Dwight Howard to the Nets; the good and bad

Here's a recap of the good and the bad of the Dwight Howard to Brooklyn trade.

The Charlotte Hornets are sending Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Timofey Mozgov, two second-round picks, and cash considerations according to Adrian Wojranowski.

Basically, a year from now the Nets will have enough cap space to be serious contenders for two max players. The 2019 offseason will include names like Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler and a few other All-NBA caliber guys. All of the potential cap situations will continue to evolve as the draft and free agency continue but the Nets should just have Allen Crabbe’s major contract on the books going into free agency next year. This type of cap flexibility as well as actually owning a first-round pick means there is a definite light at the end of this three-years-without-playoffs tunnel.  But in the meantime, what exactly will Dwight Howard do for the Nets next year?

To be blunt, nothing useful. And it is not because Dwight the player isn’t still capable of doing good things on the basketball court. Howard has averages of 17.4 points, 12.7 rebounds, and two blocks for his career and was able to put up 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks just last season. He ranked third in the league in rebounds and was fourth in double-doubles with 53. He is not the All-Star caliber player he once was but Dwight can still positively contribute to an NBA team. That team just isn’t the Nets.

After being traded twice in the last two seasons it seems that the book on Howard is clear: he’s just not a good teammate. Kobe Bryant, Clifford Robinson, and Nicolas Batum have all publicly stated how they did not enjoy playing with Dwight. Reports out of Charlotte and Atlanta suggest that teammates got sick of his antics and didn’t appreciate his slow, ball-stopping style of play on the court. His need for big-time minutes and unwillingness or incapability to always defend make him a stat-padding liability.

Dwight’s style of play was not a fit with the Hawks and Hornets and all signs point to his style not being a fit with the Nets. Kenny Atkinson’s speed of play, focus on the three, and emphasis on defense all go against what Dwight has shown he’s willing to do. Jarret Allen blew up last year because he was committed to defense, set good screens, and was always ready for a lob whether or not he was a focus on the offense. If 32-year-old Dwight Howard can learn from 20-year-old Jarrett Allen then this should be a seamless transition.

Outside of potentially stunting Jarrett Allen’s growth, the risk of Dwight in the Nets locker room shouldn’t be too great. The team is expected to lose and those expectations don’t change with Howard. As season long underdogs there should be an understanding that everyone is auditioning for their NBA future. If they can show how well they work with others, especially in Dwight’s case, Brooklyn may just be the necessary stop that reignites a player’s career. This also goes for guys like Jeremy Lin, D’Angelo Russell, and Jahlil Okafor.

The most intriguing option for the Nets would be to buy out Dwight's contract so he can enter free agency. Chris Haynes suggests that this is a possibility and it would honestly be best for both sides involved.

This trade sets up the potential for an amazing offseason next year. That by itself was worth the two second-round picks. Right now, Dwight doesn’t fit with the team but could contribute if he commits to a different style of play. In the meantime, Nets fans should sit back and enjoy the Sean Marks show.

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