A lot of that talk has centered around luring Dwight Howard to the Nets one way or another.
The main competitor for the Nets to Dwight's services would appear to be the Lakers.
However, it is doubtful that the Lakers will be able to afford Howard.
The salary cap for the 2010–2011 season is $58,044,000.
This figure however, can be easily exceeded with the plethora of exceptions that the current CBA provides.
The league, however, is already talking about instituting a hard cap. I.E. no exceptions.
"What we’ve proposed to the players is a hard cap. We’ve looked at the NFL, and we’re not ashamed to say that appears to be a better system. There’s a lot more analysis we need to do with the players. I’m not suggesting we’re the NFL. But we believe through shorter contracts, less guaranteed money and a harder salary cap, we can create more parity among the teams in this league. We believe for the long-term success for the business, that’s important."
The Lakers, even with only the four players they have committed to the 2012-2013 season, would come close to the cap.
Here is the math:
In the 2012-2013 season, they have:
$27,849,000 for Kobe
$19,285, 850 for Pau
$6,100,000 for Luke Walton
$4,000,000 for Steve Blake
That adds up to $57,234,000 which is just $810,000 under this year's cap.
Unless Dwight is really really not about the money, it will be nearly impossible for the Lakers to afford him.
That leaves the Nets as nearly the only viable path for Howard to get his money AND compete for a championship.