The Charlotte Hornets are putting every major player on the trading block, including All-Star Kemba Walker, former Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, and former Blazers free-agent target Dwight Howard. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN detailed the situation in an article this morning.
Presumed parallels to the Trail Blazers’ own situation will be of interest to Portland fans, along with this paragraph:
The Hornets had already made available Nicolas Batum (four years, $100 million), Dwight Howard (two years, $47 million), Marvin Williams (three years, $42 million) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (three years, $39 million), league sources said, but those players and their contracts are largely unattractive in the marketplace.
Batum played in Portland from 2008-2015. Despite a history of inconsistency and nagging injuries, he was respected for his all-around play, including defense, play-making, and three-point shooting from the small forward position...attributes the Blazers need more of. Batum’s $25 million average salary between now and 2021 would be enough to send Portland’s accountants screaming for the hills, however.
Howard, once a perennial all-league player, was rumored to be on Portland’s wish list when he hit free agency in the Summer of 2016. He ended up signing with the Atlanta Hawks. After a disappointing season, the Hawks traded him to the Hornets for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli, and a 2nd-round draft pick. Howard is slated to make $23.5 million this year and $23.8 million next season.