Dwight Howard (263760)
Credit: Bill Moore

Until you hear NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announce a team’s selection tonight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., the NBA Draft, beginning at 7 p.m., every pick that you hear about is pure speculation.

Tonight, the future of basketball will be chosen: 30 first-round draft picks and 30 second-round draft picks. They are players whose teams hope will be the next LeBron, or players their teams bank on to help transform their franchises into the next Golden State Warriors. 

Teams have worked out players, studied film and critiqued the available talent, but first they must decide if they’re a team that’s building or rebuilding. That decision determines the type of player that they’ll choose. But of course everyone wants, needs a game changer. 

In the past, talented general managers have found value with lower picks, such as all-stars Draymond Green, chosen 35th in the second round by Golden State, who repeated last week as NBA champs, and Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, chosen 57 in 1999, also in the second round. 

The Brooklyn Nets find themselves with two lower picks in this draft—29th in the first round and 40th in the second—but they’re making moves for the future in case Plan A isn’t working.

Yesterday, Brooklyn acquired center Dwight Howard in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets for two of Brooklyn’s future second-round picks, cash and center Timofey Mozgov. Howard, 32, was chosen first overall by the Orlando Magic in 2004. Howard averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game last season with Charlotte, ranking third in the league in rebounding. Brooklyn will be the former all-stars sixth team, the fourth since 2013.

Since departing the Magic, Howard played for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2012-2013 season, the Houston Rockets from 2013 to 2016, the Atlanta Hawks in 2016-2017 and Charlotte last season. 

Brooklyn has been stockpiling first-round picks the past few years, such as D’Angelo Russell, the Los Angeles Lakers second pick in the first round of the 2015 draft, and Jahlil Okafor, chosen third by the Philadelphia 76ers in the same draft. 

The Hornets will also receive a Nets’ second-round pick, No. 45, in tonight’s draft, and a 2021 second-round pick. Deals cannot become official and confirmed until July 6.

The deal saves the Nets $17 million during the 2019-2020 season, which will allow them to create two max salary slots, excellent maneuvering by general manager Sean Marks