HANG TIME CAPITAL BUREAU — Despite Magic All-NBA center Dwight Howard’s desire to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, there is currently nothing on the table from Brooklyn that interests Orlando, and there’s little likelihood of a deal between the teams, according to a league source involved in the discussions.
The Nets are going forward with their plans to rebuild their team without Howard, working diligently to acquire guard Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks, and will proceed with that and other moves even if they can’t convince guard Deron Williams to re-sign there, according to a league source. But Brooklyn is hopeful that Williams will want to play with a revamped team that includes Johnson and a re-signed Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez. Wallace agreed to a four-year, $40 million deal over the weekend, and the Nets hope they can keep Lopez as well.
The Nets “are not going to wait” for a Howard deal, the source said.
The Magic’s previous management team had been working on a Howard deal with the Nets for months, but those proposed offers included Lopez as the centerpiece of the potential package, as well as future Draft picks. And Orlando never agreed to those proposals, either, leading Howard to vacillate before deciding to “opt in” for the 2012-13 season and honor the final year of his contract. Howard reiterated his desire to be traded to the Nets in a meeting with Orlando’s new GM, Rob Hennigan, last week. Over the weekend, Howard denied reports that he felt “blackmailed” by the Magic into opting in for next season. Hennigan said in a meeting with local reporters that he wanted players on the Magic “who want to be here,” which would, seemingly, not include Howard.
The Magic fired former GM Otis Smith and former coach Stan Van Gundy after the team’s first-round playoff loss to Indiana. Orlando has just begun the search process for a new coach to replace Van Gundy, who took the team to the Finals in 2009.