Dwight, we hardly knew ye.
After the Nets traded for Dwight Howard, Brooklyn bought out the big man before he ever suited up for a single second.
Acquired on June 20 for a second-round pick — and realistically just as a way to purge Timofey Mozgov’s $16.7 million 2019-20 salary off the books — Howard has already served his purpose in Brooklyn.
Once Howard clears waivers, he plans to sign with the center-starved Wizards for $5.3 million — the mid-level exception — according to The Athletic.
Of far greater concern to Nets fans than how much Howard is going to make is how much he’s going to leave on the table.
Brooklyn had $6.6 million in cap space before Howard’s buyout. Most buyouts end up leaving 30-40 percent on the table. If Howard left a third of his bloated $23.8 million expiring contract on the table, that would give the Nets almost an extra $8 million to work with.
The Nets never planned to keep him, with his reputation for a bad locker room influence well-earned. They were never going to bring him into their culture and risk having a poor influence on 20-year-old building block Jarrett Allen.
It was the Nets’ idea to buy out Howard. But he had reportedly only wanted to give back between $3 million and $5 million, and wasn’t incentivized until Washington showed interest.
Getting back part of Howard’s salary could enable the Nets to take back a salary dump.
Brooklyn may have $70 million in cap space next season, or enough to sign two max free agents. Nets fans now have two new targets to hope for, no matter how unrealistic, with the Chicago Sun-Times reporting Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler want to play together and take over the Eastern Conference.
The West Orange-raised Irving has stated he won’t sign an extension with Boston over the summer, and has talked about the lure of coming home to New York.
Butler reportedly wants out of Minnesota, and can opt out and join Irving on the market in 2019. Likely or not, expect many Nets fans to dream.
Being relegated to Barcelona’s B team, largely for having NBA aspirations, was difficult for Nets rookie Rodions Kurucs.
“Of course it was tough. You just have to keep practicing, doing your job, keep getting better every day and stay strong mentally; that’s the thing. There were a lot of people who helped me in that period, that’s how I survived,” Kurucs told The Post.
One of those people, ironically was sharpshooting Nets stash pick Aleksandar Vezenkov, also being frozen out for being NBA-bound.
“He’s a good guy, a nice guy. We spent a lot of time together because he didn’t play either last year so we spent a lot of time in the gym,” Kurucs said.
“He’s a great guy, a good player. He taught me a lot of things on the court, off the court. We were good friends for sure, because we were always together. … Definitely his strong suit is the shot.”
Source: Brian Lewis|| NY Post