Nov 30, 2011, 10:02 AM EDT
New Jersey — soon to be Brooklyn — made a big move last year to get its first star in Deron Williams. Now owner Mikhail Prokhorov needs to get a second star and convince them both to stay.
How about Dwight Howard?
The Nets are going to make a big move to try and get the best center on the planet, reports Marc Stein and Chris Broussard at ESPN.
The New Jersey Nets are prepared to offer a trade package featuring Brook Lopez and two future first-round picks to acquire Dwight Howard before the Orlando Magic center becomes a free agent in July 2012, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com this week that, to sweeten the proposal, New Jersey would likewise offer to take back the contract of Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu, who has three seasons left on his contract worth just under $35 million. Absorbing Turkoglu’s remaining salary would become financially feasible for the Nets after the expected release of swingman Travis Outlaw through the amnesty clause that will be included in the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement and by including another smaller contract or two in the deal.
If the Magic are going to move Howard — and they would prefer not to, they would rather he sign an extension — picks and young players to rebuild around will be key, as will be shipping out one of their bad deals. In that sense this deal meets a lot of the criteria. Brook Lopez is a good young center, the Magic get a couple picks and they get rid of the horrid Turkoglu contract.
Orlando, if it moves Howard, will likely do so closer to the trade deadline. The Magic want to keep Howard and will try to show they can build a winner around him and try to get him to sign an extension. If that fails the Magic may move him closer to the trade deadline (expected to be in March, it is not yet set).
This is going to be a distraction for the Magic just as it was for the Nuggets with Carmelo Anthony last year.