Amid several reports that a deal to send Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets is close, a source directly involved in the discussions said Monday that the Nets are exploring offers from other teams that want to get involved in the Howard talks besides the Cleveland Cavaliers — the third team that is reportedly the conduit to take on players and Draft picks to enable Brooklyn to get Howard while sending players and picks to the Magic.
While the structure of a deal involving the Nets, Magic, Cavaliers and at least one other team is in place, involving numerous players, the moving parts involved in that scenario are a long way from being resolved. For example, Brooklyn created the structure of the deal, which would include sending forward Kris Humphries to the Cavaliers as part of the trade. However, Humphries, being a free agent, would have to agree to the terms of a sign-and-trade deal first.
And since Humphries played on a one-year deal for the Nets last season, he’s reluctant to do it again, looking for a multi-year deal. Under the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Humphries could only sign up to a four-year deal if he was part of a sign-and-trade. But the Cavaliers are reluctant to sign Humphries to a long-term deal, preferring to use him as a trade chip to amass additional assets or to only take up cap space for a year. (Being well under the salary cap, Cleveland could just sign Humphries using its room if it was interested in him, and wouldn’t have to give up anything.)
Indeed, Humphries’s agent, Dan Fegan, has not even had a conversation with the Cavaliers about a contract for Humphries, according to league sources. The Nets are driving the process.
The Nets have sent medical records for their free agent center, Brook Lopez, to the Magic. Lopez would be the centerpiece of the players and picks that Orlando would take back in a package for Howard. However, the Nets have not asked for or received Howard’s medical records from Orlando, according to the source involved in the discussions, because the talks have not gotten to the point where a deal is imminent. Howard underwent back surgery in April to repair a herniated disc that kept him out of the playoffs.
Opening up the process to other teams can only drive up potential packages other teams would be willing to send. The Houston Rockets have tried for months to get Howard, even though he’s consistently said he would have no interest in signing an extension with them if traded there and would leave in the summer of 2013 as an unrestricted free agent. Howard has told teams that he would only sign an extension with the Nets. The Rockets do have several young players on rookie deals that could be enticing as trade chips, along with guard Kevin Martin, who’s entering the final year of his contract.
Yahoo! Sports reported Monday afternoon that the proposed deal would send Howard, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark to Brooklyn. Lopez (via a sign-and-trade deal), forwards Damion James and Shelden Williams and guard Armon Johnson, along with Cleveland forward Luke Walton, would go to Orlando, along with three first-round picks — two from New Jersey and one from Cleveland. The Cavs would get Humphries, guard Quentin Richardson from Orlando, guard Sundiata Gaines from the Nets, a first-round pick from the Nets and $3 million. Later Monday ESPN.com reported that the Clippers would be involved as a fourth team in the proposed trade, receiving guard MarShon Brooks from the Nets and a future protected first-round pick.