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Reports: Wizards trading Dwight Howard to Grizzlies for C.J. Miles; Memphis to waive Howard

Knicks Wizards Basketball

Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard (21) waits as a free throw shot is made during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Al Drago)


The Wizards want to hit the reset button on their culture. The Memphis Grizzlies save a few million dollars.

That led the two sides to a trade that will send Dwight Howard to Memphis for C.J. Miles, with Memphis planning to waive Howard and make him a free agent. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the trade and David Aldridge of The Athletic has the details.

This is an increasingly rare straight-up player-for-player trade.

Miles has been on the Wizards radar for a while now, but that’s not really what this trade is about. Washington’s management and ownership want to shift both the internal culture of the franchise and how they are perceived, and Howard was not part of that future.

Howard will be a free agent, but much like DeMarcus Cousins may find it tough going to get offers he likes. Part of that is due to injuries — Howard only played nine games for Washington last season — and part of it is the game moving away from the back-to-the-basket, post-up game Howard prefers. While Howard is a future Hall of Famer (he is, like it or not), he is not the player he was back when he was a perennial MVP candidate, and the game has evolved away from teams looking for his style of center play.

This is another trade for interim GM Tommy Sheppard, who is clearing the decks for either himself or whoever comes in next as the full-time GM.

For Memphis, they save $3.1 million. They also just waived Avery Bradley (as was expected), he was owed $12.1 million with a guarantee date of July 6 (Saturday). Bradley will get $2 million and become a free agent, one several teams are likely to chase.

All that cap space opened up keeps Memphis available for what they have wisely done all through this rebuild: Take on other team’s bad contract if some picks/young players are thrown in. Acquire assets and build from there. Memphis is taking on salary for what will be a bad team, but they are doing it wisely as part of the rebuild.