It's happening: Dwight Howard officially a Wizard

Josh Luckenbaugh
July 12, 2018 - 1:18 pm
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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

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All the rumors, all the speculative tweets, all the reports are true: five-time All-NBA but oft-maligned center Dwight Howard has joined the Washington Wizards, the team announced officially on Thursday. 

While the team's official statement did not disclose contract details, reports have indicated Howard signed a two year deal worth $11 million, with a player option for the second year. 

"Dwight has been known throughout his career as one of the league’s best defenders, rebounders and finishers around the rim, all areas that we needed to improve heading into next season," Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said in the statement. "His inside presence and athleticism will give us a much different look and will open up opportunities for us on both ends of the floor."

No one questions Howard's ability. The three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year remains one of the top big men in the league, averaging 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game with the Charlotte Hornets last season. In an ideal world, Howard and John Wall could form one of the most formidable pick-and-roll duos in the NBA next season.

However, this is not an ideal world, and Howard brings a lot of baggage and a lot of doubts as to whether he can play with anyone anymore. The Wizards are Howard's fourth team in four seasons, fifth if you count his very brief stint with the Brooklyn Nets this summer before the Nets bought out his contract, rumors indicating he did not endear himself to his teammates in Houston, Atlanta, or Charlotte. On a team that dealt with plenty of internal issues last season in the Wizards, Howard's presence could potentially exacerbate the pre-existing problems in the Washington locker room. 

Nonetheless, Wall has already put in a vote of confidence that Howard can help the Wizards improve on their disappointing 2017-18 campaign, and at least on paper, Howard represents a significant upgrade over Marcin Gortat. For now, all the Wizards can do is wait and see whether the signing proves a success, or blows up in Washington's face. 

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