The Brooklyn Nets kicked off the craziness of NBA draft week with the first deal in what many expect to be a busy trade market. Dwight Howard is headed to the Nets, adding to the growing list of teams he has played with. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets traded Timofey Mozgov for Howard, which clears about $17 million in cap space for the 2019-20 season.
Here’s a look at the current Nets roster. Keep in mind this includes current free agents, and the roster is likely to continue to shift this summer. The players listed in italics are free agents with their status noted in parenthesis. UFA stands for unrestricted free agent, while RFA means restricted free agent.
Nets Roster & Projected Starting Lineup for 2018
C- Dwight Howard, Jarrett Allen, Jahil Okafor (UFA)
PF- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, DeMarre Carroll, Quincy Acy (UFA), James Webb III (RFA), Dante Cunningham (UFA)
SF- Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert
SG- Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Milton Doyle, Nik Stauskas (RFA)
PG- D’Angelo Russell, Jeremy Lin, Isaiah Whitehead
The Nets will have a difficult decision to make between starting Howard or Jarrett Allen, who showed a lot of promise his rookie season. While it may help their future cap situation, the Nets took on a little more than $8 million for next season.
Nets Cap Space: $6 Million
According to Real GM, the Nets had about $14.2 million in cap space prior to the Howard trade. The deal pushes this number back to about $6 million. While the Nets had cap space, they were not expected to be major players in free agency, so this deal is better for their long-term salary cap numbers. According to Hoops Hype, Howard will make $23.5 million next season.
The Nets gave up their 2018 first round pick to the Celtics in a previous trade, which ultimately ended up on the Cavs. Thanks to a trade the Nets pulled off during the season, Brooklyn does have the No. 29 pick in the upcoming draft. Wojnarowski reported the fine print for the Nets on the Howard trade.
Charlotte was determined to move out Howard, who has a $23.8 million expiring contract.
The Hornets will receive the Nets’ second-round pick (No. 45) in Thursday’s NBA draft and a 2021 second-round pick, league sources said…The deal can’t be completed until the moratorium ends on July 6. The Nets will need money to expire off the salary cap to take on Howard’s salary.
The Nets will save nearly $17 million on the trade in the 2019-20 season, allowing them to create two max salary slots for 2019 free agency.
Who are the top free agents in 2019 that the Nets could target? The list includes Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, Kevin Love, Kemba Walker and Al Horford.
The Nets do have a few promising young pieces including Allen along with Spencer Dinwiddie. D’Angelo Russell flashed at times in Brooklyn, but needs to be more consistent to develop into a player close to the potential he had entering the league. The Nets now have a glut of big men on their current roster, but this is going to be a bridge year to get the franchise into the 2019 off-season.