2011 Free Agency
The mantra has changed. The Nets, who were the second oldest team in the NBA last season, are trying to get younger, more flexible and more, as Billy King said, "financially responsible." That's the upshot of the decision to let Paul Pierce go.
Fred Kerber and Peter Vecsey offer complementary takes on the latest version of the Dwightmare Friday morning, Kerber laying out what happened at the deadline (which includes Howard visiting an Orlando Waffle House at the end...really) and both he and Vecsey predicting that Howard could be a Net by the summer or training camp at the latest.
Josh Robbins is tweeting that Dwight Howard's manager has told him that Dwight Howard has indeed signed his ETO waiver and will be staying in Orlando for another year, thus officially ending the Nets' four-month long pursuit of the All-Star center, a pursuit that they seemed certain to win only 12 hours ago.
Reports out of the Orlando media indicate that Dwight Howard will sign his early termination option Friday. If true, it would end the Nets' pursuit of the All-Star center, four months after it began.
As Wednesday night turned into Thursday morning, Marc Stein reported that the Nets and Magic "were engaged in talks late Wednesday night, with the prospect of at least one more team being recruited into a trade seen as the most likely scenario."
David Aldridge is reporting that the Magic have given Dwight Howard a deadline to submit the needed "opt-in" paperwork to league offices Wednesday or they will trade him before Thursday's 3 p.m. deadline. Aldridge said that the Magic are skeptical that Howard will sign the documentation.
Chris Broussard in an ESPN Insider post, reports that the Nets front office wants to acquire Dwight Howard before the trade deadline, understanding that while they could keep some of of their young assets it's prudent to get Howard in a Nets uniform as soon as possible. As a result they are trying to engage a third team to beef up their offer for D12.
Sam Amick reports Wednesday morning that the Magic have been in talks with both the Knicks and Lakers in recent days, with the Lakers talks more advanced.
There's anger in Orlando and anticipation in New Jersey and Brooklyn and confusion just about everywhere else (why the Nets?) Wednesday morning as the Magic's options seem to be slipping away. The Magic and their fans now feel they've been played, by Dwight Howard and his powerful agent, Dan Fegan.
Adrian Wojnarowski reports that two players who the Magic had targeted to entice Dwight Howard to stay in Orlando have been traded...for each other in a five-player deal.
With the clock ticking down to the trade deadline, Ken Berger reports that the "Magic are coming to grips with the reality that they will have to trade Dwight Howard ... and Howard's preferred team -- the Nets -- are emerging as the most likely trade partner."
It's silly season. As the trade deadline rapidly approaches, new proposals arise and fall. Some, however, aren't even real, among them the rumored three-team deal that would send Monta Ellis to Orlando and Andrew Bogut to Golden State. Both Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld and long time Warrior beat writer Marcus Thompson II say no such deal.
Ken Berger and others report that the Magic continue to pursue Monta Ellis to appease Dwight Howard, leading discussions on a three team deal that would also move Andrew Bogut from the Bucks to the Warriors. Berger had no details on what the Magic are offering in the proposed talks.
In a series of tweets Monday morning, Chris Mannix reports that if the Magic don't trade Dwight Howard by Thursday's deadline, expect wide open bidding for the All-Star center, with the Clippers and Heat among the the teams in the mix, despite cap issues.
Despite the distraction of having their best player looking for the exit door, the Magic are winning games and if they continue, wonder pundits, will it have an effect on Dwight Howard's thinking? They beat the Bulls in Chicago on Thursday. They buried the Pacers in Orlando on Sunday.
Ken Berger reports that the Magic have spoken to the Bulls about a trade that would send Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu to Chicago for a package of Omer Asik, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer and possibly the Bobcats protected first round pick. It's the Magic's preferred return, but...
The Orlando Sentinel ran a page-full of Dwight Howard stories on Sunday (complete with a trade deadline clock), trying to help readers understand what may or may not happen this week. "Do not be ashamed if the Dwight Howard saga confuses you," it notes.
In a somewhat rambling column, Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel seems to be saying that Dwight Howard has wanted to play with the Nets all along and has deliberately "sabotaged" the Magic's attempts to get value for him. As a result, writes Schmitz, the Magic are likely to keep him and go the route of rebuilding using cap space and draft picks.
The Magic are telling people they are not interested in trading Dwight Howard, but on the other hand, there are reports circulating of what they would want and who they have asked more. Meanwhile, Brian Schmitz is relaying word that Howard has a $400 sneaker deal and lots of promises from Mikhail Prokhorv, suggesting that the Orlando center is more about $$$ than W's
Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld set off a storm of tweets Thursday night with one of his own, that "If the Magic decide to trade Dwight Howard, sources close to the center believe it'll be to a team that'll rent him, not a team on his list." Then, later, he added, "the Magic haven't given any indication that they're ready to move Howard."
Ken Berger takes a long look Thursday at one of the factors that makes Brooklyn so attractive to Dwight Howard: the potential for global exposure and the money that goes with playing in a big market with another star.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes that the Magic think that they've detected a change in tone coming out of Dwight Howard and it now appears they will wait until the last minute before deciding whether to trade Howard or continue coaxing him into staying.
As John Schuhmann wrote yesterday, the end of the Dwightmare will depend far more on the Magic's long term future than Brook Lopez's short-term health. Fred Kerber thinks the same, that Lopez being out for three weeks is no where as important as the Magic decision on whether to trade Dwight Howard or try their best at keeping him around.
The Nets increasingly look like Dwight Howard's preferred landing spot, either now or in July. The Lakers seem out of it and the Mavericks seem ready to wait for free agency to land Deron Williams and Howard (reportedly in that order). Howard's agent is reportedly telling other teams to fuggedaboutit. He won't sign an extension with them. So would any team offer big assets to rent Howard?