Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Nets and Dwight Howard

Let me start off by just saying, the Nets are in deep trouble. We can start calling them the Brooklyn Nets, as Jay-Z will be taking the team out of the best state in the country (NJ bias) in a year. Regardless, the Nets may have a better group of owners, but they certainly can't match that on the court. The team is simply built to fail right now. In a very tough conference with a large group of superstars, the Nets can finally claim they have one; however, they have really nothing past Deron Williams.

Taking a look at the roster, there's only one other guy than Deron Williams that I'd even like to have on my team: Brook Lopez. The 7-foot Center averaged just over 20 points a game with 6 rebounds. That's a lot of production from a 5, even with a lower than normal rebound rate. After Williams and Lopez, you've got a bunch of bench warmers that have been forced to start and play big minutes. The team clearly needs other options in order to compete.

Then there's Dwight Howard, who is entering his walk-year where the Magic will try and resign the worlds greatest Center. Howard is a difference-maker on both ends of the floor and can simply out-jump, out-rebound, and out-muscle every single player in the league. Howard will get a max contract without a doubt, but the Magic may choose to trade him if they don't believe they can resign him. This is where the Nets can finally make a difference for their future.

Deron Williams has expressed his desire to test the market next off-season as a free agent, and he too, will get a max contract. The Nets desperately want him to stay, but they simply don't have enough pieces to convince him they can contend. Therefore, a trade for Dwight Howard makes complete and total sense for the Nets. The only problem is if the Magic are ready to trade Dwight Howard and if they do, will it be to the Nets? The Lakers have shown interest and they can offer draft picks, as well as a combination of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol/Lamar Odom. The Lakers know Kobe Bryant's window is closing , so they are willing to do whatever it takes to get Kobe Bryant a playmaker in the paint that can win a couple of championships.

Although Bynum/Gasol/Odom are all big names and big-time players, I think the Magic would be better off trading with the Nets. It makes no sense for the Magic to get an aging Gasol or Odom when it's clear they couldn't compete with a roster headed by those players. The Nets can offer Brook Lopez, 2 1st round picks (definitely better than the Lakers 1st rounders), and a bunch of players that the Magic can basically hand-pick from the Nets roster. The Nets are willing to trade anybody other than Deron Williams if it means getting Dwight Howard. Pairing the two will provide an incentive to free agents to come and play in Brooklyn and potentially compete in 2013.

The Magic are desperately trying to get rid of Hedo Turkoglu's 3 year, $35 million deal, and the Nets have enough cap to absorb it. The Lakers on the other hand couldn't do that, playing in favor of the Nets. I expect this deal to happen eventually and probably in March (the proposed new trade deadline for the shortened season).

It's going to be a wild couple of weeks in the NBA, as teams gear up for the season starting on Christmas. No official roster moves can be made until December 9th, but teams can start talking to agents today at 9 AM Eastern.

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