It appears the Dwight Howard trade saga is about to take another twist.
Now that NBA commissioner David Stern has put the kibosh on the deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, heading to L.A. may not be as appealing to the Orlando Magic’s All-Star center.
Sources say Howard is now ready to ask the Magic to trade him to the New Jersey Nets. Howard can force a trade by telling the Magic that he will not re-sign with them this off-season, which would mean they could lose him as a free agent and get nothing in return.
If the Magic is willing to trade Howard now, New Jersey is reportedly prepared to offer promising center Brook Lopez, along with two first-round draft picks. The Nets are also willing to take back Hedo Turkoglu’s bloated three-year $34 million contract, according to ESPN.com.
Magic general manager Otis Smith, who has gone for some much worse deals that have landed him Vince Carter and Gilbert Arenas in the past, would be smart to take this offer if put on the table.
This could be a win-win for both franchises. The Magic gets to build toward the future while the Nets strengthen their chances of getting a long-term commitment from All-Star point guard Deron Williams, who would likely stay if Howard joins the franchise. The Nets are also set to make the move to a new building and to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 seasons.
There is some concern that Stern might step in and squash this deal like he did the three-way trade between New Orleans, Los Angeles and Houston. But there are a couple of subtle differences, starting with the fact that the NBA owns the Hornets franchise and New Orleans wasn’t getting close to that value in return.
Lopez and two first-round picks (New Jersey’s own and Houston’s) set Orlando up nicely for the future.
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