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On October 29, 2007, the Timberwolves waived Juwan Howard after reaching a contract buyout deal worth $10 million of roughly $14.25 million which Minnesota would have owed him.Juwan Howard had terms agreed to with the Dallas Mavericks on October 30, 2007, however he was not able to officially sign until the 31st, when he cleared waivers. Juwan Antonio Howard was born February 7, 1973 in Chicago, Illinois. Howard had a successful career at Chicago Vocational High School and can be seen playing in the high school basketball documentary Hoop Dreams. After high school, Howard went to the University of Michigan where he averaged 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds in 100 career games. He was a member of the University of Michigan Wolverines' "Fab Five" along with Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. The “Fab Five” reached the 1992 and 1993 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship games as both freshmen and sophomores. He also earned Third-Team All-America honors from The Associated Press after averaging career highs of 20.8 points and 8.9 rebounds as a junior and Howard was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Midwest Regional leading the Wolverines to the Elite Eight. Juwan Howard left Michigan after his junior year, but still managed to graduate on time with a degree in communications. Howard was drafted by the Washington Bullets fifth overall in the 1994 NBA entry Draft. When his college teammate Chris Webber joined Washington that same season, a lot of people thought that the Michigan "Fab Five" would bode for a bright future for the Washington franchise. But Weber, veteran point guards Mark Price and Robert Pack missed almost the entire 1995-96 season due to injuries. The Bullets did manage to pull off 39 victories, just barely missing the playoffs. The team's win total might have been considerably less had it not been for Howard's stellar offensive play. He became just the second player in Washington franchise history, after Bernard King, to post back-to-back 40-point games (against Boston on July 17, 1996 with 40, and at Toronto on April 19, 1996 with 42). Averaging 22.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists, he was invited to the Eastern Conference's All-Star team for the first and only time in his career. After that season, many saw free agent Juwan Howard as an up and coming NBA superstar. A lot of NBA teams wanted him, but Howard decided to sign a 101 million dollar contract with the Miami Heat on July 15, 1996. Yet the contract was disallowed by the NBA, the reason being that it was not in accordance with the existing salary cap rules. Howard then re-signed with the Bullets on August 5. He became the first player in NBA history to sign a contract worth over 100 million dollars, his seven-year contract being worth 105 million dollars. Though he always put up decent offensive numbers during his tenure in Washington (about 18 points and 8 rebounds per game), he never reached the level of All-Star status again. After Michael Jordan joined the re-named Washington Wizards, he pulled off a huge trade that sent Juwan Howard, together with Obinna Ekezie and Calvin Booth to the Dallas Mavericks for Christian Laettner, Loy Vaught, Etan Thomas, Hubert Davis, Courtney Alexander and cash on February 22, 2001. The Mavs then traded Juwan Howard with Donnell Harvey, Tim Hardaway and a 2002 1st-round pick to the Denver Nuggets for Raef LaFrentz, Avery Johnson, Nick Van Exel and Tariq Abdul-Wahad on February 21, 2002. He then signed as a free agent with the Orlando Magic on July 16, 2003. Howard has managed to average 17.8 points, 7.4 rebounds per game, and 0.3 blocks per game. On June 14, 2007 it was officially announced that Howard would be traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Mike James and Justin Reed. The Timberwolves hope Howard will bring a new dimension to the team. Juwan Howard has always been regarded as a consistent hard working player, but has been criticized by some for not being a bigger force on the defensive end. During his career, Howard has also been forced into being the first option; a role he was not particularly suited for. He became the Wizards' first option out of default after Chris Webber was traded. His level of play did not measure up to expectations and his status as a big time player was heavily criticized. A similar situation surfaced in two years with the Denver Nuggets as well. Howard was the first option and the Nuggets were among the worst teams in the West. Nevertheless, even at age 34, Howard's work ethic and consistency make him a valuable player worthy of quality minutes on any NBA team including the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves will use Howard to round out a guard heavy team and as a media and fan draw. Howard is no stranger to the media spotlight as he even had a small role on the hit TV series The West Wing, appearing in the episode as a former college basketball player currently working on the President's Council on Physical Fitness. Juwan Howard was also named among all professional athletes as a “Good Guys in Sports” by The Sporting News, recognizing athletes for outstanding character and exemplary civic responsibility. Juwan Howard will be a leader on a Timberwolves team filled with young players. His work ethic and high moral standards are exactly what the Timberwolves need to keep their clean cut Minnesota nice image in the NBA. It will be interesting to see if Howard will be able to put many points on the Target Center scoreboard for the Minnesota Timberwolves. I guess Timberwolves fans will have to buy their Timberwolves tickets and find out!
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