Dwight Howard’s homecoming in Atlanta was short lived. After just one season with the team, they have cut ties with the veteran big man to open up cap space. Howard will be headed to Charlotte along with the 31st pick in exchange for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and the 41st pick.
Sources: Charlotte is sending Miles Plumlee, Marco Belenelli and 41st pick to Atlanta for Dwight Howard and 31st pick.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 21, 2017
Though the Hawks get rid of Howard’s contract, they inherit Plumlee’s. He is due for $12.5 million annually over the next three seasons. That is a lot of money for a guy who averaged a hair over 10 minutes per game last season. Between having him and Bazemore on the books, the Hawks could plan on tanking and having those deals to put them over the salary floor. Schlenk’s emphasis on flexibility indicates that the Hawks are unlikely to re-sign Paul Millsap, so they could look to shift the team’s focus to developing young assets. Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Taurean Prince could develop their games, but the Hawks could get more young assets through the draft. The Hawks have been mediocre for years and Travis Schlenk may look to break that decade long streak.
However, Howard’s fit was in question when he was benched down the stretch of games in the Washington series. He made it clear he was unhappy. This could be the Hawks’ way of clearing cap and cutting ties to reallocate those funds to reload for this season.
Either way, the Hawks do not exactly have a championship makeup, and it is also a bummer to see them move down in the second round. The team could have gotten a first round talent in most years draft due to this year’s class’ depth.
Belinelli will be a nice role player for the Hawks and has a great three-point stroke. He is familiar with Coach Bud from his time in San Antonio. He is entering the final year of his deal.
There could be more trades to be made. Stay tuned Hawks fans.