NBA Rumors: Atlanta Hawks Forced to Keep Veteran Center Dwight Howard?

By Nikko Villanueva, Posted: 06/13/17 06:27AM EDT

Earlier in May, there were NBA rumors which stated that the Atlanta Hawks plan to trade veteran center Dwight Howard. Now, it looks like Atlanta has no choice but to keep him. This is because there are a number of Hawks big men that might leave in this year's free agency. 

According to ESPN, as of this moment, Howard is the only frontcourt player signed with Atlanta for next season. The likes of Paul Millsap, Mike Muscala, and Kris Humphries are going to be available this July.

This is the reason why the Hawks are likely keeping Howard, at least for now. Another potential solution they are looking at is adding a frontline piece via the 2017 NBA Draft. In a report by Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he stated that they could be selecting a big man with their 19th overall pick. The team also owns the 31st and 60th picks. 

Unfortunately for Howard, this is no guarantee that he is staying in Atlanta for a long time. The possibility of him splitting up with the Hawks remains alive. 

When Howard decided to return to Atlanta last year, there was a lot of hype. The veteran center was heading back home following stints with the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Houston Rockets.  

Howard was impressive in his first regular season with the Hawks. The 31-year-old was averaging a double-double per game and managed to be healthy as he saw action in 74 games (all starts). 

Sadly, in the NBA Playoffs, Howard went missing. The numbers he had in the regular season went down drastically. This led to Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer giving him a limited role. Soon, he was spending more time on the bench than on the court. 

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