It seems the trajectory for many NBA players after retirement is to go into coaching. This is not always standard, but many stories exist on the road from NBA retirement to coach. One interesting tale involves Juwan Howard, now-coach at the University of Michigan. NBA fans from the ’90s and 2000s remember Howard when he played for at least a half dozen teams.
Howard moved around because he faced what a number of other players face: Injuries and slightly lessened abilities after initial encouraging skills. Nevertheless, Howard almost became the wealthiest man in the NBA at one point — until a salary cap came into play.
Juwan Howard’s time in Washington
Howard spent the most amount of his time with the then Washington Bullets (now Wizards). They picked him after being an All-American at his alma mater, the University of Michigan. Yes, he also played for the Wolverines where he coaches now.
The Bullets picked Howard during the 1994-95 season when a collective bargaining agreement was still up in the air. As a result, it left Howard’s initial drafting into the Bullets in doubt. Some rumors even had him going to the Chicago Bulls instead, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Things finally worked out, with the Bullets giving him a generous $30 million, long-term contract. His time there was fairly successful throughout his seven seasons. Then again, imagine how it felt to be traded to another team at the hand of Michael Jordan who became head of basketball operations for the renamed Wizards. While there, Howard at least ended up being the fourth highest-paid NBA star.
Bouncing around from team to team
Injuries Howard incurred during his time with the Bullets/Wizards affected his play later once being traded to the Dallas Mavericks in 2001. He jumped around from season to season in several teams, going to the Denver Nuggets to Orlando Magic. A bit more success was found with the Houston Rockets for a few seasons until going back to the Nuggets and Dallas for one season each.
Later, Howard even played one season with the Charlotte Bobcats, and with the Portland Trail Blazers. Then he finally found the team where he struck gold: The Miami Heat.
Being late in his career, he agreed to take a veteran’s minimum salary. Long before this point (2010), he almost became one of the highest paid NBA players with Miami.
Back in 1996, the Heat sought to recruit Howard and other top talents reports Oregon Live. Initially, they offered Howard a $100 million contract. Because of salary cap issues, this fell apart.
Juwan Howard still did well for himself
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Howard is worth $80 million today. He never did badly in making money, if perhaps being a lot wealthier now had that Miami contract gone forward.
Most Heat fans are glad it never happened since it probably would have changed their future trajectory. At least they finally did land Howard, giving the player a chance to enjoy two NBA championship wins in 2012 and 2013.
Winding up his career, he transitioned into being an assistant coach with the Heat for six years. Then he followed it up by moving to Michigan and coaching the Wolverines starting last year. It appears Howard will be there for a while since he signed a five-year contract, according to Bleacher Report.
It might take the Wolverines a while to get back into championship status. They finished 9th overall this last season, even though COVID-19 threw the NCAA out of contention. In the meantime, Howard is also known for his philanthropy, including some brief stints as an actor, details IMdB. Considering his worth, though, his coaching of college basketball is clearly for the love of the game more than a needed career.