Howard Beck, formerly of the Los Angeles Daily News, now of the New York Times, is in California, covering the Lakers' transition from Mike Brown to Mike D'Antoni and presumably waiting for the Nets' arrival there. Fred Kerber, who's covering the national basketball scene for the Post after 17 years following the Nets, is doing the same.
The two combine their assignments by talking to Dwight Howard and in Beck's case, Steve Nash, as well, about their off-seasons. More of course has been written about Howard, volumes even, and Howard recounts to Beck his rationale for wanting to be a Net. Remember, he is the first superstar who wanted to be traded to Brooklyn. Beck writes...
"That would have been a great place to start fresh," Howard said Friday. "It was just everything about it — the coaching staff, owners, just everything. It seemed like they were going in the right direction."
Howard said he and Williams were "very close" and had often discussed playing together.
"During the process, I think he kind of got upset when I signed the E.T.O. because we had talked," Howard said.
Howard has never explained the circumstances surrounding that decision, but he acknowledged he made it "despite having second thoughts about it" because "at the time I wanted really to make everybody happy."
D-Will said recently that he and Howard, who in the end make nobody but the Lakers happy, haven't spoken since the August trade.
Kerber reports that Howard thought he would wind up with the Nets even after their July signings...
“I thought I was,” Howard told The Post following the Lakers’ morning shootaround in El Segundo, Calif., admitting he kept thinking that “until I got traded to the Lakers. I really did, almost certain.”
The Nash situation was different. He was one of two point guards the Nets would have pursued if Williams didn't decide to stay. He lives in Manhattan in the off-season. In fact, Nash says he met with the Nets last summer. But looking at the timetable Nash laid out to Beck, the Nets might have had to pursue their other choice, Goran Dragic. That's because Nash said by July 2, the day before Williams decided to re-sign, he had eliminated the Nets from consideration.
By the morning of July 2, Nash had narrowed his choices to the Knicks and the Raptors. "I was happy to play with both," he said.
That same day, the Lakers unexpectedly jumped into the fray, making an initial two-year offer if the Suns would agree to a sign-and-trade deal. Nash wanted three years.
So, in the end, it's likely Nash would have never seriously considered the Nets.
- Nash and Howard Cross Paths, Creating Imposing Pair - Howard Beck - New York Times
- Dwight Howard thought he would be traded to Nets - Fred Kerber - New York Post