7 Free agents the Atlanta Hawks signed past their prime

Atlanta Hawks, Dwight Howard. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks, Dwight Howard. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks, Vince Carter
Atlanta Hawks, Vince Carter. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Hawks signed Vince Carter in Year 21

At one point in his career, Vince Carter was one of the game’s most exciting players. He was not that by the time he signed with the Hawks in 2019, turning 42 years old during the season. The former Toronto Raptors star had played for six other franchises by that point and had logged a lot of mileage on his legs.

He could still get up and dunk every once in a while.

But averages of 6.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in his two seasons with the Hawks were a far cry from the 27.6 points per game he averaged in 2001 with the Raptors. Or the 25.2 points per game with the then-New Jersey Nets in 2007.

As was the case with Hill and Williams, the Hawks were Carter’s final NBA team.

Dwight Howard suits up for hometown Hawks in Year 13

At one point, the idea of Dwight Howard landing on his hometown Hawks was a dream scenario. But when Howard did finally sign – on a three-year, $70.5 million contract no less – he had already developed a bit of a reputation as someone who did not always give maximum effort or get along with teammates and coaches.

He had fallen out in Orlando, forcing a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. When that didn’t work after one season, Howard bolted for the Houston Rockets.

Three years in Houston produced similar results and he found his way to Atlanta in 2016.

An eight-time All-Star and All-NBA selection, Howard was still productive, averaging 13.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.2 blocks. But he was not long for Atlanta, with the Hawks trading him to the Charlotte Hornets in 2017.

Howard averaged 22.4 points, 14.1 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 1.4 assists, and 1.4 steals in 2011 in what was arguably his best season overall. He would go on to play four more seasons including two separate stints with the Lakers and was last playing overseas in Taiwan. There was supposed to be a deal for him with the Golden State Warriors but that never materialized.