 29 pick in the first round, the No. 40 in the second round and still in need of a stretch four and more physicality and strength on defense.