4. Dwight Howard
Howard signed a three-year $70.5 million contract with the Hawks in 2016. The eight-time All-Star was fresh off a three-year run with the Rockets where his production began to decline. Howard and James Harden led Houston to the conference finals in 2015, and the Hawks were hoping his rebounding, rim protection, and ability to dominate the paint would help them get over the hump after nine straight years in the playoffs.
Howard averaged 13.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 29.7 minutes per game as the starting center as the Hawks were bounced by the Washington Wizards in the first round of the playoffs.
There were rumored tensions in the locker room, so the Hawks traded him to the Hornets on draft night 2017 for Marco Bellinelli, Miles Plumlee, and the wrong end of a second-round pick swap. Howard’s stay in Atlanta was the start of his decline that saw him play for six different teams in a six-year span before his second stint with the Lakers in 2022.
After their lone season with Dwight Howard, the Atlanta Hawks entered a rebuild that saw them miss the playoffs for three straight years until getting back in 2021. There was plenty of regret about signing the 6’10 big man, so they quickly dealt him away after just one year.