NBA AM: Howard In, Beasley Out, Smith Staying?
Is Dwight Howard Back In? Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard has been waffling about his decision to stay in Orlando. Early yesterday he told teammates and family members that he wanted to finish what he started in Orlando and would be Opting-In for the final year of his contract with the Magic, then hours later reversed that decision in a conference call with the Orlando Magic.
After last night’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs Howard reversed his course yet again, saying he would indeed sign his Early Termination Option (ETO) paperwork this morning and would be staying with the Magic through the 2012-2013 season.
“Man, listen, you know my heart, my soul and everything I have is in Orlando,” Howard told RealGM’s Jarrod Rudolph. “I just can’t leave it behind.”
Howard has struggled with this decision for a few reasons, the biggest being “influencers” in his life that have convinced Howard and his advisors he cannot win in Orlando. That the team will win regular season games, but that if he stays in Central Florida long-term he cannot win an NBA Championship.
Howard understands he might be listening to the wrong people in his life.
“I have gotten some bad advice,” Howard said. “I apologize for this circus I have caused to the fans of our city. They didn’t deserve none of this. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. I will do whatever I can to make this right and do what I was put in Orlando to do.”
Howard admitted to RealGM he has really battled this situation personally and arriving at a decision has not been an easy process.
“This has been a very hard time,” Howard said. “For me, my family and all of us. The fans deserve a better hero and I will make that happen. I love and appreciate my fans and this city.”
The Magic had been entertaining trade scenarios involving Howard, with the best offer on the table from the New Jersey Nets. They are said to have stepped up their offer yesterday, offering the Magic almost any combination of assets not named Deron Williams.
If Howard waffles again, which sources say is highly unlikely, the Magic seem like they have a deal they would do with the Nets.
So it will be interesting to see how the next six hours plays out.
Get the very latest news, notes and rumors surrounding the 3pm NBA Trade Deadline in the 2012 NBA Trade Deadline Diary – click here for the latest.
Minnesota And The Lakers: The long-rumored Lakers-Portland-Minnesota three-way deal that would land Portland’s Jamal Crawford in Minnesota, Lakers’ guard Steve Blake in Portland, and Wolves’ forward Michael Beasley in L.A. seems to be the leader in the clubhouse.
The Wolves have been talking to a number of teams about possible deals involving many of their roster parts, but it seems that the three-way deal with the Lakers might be the one that gets done this afternoon.
The Orlando Magic had an offer of Jason Richardson on the table in exchange for Beasley, but Crawford seems to be the player the Wolves covet most.
If the Lakers can pull off the deal for Beasley, their second move would be to use their Traded Player Exception and a draft pick to nab Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers and round out a two-player upgrade.
Like most teams on deadline day, the Lakers are holding out hope they can trigger a mega deal using Pau Gasol, but as of last night there did not seem to be anything major in the works for the Lakers.
If the Laker-Portland deal falls through for Minnesota they seem to have a couple of options they like involving Beasley, so it’s safe to say he will be elsewhere later today.
If the Laker-Portland deal falls through for Portland, they seem to have a backup plan available with Indiana, although that’s deemed the least palatable deal. The Blazers have been talking with teams about a Gerald Wallace deal, although sources say there is interest in moving Wallace, but the Blazers won’t just give him away.
All trades must be submitted to the league by 3pm EST, although a trade is not official until a trade call is held with the NBA where all parts of the deal are approved by league attorneys.
Where Does C-Lee Land? The Houston Rockets have roughly eight players they have shopped around the NBA, so it’s safe to say they will be trading someone today. Terrence Williams, Jonny Flynn, Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger, Patrick Patterson, Luis Scola, Hasheem Thabeet and Courtney Lee have all be offered around.
Courtney Lee seems to be the chip most teams want. The Chicago Bulls have been after Courtney for almost two years, but sources say the Rockets want either Omer Asik or Taj Gibson in return for Lee and that’s likely too steep a price for the Bulls.
The Indiana Pacers would love to add Courtney Lee; he is from Indiana and would fit in nicely with their system. The problem is the Pacers don’t have any real assets they would part with that the Rockets want.
The Timberwolves view Courtney as a backup option if they swing and miss on Jamal Crawford. There has been talk that Houston would love to add Michael Beasley, so it will be interesting to see if Houston can spin Courtney into a better player.
League sources say the Houston Rockets do have a standing offer for Lakers’ forward Pau Gasol. The deal does not include Rockets’ guard Kyle Lowry so its deemed a non-starter by the Lakers, but if L.A. decides it wants out of the dollars committed to Gasol, Houston seems more than willing to send Luis Scola and almost any of the parts mentioned above to the Lakers.
The Lakers have told more than one inquiring team that if an offer for Gasol does not include a star level point guard, there is no room for a discussion. Houston is not offering a star guard so a deal for Gasol seems unlikely.
The Rockets have been linked to New Orleans’ center Chris Kaman and word is the Rockets would do any combination of guys above for the final year of Kaman’s deal. However, a Kaman deal might cost Houston Kevin Martin and despite his struggles and injuries as of late the Rockets seem reluctant to part with K-Mart for Kaman.
Kaman received a trade kicker in his contract when he was traded to the Hornets; he now represents a $14 million cap hit.
The Hornets have talked to a number of teams about Kaman and have floated the idea of keeping Kaman beyond this season and doing a contract extension with him after the trade deadline. That could be a smokescreen to get the offers up, but it seems for now that New Orleans isn’t trying to give Kaman away, we’ll see if that changes in six hours.
Not Moving Josh: As we covered in yesterday’s NBA PM report, the Orlando Magic were working through the Minnesota Timberwolves trying to extract Josh Smith from the Hawks.
It’s just not going to happen.
The Atlanta Hawks have told Josh Smith that they are not open to trading him before today’s 3pm EST trade deadline and that they would explore trade options this off-season if Smith genuinely wants out, it’s just not happening today.
The Hawks understand Josh’s frustrations and are not insensitive to how Josh feels.
Sources who have tried to engage Atlanta on Smith say the team really does not let the conversation get too far and its clear the Hawks’ value Josh more than anyone trying to trade for him does.
One league source said that Atlanta wants a legit All-Star front court player for Josh and while Josh had an All-Star caliber year, the price tag seemed to be way too high to get anything serious going.
The Hawks are expected to have serious talks about Smith in and around the NBA draft, so the situation is far from over.
The reality is the Hawks don’t seem open to trading Josh Smith today… that could change if someone gets silly with an offer, but at this point it seems Josh is staying where he is.
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NBA Chats: There are three NBA chats today starting with my weekly NBA Rumors Chat at 10:30am EST. Get your questions in now as the chats do fill up fast. Senior NBA writer Joel Brigham will host his weekly NBA Chat at 1:30pm EST. Joel covers the Central Division for HOOPSWORLD. We will also host a Trade Deadline Wrap-Up chat at 7pm EST featuring myself, Bill Ingram and Alex Kennedy – look for the link later today. You can always find the next chat here: Upcoming NBA Chats. If you are looking for a completed chat, check the Chat Archive.