The Atlanta Hawks signed eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard to a three-year $70.5 million contract last summer and this summer they are dumping him in Charlotte for Miles Plumlee and Marco Belenelli.
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
Howard put up a solid stat line with the Hawks of 13.5 points on a career high 63.3 percent shooting, 12.7 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 1.2 blocks in 29.7 minutes over 74 regular season games. Unfortunately, he kind of disappeared in a first round playoff series loss to the Wizards.
Currently 31-years-old, Howard is owed $23.5 million next season and $23.8 million in 2018-19.
The Hornets were doing some dumping of their own when they sent Miles Plumlee the other way.
Plumlee was acquired from the Bucks in February after he had signed a four-year $50 million contract in August. At the time of the trade, Plumlee was averaging just 2.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in 9.7 minutes for the Bucks. After the trade, those numbers “improved” to 2.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 13.4 minutes. (Ouch)
Plumlee will be 29-years-old in September, so it’s not like anyone is expecting him to “develop” at this point.
The 31-year-old Belinelli is on a $6.6 million expiring deal, so the Hawks are in line for some significant savings over the next two seasons. Although, they will be giving most of that back in year three when they would have been out from under the Howard deal.
Belinelli is known as a streaky three-point shooter who can impact games. However, he hasn’t been quite as good over the last two seasons shooting below his career average of 37.7 percent from three. (30.6 percent in 2015-16 and 36 percent last year.) He did score over 10 points per game in each of the past two seasons. Also, his shooting was better in the four times he got to the postseason, so maybe the Hawks can flip him at the trade deadline?
If Howard is happier in Charlotte, the Hornets will “win” this trade, but it feels more like both teams were shipping out players they didn’t want for players the other team didn’t want and hoping things turn out better afterwards.