LONDON – The end of the Dwight Howard Odyssey could-could-be over soon for the Orlando Magic.
The team is in serious discussions with the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers about a potential deal that would send Howard to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Magic, Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets and Andrew Bynum to the 76ers. Other players and Draft picks would be included in the deal as well, with the possibility that Gasol or could be flipped for additional assets.
In this scenario, first reported Thursday by Yahoo! Sports, forward Al Harrington would go from Denver to the Lakers, and guard Arron Afflalo would go from Denver to the Magic. However, the final version of the deal, if it happens, would certainly involve additional players — or, perhaps, some of these players winding up in different places.
Two sources said Thursday that this deal could happen, although with so many teams and so many moving parts, the potential for the deal collapsing is ever-present. Another source had indicated to NBA.com earlier in the week that a “blockbuster” deal was on hold because at least two of the teams involved did not want to move forward.
Orlando, however, is determined to end the Howard saga as soon as possible — provided it gets what it wants. It has been adamant that it wants a combination of future picks, young players with short or otherwise reasonable contracts and the removal of some of their its contracts in exchange for Howard.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – They’re just talking about the possibilities of a potential deal involving Dwight Howard wearing a Los Angeles Lakers uniform.
And that should be more than enough to crank up the machine that has been the Howard rumor mill once again, now that one of the first teams mentioned as a potential destination for the Magic superstar is back in the middle of the madness.
Yahoo Sports! reports that the Lakers want a commitment from Howard that he will agree to a contract extension before they agree to a trade with the Magic.
The Lakers and Magic have been in talks over Howard for the last week or so, sources told ESPN The Magazine‘s Chris Broussard, but nothing is imminent.
Howard had demanded a trade to the Nets but talks broke down between the Nets and Orlando last week. Magic GM Rob Hennigan called Howard last week to see if he would consider giving the GM’s new regime a chance, but Howard rebuffed the overtures.
Howard has said he would agree to sign an extension with only one team, and sources have said that team is the Nets.
The Houston Rockets also made a new proposal to the Magic for Howard last weekend and are willing to take on long-term salary commitments from Orlando if they land Howard in Houston.
As long as Howard is in play for the Magic, the Lakers have to explore their options. They have Andrew Bynum, the one asset no other teams in the running for Howard can throw into the discussion.
While there hasn’t been any confirmation that they are doing anything other than simply discussing the possibilities, it doesn’t make much sense for anyone to get wrapped up in details that haven’t been shared.
But since when did anyone need actual details to get carried away during free agency/trade season?
The deal, believed to be for three years and nearly 27 million, includes two future first-round picks, two secon- rounds picks and some $3 million in cash going from the Lakers to the Suns. Nash, 38, was also being pursued by the Knicks, Raptors, Mavericks and others.
Bryant was reportedly the lead recruiter on Nash and sold his former rival on a championship core (Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol) already in place and the need for an elite point guard to push the Lakers over the top. The proximity to his three children was also believed to be a major factor in Nash choosing to stay in the Western Conference.
They used the trade exception they received from last year’s Lamar Odom deal with the Dallas Mavericks.
“He’s ecstatic,” said Billy Duffy, Nash’s agent. “He gets to be close to his children.”
The Suns will get the Lakers’ 2013 and ’15 first-round draft picks and their 2014 and ’15 second-round selections. The Lakers also paid the Suns $3 million to facilitate the trade.
Phoenix radio station KTAR 620 first broke the news of the Suns’ sign-and-trade agreement with the Lakers.
The New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors and Dallas Mavericks had all tried to sign Nash, but he turned down more money – three years and nearly $36 million from the Raptors – for an opportunity to chase a title with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, and to be closer to his children. Nash is divorced with two daughters and a son.
“His intention, as related to the Suns, was if he left that they would get value, that he would have the ability as his career was winding down to come to a competitive situation,” Duffy said. “But his most important aspect was his ability to be close to his children. He’s an hour from his children. I’ve never seen him happier because of that fact alone.”
Duffy said Nash briefly considered retiring at the end of last season.
“Everything in his mind was predicated on his children,” Duffy said. “It put me in an interesting situation because I knew that dynamic. It wasn’t about the most money. He turned down a lot of money and aspects of other deals for the well being of his family.”
“The truth is I’m a bit old school,” Nash said in the June 25 interview. “For me, it would be hard to put on a Lakers jersey. That’s just the way it is. You play against them so many times in the playoffs, and I just use them as an example, and I have the utmost respect for them and their organization.
“I kind of have that tendency (to try to beat the best teams), so it is strange, but as a free agent you’re free to go where you want, so I’d have to consider everything regardless of the past or the future.”
With Nash in the fold, rumors have started that he’ll try to persuade his good friend and ex-Suns teammate Grant Hill to join the Lakers, a move (if it happens) that would give them one of the deepest and most experienced teams in the league.
After looking for a few days like the major action in free agency would go on in the Eastern Conference, with Deron Williams agreeing to a deal with the Brooklyn Nets and the Nets and Hawks agreeing on a blockbuster deal that sends All-Star guard Joe Johnson to Brooklyn, things have taken a decidedly Hollywood turn this evening.
Los Angeles and the Staples Center will be home to two of the league’s premier point guards, Nash with the Lakers and Chris Paul with the Clippers, as well as two of the most star-studded rosters in the game.
Nash and the Knicks are in the critical stages of discussions on a three-year deal worth between $27 million-$30 million to be executed through a sign-and-trade deal with the Suns. The Knicks would send rookie guard Iman Shumpert and multiple players – including Toney Douglas – to Phoenix for Nash, sources said.
Nash, a two-time MVP, has been enthusiastic about joining the Knicks’ core of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire.
… The Knicks also intend to match any offer restricted free-agent point guard Jeremy Lin receives.
The potential addition of Nash would be a game-changer for the Knicks and could vault them into the conversation of teams capable of legitimately challenging for one of the top spots behind the Miami Heat in the East.
Nash has history with Stoudemire dating back to their days in Phoenix, when the Suns were contenders in the Western Conference on a regular basis. He’d also be the perfect maestro for a Knicks offense that lacked one in the time before and after Lin’s rise last season.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You had to know we’d get to this point sooner or later in the ongoing Dwight Howard trade demand saga.
For the player without a true peer at his position, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Andrew Bynum is the closest thing to Howard when it comes to low-post operators.
With the Orlando Magic fielding calls from all over the league about potential deals, it only makes sense that they dial up the only other team in league with a big man capable of wearing the title of best big man in the game.
The Lakers and Magic have had talks about a possible deal, and plan to talk further about constructing a trade. No deals are imminent, and the process has remained fluid as teams have begun to inquire with more serious offers for Howard.
Sources say there is one other trade scenario for a significant player that intrigues Magic general manager Rob Hennigan, but that target is unclear. Before the Magic would agree to consummate a trade for Bynum, they would need to know they could sign him to a contract extension, sources said. Bynum is entering the final year of his contract in the 2012-13 season.
What’s more, Bynum wouldn’t nearly be enough to satisfy Hennigan’s desires for a return on Howard. The Lakers would need to send draft picks and absorb long-term money off the Magic’s payroll, sources said.
They’ve had this conversation before, several times actually. The last time was at the trade deadline, before Howard signed away his right to enter free agency this summer. Bynum was experiencing arguably the best stretch of his NBA career while Howard’s season was just days away from ending with a back injury that required surgery.
There’s also that bit about Howard not wanting to play in Los Angeles or as second fiddle to Kobe Bryant. That would need to be addressed before any potential deals could get rolling. (The Lakers were initially on Howard’s preferred list of teams to play, along with the Nets and Mavericks, but disappeared after rumblings about a rift between Howard and Bryant began to spread.)
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You had to know this story wasn’t going to have a happy ending.
Magic center Dwight Howard has made sure of it, now that he’s finally broken his silence about the bizarre turn of events surrounding his future with the organization that drafted him and the one he is demanding he be traded to. All indications for the latter is Brooklyn, even though Howard still refuses to say it publicly.
“I never used the word blackmail in reference to any of my dealings with the Magic,” Howard said. “I never said that. It’s defamatory and it’s inaccurate. I know what blackmail means and any report that I used the term incorrectly is inaccurate.”
Howard met with new Magic general manager Rob Hennigan on Friday in Los Angeles, and said he told Hennigan of his desire to be traded. However, Howard insisted he was merely repeating a position he had made clear to Magic officials since waiving his ETO in March.
“This was not the first time [that I asked for trade],” Howard said. “I communicated this to [Magic president] Alex [Martins] and [former general manager] Otis [Smith] way before Friday that I wanted to be traded – months before this meeting with Rob Hennigan. That was all way before Stan [Van Gundy] got fired.”
Howard’s bottom-line declaration that the Magic trade him now, to the unspecified team on “his list,” or play out the season and watch him walk away in free agency after the season leaves all involved in the same position they’ve been in for months.
It also guarantees that the divorce between Howard, the Magic and the city of Orlando will be as nasty as anything we’ve seen in recent years. That list includes the nasty split between LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS –Kevin Garnett contemplated his future and decided against walking away from the game he’s given the last 17 years of his professional life. The Celtics All-Star is returning to Boston for three years and $34 million, as first reported by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
Garnett, 36, spent the first 12 seasons of his career in Minnesota and the last five with the Celtics, where he won a championship in 2008. Garnett turned back the clock in the Celtics’ run to the Eastern Conference finals this season and averaged 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds during their playoff run.
“The decision came down to whether KG wanted to keep playing,” said one source. “And once he decided that he did, it was going to be Boston. He wasn’t going to leave Doc (Rivers) and those guys and play anywhere else.”
“Kevin was absolutely great this season, and he just wants to keep going,” said a source. “And when you look at how he was playing, there’s no reason for him to stop.”
Garnett’s return allows the Celtics to move on to other pressing matters when free agency begins at midnight. Ray Allen is a free agent and is reportedly a target of several teams, including the NBA champion Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns.
Roy’s recovery from chronic knee problems has been recently spurred by undergoing the platelet rich plasma therapy procedure that Lakers star Kobe Bryant popularized with NBA players, sources said. The blood spinning procedure gave profound relief to the knees of Bryant, Tracy McGrady and baseball star Alex Rodriguez.
The Golden State Warriors have also expressed strong interest with Roy. The Warriors’ general manager, Bob Myers, was Roy’s agent with the Wasserman Media Group.
After Portland doctors pushed Roy to stop playing in 2011, the Blazers used the league’s new amnesty provision to pay him the remaining $63 million on his contract and made Roy a free agent. He’s been working out for several months and planning a return.
Why that would be needed for a team that’s made five straight playoff appearances is not the point. With five core players (Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Zaza Pachulia) on the roster for the 2012-13 season chewing up the bulk of the salary cap space, the Hawks are in need of a mini-makeover.
Ferry, the vice president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs (and the former general manager in Cleveland) – until he was announced as the Hawks new GM this morning – has proved capable of mastering the mini-makeover. He did it several times in Cleveland when he had to put together the right supporting cast for LeBron James.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Just because he was cleared to return to the practice floor last week did not mean that Hawks All-Star center Al Horford was definitely coming back for the first round of the playoffs.
It only meant there was a chance he might return from the torn pectoral muscle injury and surgery that cost him all but 11 games during this abbreviated regular season. And that chances appears to be slipping away.
“I don’t feel like it is realistic that I can play for the playoffs. Obviously, if we advance and start going we will see. But as of right now the way I feel I think I am out for the playoffs.”
There have been rumblings all along that a potential return for Horford was being blown way out of proportion and that he wasn’t nearly as comfortable with returning after this type of injury as some within the organization were.