Brooklyn Nets: With Dwight Howard trade, buyout done, Nets achieve flexibility

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

History will show it to be a whirlwind day for Dwight Howard — traded to the Brooklyn Nets, bought out, waived all in the same afternoon. Such is the business of the NBA.

The record books will show years from now that in the span of just a few hours on July 6, 2018, Dwight Howard was acquired, bought out and waived by the Brooklyn Nets.

Such is the business side of the NBA.

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Per a press release from the club, the Nets on Friday afternoon officially pulled the trigger on a trade first announced June 20, acquiring Howard from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Timofey Mozgov, the rights to Hamidou Diallo — the 45th overall pick in last month’s NBA Draft — and a second-round pick in 2021.

The Nets also agreed to a buyout of Howard’s contract and placed him on waivers.

To make the trade work, the Nets had to renounced the rights to free agents Dante Cunningham, Jahlil Okafor and James Webb, per

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Howard has already agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract with the Washington Wizards. The deal can’t be signed until Howard clears waivers.

The deal frees up nearly $17 million in salary cap space for the 2019-20 season, with the final year of Mozgov’s contract coming off Brooklyn’s books.

According to Tom Dowd of, the Howard buyout will wind up leaving the Nets with more than $10 million in cap space for the remainder of this season.

General manager Sean Marks, in Las Vegas for the team’s Summer League opener, said the organization would figure out the plan for the rest of the offseason once the final fallout from the Howard buyout is settled, but said that creating flexibility was the key.

"We’ll figure out how much cap space we have and, when that’s fully determined, then from there we’ll move forward with out we use it. We’ll use it strategically whether it’s on players ot whether it’s on trade3s and acquisitions from other teams. So we’ll figure that out."

Also on Friday, the Nets’ two free-agent deals became official, as Joe Harris signed his two-year, $16 million contract to remain with Brooklyn and Ed Davis finalized his one-year, $4.49 million deal to come over from the Portland Trail Blazers.

It was not announced Friday how much the final Howard buyout will end up being.

Early Bird Rights‘ Jeff Siegel has Brooklyn’s dead money figure for 2018-19 at nearly $29.3 million, which would be the $5.47 million cap hit for the buyout of Deron Williams three years ago along with Howard’s full $23.8 million salary for next season.

Siegel has the Nets’ current cap space at just less than $4.4 million. Based on Dowd’s report that the club will have more than $10 million available after Howard’s deal clears, it would appear based on the math that Howard left more than $5.6 million on the table.

Davis, meanwhile, adds needed size to Brooklyn’s frontcourt rotation. The Nets were looking for another big body to pair with center Jarrett Allen, either at the 4 or as a backup 5, and Davis fits that bill, according to Marks.

"Some of the intangibles he brings off the court that people don’t necessarily, that aren’t spoken about, what he does in the locker room and so forth. When you’re trying to create a culture, that’s really important. You’re trying to create a toughness, a grit. Ed brings all that.And then of course, on top of that is his play. We need an enforcer type. We need toughness and Ed brings a lot of that to our group. He’s been around winning organizations, so for him to come in and bring some of that expertise and experience will be great for our group and our younger guys."

Marks also addressed Jeremy Lin‘s situation. The veteran point guard was injured on opening night last season, but Marks expects him to be ready without restrictions for the opening of training camp.

The GM is also in no hurry to make a deal to move Lin.

"As we’ve seen before, it’s been handy to have a couple of extra point guards. There’s absolutely no need for us to go through and rush to do any particular deals to solve the so-called glut at point guard or get a shoorting forward.This is just: How do we build this thing and hopefully not affect long term, the long-term growth."

There has been speculation Lin could be targeted for a trade because of the presence of young D’Angelo Russell and the emergence last season of Most Improved Player finalist Spencer Dinwiddie at the position.

But keeping Lin affords the Nets flexibility — there’s that word again — in the backcourt, given that Lin, Russell and Dinwiddie all have the ability to play as combo guards, able to rotate freely between the 1 and 2 spots and create matchup problems for opponents when paired together.

As the Nets enter Year 3 under Marks, it is easy to see the plan coalescing — the huge amount of cap space cleared for next summer, flexibility to do some more dealing this offseason and the steady influx of talent joining the roster.

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It’s safe to say that for all intents and purposes, the worst of the personnel nightmares are in the past for the Brooklyn Nets.