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The Hornets had already made available Nicolas Batum (four years, $100 million), Dwight Howard (two years, $47 million), Marvin Williams (three years, $42 million) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (three years, $39 million), league sources said, but those players and their contracts are largely unattractive in the marketplace.
Dwight Howard’s most recent interlude in Atlanta was supposed to not only be a homecoming of sorts, but an opportunity to resurrect a once-promising career by demonstrating a willingness to evolve his game. But the Hawks opted to pull the plug after a disappointing season, and now reports are emerging that it was in no small part due to Howard’s ongoing inability to accept a reduced role and all the interpersonal turmoil that follows him everywhere he goes. What’s worse is that his teammates had reportedly grown so weary of him that, upon news of his trade, they couldn’t wait to bid him good riddance, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN’s The Lowe Post Podcast.
“I don’t know what it is. No one has kind of gotten to the bottom of why. It can’t just be the corny jokes – and my god, does he tell the corniest jokes – but I’ve heard multiple stories of Hawks players learning about the [Dwight Howard] trade and screaming with jubilation into their phones. You ask why, and one account was that Dwight would give these speeches before the game about how everyone is playing hard, we want unity, we’re going to… and then go out and play like a blah game where he demands post touches and doesn’t rotate as hard as he could. And everyone is like, ‘why are you speaking in the locker room?’ But that’s all anecdotal. It’s just crazy how these stories come out after every stop in his career.”
The interaction between Atlanta and eight-time All-Star Howard didn’t sit well with Howard’s sister, Tashanda, who went on Atlanta sports-talk station 92.9 The Game. “I hear how people talk and the things they say, and I just don’t think that Atlanta is a loyal city. I really don’t,” Tashanda Howard said Tuesday night. “I hate to hear all the negative calls talking about my brother and the things that have been going on with the Hawks.”
It looked like a transparent dumping of Howard’s contract; he’ll make about $23 million each of the next two seasons. “He was one of the first big free agents to come here, and I think a lot of the free agents are going to look at that and see how they do their free-agency and they are not going to want to come to this city,” Howard’s sister continued.
Marc J. Spears: The Atlanta Hawks have agreed to trade center Dwight Howard to the Charlotte Hornets, source tell ESPN’s The Undefeated.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Charlotte is sending Miles Plumlee, Marco Belenelli and 41st pick to Atlanta for Dwight Howard and 31st pick.
But they haven’t committed to staying small, and sticking Davis at center. They worry about the physical toll it would take, and fretted after Davis picked up two quick fouls jostling with Dwight Howard two weeks ago. In the days that followed, Atlanta and New Orleans had exploratory talks about possible Howard trades before the Hawks pulled everyone off the market, according to several league sources. It is unclear how interested New Orleans was, and there was not unanimous support within the team for acquiring Howard.
Kevin Arnovitz on Dwight Howard trade value: I did a poll among 12-15 execs, 10 of which said, “I don’t know, maybe a low second (round pick).
During the Rockets’ visit to Milwaukee on Monday night, Bucks announcer Gus Johnson recounted a conversation with Howard in which they talked about him heading to Milwaukee at the deadline. According to Johnson, Howard didn’t want to opt in (confirming deadline reports) but did say he likes Milwaukee and insinuated he may have re-signed there.
While it’s true that Howard never asked for a trade leading up to the deadline, the notion that his always-aggressive agent, Dan Fegan, wasn’t part of the process is about as believable as the notion of the Rockets winning it all this season. A message was being sent to the rest of the league in the days leading up to the deadline, with teams like Milwaukee, Charlotte and Atlanta learning firsthand that Howard’s top-dollar demands are very real.
The fact that Howard was known to be seriously considering a change in representation at the time, meanwhile, only complicated an already-tricky situation. Yet if Howard truly wanted out of Houston, he could have told those teams that he would pick up the player option for next season and push his free agency back to the summer of 2018. Instead, he stayed and the possibility of this partnership surviving thus remained.
Zach Lowe on Dwight Howard: “I know [the Rockets] called Toronto, and talked about [Jonas] Valanciunas, and Toronto hung up the phone.”
Morey said he was “never close” to agreeing to a deal. Multiple front office executives around the league, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of trade talks, said there was little chance Howard would be dealt despite widespread conversations, citing Morey’s asking price and Howard’s coming free agency.
Q: How close were you to trading Dwight Howard? Dary Morey: I don’t want to get into any details of any trades; there were lots of rumors with all our players. There weren’t any close deals. I don’t love a lot of the noise that got out there, but it happens at the deadline.
Q: There’s a NBA.com report saying James Harden and Dwight Howard wanted to get each other traded. Is that true? What’s your reaction? Daryl Morey: I hadn’t seen it, but that’s not true. Q: You don’t have to be “boys” to get things going? Dary Morey: We know this group works. We made the Western Conference finals, and on any given team what happens off the court is not as important as what happens on, and we know on-the-court works.
Daryl Morey: “We still feel good about this group.”
Fegan refused to discuss specific teams that made pitches for Howard, but sources told ESPN.com that the Bucks were one of those teams. The Bucks and Rockets did exchange some trade proposals, sources said, but Milwaukee made it clear that it wouldn’t go through with any deal for Howard unless he opted into the final season of his contract, which is scheduled to pay him $23.3 million in 2016-17.
It’s not as if they didn’t try to get Howard out of Houston. Charlotte offered Al Jefferson and Spencer Hawes, according to the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola. Industry sources tell Forbes that Miami called, knowing that Chris Bosh could be lost for a significant amount of games if he’s suffering from a second round of blood clots.
One NBA source put in a call to the Celtics late Wednesday and found the team’s top brass was engaged in a meeting. The source was intrigued. He wondered whether Danny Ainge was in the process of dropping a bomb, moving assets for a superstar in a deal that would rock the NBA. He wondered about the identity of said superstar. Then the source learned the subject of the meeting. The Celtics were going over plans for the summer and next season.
According to Herald sources, the Celtics did check on the availability of just about every major star, which is par for the course for most teams — though in the case of the C’s they had the currency in picks and players to lessen the ‘are-you-kidding-me?’ factor.
“Many teams called expressing great interest in trading for Dwight. The obvious stumbling block to a trade was how could a team justify giving up important assets for a player who was about to become a free agent in a few short months? Not surprisingly, as the deadline approached, several teams called stating they had worked out the trade parameters with Houston for a Dwight deal but were not prepared to give up their assets unless Dwight agreed to opt into the last year of his contract and forego free agency. Dwight declined,” Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, told ESPN.com on Thursday night.
In reference to recent reports of growing friction between Howard and James Harden, Morey told the Chronicle: “We believe in James and Dwight together.” Expounding more on the Harden/Howard tandem in an interview with The Vertical website, Morey said: “This is a group that we would be very reluctant to split up. Obviously there was a lot of interest in [Howard] — I think there was a lot of noise about that — but that [duo] was something we were going to be very reluctant to break up. As part of my job I do have to listen to everything, but nothing got close and we weren’t going to split that up unless it was something significant.”
Jonathan Feigen: Morey said was never close to a Dwight Howard deal. “Part of my job is I have to explore everything. We believe in James and Dwight together. It was going to have to take something significant to make us look at anything and even then we probably wouldn’t have.”
Fran Blinebury: Unable to get value they were seeking, Rockets keep Dwight Howard go with “puncher’s chance” to save season in playoffs.
Sam Amick: The Rockets’ focus at the moment, I’m told, is on smaller potential deals. All signs continue to point to Dwight Howard staying put.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Seventy minutes until deadline — and Dwight Howard remains firmly in Houston. Rockets know how to make deals, so it isn’t over.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: So far, Boston is sitting out the Dwight Howard talks.
Marc Stein: Much pessimism, with one hour to go, that Houston can find a workable trade to move Dwight Howard before the 3 p.m. trade deadline
Chris Mannix: Howard’s camp feeling Howard stays put, but two possibilities loom: Hawks, if they decide to shake things up, and Boston, if price plummets.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Still time until 3 PM ET deadline, but Houston has no significant traction on a trade for Dwight Howard, league sources tell @The Vertical
Ken Berger: Strong belief within Dwight Howard camp that he will not be moved today before deadline. Three hours to go.
Calvin Watkins: Feeling I’m getting is Howard stays.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: So far, Boston’s showing unwillingness to pay premium prices on rentals for Al Horford and Dwight Howard.
Frank Isola: Houston Rockets turned down Charlotte’s offer of Al Jefferson and Spencer Hawes for Dwight Howard, according to league sources.
Rick Bonnell: Was told tonight there is little chance Hornets do a Dwight Howard deal, short of a dramatic plumet in what Rockets want.
The Rockets have talked to several teams about trading Howard for a variety of players, though nothing has been finalized. The Rockets have spoken to Charlotte, Atlanta, Boston and Toronto about trading Howard, sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein and Zach Lowe.
In order to trade Howard, 30, the Rockets need to find a team that can absorb roughly $17 million on its salary cap. Most of the potential deals would probably involve a third team.
Another stumbling block to making a deal is Howard’s pending free agency. He has a $23.3 million player option for next season, something he most likely won’t use, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent. Howard is expected to seek a max contract that could give him an average salary of $30 million per season. A potential new team might just rent Howard for this season and not commit to him long term.
Jonathan Feigen: I’m told people took the Dwight comment that he intends to be with Rockets for rest of season to mean only this season. Didn’t say that. We did not talk about next season. We talked about the trade deadline which is tomorrow.
Marc Stein: Houston remains ultra-aggressive trying to find a new home for Dwight Howard and, ESPN sources say, hasn’t stopped trying to move Ty Lawson.
The Heat has been exploring bigger deals, including New York Daily News-reported discussions about Dwight Howard (the Rockets reportedly want at least one first-round pick in the deal and Miami has none to offer) and a day-old radio report of discussions with Atlanta that would send away Whiteside and Dragic to Houston but potentially net Al Horford and Jeff Teague.
Cho was asked about rumors Tuesday that the Hornets have had discussions with the Houston Rockets about possibly acquiring center Dwight Howard. Cho laughed in response to the question, then said, “It’s my policy not to comment on trade rumors. I’d like to leave it at that.”
The Houston Rockets are shopping center Dwight Howard, and the Wizards still consider him an impactful player despite a drop in production in recent years. He is a top-notch defensive presence who could flourish as Wall’s pick-and-roll partner. But the Wizards likely won’t make a move for Howard because they’re wary of his back injury history, which is problematic for a player who relies on athleticism as much as Howard does, and they would have to give up at least three players because Howard is making $22.3 million this season and teams executing trades have to match salaries (technically within 125 percent plus $100,000).
The Charlotte Hornets are among the teams to have expressed trade interest in Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN.com that the Hornets and Rockets have held exploratory talks on a potential Howard deal since Houston made him available last week. But one source close to the talks expressed pessimism Tuesday that the sides will be able to find common ground on a deal.
The Rockets are believed to be seeking at least one future first-round pick for Howard, who is earning $22.3 million this season and is expected to exercise his right to decline next season’s $23.3 million player option to return to free agency in July.
Howard is at the epicenter of all these competing trends. Houston has been making calls on him for two weeks, but the Rockets have found little interest so far, per several league sources. Howard is 30, declining and about to enter free agency as the cap spikes to around $92 million — the new estimate lots of teams are using after the league initially projected an $89 million ceiling for next season.
It’s hard to find a team willing to meet Houston in the middle. No team is a Dwight Howard away from vaulting into Warriors/Spurs/Cavs/Thunder territory; the Rockets contacted Toronto, perhaps the closest thing to a one-player-away team, and found zippo interest, sources say. The Celtics, loaded with ammo, have recoiled at paying a price Houston would find acceptable.
Willie: Local radio by where I live is reporting that Heat are talking with Rockets about Howard. How true is that. – Steve Kyler: Does not line up with what I was told last night but that kind of deal was out there in December.
Chris Broussard on Dwight Howard: “I’m told he would like to get to Atlanta.”
Chris Broussard on Dwight Howard: “Even last last year his representation talked to the Hawks about ‘Hey, it may be not working out in Houston… What do you guys think?’ He’s from Atlanta. He needs some love.”
Multiple NBA executives said on Friday that they believe the Rockets’ talks about Howard were more exploratory. One said the chances of a deal have a “low probability.”
Spencer Percy: Concerning Dwight Howard-#Hornets rumor, @QCHblog source tells me: “the team is definitely serious about Dwight.” Hornets would have to part ways with a future 1st-round pick to land DH, and as hellbent as MJ is on the playoffs, it’s questionable at best.
Yet 12 seasons in, the 30-year-old who has been ravaged by injuries in recent years raises too many red flags for many teams (the New York Knicks, for what it’s worth, are believed to be one of those). And while it was just weeks ago that the Rockets were believed to be boldly pursuing a James Harden, Howard, and Durant trio this summer that would certainly be worthy of title contention, the confluence of factors has clearly reached a point where Houston general manager Daryl Morey isn’t as enthusiastic about that.
All of which leaves the Rockets in quite the pinch, one that didn’t seem to be bothering Harden as he enjoyed his fourth visit to the All-Star stage. “It’s out of my control, so I just focus on what I can control,” Harden said when asked about the reports on Howard’s future. “This weekend I’m having a good time, so I’m not really worried about that.”
So, I asked Harden, had he had a chance to discuss the Howard situation with Rockets general manager Daryl Morey? After all, Harden played a big part in recruiting Howard to Houston when he signed there three summers ago and makes up half of this 1-2 punch that had them all so optimistic about the years to come. “No,” he said regarding Morey. “I haven’t had an opportunity. After the game (in Portland on Wednesday), we kind of just got on the plane and came to Toronto.”
Rockets center Dwight Howard may be on the market, but don’t expect the Nuggets to make a play for him. The scuttle across the league is the Nuggets would not be interested in dealing for the big man, who, according to Yahoo Sports, is very much available for trades.
Despite escalating buzz with next Thursday’s trade deadline approaching, though, the Celtics are taking a cautious, measured approach. According to league sources, Boston is reluctant to mortgage its future in exchange for players who could become free agents at season’s end. The Celtics are content to move forward without making a trade, and they will be careful not to get caught up in an unnecessary bidding war. “This team is not in it for the short term,” one league source said.
The Celtics have been linked to Rockets center Dwight Howard and Hawks forward Al Horford, both of whom could be available on the trade market. But sources said the Celtics are unlikely to acquire either player before Thursday’s deadline.
The team with the players and picks to get a deal done without touching the core would be the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have a treasure chest of draft picks and expiring contracts, something that would benefit the Rockets in the long run.
Marc Stein: Rockets center Dwight Howard, reached Thursday by ESPN, says in reference to earlier statement from his agent Dan Fegan: “Dan’s statement is true. I have not asked the Rockets to trade me. Nor have I talked about right trades. I want to win. I want this situation to work. I chose this team. And I’m not running because we have been faced with some adversity.”
Zach Lowe: Among teams Houston has contacted re Dwight Howard, per league sources: Toronto. Raps have shown no interest. @Adrian Wojnarowski reported Dwight feelers
Marc Stein: Dan Fegan, agent for Dwight Howard, issues statement to ESPN: “I’m not privy to what the Rockets are doing or not doing with respect to Dwight Howard. What I can say, with 100 percent certainty, is that Dwight has not and has never asked the Rockets for a trade. And neither have I.”
NBA sources confirmed for FOX 26 Sports that the Houston Rockets are contacting teams in an effort to trade Dwight Howard. Sources also told FOX 26 the Rockets are in the beginning stages of the process.
Bobby Marks: Dwight Howard who can opt out of his contract after the season has a trade kicker if dealt. The kicker today is valued at $600k. Rockets would be responsible and $ would be added to his $22.3m salary for trade purposes.
Bobby Marks: Teams can back channel for info on whether a FA would sign long term if traded for. Teams cannot contact the player with out own team permission.
The Houston Rockets have started contacting teams about trading eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard, league sources told The Vertical.
The Rockets are working with Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, on possible destinations, league executives told The Vertical.
Howard won’t be going to Boston, league sources told The Vertical, and the reason is simple: The asking price is just too steep. The Celtics like Howard, believe he can be a cornerstone player but are unwilling to part with any significant assets – including Brooklyn’s coveted first-round pick – to get him. Boston is aggressively pursuing deals and is motivated to add a frontcourt player to its promising young roster, but Howard won’t be one of them.
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April 21, 2018 | 5:23 am EDT Update
Marcin Gortat said Markieff Morris brought clippers to each practice and pestered him to shave the Mohawk. Realizing the amount of effort that went into Mohawk maintainence, Gortat finally gave in. The results: 16 points (8-10) and 5 rebounds.
Candace Buckner: John Wall explaining his encounter with Serge Ibaka: “I just told him to keep his hand out of people’s face. He was just pointing at everybody’s face. I told him get his hands out of people’s face and he went into a little rage.”
Josh Lewenberg: Delon Wright: “I mean, everybody’s competitive, so sometimes guys are talking and it gets a little chippy or whatever. We just have to do a better job of realizing they’re probably trying to get us off our game and stay focused, not let them get to us.”
Josh Lewenberg: Valanciunas: “They were celebrating, they were hyped up, they were playing hard, they were doing it all and we kinda, I don’t know, lost our momentum. Now we’ve just gotta learn from this.”
Parker declined to speak after the game, saying he had a meeting with the team and it was decided that it was better for him not to talk with reporters. Parker’s teammates sung his praises after the game.
“He was a professional tonight,” Bucks guard Khris Middleton said. “He’s had a rough start to the series. But we’ve all talked to him. We know that we need him (and) try to let him know that we need him. “It starts with him. Within. His mind has to be right when he checks into the game. It’s not just about scoring. It’s not about him. It’s about the team. We need him to be part of the team for him to be successful and for him to be successful.