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Howard Wants Trade to New Jersey; Nets Offering Lopez to Orlando

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With a post-midnight tweet, Chris Broussard changed the perception of the Nets' free agency efforts: "Nets have emerged as No. 1 choice for Dwight Howard, multiple sources say. D12 is expected to ask Magic to trade him to NJ."

Moreover, reported Broussard, "Nets still pursuing Nene in case deal for Howard falls through. NJ offering Brook Lopez & 2 1st rnd picks."

Hours before, Darnell Mayberry of the Daily Oklahoman tweeted that he had heard reports of Howard trade to the Nets.

The trade, if it worked out, would give the Nets two of the NBA's top 10 players. Later, Broussard wrote the Nets had been informed of Howard's wishes and that Howard may not show up for the Magic's training camp on Friday.

"The appeal of the Nets for Howard is the chance to play with all-star point guard Deron Williams and excitement over the Nets' move into a brand new arena in Brooklyn for the start of the 2012-13 season," wrote Broussard, echoing what the Nets management has been saying for nearly a year, ever since the Williams trade.

The effect of the leak to Broussard was to cast uncertainty in the minds of GMs other than Billy King. It suggests that if Howard was dealt anywhere besides New Jersey/Brooklyn, he could walk in July.

Although the Nets had struck out on Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler and Tayshaun Prince Thursday, they seemed close on Josh Howard, the 6'7" former All-Star who played for Avery Johnson at Dallas. Other than Butler, Josh Howard is reportedly the only other free agent the Nets have met face-to-face.

The only note of caution, and no doubt there will be more of them, was the NBA's decision to kill the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers, purportedly for "basketball reasons" but more likely because the league, which owns the Hornets, feared it would be perceived as favoring the league's richest team. The Chris Paul situation shouldn’t impact the Dwight Howard scenario.