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DWIGHTMARE VII: NETS TO BUY OUT DWIGHT HOWARD

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NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Orlando Magic Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was fast.

Dwight Howard’s Nets career is (once again) over before it begun. According to various reports on Twitter, the Nets and Howard will engage in buyout talks, which would permit him to become a free agent and the Nets to less its cap load.

Chris Haynes of ESPN was the first to report it...

The decision to buy out Howard comes a day after word broke, also on ESPN, that the Nets had traded Timofey Mozgov, two second rounders, including the 45th pick Thursday, and cash considerations to the Hornets for Howard. That deal, which can’t be concluded until July 6, had the Nets take on Howard’s $23.8 million expiring contract in return for Mozgov’s two years at $32.7 million.

The buyout agreement apparently was mutual. Howard told ESPN “I want to be in a situation where I have an opportunity to help a team win. That’s my only goal. All I need is a real chance and a clean slate where it’s not people talking about my past.”

He added that he was surprised by the move.

“I was just really in total shock because I wasn’t expecting it to happen,” he said. “I thought this season was really good. For one, this is the healthiest I’ve been and two, my stats this season has been one of the best since I’ve been in the NBA.”

As for the Nets, they were well aware of his locker room issues which have plagued him for years. The Nets would have been his sixth team in seven years. And Brian Lewis reports that following the trade, players were talking about Howard’s personality.

At a charity event in Chinatown on Wednesday, an NBA player warned one Net, “You’re going to f–king hate playing with Dwight.” Looks like they needn’t have worried.

Now, assuming that Howard’s buyout will be standard, between 65 and 70 percent of what he’s owed, the Nets will have a cap hit of about $16 million for Howard this year ... about equal to what Mozgov’s would have been this season and neither Howard nor Mozgov will be on the books next season. Dead money for comatose money.

The prospect of buyout talks will NOT affect how much cap space the Nets will have available this evening. A league source says the Nets will now only have about $4 million to play with Thursday night, hardly enough to make any deals for draft picks.

Cap expert Albert Nahmad explains...

Or as Bobby Marks tweeted...

Watch this space!