Fate Of Howard, Paul, Nene Tied Together
The latest headline-grabber in what has already been an insane NBA free agency period has Dwight Howard asking the Magic for a trade . . .unless he’s changed his mind . . .as he seems to do on a whim.
The word this time around is that Howard wants to go to New Jersey to play with Deron Williams, despite his aversion to cold weather and previous talks of him heading to Dallas or the Los Angeles Lakers.
The thing is, it’s much easier said than done at this point. There are two other moves that are being held up basically by each other that would likely prevent a Howard deal short-term.
First of all, there’s the three-way trade between the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets and the Lakers that would send Chris Paul to LA, Pau Gasol to Houston and a growing number of players including Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and Lamar Odom to New Orleans.
That deal is holding up Nene signing in New Jersey, as the Rockets are trying to use the Paul trade to free up enough cap space to match New Jersey’s offer to Nene and lure him to Houston. The Rockets are using the addition of Gasol as a selling point with Nene, and it does seem to be having an effect, as Nene has not yet signed the offer from the Nets.
The Nets, therefore, would have some trouble putting together a deal for Howard, as the primary piece in the deal would likely be Brook Lopez, who they wouldn’t want to give up if they knew they weren’t getting Nene. So many of the best players in this free agency class are gone that it would be difficult for New Jersey to put a good team around Howard and Williams, making it possible they opt to leave together next summer. The Nets can’t afford to take such a chance.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks wound up with a significant trade exception in the sign-and-trade of Tyson Chandler to the New York Knicks, and are offering to take Howard and Turkoglu off Orlando’s hands while sending out just about anything the Magic might want not named Kidd or Nowitzki.
This entire circle of movement is waiting for someone to push over the first domino, and the first domino would seem to be the Chris Paul trade. That can’t happen until the Lakers find a first round pick to include in the deal . . .so we might be in limbo for a few hours as the Lakers work the phones.
Stay tuned . . .and make sure you’re getting up-to-the-minute updates with HOOPSWORLD’s Free Agency Diary, which our entire team is updating constantly.