NBA PM: Nets, Magic Discuss Howard Trade
The Brooklyn Nets are continuing their aggressive pursuit of Dwight Howard, working with the Orlando Magic to put together an attractive trade package for the superstar center. The Nets and Magic continue to discuss a Howard trade, and are currently searching for a third team to facilitate a deal.
Brooklyn and Orlando have discussed a deal that would swap Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks and multiple first-round draft picks for Howard and one or two of the Magic’s ugly contracts. A third team would take on Kris Humphries, who Orlando hasn’t expressed interest in acquiring. This would require several players to be signed-and-traded, which adds another hurdle to the already complicated talks.
No trade is imminent, but the talks between the Nets and Magic are ongoing. Orlando has also been in contact with the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks among other teams as they weigh their options and search for the best trade.
Magic general manager Rob Hennigan has said that there’s no timetable to complete a trade, with the team instead focused on doing their due diligence and making the right move that puts them in the best position to rebuild going forward.
Howard has made it clear he wants to be dealt to the Nets, and any team other than the Nets will have to trade for Howard without a long-term commitment from the six-time All-Star. Howard hasn’t expanded his list and likely won’t as long as landing in Brooklyn is a possibility.
Earlier this week, Howard to Brooklyn was dead, at least for a moment.
When the Nets agreed to sign Bosnian forward Mirza Teletović to the full mid-level exception, they nearly activated the $74.3 million hard cap that exists in the new collective bargaining agreement. Had Teletović put pen to paper on July 11 and signed the three-year, $15 million deal that the two sides agreed upon, the Nets wouldn’t have had the cap flexibility to acquire Howard. The Nets realized this before it was too late and renegotiated Teletović’s deal, giving him the mini mid-level exception worth $3.09 million per season and reopening the door for a Howard trade.
Now, whether the Nets acquire Howard is in the hands of Hennigan. This is the 30-year-old’s first significant move as an NBA general manager, which is why it’s so important that he makes the right decision. Hennigan didn’t create this mess, he inherited it, but he’ll still be judged by this move for years to come. Howard may want to be dealt to Brooklyn, but Hennigan will do what’s best for the Magic.
If teams like Houston or Atlanta are willing to acquire Howard as a rental, Hennigan will seriously consider their offers. However, these teams may not be willing to give up significant pieces since Howard could leave as a free agent after next season.
When the Nets re-signed Gerald Wallace to a four-year, $10 million deal and acquired Joe Johnson from the Hawks in exchange for Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, DeShawn Stevenson and a future first-round pick, it was assumed the Brooklyn had moved on from Howard. However, the team continues to pursue the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, envisioning a core that features Williams, Howard, Johnson and Wallace locked up for years to come.
While there are still several obstacles in the way, the Nets remain hopeful that they can obtain Howard and open the Barclays Center with a star-studded lineup that can contend in the Eastern Conference.
Another Goran Dragic, Aaron Brooks Swap?
This year’s free agency period has certainly been entertaining. Even though this class doesn’t feature the star power that we’ve seen in recent years, there have been plenty of twists and turns to keep fans captivated. The NBA is unpredictable, which is part of the reason it’s so much fun to cover and follow.
Now, the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets may add another chapter to this wild offseason.
Two seasons ago, the Suns traded Goran Dragic and a first-round pick to the Rockets in exchange for Aaron Brooks. Now, 16 months later, the two players may be returning to their original teams.
Dragic has already agreed to re-sign with the Suns, coming to terms on a four-year deal worth $34 million earlier this week. The Rockets weren’t willing to offer more than $8 million per season so Dragic bolted to Phoenix where he’ll be the heir apparent to Steve Nash, who mentored him during his first stint in Phoenix.
Now, to bring things full circle, Brooks may be on his way back to Houston.
The Rockets have been in contact with Brooks, and the two sides will meet in Houston this weekend, according to sources close to the situation. Brooks is currently a restricted free agent since the Suns extended a qualifying offer to him. However, after signing Dragic and drafting Kendall Marshall, it’s unlikely that Phoenix will match an offer sheet for Brooks.
Less than two years after being traded for one another, Dragic and Brooks may re-sign with their original teams. Phoenix has already welcomed Dragic back with open arms, and Brooks may be next in Houston.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Mutual Interest Between Rashard Lewis and Miami Heat
Rashard Lewis will meet with the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon, according to sources close to the forward. There’s mutual interest between Lewis and the Heat, and the two sides could agree to terms on a deal if all goes well this weekend.
After spending the last two seasons with the struggling Washington Wizards, the 32-year-old wants to join a contender, and the Heat are near the top of his list. The New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Lakers have also expressed interest in Lewis, according to sources close to the situation.
Last week, the New Orleans Hornets bought out Lewis’ contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. The final year of his deal was worth $22 million, but the Hornets bought him out at $13.95 million. By buying out Lewis’ contract, New Orleans saves $8.3 million.
Lewis is currently training at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas. Last season, Lewis averaged 7.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 28 games with the Wizards. During his stint in Washington, the former All-Star was limited by a number of injuries including right knee tendinitis and a bone bruise in his left knee.
Now, sources say Lewis is healthy and capable of being a significant contributor. Lewis was traded to New Orleans in exchange for Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor. Over the course of his 15-year career, he has averaged 16.1 points and 5.6 rebounds.
In the coming days, Lewis will meet with the Heat and then continue to weigh his options.
Boston Celtics or Miami Heat for Ray Allen?
Ray Allen hasn’t decided whether he’ll sign with the Miami Heat or return to the Boston Celtics, according to sources close to the situation. The 36-year-old shooting guard left Miami on Friday and will continue to weigh his options in the coming days. Allen was expected to meet with the Los Angeles Clippers today, but the meeting was canceled when the team agreed to sign Jamal Crawford yesterday.
Allen met with Heat brass on Thursday evening and heard their pitch about why he should take his talents to South Beach. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been aggressively recruiting Allen. James hasn’t been subtle in his recruitment, tweeting a picture of Allen in a Heat jersey alongside the caption, “This looks damn good to me.” Miami can sign Allen for the mini mid-level exception, which would pay him $3.09 million per season.
The Celtics haven’t given up hope that they can re-sign Allen. Boston has remained in contact with Allen and they’re reportedly prepared to offer a no-trade clause or trade kicker to the future Hall of Famer since he was concerned about his job security after nearly being dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies at last year’s trade deadline. Boston is doubling Miami’s contract, offering to pay Allen $6 million per season.