HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — It’s still alive, the Brooklyn Nets’ dream of a Big 3 of their very own.
As long as they can continue the conversation with the Orlando Magic about a potential Dwight Howard trade, the Nets have hope that their master plan of Howard, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson joining forces is a possibility.
Never mind that only Johnson is all-but guaranteed to be in a Nets uniform as of this moment. Williams has not publicly made a decision about his future after Monday meetings with both the Nets and Mavericks.
But ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard is reporting that there is still a chance the Nets can acquire Howard via trade, provided the Magic acquiesce to his trade demand and work out the details with the Nets:
The Nets and the Orlando Magic are discussing a trade that would send Howard to the Nets for Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and the Nets’ first-round picks in 2013, 2015 and 2017, sources said. Lopez and Humphries, who are both free agents, would go to Orlando in sign-and-trade deals.
The move would be the Nets’ second blockbuster trade this week and give them a big three of Howard, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson that could rival the NBA champion Miami Heat’s heralded trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
On Monday, the Nets agreed to terms with the Atlanta Hawks on a trade that sends Johnson to Brooklyn for the expiring contracts of Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow and Jordan Williams, plus DeShawn Stevenson and the 2013 first-round pick they acquired from Houston.
The Nets are still waiting on Williams to tell them whether he will re-sign with them as a free agent, but sources say Williams was pleased with the trade for Johnson, so he is expected to stay. An additional trade for Howard would undoubtedly seal the deal.
If consummated, the trade would give Howard what he has wanted for the past seven months. In December, Howard asked the Magic to trade him to the Nets.
In a free-agent season that gets more interesting by the minute, an end to the Howard drama this soon would seem a bit mundane. There hasn’t even been the obligatory flirting with another league power (Kobe Bryant and the Lakers anyone?) thrown in the middle of the mix, if for no other reason than to stoke the flames.
But a transfer of power and resources of this magnitude would make any team pause and at least think about it. Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said Monday that they were still in the process of sorting out all of the information they could in regards to their next move with Howard.
Howard playing out the season with the Magic and then diving into free agency this time next year, as the All-Star suggested he would Monday morning if there was no trade to the Nets, seems as far-fetched as ever right now.