On June 20, the Atlanta Hawks sent Dwight Howard and the 31st pick of the 2017 NBA Draft to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Marco Belinelli, Miles Plumlee, and the 41st pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
This is a massive surprise as this shows Atlanta’s desire to make a push for a big name free agent like Gordon Hayward, Chris Paul, or Blake Griffin. Charlotte massively boosts their core throught this deal, creating somewhat of a big 3 with Kemba Walker, fresh off an all star campaign, Nicolas Batum, and Dwight Howard.
Marco Belinelli carries a 6.6 million dollar, one year contract and Miles Plumlee carries a 36.5 million dollar contract over three years. These contracts all add up to hit Atlantas cap space by 19.1 million dollars. Howard earns $23 million a year and by sending him to Charlotte the Hawks increase their cap room by close to four million dollars.
With this Trade, Atlanta increases their depth by grabbing a shooting guard that is sixth man capable as well as a decent starting center in Miles Plumlee to fill the shoes of Dwight Howard.
Charlotte definitely got the better part of this trade. They went from having two overpaid role players and the No. 41 pick, to a star rebounder and post scorer as well as moving up in the draft to pick No. 31. Charlotte is looking like they’re going to make quire a playoff run next season as they clean up their payroll a bit and massively boost their skill level in the paint with Dwight Howard, who is dominant when healthy.
A month from now Hawks fans will either be incredibly happy or incredibly agitated about this trade. If all Atlanta is able to do from this trade is create a boost in cap space which then allows them to sign few role players in free agency, Hawks fans will be in a frenzy as they have lost significant talent and dropped ten spots in the draft.
However, this trade would make lots of sense if, say, the Hawks make a push for and sign Gordon Hayward. In that case they create a supporting cast to be reckoned with, putting together a scary starting lineup of Dennis Schröder, Kent Bazemore, and Gordon Hayward, as Atlanta tries to muscle their way into title contention.