After only nine games played, the Dwight Howard era in Washington has ended, NBC Sports Washington Chris Miller confirms.
Shams Charania of The Athletic was the first with the news.
The Wizards sent Howard to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for guard C.J. Miles. Miles, 32, averaged 6.4 points last season and with John Wall out for the season, he'll provide crucial minutes at the point guard position.
The Wizards have always liked Miles, dating back to his days in Indiana when he would regularly light the Wiz up.
Howard was owed $5.6 million this season and Memphis is expected to either waive or trade Howard once the deal is official. Washington needs depth at the center position and with a new roster spot open, Washington could pursue a free agent like DeMarcus Cousins.
A positive step towards forming a new culture, the Dwight Howard experiment was fun while it lasted. Sort of.
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The Washington Wizards couldn't continue their winning ways against the Orlando Magic on Sunday, falling despite an admirable comeback attempt.
Here are the game's top three moments.
Brad Beal injury scare
Bradley Beal has been on a scoring tear of late, notching consecutive 44-point outputs against the Celtics and Timberwolves. But before he could really get going Sunday night, he had an injury scare after rolling his right ankle.
Beal is far and away the most important player on the roster given John Wall's long rehab from an achilles injury, so an ankle injury would seriously hinder the Wizards chances at staying in games. Thankfully, he stayed out on the court and almost orchestrated an admirable fourth quarter comeback with some smooth shooting from deep. His 34 points were a game high.
Boost from the Bench
The Wizards have plenty of offensive contributors in the starting five, and on the bench. The second unit trio of CJ Miles, Moritz Wagner and Davis Bertans produced 48 points on the night. Miles was feeling it from deep, going 6-7 from behind the arc to offset some shooting troubles from Troy Brown Jr., who had two points on 1-5 FGM.
Despite only combining for eight points on the night, Brown Jr. was able to connect with rookie Rui Hachimura for a highlight-reel alley-oop.
Local Product Markelle Fultz seals the game
D.C. native and Dematha alum Markelle Fultz seems to be settling into the Orlando Magic offense. With 19 points, a career-high two 3-pointers and some great transition basketball, Fultz terrorized the Wizards backcourt all night long. Although it's clear this roster wasn't built for defense, the strategy of leaving Fultz wide open for uncontested threes certainly backfired.
Beal, on an impressive shooting hot streak down the stretch and only down three with under a minute to go, has his kickout pass deflected by Fultz, who then sealed the game with a dunk over Bertans on the other end.
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Rookie sensation Rui Hachimura has been an inside menace for opposing forwards early in his fledgling NBA career. That didn't change against the Orlando Magic on Sunday night.
The first dunk came off a beautifully crafted pick and roll with Troy Brown Jr., who lobbed it up for a Hachimura alley-oop. Some great chemistry from the young guys there.
The Japanese international is averaging 13.8 ppg and 5.7 rpg through his first 10 games, shooting an efficient 50.8% from the field during that stretch. More offensive athleticism like this will do well to take a load off Bradley Beal's shoulders. Beal scored back-to-back 44-point games in a Boston loss and win against Minnesota, but will need more help from his teammates if the Wizards want to improve on their 3-7 record. He scored 13 points in the first half versus Orlando.
The No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft has been a matchup headache for defenders with his combination of size and speed. Deployed at the four, he's been both too fast for bigger defenders and too strong for smaller defenders.
Here's to hoping for more Hachimura dunks in the games ahead!
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