Blog Entry

CP3 developments push Nets' pursuit of Howard

Posted on: December 14, 2011 12:02 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 11:59 am
So now we know why the Magic never filed those tampering charges against the Nets.

For one thing, the latest developments in the Chris Paul saga point to New Jersey (i.e. Brooklyn) moving into prime position to land All-Star center Dwight Howard in a trade -- if Orlando decides to go that route.

Or so the Nets hope.

The Lakers re-entered the Paul trade talks Tuesday night, and would need a third team to funnel the young prospects to New Orleans along with Pau Gasol in return for the gifted point guard. Clippers brass were unfazed by these developments, sources told, having expected that the Lakers would re-enter the talks at some point -- either for real or for leverage purposes.

UPDATE: The re-emergence of the Lakers, who had a three-team trade for Paul also involving Houston fall through when league executives deemed it too expensive and not yielding enough young talent for New Orleans, combined with other factors Tuesday to signal that the Nets' pursuit of Howard was about to reach a new level of urgency. One of those factors was free-agent big man Nene, one of the Nets' top free-agent targets, agreeing to a five-year, $67 million deal to stay in Denver.

If the Lakers sent Gasol to New Orleans for Paul, they presumably could not find enough talent elsewhere to include in a separate deal for Howard as well -- although the Los Angeles Times reported that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was engaged in conversations about both Paul and Howard. The Mavericks, the third team on Howard's list of preferred trade destinations, continued to dutifully clear 2012 cap space Tuesday, an effort sources say is geared toward a possible run at Howard if he gets to free agency or Texan Deron Williams if he is not persuaded to stay with the Nets when the team moves to Brooklyn in 2012.

League sources confirmed that talks between the Nets and Magic gained momentum in recent days and that New Jersey was working on a complicated set of scenarios to land Howard that could involve one or two other teams. The Nets are "pushing hard," a source said, but the biggest hurdle was uncertainty over whether the Magic are ready to give up on trying to persuade Howard to stay in Orlando.

A person familiar with the discussions described them as "very complicated," and two other people confirmed that one scenario would loop in the Trail Blazers as a third team to provide swingman Gerald Wallace as a second primary piece along with Nets center Brook Lopez in a package for Howard. As part of the deal, New Jersey also would have to take back Hedo Turkoglu and the $34 million left on his contract.

UPDATE: A league source told that the Magic are "not in a rush to do anything," and that the team's first priority is to keep Howard. The scenario as currently constructed with Wallace joining Lopez in Orlando as the primary pieces is not enough to persuade the organization to move forward with the deal quickly, the person said.

"If people think things are imminent, then they're being led down the wrong path," the person said.

The organization is determined, however, to avoid another Shaq scenario -- when Shaquille O'Neal left Orlando as a free agent in 1996 and the team got nothing in return. If the only option is to trade Howard, sources said the team will be take its time to find the right deal. GM Otis Smith will not, and has not, limited himself to exploring deals with the three teams Howard has signaled he's willing to sign a long-term deal with -- the Nets, Lakers and Mavericks, sources said.

Though it isn't certain yet whether the Magic are ready to go through with a deal parting with Howard, Orlando seems to be seeking some elements of the kind of package New Jersey worked for months to assemble for Denver last season in its pursuit of Carmelo Anthony: a combination of established players, prospects and draft picks. Given Howard's stature and the stakes for both teams, this package will have to be substantially more valuable -- and thus, more difficult to assemble.

Which brings us back to those tampering charges that never materialized.

The Magic last week were weighing the possibility of filing a tampering charge against the Nets over a reported meeting in Miami involving Howard and Nets officials. The alleged meeting occurred before Smith gave Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, permission to speak with the Nets, Lakers and Mavericks about a possible trade. A league source told Tuesday that the potential tampering charges are "on the back burner" while the team weighs its options. Knowing that the Nets may turn out to be the best trade partner, the Magic were reluctant to burn that bridge before the negotiations even got off the ground, sources said.

A lot is in flux in the Magic front office, with team president Alex Martins taking over as CEO for the departed Bob Vander Weide, and now the brass are trying to evaluate what is the best option for dealing with the Howard situation, sources said. 

"There's going to be a little bit of a bidding process if anybody wants him," an executive within the league said Tuesday.

The Nets' pursuit of Howard is tied to their acquisition of Williams from the Jazz last season, and now is inexorably linked to the Paul talks, which are perhaps the most complicated trade negotiation in NBA history. League executives Joel Litvin and Stu Jackson, acting on behalf of the 29 owners who have custody of the franchise, are running the talks for the Hornets. After being declared dead Monday, negotiations between the Clippers and league office reignited later that evening and continued Tuesday -- with the Clippers waiting for the price for Paul to come down since they were the only team bidding for him. 

The Clippers' successful waiver claim of veteran point guard Chauncey Billups undoubtedly helped that effort, as Clippers GM Neil Olshey was then free to include point guard Eric Bledsoe in the deal. But Olshey was still unwilling to part with both sharpshooter Eric Gordon and the Timberwolves' unprotected 2012 first-round pick, and that was primarily the reason no conclusion was reached Tuesday, sources said. 

The best the Nets can offer for Howard is Lopez, a less accomplished but more durableversion of the Lakers' Andrew Bynum, plus multiple first-round picks and a signed-and-traded Kris Humphries. But the Nets have been exploring ways to bring in a third or even fourth team that could convey more assets to Orlando, and New Jersey GM Billy King has signaled to associates that such a maneuver won't be a problem. King has proved to be one of the most adept executives in the league at assembling complicated, multi-team deals.

Since: Jan 4, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:31 am

CP3 developments push Nets' pursuit of Howard

Looks like somebody needs to go back to hockey, as they obviously know nothing about basketball. 

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:02 am

CP3 developments push Nets' pursuit of Howard

Al Valkenheiser- you clearly know NOTHING about basketball if you think that Rondo is a better player than Rose. You wouldn't call Rose a big star unless you are in Chicago??? You forgetting that he was last year's MVP...let me repeat that LAST YEAR'S MVP. I think that qualifies him as a big star you donkey. He is the best point guard in the NBA, HANDS DOWN and arguably the best player in the league. Stick to hockey, you are NBA illiterate.

Since: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 9:55 am

CP3 developments push Nets' pursuit of Howard

I wouldn't call Derek rose a big star unless you are in Chicago , Myself I would rather have Rondo than Rose on my team everyday and twice on sunday

Since: Nov 30, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:41 am

Does Lakers-Paul bode well for Nets-Howard?

As I said before......
It's about Dwight Howard when you talk about basketball and Howard
NOT about WINNING......
I don't think he wants to be on a team with a BIGGER STAR than him
D ROSE would be bigger at this time and the foreseeable future

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:00 am

Does Lakers-Paul bode well for Nets-Howard?

I understand that you are probably a Suns fan, but they simply are not a good option for Dwight Howard.  If he wanted to win a championship in the next two years, the obvious choice would be Miami.  Just sign for the mid-level exemption when he is a free agent.  If he wants to win for the long haul, the obvious choice is Chicago.  You'd have the best center and point guard in the league and the Bulls have the pieces to make a trade work.  If he is looking for fame like Shaq did, the obvious choice is the Lakers.  Kobe has maybe three more years tops and then he'll be the main man there or at least until they bring in another star there. 

Since: Sep 24, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 7:48 am

Does Lakers-Paul bode well for Nets-Howard?

If he is smart he gets traded now to the team he wants to go to next year.
Only his current team at the end of the 2011/2012 season can him max money.

That would be the Nets. ;)

Since: Aug 28, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 4:29 am

Does Lakers-Paul bode well for Nets-Howard?

Suns will easily beable to accomade D12 and DWill and team them up with the leagues top 3-point shooter in Jared and Nash will be happy to return to backup DWill and/or play the 2 at times. Nash is probably the top pure shooter in the league. And then there is Gortat coming off the bench. Now there is a scary team if DWill and D12 is serious about winning.
With the Suns current roster, I don't see how they are a remotely attractive option for Dwight Howard or Deron Williams. Williams would be heading to a place where he would be pushing out the biggest star the Suns have ever had, a 2-time league MVP nonetheless. Much as he was always going to be compared to Stockton when he was drafted, he would be constantly compared to not just a HOF PG but one whose style mesmerized fans and media alike providing must see TV with his passing. While he did average 11 dimes a game last year, he'd still be 38 when Dwight got to town. He has always been exposed defensiely so the notion of him guarding much larger 2's is out there. Plus, Nash works best with the ball. At almost 40, running ragged fighting screens for the possibility he might get the ball for a spot up jumper shouldn't be on his agenda. Even the Suns young pieces in place are neither really young or that great. Gortat's a quality PF/C but he's 27 and has been stuck behind Dwight before so I think Marcin would prefer other options. Channing Frye, 28, is an intriguing player who is good all around but is 6'11" and does not show it. Dudley, 26, is another intriguing player but not great by any means.

To the point. If both took their talents to Phoenix and the Suns were able to keep all their players, I'd be hard pressed to think of a team that WOULDN'T be better. I love Nash and the Suns but Nash and Grant Hill are the Suns. They make everyone else that much better. They will be 38 and 40 respectively next year. So that great PHO line-up would be D Williams, Shannon Brown, Jared Dudley, Wilson Chandler and Howard with Gortat on the bench. No depth at the 1,2,or 3. Dwight, Marcin, Chandler and Morris would be a solid frontcourt but is it better than Pau, Bynum,Odom and a guard named Kobe. This hypothetical Suns team wouldn't have been better than LA, Dallas or Oklahoma City without a doubt.

Sorry, no worse potential destination for either of them.

Since: Nov 7, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:35 am

If Howard is Smart....

If Dwight wants to go to a situation where he can win it all he should stay with Magic for the season and wait for cues from Suns and DWill. Suns will have massive cap space, much more then the Mavs in summer and not a total depleted roster like will be the case with Dallas in order to make cap space. Suns will easily beable to accomade D12 and DWill and team them up with the leagues top 3-point shooter in Jared and Nash will be happy to return to backup DWill and/or play the 2 at times. Nash is probably the top pure shooter in the league. And then there is Gortat coming off the bench. Now there is a scary team if DWill and D12 is serious about winning.

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