Magic re-engage Nets, other teams in Dwight Howard trade talks

Magic GM Rob Hennigan (right), here with CEO Alex Martins, is talking to multiple teams about Howard. (AP)

Dwight Howard's inevitable divorce with the Orlando Magic may have gotten just the motivation it needed.

Spurred by the Nets' decision to fill up their cap space by acquiring Joe Johnson from Atlanta, the Magic are once again engaged in trade discussions for Howard with the Nets while also exploring options with other teams, league sources told CBSSports.com Tuesday.

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The Nets scenario would be complicated and isn't imminent, one of the sources said. It also isn't the only one Orlando GM Rob Hennigan is working on. Atlanta, Houston, the Lakers and possibly Dallas are among the teams the Magic are trying to engage as the Howard situation may finally have reached a tipping point.

UPDATE: But one person briefed on the talks described Orlando's posture with regard to trading Howard as "unhurried." The Magic still hold leverage over Howard, who at some point must work with the team on a mutually beneficial exit strategy. Howard surrendered his leverage in March when he waived his early-termination option for 2012-13, and with it his right to become a free agent this summer.

Indeed, according to another person briefed on the matter, there is little optimism even from Howard's camp that the Nets can put together a realistic package for the All-Star.

After using most of its cap space to acquire Johnson and re-sign Gerald Wallace to a four-year, $40 million deal, Brooklyn seemed out of the Howard trade sweepstakes Monday night. In fact, Howard's camp was deflated upon learning that the Nets had decided to move on with the Johnson scenario rather than wait for Orlando to engage them in trade talks for Howard.

"They got tired of waiting on Dwight," one person involved in the process said.

The complicated scenario that the Nets and Magic have tried to resurrect would involve the signing-and-trading of Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries as well as promising guard MarShon Brooks and multiple future first-round picks. Ideally, the Magic are looking to unload one of their bad contracts in a Howard deal, either that of Hedo Turkoglu or Jason Richardson.

UPDATE: Even though the re-signing of Wallace and acquisition of Johnson would put the Nets over the cap, their working figure includes cap holds for Lopez and Humphries, who could be flipped for Howard. It's difficult to envision finding room for Turkoglu, who makes $11.8 million next season. But the Nets probably could absorb J-Rich's $5.8 million and they have a $3 million trade exception into which another Richardson, Quentin, would fit.

But it's far from certain that Orlando would deem the Nets' offer palatable, considering they've had ample opportunity to deal with Brooklyn and have backed away every time -- even in recent days, when the Nets had multiple expiring contracts they've since flipped to the Hawks for Johnson.

The Magic, who want multiple young players, draft picks and cap relief in a Howard trade, plan to be thorough as they explore all possibilities.

In other words, step right up with your Dwight trade offers.

 

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