NBA AM: Time For Orlando To Make A Deal
Today Could Be The Day The Brooklyn Nets are increasingly confident that they can land Dwight Howard from the Magic, and the Magic are seemingly desperate now to close a deal. More than 18 players have been mentioned in connection with a massive multi-team trade that could be consummated in the coming hours.
However, at every step, just as soon as it seemed like there is a deal, it unravels quickly.
As things stand this morning a final deal could happen, or it could very easily unravel – it is that unstable. All parties involved have been working diligently to craft a massive deal, however with so many teams, players and agendas trying to be served in one deal, the improbability of such a complex deal is showing its face.
Here is where things stand.
Brooklyn Nets: The Nets have been fairly consistent in their offer. They will put as many as four draft picks on the table, as well as a re-signed Brook Lopez and a re-signed Kris Humphries. The Nets also still have contract rights to Damion James, Sundiata Gaines, Gerald Green and Shelden Williams. There have been scenarios kicked around where all six players could be moved in a Howard deal, although Gerald Green is the least likely to participate unless there is a real guaranteed deal on the table.
Orlando Magic: The Orlando Magic have talked not only about moving Howard to Brooklyn, but completing a massive salary cap purge in the process that could include Chris Duhon, Quentin Richardson, Earl Clark and Jason Richardson being moved off. The Magic have not tried to force Hedo Turkoglu into trade talks, mainly because his contract next season only includes limited guarantees and looks to be easily disposable in trade around the trade deadline or next year’s NBA draft. The Magic continue to look for draft picks, but have accepted the idea that any draft picks obtained from Brooklyn would be late first round picks after acquiring Howard, hence the involvement of other teams that could offer better picks.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cleveland Cavaliers seemed like a willing trade partner and midday yesterday it seemed like a deal was not only workable but close. But as these things tend to do, it unraveled quickly when word surfaced that Kris Humphries would not do a deal on a one-year contract which then started a back and forth that ended the day with Cleveland backing out according to sources.
The Cavs were supposed to be the landing spot for Humphries on a one-year $9 million deal to which the Cavs would get a first round pick for playing broker. The deal expanded pretty aggressively with Luke Walton’s contract being tossed in at some point. Late last night, as the deal was said to be gaining serious traction, sources close to the process said the Cavs appeared to be backing out after making a demand to obtain Brook Lopez for themselves, too. There was talk of second-year forward Tristan Thompson being packed in to Orlando in exchange for not getting Lopez and that’s when things seemed to derail.
LA Clippers: The LA Clippers were roped in mainly to find a home for Nets guard MarShon Brooks, as it seems neither Orlando nor the Cavs were overly interested in Brooks, however the Clippers were more than interested. The deal would have netted the Clips MarShon in exchange for a protected first round draft pick, which would have landed with the Cavs. It’s unclear where that leg of the deal stands because word last night was that several teams had interest in MarShon, so it’s unclear if he’ll land in LA or get shifted on to a new team at the table.
Minnesota Timberwolves: The Minnesota Timberwolves appear to be the replacement team if the Cavs’ leg cannot be revived. The Magic were supposedly meeting with the Timberwolves late yesterday, but the word is that Minnesota is trying to move off Brad Miller and Martell Webster. Both have limited guarantees on their deals making them disposable for Orlando. The Wolves are said to have real interest in Jason Richardson and MarShon Brooks. J-Rich was rumored to be headed to Minnesota at the trade deadline, so much so that J-Rich and his family started telling other players that he would be a T-Wolf. The deal did not end up happening, but there is a history of pursuit with the Wolves and Richardson. The Wolves seem a little more willing to deal than the Cavs did as of yesterday, but things on this front have changed on a day-to-day basis, so it’s unclear if the Wolves will actually deal.
Charlotte Bobcats: The Charlotte Bobcats were a late arrival to the Howard talks, however it seems that the Bobcats are open to being the team that takes Kris Humphries – if it’s a one-year deal. Sources say the Bobcats would love to divest themselves of Tyrus Thomas or DeSagana Diop in the transaction, but that’s not likely. The Bobcats do have ample cap room and they hold the rights on some interesting trade chips, namely free agent Eduardo Najera and restricted free agents DJ Augustin and DJ White.
Sources close to the process say the Hawks, Rockets and Mavericks continue to talk with Orlando about their own deals, however it seems like a deal to and through Brooklyn remains the top option mainly because there is a lot of help being offered by Howard’s agent Dan Fegan, who is cashing in favors around the league to try and get this thing done.
Sources close to the Nets caution that while they feel like they are close, if this deal does not happen or come within striking distance of being closeable today, the Nets may have to move on.
The Nets have several situations that have to start closing on Wednesday which will rapidly remove the Nets flexibility to absorb contract dollars, so they need this to happen today or it may easily blow up in everyone’s face.
The Rumor Clouds Over Brooks Nets guard MarShon Brooks took the floor yesterday in the opening game of the Orlando Summer League. He looked a little rusty and a little shaken by the environment, but for Brooks who was a breath of fresh air for the nets last season, is one of the center pieces of a possible Dwight Howard trade, and while he clearly did not want to talk about the rumors, he did say he was glad to be back playing.
No Deal For CLee When the Houston Rockets renounced their Qualifying Offer sheet to free agent guard Courtney Lee, sources close to the process said it was done along with an offer of a new deal in Houston said to be worth as much as five years and $32 million.
Courtney, who just bought a new home in Orlando, stopped by the Orlando Summer League, and was candid about his situation saying that he’d never heard those numbers from Houston and that the way the Rockets did business was for you to go find a deal, and then they might match it.
Lee is getting the hard sell from a number of teams including Boston coach Doc Rivers.
Lee wouldn’t tip his hand on where he was leaning and smiled when asked if he liked being such a coveted free agent.
The Rockets are still very much in the discussion with Courtney, however he said he’ll take his time and make his decision when he is ready.
Some Summer League Notes Day one of the AirTran Orlando Summer League got underway yesterday and while there were lots of interesting guys, a few stood out more than most:
Jared Sullinger – Boston If there was a back problem with Jared Sullinger it sure didn’t look like it. Sully played like a beast for most of his first game in Orlando, but at some point in the second half he decided to stop abusing guys on the block and started shooting jumpers. He is still a little undersized for how he wants to play and while he’s done a great job shedding weight over the last two years, he still needs more work in that department. Overall, Jared looked solid and assuming he does the same today, he could be a steal for the Celtics.
Perry Jones – Oklahoma City After the game Perry Jones III joked that he couldn’t believe he took 17 shots. Teammate Reggie Jackson soothed his teammate saying all of them where in the flow of the offense. There is no doubting PJIII’s talent. He oozes with that. It’s finding a rhythm and a comfort playing in a controlled environment. That is going to be Perry’s biggest challenge.
Perry was red-flagged in the draft process for a loose particle in his knee, and he was heavily iced as he walked over to talk to gathered media.
PJIII let Reggie Jackson address the media as he sat in a neighboring chair, against the wall in the media interview room was a whiteboard showing all 60 picks of the 2012 Draft, clearly left behind from Orlando’s draft room. You couldn’t help but notice Perry looking at the bottom of the board where he name was written in black marker. When asked if his name should have been 20 spots higher, Perry smiled and nodded, but was quick to point out how good the fit and situation in Oklahoma City is, and how he really couldn’t be happier. Just goes to show that the draft process is highly overrated, because Jones looked great in his Summer League debut and the Thunder who scooped him up late, really got a steal based on how well Perry played.
Maalik Wayns – Orlando The Villanova point guard was supposed to play behind veteran guard Ish Smith who was with Orlando last season, however at the last minute Smith got a better offer in Houston and packed his bags. Wayns made the most of his new found starter’s role wheeling and dealing. Wowing the crowd with poise and control, Maalik did very well for himself considering he was undrafted. The Magic who are desperate for point guard help may have found an interesting prospect; we’ll have to see what Day 2 does for Wayns now that he’s not such an unknown quantity.
Day 2 in Orlando gets underway at 11am.
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