"All I need is a real chance and a clean slate where it's not people talking about my past."
Roughly 24 hours after the Charlotte Hornets traded Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets, the eight-time All-Star is reportedly set to become a free agent. According to ESPN's Chris Haynes, Howard and the Nets have agreed to enter into buyout talks for his $23.8 million expiring contract.
"I want to be in a situation where I have an opportunity to help a team win," Howard said during a phone interview, according to ESPN. "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."
The Howard trade, which involved Timofey Mozgov, as well as two second-round picks and cash going to Charlotte, won't become official until after the moratorium has concluded on July 6. According to ESPN, Howard said he was "in total shock" after learning of the deal.
"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."
Meanwhile, former NBA player Brendan Haywood said on SiriusXM NBA Radio, "The (Hornets) locker room did not like Dwight Howard," adding, "Guys were just sick and tired of his act."
The 32-year old center averaged 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game for the Hornets last season, which are his best numbers since his All-Star season as a member of the Houston Rockets in 2013-14.