Dwight Howard and the Nets | Magic Basketball

«

»

Dec 01

Dwight Howard and the Nets

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Marc Stein of ESPN.com:

The New Jersey Nets are prepared to offer a trade package featuring Brook Lopez and two future first-round picks to acquire Dwight Howard before the Orlando Magic center becomes a free agent in July 2012, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com this week that, to sweeten the proposal, New Jersey would likewise offer to take back the contract of Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu, who has three seasons left on his contract worth just under $35 million. Absorbing Turkoglu’s remaining salary would become financially feasible for the Nets after the expected release of swingman Travis Outlaw through the amnesty clause that will be included in the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement and by including another smaller contract or two in the deal. [...]

It’s been an open secret around the league that the Nets’ dream scenario is pairing Howard with Williams, after they followed up their failed pursuit of Carmelo Anthony last season by trading for Williams just before the February trade deadline. It remains to be seen whether Howard will regard the Nets as a prime destination on par with the New York Knicks, even after they move out of New Jersey, but sources say that Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov has long believed that teaming them up would convince both Team USA stars to commit their long-term future to the Brooklyn-bound Nets.

Most rival teams, however, doubt that the Magic can be convinced to start seriously considering trade scenarios for Howard this early. Orlando has thus far resisted outside interest in hopes of convincing the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year to stay in Central Florida. Two team executives monitoring the situation told ESPN.com on Tuesday night that they expect Orlando to take a patient approach with what could be Howard’s last year in town.

And so it begins.

Until Dwight Howard’s future is determined, the rumor mill is going to run rampant until the internet explodes.

For the New Jersey Nets, with Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov owning the team, with an impending move to the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn in 2012, and with Deron Williams under contract (for the time being), the belief is that they have what it takes to lure Howard away from the Orlando Magic. Fueling the fire is that the Nets are usually among a list of teams that are rumored to be on Howard’s short list, and he’s openly stated in an interview — in Russia ironically enough — during the offseason that he wouldn’t mind playing with Williams. It would appear that all the pieces are there for a union to be formed between Howard and the Nets. However, New Jersey has a few obstacles.

First, Howard must have the desire to sign a long-term contract there.

Second, even if Howard isn’t necessarily too thrilled with the idea of committing to the Nets, in which he’ll need some convincing, general manager Billy King has to make sure his trade offer is best. Let’s expand on this point.

A package featuring Brook Lopez and two future first-round picks, presumably New Jersey’s first in 2012 and Houston’s first in 2012 (which is lottery protected), doesn’t sound too appealing. Why?

Lopez is a fringe All-Star caliber player, at best, that’s also a sub-par rebounder and defender for his size. Yes, Lopez is 22 years old and a talented scorer but he’s not a type of piece you build around. And if the Nets acquire Howard during the middle of the season (more on this in a bit), with Williams en tow, there’s a good chance their first-round pick falls outside the top 10 or even the lottery. Couple that with a lottery protected first-round pick from the Rockets and you have an underwhelming offer on your hands. Those two first-round picks, even in a loaded 2012 NBA Draft, probably net you role players. Combine that with a player like Lopez and you lock yourself into mediocrity.

Clearing cap space is a logical move but if the Magic trade Howard, which is the best course of action because the odds of him staying are low, they need to net as many assets as possible. Lopez, two mid-first rounders, and change isn’t good enough for a player of Howard’s caliber. No, Orlando isn’t going to win in any trade involving Howard but they can get a better deal. The problem is that time isn’t on the Magic’s side.

When it comes to Howard’s future, there’s many more layers to uncover.

Howard has numerous options if he opts-out: 1.) he can opt-out and re-sign with the Magic for five years with Bird rights, 2.) he can get traded by the deadline, opt-out, and re-sign with his new team for five years with Bird rights, 3.) he can get traded by the deadline, opt-out, and sign with a different team for four years with non-Bird rights, 4.) he can opt-out at the end of the season and execute a sign-and-trade with a different team for four years with non-Bird rights, or 5.) he can opt-out at the end of the season and sign with a different team for four years with non-Bird rights.

According to numerous reports, Howard is looking at either a 4-year, $80.5 million contract with 4.5 percent annual raises or 5-year, $110.8 million contract with 7.5 percent annual raises. If Howard chose to opt-in or execute an extend-and-trade, that’s a whole ‘nother ball game.

Consider this: if Howard is really hell-bent on playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, either general manager Otis Smith can acquiesce to his demands, get something in return for Howard, and call it a day. Or Smith can let Howard walk and risk having nothing to show for it. But then Howard can’t sign with the Lakers as a free agent because they don’t have any cap space. If this scenario doesn’t encapsulate the struggle there will be between Smith and Howard, nothing does.

Buckle up, folks. This is only just the beginning.

6 comments
Samc32771
Samc32771

the Nets better bring more than than that....OH by the way Dwight is bluffing he has tales thank god for him this isn't Poker

Carlo Simone
Carlo Simone

As much as I love Dwight, I bitterly would keep him from joining the Lakers.  Honestly, apart from Miami the only jersey that would pain me to see Dwight in more would be a Lakers jersey.  Plus, if Dwight wants to be compared (not favorably) for the rest of his career to Shaq then he should by all means join the Lakers.  If he thought that comparison was annoying before, then he ain't seen nothing yet.

As for the Nets, I don't think they offer enough for us to take them seriously.  They may be a valuable partner in a three team deal however.  Plus there's still the off chance that Dwight would prefer to stay here and get max money while we could try and bring in D-Will ourselves.  I know that's not the popular theory right now but it's still on the table.

Also, ESPN needs to let the Knicks go.  I know they want to keep New Yorkers interested but they just can't make moves to get CP3 or Howard.  I'm done hearing about it.  Unless my math is way off, the Knicks aren't getting these guys.  It's just not in the cards.

Eric
Eric

I think being bitter would be the wrong move Carlo. I watched the Godfather last night so I'm going to steal a line from the movie, "Its not personal, its business." As much as it would pain Magic fans over the age of 25 to have another case of deja vu with our superstar center fleeing to Lakers and then winning multiple championships with them, they can offer us the best package of players and salary cap relief. Plus Bynum is a top 5 center in the NBA, which as we know is the rarest commodity in the NBA.

Bynum I believe has the slight potential to actually be a better offensive player than Dwight Howard. He's taller and more skilled. And Stan Van Gundy would, if he wanted to, run the relatively same offense with Bynum that he did with Dwight. Where the Magic are really going to miss Dwight if they trade for Bynum, will be on the defensive end. Because Bynum has limited mobility he will never be the destructive force Dwight Howard is on the defensive end. The days of trotting out sub par defenders because of their shooting ability will have to end.
All of that conjecture is based on the assumption that Bynum can stay relatively healthy, which is far from a sure thing. But I rather have a small shot at greatness than a guaranteed shot at mediocrity. Which as of now, with the other deals on the table, the Magic would be.

I also agree with you that the New York Knicks have very little chance of landing another superstar.

Mateus Fregonassi
Mateus Fregonassi

If he's willing to extend with the Nets, he's probably willing to extend with the Clippers. The market would matter more than the team (because the Knicks and the Lakers are the good teams in these cities).

And the Clippers have a lot more to offer than the Nets. So I don't see the Nets getting Dwight in a trade.
Even though Brook Lopez is a good player, he dissapointed last season and is not a good fit in the Magic with SVG.

DeAndre Jordan, for example, would fit better, even though he is not a starting caliber player like Lopez, for being more of a defensive player, rebounder and shot blocker.

Mateus Fregonassi
Mateus Fregonassi

For me, the Lakers doesn't have a good package to offer.

I really think DeAndre Jordan has the potential to be the second best defensive center in the NBA. Bynum is nowhere near being a defensive anchor and as much as he improves offensively, he will be behind a lot of centers in the NBA.

If the Magic can get Jordan in a package with Eric Gordon, it's better than any package the Lakers can offer the Magic.

Also, the Clippers have better picks and have Kaman, which can be used to include a third team in the trade, so the Magic can get rid of Turkoglu, Duhon and maybe get one more pick and/or young talent.

Carlo Simone
Carlo Simone

You're absolutely right.  That's why I'm not the GM.  I base the majority of my decisions on petty grievances that I refuse to let go of.

As for Bynum, I've never really been a big fan of his but he's clearly better than nothing.