Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey Nets’

Lopez Injury Hurts Nets On Two Fronts

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — The compressed NBA schedule has claimed another victim before the season even gets started, and the victim was one of the more durable players in the league.

The New Jersey Nets took one on the chin Wednesday when Brook Lopez suffered a stress fracture in his right foot in the first half of the team’s final preseason game. Lopez will have surgery to repair his fifth metatarsal on Friday.

The potential effects of Lopez’s injury are two-fold.


The Best Of The Rest

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — The Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City a little over three years ago, so Jamal Crawford can’t play for his hometown team. But he can come close.

That’s what Crawford will do when he signs with the Portland Trail Blazers for $10 million over two years. Crawford reportedly chose Portland over Sacramento and New York, who could only offer him their $2.5 million exception.

Crawford replaces Brandon Roy, who is being waived via the amnesty clause. And he should give a boost to an offense that has regressed each of the last two years. The Blazers had the second-best offense in the league in 2008-09, but ranked seventh in ’09-10 and 11th last season.

Also today, Richard Hamilton signed a three-year deal with the Chicago Bulls.

The free agency dominoes continue to fall, but there are still some guys available who can help a team. Here’s the best of the bunch…

Arron Afflalo (restricted): When the Nuggets agreed to terms with Nene on Tuesday night, GM Masai Ujiri told our David Aldridge that progress was being made on a deal with Afflalo. But all has been quiet on the Afflalo front since then.

Samuel Dalembert: There hasn’t been much chatter about Dalembert in the last few days. He reportedly had interest from Houston and Sacramento. Right now, the Rockets’ best center is Hasheem Thabeet.

Josh Howard: Howard met with the Jazz on Tuesday and has had several teams, including the Spurs, interested. He tore his ACL in February of 2010 and has played just 53 games over the last two seasons.

Kris Humphries: Humphries could be back in a Nets uniform on a one-year deal by the weekend. They need a power forward desperately, but because they’re looking to preserve their $22 million of cap space for next summer, they’re looking to hand out one-year deals.

Andrei Kirilenko: Reports have the Nets and Kings interested. Even with Humphries’ cap hold, New Jersey has over $12 million of cap space after waiving Travis Outlaw via the amnesty clause today. So they could give Kirilenko a pretty lucrative one-year deal.

Rodney Stuckey (restricted): ESPN reported Wednesday that Stuckey and the Pistons were at an impasse, and that he might just accept his $3.9 million qualifying offer. That would make him an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Nick Young (restricted): Michael Lee of The Washington Post updates us on Young, whose best option may be to accept the qualifying offer from the Wizards.

Getting ready for the season was tough enough with just 17 days of training camp before games start on Christmas. But for these guys, it’s going to be even harder to get integrated on the fly with whatever teams they eventually sign with.


John Schuhmann is a staff writer for Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

Dwight Stays Put … For Now

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — Dwight Howard is staying in Orlando, at least for the time being.

Once again, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the report

The Orlando Magic have informed teams that they’re ending trade talks for Dwight Howard and plan to start the season with the All-Star center on their roster, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Magic’s decision came Wednesday as the Nets tried to assemble a potential multiteam trade for Howard that could have included the Magic receiving Nets center Brook Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers forward Gerald Wallace and draft picks.

The Magic informed the Nets and several suitors Wednesday afternoon they’re no longer discussing trade scenarios for Howard, league sources said.

So the Magic will do their best to convince Howard that he can win in Orlando. They’re still one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and last season, they were one of only four teams (Dallas, Miami and the Lakers were the other three) that ranked in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.


Report: Magic won’t trade Dwight

UPDATE, 2:54 p.m. ET: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Magic have ended all trade talks for Dwight Howard. Stay tuned to for more on this story.

* * *

For the latest updates check out:’s Free Agent Tracker

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — Could Dwight Howard be traded before Chris Paul? A few days ago, the answer would have been “no way.” But with Paul talks in somewhat of a holding pattern, the Howard rumors reached a fever pitch in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the report

Talks between the Orlando Magic and New Jersey Nets for a Dwight Howard blockbuster trade have gathered momentum over the past several days, and the framework of a possible four-team deal has taken shape, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Front office sources say Nets general manager Billy King has aggressively pursued the necessary players and picks to try and satisfy Orlando’s demands for Howard, one of the league’s most dominating and popular players.

New Jersey and Orlando are working toward a core deal that would send center Brook Lopez and another significant player obtained elsewhere to the Magic for Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, sources said.

The Magic are listening, but there is still real doubt about their willingness to completely give up hope on convincing Howard to re-sign with them after he opts out of his contract in July. Howard has been willing to sign extensions with the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, but the Nets’ future in Brooklyn has been most intriguing to him.

What other teams could be involved? You would have to imagine they’d be in the Western Conference, where GMs would have motivation to keep Howard in the East and away from the Los Angeles Lakers.

In fact, a surprising candidate is involved in the talks, according to Marc Stein and Chad Ford over at

The New Jersey Nets have entered into serious talks with the Orlando Magic on a multiteam trade scenario that would bring Dwight Howard to the Nets, according to sources close to the process.

Sources told that the most active proposal discussed by the teams would send Portland Trail Blazers swingman Gerald Wallace to the Magic along with Nets center Brook Lopez as two of the main pieces Orlando would receive in exchange for Howard.

As part of such a trade, which could be expanded to include a fourth team, sources say Orlando would also shed the long-term contracts of Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Duhon — both absorbed by New Jersey — while also potentially receiving future draft considerations.

Other players would have to be added to the deal to make the salary-cap math work, but sources said Portland would receive multiple first-round picks as part of the exchange for surrendering Wallace and facilitating the trade.

Yet it remains to be seen if the Brooklyn-bound Nets can convince the Magic to indeed go through with trading Howard before the season starts. Earlier this week, one source familiar with the Magic’s thinking insisted to that they were not yet prepared to trade Howard away, clinging to the hope that he can be talked into staying.

Howard himself is known for changing his views on the matter on a near-daily basis, torn by his desire to move to a more glamorous market like Brooklyn or Los Angeles and the prospect of staying with the team that drafted him and delivering the championship to Orlando that Shaquille O’Neal could not.

One source said that the Nets were moving “aggressively” in their pursuit of Howard after Nene — New Jersey’s top free-agent target — agreed to terms Tuesday night on a five-year, $67 million deal to return to the Denver Nuggets.

Could a blockbuster involving the second-best player in the league go down before the season starts? That’s Orlando’s decision, but a deal would be much easier to pull off before the Nets spend money on free agents, even if they’re only handing out one-year deals to preserve their 2012 cap space.

Top Free Agents Wait … And Wait


HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — We knew this free agency period, coinciding with the start of training camps, was going to be crazy. And as we sit here on Tuesday morning with four days of camp are in the books and the preseason is just three days away, a few of the top free agents are still standing by the phone.

Nene was arguably the No. 1 free agent of this class. And only 12 days to go before the season starts, he’s still without a team.

Houston was reportedly ready to team Nene with Pau Gasol for what would have been an awesome, international frontline. But the three-way trade between the Hornets, Lakers and Rockets fell apart and the Rockets weren’t able to clear the cap space necessary to sign Nene.

Now that Marc Gasol has agreed to terms with the Grizzlies (before the Rockets even signed him to an offer sheet), Houston will presumably knock on Nene’s door again. But the 29-year-old Brazilian reportedly has a tentative offer from the New Jersey Nets for $64 million over four years.

The Nets, of course, have Nene on hold while they try to convince Magic general manager Otis Smith that the best time to trade Dwight Howard is now, while they have the cap space to take Hedo Turkoglu‘s contract off Smith’s hands. (more…)

So Much To Be Worked Out

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — The three-team trade between the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets blew up late Saturday night. And now, Dell Demps and the Hornets must find a new deal for Chris Paul.

As we all woke up Sunday morning in the aftermath of another twist in the CP3 drama, we were one day closer to the start of the season. Preseason games begin Friday, and there’s still much that has to happen before rosters are settled.

With both the Paul and Dwight Howard situations in a state of flux, there are so many dominoes that must fall before we can really focus on the basketball on the court. Here’s a rundown of the teams and players who are waiting for all this to get resolved…

  • With the Lakers seemingly out of the Paul picture (and talking with the Magic about Howard), do the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors get back into talks with the Hornets? If they do, how are they affected by the $40 million offer sheet that that Clipper free agent DeAndre Jordan is signing with the Warriors? The Warriors are also involved in a three-way trade that would land Jamal Crawford in New York, according to the New York Post.
  • If the three-way deal went through, the Rockets would have cleared a bit of cap space, reportedly enough to offer free agent Nene a four-year deal worth $64 million. If the Rockets don’t have the space, does Nene return to the Denver Nuggets or focus on the New Jersey Nets?
  • Of course, the Nets are reportedly Howard’s preferred destination and obviously all-in for the three-time DPOY. Consider this: The Nets have two huge holes at the forward positions, $22 million in cap space (if they waive Travis Outlaw and renounce Kris Humphries), and a desperate need to keep Deron Williams happy … and they haven’t made a single roster move yet.
  • Until the Hornets find a trade for Paul, the Hornets probably can’t go through with a sign-and-trade deal that would land David West in Boston. Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Indiana Pacers are ready to sign West if the Boston deal falls through. Meanwhile, maybe the Celtics get back in the Paul mix with an offer centered around Rajon Rondo.
  • K.C. Johnson reports that the Chicago Bulls will enter the bidding for Howard.

That’s 11 teams and two of the summer’s top free agents (Nene and West) who are directly tied into the Paul and Howard situations. And that doesn’t include any three or four-team trade scenarios. There are a lot of dominoes still to fall.


John Schuhmann is a staff writer for Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

Magic Give J-Rich A Curious Deal

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — Magic general manager Otis Smith acknowledged Saturday afternoon that Dwight Howard has asked to be traded. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Howard has specifically asked to be traded to the New Jersey Nets, where he would team up with point guard Deron Williams.

Smith now faces the unenviable task of finding the best package he can for Howard, knowing that he’d lose him for nothing if a deal isn’t done by the trade deadline, and knowing that he’s really only got two teams to work with: the Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Other teams would be wary of giving the Magic any strong assets, knowing that Howard’s heart is elsewhere and he can leave next summer.

Smith has tried his best to build a title contender around Howard, and the Magic did get to the Finals in 2009. They were even a very strong team last season. But the moves that Smith has made over the years have driven the Magic to a point where they have neither the financial flexibility nor the assets to bring in another star.

So it was a little strange to hear that the Magic have agreed to terms with guard Jason Richardson (their own free agent) on a four-year deal worth $25 million.

Now, $6.25 million a year isn’t that unreasonable for Richardson. It’s almost a 60 percent pay cut from what he made last season. And this is a guy who shot 40 percent from 3-point range over the last four years.

But Richardson is on the wrong side of 30, with his production bound to decline each year of that contract.

More important, if Smith is in the process of evaluating trades for his franchise player and possibly facing a rebuilding process in the wake of a deal, then why is he committing to a contract that won’t expire until Richardson is 34 years old and will be difficult to move in a trade for at least the next two seasons? Wouldn’t he want to remain relatively flexible instead of going deeper into luxury tax territory?

Smith has made a lot of curious transactions over the years. Add this one to the list.

As Superman Turns … staff reports

Want to know how we got where we are with Dwight Howard and his future? Just turn the calendar back two days …

It all started with reports of a meeting between Howard, his associates and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and GM Billy King in Miami on Thursday night. reported the meeting and if such a discussion did take place, it was a clear violation of NBA tampering rules.

By lunchtime on the East coast (and well before teams opened training camp doors), news had already come out (courtesy of our own tireless David Aldridge) that the Magic might file tampering charges against two unnamed teams for illegally talking with its star big man. By the end of the night on free-agency’s first full day, Howard’s status in Orlando (or elsewhere for that matter) remained squarely in the crosshairs. reported earlier Friday that Howard would soon request a trade to New Jersey. Later that same day, Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, denied that his client had illegal contact with teams in an interview with ESPN The Magazine. Worth noting, too, is that Magic GM Otis Smith said he granted Fegan permission to speak to the Nets about a deal involving Howard. Fegan didn’t deny that he and Howard had spoken over the phone with the Nets, but did deny any face-to-face meetings. We’ll let Fegan speak for himself, as he did to The Magazine and other media outlets:

“I read reports today of a meeting between Dwight Howard, his representatives and the New Jersey Nets which claimed, according to the story’s anonymous sources, that such a meeting violated the NBA’s tampering policies. This story is clearly inaccurate with respect to tampering claims and other facts. Tampering doesn’t apply once a team grants permission for a player and/or his representatives to make contact with another team. The Magic have given us permission to have contact with several teams in order for Dwight to explore his options. I most definitely had contact with the teams I was granted permission to speak with. Since we had permission to have contact with several teams the report of possible tampering is undeniably false.

“In addition, the report that Dwight was supposed to be traded today is also inaccurate. In fact, so many of the facts reported in today’s story are inaccurate, it is difficult to separate the facts from fiction, so I’m not even going to bother to address the other inaccuracies.”

King, for his part, denied the meeting with Howard.


Nets Stay Focused Amid Rumors

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — As the New Jersey Nets opened training camp on Friday, there was a sense of déjà vu in the air. For the second straight year, Avery Johnson was forced to run his first practice in the midst of trade rumors involving his team and an All-Star looking to be relocated.

Last year, rookie Derrick Favors and point guard Devin Harris were the focus of the speculation, with the Nets looking to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets. This time, Brook Lopez is the guy in the headlines, thanks to an ESPN report that says Dwight Howard wants to be traded to the Nets.

And this rumor comes with a twist of tampering allegations.

But after practice on Friday evening, the Nets said all the right things regarding the situation.

Johnson: “We’re just focused on basketball. We’re focused on the things that we can control on the court. Hopefully, whatever is being talking about, it’ll get resolved at some point. But for me, as the coach, I’m just focusing on getting my guys ready to play for our first preseason game on the 17th.”

Lopez: “I just ignore it. I don’t read any of that stuff online or anything like that,” and “I’m here to play basketball for this team as long as I’m here. That’s my job. I’m focused on helping us improve here.”

Point guard Deron Williams: “I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff. I don’t know nothing about all that. That’s rumors and sources. We can’t be worried about that. All we can do is focus on what’s going on in here on the court, and I think that’s what we’re going to do.”

Lastly, general manager Billy King issued this statement: “Contrary to published reports, the New Jersey Nets did not meet with Dwight Howard.”

Of course, it’s Williams’ relationship with Howard that gives the Nets an angle at acquiring the Orlando big man, and essentially has Lopez answering questions about rumors.

Williams said that he spoke with Lopez before practice and didn’t seem worried about Lopez being distracted.

“He doesn’t get phased too easily,” Williams said. “I talked to him and he didn’t seem like it’s a problem. He’s ready to work.”

Even if Magic general manager Otis Smith has no intention of sending Howard to New Jersey, the Nets will have new faces in the gym over the next few days. Multiple reports on Friday had them ready to offer a four-year contract to free agent big man Nene, who could team with Lopez to form a pretty strong frontline.


John Schuhmann is a staff writer for Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

Wrapping Up A Wild Thursday


HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — Thursday, Dec. 8 was one of the wildest days the NBA has seen in recent memory, as three teams pulled off a trade that would have altered the NBA landscape, only to have the deal squashed by commissioner David Stern. And now, we have to wonder what kind of precedent has been set, and what this means for the future of the players and teams involved.

This was supposed to be the day that the new collective bargaining agreement was ratified. And it was. But that news was completely overshadowed by what happened shortly after the league’s press conference.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

After several days of talks with several teams, the New Orleans Hornets finally reached a deal to get back some assets for Chris Paul, who they clearly believed was going to leave via free agency next summer. They traded Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers in a three-way deal that netted them Goran Dragic, Kevin Martin, Lamar Odom, Luis Scola and the Knicks’ 2012 first-round draft pick (via Houston).

Twitter blew up, the league was abuzz, and columns were being filed about the plusses and minuses of the deal. Many were already preparing for the Lakers’ next move. Since they were keeping Andrew Bynum, they were still able to dangle him in front of the Orlando Magic in an effort to team Dwight Howard with Paul and Kobe Bryant.

The first tweet of the deal, from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, came shortly before 6 p.m. ET. Less than three hours later, Wojnarowski reported that “NBA owners have pushed commissioner David Stern to kill the deal.”

Within minutes, other reporters confirmed that the deal was dead. Paul was still a member of the New Orleans Hornets and the Lakers’ dominant frontline remained intact. Training camps were set to open in less than 24 hours and we were all to pretend that nothing happened.

Later, NBA senior vice president of basketball communications Tim Frank issued this statement: “Not true that the owners killed the deal. It wasn’t even discussed at the board meeting. League office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons.”

Either way, the situation only leads to more questions, especially since the Hornets were getting back a pretty good haul in the deal.

First, if the league didn’t want the Hornets to trade Paul, why did they allow general manager Dell Demps to waste so much of his time (and the time of other executives around the league) negotiating a deal?

Second, if Demps wasn’t allowed to make this deal, is there any deal (involving Paul) that he’s allowed to make? And if Demps can’t trade Paul, aren’t the Hornets just going to lose him for nothing next summer?

Third, is this just about keeping Paul to help the team get sold? And will it get sold in time for the Hornets to make a deal that will get them something in return for Paul?

In his recap of the night, Wojnarowski reported that Demps considered resigning. And obviously, we haven’t heard the last of this story. ESPN has reported that Paul won’t be showing up at Hornets training camp on Friday.


The craziness of the day wasn’t limited to the three-team trade. The first wild moment came when we learned that the New York Knicks had put themselves in the mix for Tyson Chandler, shortly after we heard that the Golden State Warriors had offered him $60 million over four years.

The Knicks, with their payroll right at the salary cap line, seemingly had no way to get Chandler. But then CBS Sports’ Ken Berger reported that they were “in the lead” for the center dropping this bombshell: “If the deal goes through, the Knicks use amnesty on Chauncey Billups and move Ronny Turiaf to make room for Chandler, sources say.”

Chandler will obviously help the Knicks defensively, but by waiving Billups, they’re left without a point guard. And by signing Chandler to a long-term deal, they’re seemingly out of the running to sign Paul next summer. They should, however, get plenty of interest from point guards willing to sign for the mid-level exception.

No deal can become official until Friday at 2 p.m., but according to multiple reports, Billups is “irate” about the news and has already gone home to Denver.


The developments of Thursday crept into early Friday morning when ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that Howard “is preparing to ask the Magic to trade him to the Nets.”

The Magic could get Brook Lopez, another player (possibly Jordan Farmar) and picks back from New Jersey. That may not seem like a lot, but the Nets, after waiving Travis Outlaw and renouncing their bird rights to Kris Humphries, would be able to absorb Hedo Turkoglu’s contract in the deal. And that would allow the Magic to wipe $21 million off the Orlando payroll. If they then waived Gilbert Arenas using the amnesty clause, they could start fresh.


Here’s what else went down on an eventful Thursday, according to reports…

  • Shane Battier decided to sign with the Miami Heat, who will also sign Eddy Curry to a deal.
  • Caron Butler reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Clippers for $24 million over three years.
  • Tayshaun Prince and Jonas Jerebko each reached agreements to return to the Detroit Pistons on four-year deals.
  • Tracy McGrady and Jason Collins each reached agreements on one-year deals with the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Shannon Brown is leaving L.A. for Phoenix.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks reached an agreement with Mike Dunleavy on a two-year deal worth $7.5 million.
  • The Boston Celtics will acquire Keyon Dooling from the Bucks for a second-round pick.
  • Jeff Pendergraph reached a deal with the Indiana Pacers.
  • Finally, the Toronto Raptors are close to being sold.

All this and the league still isn’t technically back in business yet. So get ready for another wild ride on Friday.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.