In a thorough review of various Dwight Howard scenarios, ESPN's cap expert Larry Coon drops this nugget: "A source close to the negotiations says Howard's representatives warned the Lakers that Howard would opt out of his contract and test the free-agent market next summer -- which has the Lakers' brass understandably nervous."
"A team like the Nets or Lakers would want assurances from Howard's people that he would re-sign before they commit significant assets to a trade," Coon writes. "The Nets may have received this sort of assurance. The Lakers, Clippers and Bulls have not."
Meanwhile, John Hollinger proposes a Nets-Bucks trade (Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow and Damion James for Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih and Jon Brockman), and concludes that a Howard-to-the-Nets deal has become "the best deal on the board," because MarShon Brooks "has given the Nets another tantalizing piece to put into a Howard deal."
Hollinger's Nets-Magic proposal is Brook Lopez, Brooks, Kris Humphries, Mehmet Okur and four first-round picks for Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Duhon.