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Wizards announce Dwight Howard signing

Dwight Howard, Wizards

The Washington Wizards have officially signed free agent center Dwight Howard after he was traded from the Charlotte Hornets to the Brooklyn Nets, consequently bought out by the latter.

The Wizards agreed to a 2-year, $11 million deal with the eight-time All-Star, who currently leads all active players with 13,101 career rebounds, 3,647 career offensive rebounds and 2,047 career blocks.

President Ernie Grunfeld expressed what enticed him to make a run for the 32-year-old big man after the team traded starter Marcin Gortat for Austin Rivers.

“Dwight has been known throughout his career as one of the league’s best defenders, rebounders and finishers around the rim, all areas that we needed to improve heading into next season,” said Grunfeld in a press release. “His inside presence and athleticism will give us a much different look and will open up opportunities for us on both ends of the floor.”

The 6-foot-11 center has averaged 17.4 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting .585 from the floor through 1035 games at the NBA level, now playing with his sixth team in 14 NBA seasons after stints with the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, his hometown Atlanta Hawks and the Hornets.

Howard had perhaps his best season in six years, posting 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 assists through 81 games with the Hornets while shooting .555 from the field.

Despite his reputation, Howard is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year (winning three straight awards from 2008-11), while he’s also earned five All-NBA First Team selections. His signing should address John Wall’s concern for a more athletic big man, while erasing any potential issues stemming from Gortat’s comments after his knee injury.