How The Brooklyn Nets Could Still Land Dwight Howard And Make The Biggest Trade In NBA History
July 3 / Dan Fogarty / SportsGrid
It could still happen: the Brooklyn Nets could still land Dwight Howard, thus giving them a core of Howard, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Gerald Wallace (who just signed a 4-year, $40 million deal). A starting lineup that includes those four players is an instant title contender in the East, and immediately swings the balance of power in New York City towards the Brooklyn team with the artisanal microbrew logo and the Jay-Z-designed arena. This trade, for basketball and non-basketball reasons, would be arguably the biggest in NBA history.
Here's how (and why) a deal for Howard is still on the table.
When the Johnson trade came through yesterday, the reaction of many was that the Nets, by acquiring Atlanta's max contract swigman, had effectively taken themselves out of the Howard sweepstakes. With decreased cap space and less tradeable parts, it seemed unlikely that they'd be able to give Orlando enough of an excuse to part with their pouty franchise center.
Although Howard had stated publicly that he'd only sign a long-term contract with one team (he never explicitly said it was Brooklyn, but... it's Brooklyn), the Nets' front office looked like it was done waiting for Dwight. They made their play (Johnson), and, as a result, had moved on.
Welp, not so fast. Today comes a report, via ESPN's Chris Broussard, that the Nets could still land Howard by effectively be trading away their future for an opportunity to win right now.
Here is the proposed deal -- proposed being the key word, as these things tend to shift very suddenly in the hyperbolic and fluid clustermess that is NBA Free Agency. But fuck it, it's major, so let's see what it looks like:
The Nets and the Magic are discussing a trade that would send Howard to the Nets for Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and the Nets' first-round picks in 2013, 2015 and 2017, sources said. Lopez and Humphries, who are both free agents, would go to Orlando in sign-and-trade deals.
Three first-round picks over five years -- plus Lopez and Humphries -- is a lot. But you make that move every time. I don't care that Dwight Howard is coming off of back surgery. I don't care that he almost fought Jameer Nelson. I don't care that he's taken his reputation and attempted to drown it in battery acid. I don't care that he's been flighty and weird and generally acted like Shy Ronnie over the past few months. He's a franchise center, and those simply don't come around very often.
And if the deal goes through -- and Brooklyn's new team actually has a team -- then next season the NBA will look dramatically different (and dramatically compelling) in its most important market.