The Brooklyn Nets are no longer trying to trade for Dwight Howard. The Nets said earlier today that they would “resolve” the Howard trade talks by the end of the day and now that means it isn’t happening.
“We’ve moved on. It just got to a point where we couldn’t keep going back and forth with Orlando. They had about 14 days to do something and didn’t. We just had to move on, and we felt that way this morning,” a Nets source told ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian O’Connor.
The Nets have offered Brook Lopez a max 4-year, $58 million deal and are discussing the possibilities of adding a fifth year. The Nets did this to prevent Lopez from signing an offer sheet with another team (he had offer sheets ready to sign with Portland and Charlotte) and it has also made it so Orlando is no longer interested in trading Howard to Brooklyn.
Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan said that if Lopez signs a deal of that magnitude than any chances of trading Howard to Brooklyn are gone.
Hennigan informed Howard today that the Magic attempted to make a deal with the Nets but that they could not come to one and now Orlando will focus its energy on finding a new head coach.
With the Nets now out of the picture for Howard, the Los Angeles Lakers look to be by far the frontrunner for Howard although a potential deal between L.A. and Orlando is far from close to being done.
The Lakers would have to trade away Andrew Bynum to get Howard and have said they would be willing to accept Jason Richardson and his contract as part of a potential deal.
Bynum hasn’t said he would re-sign with the Magic past next season however which is part of why Orlando would be hesitant to make that deal. If the Magic were to get Bynum though, they could potentially offer him a 5-year, $100 million deal next summer which would be tough for anyone to turn down.
Orlando is most interested in getting as many draft picks as possible so a third team would likely be necessary to sweeten a potential deal with the Lakers.
The Lakers most recently traded for Steve Nash and a core involving Kobe Bryant, Nash and Howard would be a dream for the Lakers and immediately put them in the discussion for making it to the NBA Finals next season.
The Houston Rockets are the other team still in the mix for trading for Howard. Houston could offer the Magic the best package of draft picks and young players that Orlando wants but Howard has said he would not re-sign past next season if traded to the Rockets.
The Rockets seem unconcerned with that however and would be willing to take their chances with Howard for one season.
The Magic have said before that they are in no particular rush to trade Howard who may not even be ready to play by the start of next season due to his back injury. It is hard to imagine Howard playing another game in an Orlando Magic uniform though so a trade still seems more likely than that.