NBA PM: Nets, Magic Talks Get More Complex
The Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic continue to generate news without ever actually making a trade. As HOOPSWORLD and several other outlets reported earlier, the framework for a move that would send three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard to the Nets in a sign-and-trade for restricted free agent Brook Lopez is in place, but several variables need to be ironed out first.
Bill Ingram referenced Yahoo! Sports beat writer Adrian Wojnarowksi’s report in the NBA@2, which stated the deal, as it currently stands, would send Lopez, Damion James, Sheldon Williams, Cleveland’s Luke Walton and three first-round picks to the Magic while the Cavaliers would receive Quentin Richardson, Brooklyn’s Sundiata Gaines and Kris Humphries. There’s also been talk that the Nets would take on Jason Richardson’s contract as well as combo forward Earl Clark.
Of course, Humphries is interested in a multi-year deal and the Cavaliers might not be willing to commit for anything beyond one season, but that’s not the only potential hurdle in the ongoing negotiations.
First off, a fourth team might be necessary to complete the deal, which HOOPSWORLD’s Alex Kennedy just reported is a distinct possibility. (ESPN’s Chad Ford reported that the Clippers would be the fourth team, giving up a lottery protected first-round pick in exchange for MarShon Brooks. The Nets would also get Chris Duhon in this arraignment while the Magic would get point guard Armon Johnson from the Nets. The Clippers have yet to agree to anything.)
Then there are the medical issues, which could also hold up any potential deal.
CBSsports.com’s Ken Berger (and several other reporters) tweeted earlier the Nets want their team doctors to clear Howard’s surgically repaired back while the Magic team doctors would need to clear Lopez’s surgically repaired foot before anything is agreed to.
But as ESPN’s Ric Bucher told ESPN Radio in New York, the exchanging of medical records “gives an indication that this is more than just general talk.”
“That’s one of the things that has to happen for this thing to get done,” Bucher explained.
Bucher did warn of an unofficial deadline to get a deal done, and that goes along with something that HOOPSWORLD has reported as well. Both teams are still interested, but if things don’t close in the near future, the Nets are prepared to move on and, as Bucher explained, the options become much narrower even by the end of this week.
“I haven’t heard about the deal falling apart,” Bucher said. “I haven’t heard anything about the deal hitting a stumbling block. More than anything, I’ve heard GMs around the league who have sort of taken it as a fate accompli that this deal is going to get done sooner rather than later.
“Honestly, the feeling is that if it’s going to get done that it needs to get done before July 12th when all of these free agents are going to get signed,” he continued. “Once teams sort of locked it and sign their various free agents it obviously gobbles up money, it decreases flexibility, and it just makes things a little more ironclad.
“If they don’t get a deal done by July 12th then it’s almost as if you go back to the drawing board, and while there might be the same sort of motivation to get something done, you’re starting over with new pieces.”
The other reason that the 12th looms as an unofficial deadline is that the Nets are eager to build their roster one way or another. As reported earlier, the team feels that, with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace on board, simply re-signing Lopez makes them a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.
Yes, Lopez missed all but five games because of foot and ankle issues last season, but when he was healthy he dropped 38 points and 28 points against the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics respectively.
And prior to dealing with an injury plagued 2011-2012 campaign, Lopez was the most-durable player in the NBA for three consecutive seasons, appearing in all 246 regular season games during that span.
Lopez led the Nets in scoring in 2010-2011, making 49.2 percent of his field goals to average 20.4 ppg. Yes, he averaged only 5.9 rebounds per game that season, but that could be related to the emergence of Humphries. Prior to that, Lopez averaged 8.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in 2009-2010, so we do know he’s at least capable of being a traditional center.
For now, the wheels continue to move toward a blockbuster trade, but it’s unlikely anything gets done today and with each passing day, this move becomes less and less likely.
And How does Deron Williams Feel?
Deron Williams is currently in Las Vegas preparing for Team USA’s Olympic run, but he is aware of the ongoing trade talks.
When asked about the on-again, off-again trade for Howard, Williams sounded like someone who has seen it all before.
“That’s why I’m not really concerning myself with it,” he said, as quoted by Newsday’s Al Iannazzone. “This whole scenario already happened in February. Of course, I’m going to welcome that trade. If it doesn’t happen I think we have a great group. I think Brook is a great player. I think he can be a special player too, especially with the right players around him.”
Again, the Nets—and Williams in particular—would like the trade to happen, but if it doesn’t, they’re not exactly going to cry about it.
Roy Hibbert Staying in Indiana?
As Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reported, the Pacers will match the four-year, $58 million offer that the Portland Trail Blazers extended to restricted free agent Roy Hibbert, which would keep him in Indianapolis.
Hibbert has perhaps his best season as a pro in 2011-2012, averaging 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.
The Blazers could turn their attention to Denver Nuggets restricted free agent JaVale McGee, but one has to assume any offer to him would be matched as well. Portland did draft Illinois center Meyers Leonard, which means the cupboard isn’t totally bare.
Steve Novak Gets His Deal?
Free agent Steve Novak isn’t going anywhere, NBA.com’s David Aldridge and several others are reporting.
Now that an independent arbitrator has decided that waived players can retain their Bird rights and early-Bird rights, Novak will reportedly be staying with the Knicks after agreeing to a four-year, $15 million deal.
Obviously this makes the Knicks bench far more effective, seeing as Novak can play both forward spots. And since Amar’e Stoudemire can slide over to center, Novak can also sub in for Tyson Chandler, giving coach Mike Woodson significant flexibility.
Novak sank 47.2 percent of his 3-point attempts after being waived by the Spurs and signing with the Knicks last season. Remarkably, of his 161 field goals, only 28 came within the 3-point arc.
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