Hawks trade Dwight Howard to Hornets

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has acquired center Dwight Howard and the 31st overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Marco Belinelli, Miles Plumlee and the 41st overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

“We are excited to add a player of Dwight’s stature to our roster,” said Cho. “He has been a very talented player, an elite rebounder and rim protector as well as a physical presence since the moment he entered the league. Howard’s best seasons came alongside Coach Steve Clifford and we believe their familiarity will make an immediate impact for the Hornets this upcoming season.”

“I’m excited about working with Dwight again,” added Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford. “He brings a defensive mindset, shot blocking ability and a level of physicality that will be a huge asset for us. We look forward to him continuing his career here in Charlotte.”

Howard, the first overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, holds career averages of 17.5 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 954 games played. In his 13 seasons, Howard has earned three NBA Defensive Player of the Year selections, eight All-Star appearances, eight appearances on All-NBA rosters (including five First Team All-NBA selections) and five selections to NBA All-Defensive teams.

The newly-acquired Hornets center will enter 2017-18 ranked fourth in NBA history in field goal percentage shooting 58.5% from the field, 22nd in total rebounds with 12,089 and 20th in blocks with 1,916 for his career. In each of his 13 seasons, Howard has averaged a double-double in points and rebounds, becoming only the sixth player in NBA history to do so in his first 13 seasons, along with Wilt Chamberlain, Tim Duncan, Moses Malone, Shaquille O’Neal and Bill Russell.

Among current active players, Howard ranks first in total rebounds (12,089), offensive rebounds (3,392) and blocked shots (1,916), eighth in free throws made (4,671) and 15th in total points scored (16,652).

Including a trip to the 2009 NBA Finals with Orlando, Howard has appeared in 95 postseason games in his career holding averages of 18.4 points (on 58.6% field goal shooting), 13.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.

“It is extremely important for our organization that we maintain our flexibility and this trade helps us achieve that critical goal,” said Hawks General Manager and Head of Basketball Operations Travis Schlenk. “We appreciate the contributions that Dwight made on the court and in the greater Atlanta community this past season.”

In his 10th season in the NBA, Belinelli averaged 10.5 points on .429 shooting from the field while hitting .360 from three-point range and .893 from the free throw line, the ninth-best percentage in the league this season. He also averaged 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 24.0 minutes per game in 74 games played this season. His 10.5 point per game average marked the fifth time in his career that he topped double figures in scoring average.

The 6-foot-5 Italian shooting guard has career averages of 9.6 points on .425 shooting, 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 644 games (216 starts). He has shot .377 from three-point range over that period. In 2014, he contributed to the San Antonio Spurs winning the NBA Championship, becoming the first Italian player to achieve that feat. He has also spent time with Golden State, Toronto, New Orleans, Chicago and Sacramento.

Plumlee, 28, has played in 273 games (133 starts) in his five-year career with Indiana, Phoenix, Milwaukee and Charlotte and posted averages of 5.1 points on .530 shooting and 4.7 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game. He appeared in 45 contests during the 2016-17 season, playing 32 games with the Bucks before joining the Hornets via trade and appearing in 13 games with Charlotte.