Dwight Howard wants to return to the Charlotte Hornets next season

CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 8: Dwight Howard
CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 8: Dwight Howard /

Eight-time all-star Dwight Howard wants to return to the Charlotte Hornets but will they want him back next season?

During his exit interview, Dwight Howard said multiple times that he wants to be back with the Charlotte Hornets next season. After a bounce-back year with the Queen City team, it’s easy to see why he would want to return. Although, with Steve Clifford gone, it could complicate things a bit.

Dwight was a major addition last offseason when the Hornets traded with the Atlanta Hawks to get him. He was by far the Hornets’ best big man during the 2017-18 campaign. D12 said “Hopefully, I’ll be back next season. I love this place” and that he looks forward to “coming back next year in better shape and as a better player.” (Twitter/ @Hornets)

He also had a message for the fans saying that “The fans have been amazing all year long. The city has been great. I want to win. The city really wants that opportunity to be in the playoffs and do something really significant. I would love for this city to experience that atmosphere.”€

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Howard was Clifford’s guy and vice-versa. The two had a great relationship dating back to their time with the Orlando Magic when Steve was the assistant coach from 2007-12 and in Los Angeles with the Lakers during the 2012-13 season. Their chemistry was a key reason why the 32-year old center had his best season in five years.

With Coach Clifford fired and a new coach set to come in, it could mean a new role for Dwight. Also, it will most likely mean a new system which may not suit the big man’s style. With Mitch Kupchak at the helm and a new HC, it could mean that Howard’s time in Charlotte may be coming to an end.

The Hornets may look to offload Dwight and his massive salary. He is set to make $23.8 million next season and he will be in the final year of his current deal. A team with cap space may be willing to take on an expiring contract like Howard’s. Plus, him having a bounce-back season and putting up 16.6 points per game, 12.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while shooting 55.5% from the field could make his contract easier to swallow.

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If I had to guess, Dwight won’t be wearing purple and teal next season. I would think that Mitch Kupchak and company would want to try to clear cap space and the Hornets’ big man could be one of the first names on the chopping block due to his salary. Still, if Charlotte can’t find a trade partner, Howard proved that he can still be a valuable asset and easily average a double-double.