NBA PM: A Weird Day for Dwight Howard
As if Chris Paul’s late-night non-trade to the Lakers wasn’t enough red tape, NBA fans across the country are being treated to everyone’s favorite: Accusations of tampering.
The Magic are reportedly considering filing tampering charges against two unnamed NBA teams for contact with star center Dwight Howard, according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge, and that news is coming off ESPN The Magazine writer Chris Broussard’s report that Dwight Howard’s preferred destination is New Jersey.
The two stories could be completely unrelated, but that’s not what Broussard wrote on his Twitter account around noon.
“Dwight Howard met with NJ owner Mikhail Prokhorov & GM Billy King Thurs night in Miami, sources say. Orlando was unaware (of) meeting.”
Houston is rumored to be the other team accused of tampering, but Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick may have put that story to bed on his Twitter account this afternoon.
“The Rockets have been informed that there will be no tampering charges brought against them by Orlando & were told they weren’t considered.”
And if your head isn’t spinning yet, Aldridge mentioned in his article that a source told him that Howard has yet to ask for a trade at all, which conflicts with what Broussard wrote earlier.
Confirming anything on the Nets side of the equation hasn’t been nearly as easy. King wants to avoid another circus like last season’s Carmelo Anthony-trade debacle in which sources from both New Jersey and Denver may have placed a strain on what was eventually a fruitless negotiation.
Interestingly enough, the Magic has already reportedly agreed to acquire one player that Howard expressed in interest in playing with. ESPNBoston.com’s Chris Forsberg has confirmed that the Celtics and Magic have agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that would send Glen Davis to Orlando in exchange for Brandon Bass. As HOOPSWORLD’s Alex Kennedy wrote on his Twitter account:
“Glen Davis was one of the free agents Dwight Howard told the Magic to pursue. This is clearly Otis Smith trying to appease Howard.”
It’s not clear what transpired between the Magic and Howard or between the Howard and the Nets. The real questions are, “Will this prevent Howard from staying with the Magic?” or “Will this stop Orlando from dealing with New Jersey?” A lot of money, exposure and respect are at stake in this, and for anyone to claim to know what’s going to happen is irresponsible. Howard, King and Smith don’t know how this will play out and neither does anyone else. In fact, we’re still unsure if and when Howard will report to Magic training camp.
As if the Nets don’t have enough centers to be worrying about, the team is on the verge of inking Nene to a four-year deal between $60 million and $65 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. There is still a chance the Nuggets could try to do a sign-and-trade deal with the Nets, but nothing has been confirmed with that.
The question is, can Nene play with Brook Lopez OR, if the Nets deal Lopez for Dwight Howard, can Nene play with Howard?
Given that both Nene and Howard have played center and power forward in their careers, that doesn’t seem like a stretch on the defensive end. Plus, they both have Dan Fegan as an agent, so there is the outside chance that they’ve at least considered the possibility of playing with one another already. The problem will be on offense, where both Nene and Howard primarily just clean up around the basket.
Lopez hasn’t played any power forward as a pro, but Nets coach Avery Johnson previously said that the fourth-year big man’s shooting ability allows him to move away from the paint on offense, adding that New Jersey is open to signing a center or power forward because of that. Lopez is a good fit with either player on offense because he doesn’t need to be anchored to the paint, but defensively he’s below average guarding both power forwards and centers.
David Stern Explains Himself… Briefly
Commissioner David Stern made a small statement following the public outcry of his actions regarding the Chris Paul-Los Angeles Lakers deal.
“Since the NBA purchased the New Orleans Hornets, final responsibility for significant management decisions lies with the Commissioner’s Office in consultation with team chairman Jac Sperling. All decisions are made on the basis of what is in the best interests of the Hornets. In the case of the trade proposal that was made to the Hornets for Chris Paul, we decided, free from the influence of other NBA owners, that the team was better served with Chris in a Hornets uniform than by the outcome of the terms of that trade.”
A lot of fans were upset to see Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s email to Stern, which many believed to be hypocritical, but the commissioner is trying to make it clear that the NBA owners had no influence on this decision. As Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports pointed out, the email included a time stamp of 10 p.m. EST, which occurred after the deal had been killed.
That doesn’t preclude Gilbert from being a hypocrite (his Cavaliers once traded Zydrunas Ilgauskas for Antawn Jamison and were able to sign Ilgauskas back before the end of the season) but it does support Stern’s assertion that other owners were excluded from this process. Of course, we don’t know if Stern talked to any other owners.
Chauncey Billups Isn’t Happy
After hearing that he’ll be amnestied to make room for center Tyson Chandler, former Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups is considering retirement, his agent told Andy Miller told ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian O’Connor.
“But I wouldn’t be surprised if Chauncey retired than than play for a team he wouldn’t want to play for,” Miller said.
Teams that are under the salary cap (read: less-competitive teams) will have the first shot at claiming Billups, which means until they all pass on him, he can’t really decide where he’s going.
“He doesn’t need the money, his kids are getting to an age where he wants to be an active participant, and he doesn’t need the frustration an instability he’s constantly dealing with,” Miller said. “So he may choose not to play.”
Of course, Billups liked playing back home in Denver with the Nuggets last season, but ultimately accepted his fate and was traded with Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks (not Nets, as was mistakenly written originally) last February.
“But he’s in a very frustrated state of mind because this has happened to him twice now,” Miller continued. “The way the league is structured, if you’re a hot name and teams have interest in you, you have the ability to manufacture mass hysteria, and guys like Chauncey who put in years of high-level leadership, production, and service get lost.”
Of course, if the teams that are under the cap pass on Billups, he would then have a chance to play for whomever he wanted and his interest in returning to the NBA would obviously increase.
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