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The Washington Wizards appear to be landing a center. According to Jared Weiss of the Athletic, Dwight Howard and the Wizards have a mutual agreement to a one-year deal using the taxpayer mid-level exception after he is bought out by the Brooklyn Nets
Dwight Howard has finalized a buyout with the Brooklyn Nets and will sign a 1-year deal for the tax MLE with the Washington Wizards once he clears waivers, league sources tell The Athletic.
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) July 3, 2018
Howard was traded by the Charlotte Hornets to the Brooklyn Nets last month in exchange for Timothy Mozgov, however, the Nets intend to buyout Howard’s contract making him a free agent.
Howard and the Wizards have mutual interest from the onset of free agency. The Wizards reportedly went after Nerlens Noel and even claimed Thomas Bryant from the Los Angeles Lakers off waivers. Howard also wanted to join the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James with the Lakers according to reports. However, the Warriors signed DeMarcus Cousins and the Lakers filled up their salary cap on other signings, including JaVale McGee.
With the Wizards still searching for a center and doors with both the Warriors and Lakers being closed the agreement for both became more apparent.
Last season, Howard averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game. He appeared in 81 games and shot 55.5 percent from the field but a struggling 57.4 from the free throw line. Howard brings along a reputation of drawing the ire of teammates. Given the Wizards already have John Wall and Bradley Beal to go with the addition of Austin Rivers, Scott Brooks potentially may have figure a way manage the strong personalities.
On the flip side, Howard gives the Wizards a much-needed center, who would have had to rely on starting Ian Mahinmi if they could not land an adequate replacement for the traded Marcin Gortat. Howard is an upgrade on the court from Gortat no doubt about it. He will be able to be more effective in the pick-and-roll on offense and defending with switches on defense than the Wizards have had prior.
The Wizards could be potentially putting together a competitive group around Wall and Beal. The team added free agent Jeff Green earlier on Tuesday giving them three solid additions with Howard and Rivers this off-season. In an Eastern Conference that no longer features LeBron James, Washington may be added enough pieces for their dynamic duo to lead them through a good season.