Dwight Howard
via Keith Allison / CC-BY-2.0

Just days ahead of the 2017 NBA Draft, we are hit with the first big trade news: the Atlanta Hawks have traded center Dwight Howard to the Charlotte Hornets.

In exchange, Charlotte is sending Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and the 41st pick in Thursday’s (June 22) NBA draft, while Atlanta will send over the 31st pick.

“It is extremely important for our organization that we maintain our flexibility, and this trade helps us achieve that critical goal,” Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said in a statement released by the team. “We appreciate the contributions that Dwight made on the court and in the greater Atlanta community this past season.”

Howard signed a three-year deal with his hometown Hawks last summer, worth $70.5 million… but didn’t fare so well on the court.

He averaged just 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game with the Hawks and was unhappy about his diminished role in the playoffs, when he averaged just eight points and 10.7 rebounds.

For the Hawks, the trade will help them save salary-cap space, as Howard is due to earn $23.5 million for each of the next two seasons.