Feb 22, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Nets fanse prior to game against the Orlando Magic holding up pictures of New Jersey Nets guard MarShon Brooks (left) and point guard Deron Williams (center) and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (right) at the Prudential Center. Orlando Magic defeat the New Jersey Nets 108-91. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
It tweets, chats, radio and video, ESPN's basketball writers are saying nice things about the Nets chances of keeping Deron Williams and acquiring Dwight Howard. None of them --Marc Stein, John Hollinger, Larry Coons or Ric Bucher-- are getting out the confetti yet, but each of them offers a positive take on the two biggest questions the Nets have.
I was told by people pretty well acquainted with D-Will who said the Mavs have no better than a 50-50 shot to get him away from the Brooklyn Nets and the reality is that he's going to have to come home pretty bad because when you look at the Mavericks now, it's Dirk Nowitzki, a lot of cap space. For Deron Williams to go there, he's betting on Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson to recreate some magic and bring in more help. There's not enough there right now to really entice him. They were led to believe very early on in this process to believe you had to have the cap space to go after Dwight Howard. That's the surest way to go after Deron Williams. you have to have the option to bring them both. That's going to excite Deron Williams the most and then Dwight Howard throws a curve ball at everyone and decides to opt in to his contract and stay in Orlando. So the goal posts have moved a little bit for the Mavericks and it's going to be a really challenging recruiting job. Mark Cuban's never had cap space but he's going to have to work really hard, though, to convince Deron Williams to leave Brooklyn and join the Mavs.
Ric Bucher on Doug Gottlieb's ESPN Radio Show:
Bucher: [About Bynum] There are still people who believe he can reach his potential, but he can’t do it in LA because he’s protected too much by Jim Buss. [basically saying there’s not too much pressure for him to give his all]
Gottlieb: Okay, so what about the offseason? They’re going to lose. Do they move him for Dwight Howard?
Bucher: I don’t think so because Dwight Howard doesn’t want to be in LA. You could move him and you could get talent —
Gottlieb: But do we actually know what Dwight Howard wants?
Bucher: Oh yeah, he wants to go to Brooklyn.
Gottlieb: Oh okay. He just has a tendency to change his mind.
Bucher: I will say this, since he had his back surgery the team [Magic] have paid no attention to him and haven’t checked on him…have not shown any concern. That may have turned this worm for the last time. It’s like ‘Wait, you were ALL OVER me and now that I’ve opted in and had back surgery, I’m not on the radar for you?’ That shows where their true intentions lie.
“Really? Wow. I didn’t even know… wow. That’s pie in the sky, my friends. Wow. OK. I didn’t even know the imaginations ran that wild in Portland but God bless them. That’s good. That’s good. Quite honestly, have you ever turned a corner and accidentally bumped your head and you see stars for a second and your equilibrium is off? That’s what I feel like… I’m sitting down. If I was standing up, I would be staggering a little bit.”
If you had to guess. What Jersey will Dwight Howard wear at the start of next season??
John Hollinger: I think he'll be a Brooklyn Net. The Magic seem ready for a top-to-bottom dismemberment and the Nets can do some things to help them rebuild quickly. That possibility becomes a lot more likely if New Jersey lands in the top three in the lottery and doesn't owe the pick to Portland.
They'd still offer more than any other team would offer if Dwight says he's not staying anywhere else.