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Report: If Howard goes to L.A., the Nets look to rebuild… again

Jan 14, 2012, 6:22 PM EDT

Deron Williams, Dwight Howard AP

In the film “Rounders,” Matt Damon’s former poker genius character lists the “cardinal rule”: Always leave yourself outs. It sounds much simpler than it is. The natural impulse when you lose one hand is to try and compensate the next quality hand you’re dealt. The addictive nature of gambling and the desperate mental impact of losing is what makes it so dangerous. In short, cutting your losses is extremely difficult and a loss only makes you more likely to attempt a wider gamble. That’s why you leave yourself outs, to take the long-term view of the situation.

The Nets, unfortunately, did not leave themselves outs.

ESPN reports that if Dwight Howard is traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Nets will be forced to shop Deron Williams for a trade to avoid losing him in free agency for nothing.

If Howard is traded to the Lakers before the deadline, sources say New Jersey would then be forced to explore its D-Will trade options, knowing that Williams would be a virtual lock to leave come July. If Orlando keeps Howard or deals him anywhere else but L.A. or Dallas before the deadline, thus keeping alive its dream of pairing the two in Brooklyn next fall, New Jersey will wait.

The Nets, in other words, would have to be all the way out of the Howard Sweepstakes before abandoning their plans, having sacrificed so much last February (Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and two first-round picks) just to get D-Will.

via Where Will Dwight Howard Land? – ESPN.

This is no big shocker. You can’t just enter into free agency hoping Williams, who never specifically wanted to be with the Nets, having seen them fail to get him help in both free agency and through the Howard trade, will re-sign. And they surrendered such a massive set of assets for him that to get nothing out of it would be devastating. But it does put itself out there as a fact that Nets ownership is aware there is a very strong possibility that they will not acquire Howard. They’re still looking out to see what they have to do if they call and their hand comes up short.

Now, there are plenty of reasons for Nets fans not to be concerned. Deron Williams had his best game of the season Friday night against Phoenix, so perhaps it was simply injuries and not his mental outlook that has lead to him seeming so despondent in his body language. They have time to get Brook Lopez healthy and to increase his trade value to try and woo a third team into the mix to send veterans to Orlando, which reportedly is what they’re after. The Nets can right the ship and make Jersey/Brooklyn a more attractive option to convince Howard to push for them. And with Andrew Bynum playing as well as he is, it’s entirely possible the Lakers won’t want to trade him and disrupt their chemistry. Oh, and despite the ESPN report, Williams himself said it was 80% sure that he would re-sign. And athletes never say one thing and do another in free agency.

The Nets are trying to be sure they’re prepared for the worst. But the reality is that if all this gets them absolutely nothing to show for it, or even a diminished package for Williams, it will still sent the franchise back for years.

Good luck, Nets.

  1. tomshoe - Jan 14, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Man, this ownership is fail in so many ways.

    Why would you give up so much valuable youth in Favors and Harris for a guy that might not even stay with your team? This is stupid on so many levels. Throwing it all out there try and attain a “Big 3” (If you include Lopez or Brooks), knowing that you traded away any trade pieces you had and are relying on the D12’s relationship with Dwill? Failure.

    Dwight should go to L.A., just to show Comrade Prokhorov and his penthouse buddies what happens when you make stupid business decisions.

    As long as David Stern doesn’t veto this trade for “basketball reasons”.

    • gcbball3 - Jan 14, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      Brooks? Do u mean Williams, Brooks Lopez silly Sally

      • tubal22 - Jan 14, 2012 at 10:27 PM

        I think he meant Marshon Brooks. Who is turning into a decent scorer. Still early to judge him though.

    • bparmalee - Jan 14, 2012 at 7:43 PM

      To be fair… the picks were the real value in that trade. Devin Harris has lost his game and Favors is still in that ever fun “potential” category. When they move to Brooklyn they will become a more attractive destination for free agents. The Nets are trying to become relevant but they cant control a guy resigning. I mean they could work a trade for Howard and then him and DWill could both just leave to sign with the Mavs. Now that players dont want to lose money on the extensions its all a gamble. Having a new arena in Brooklyn and a rich/engaging owner will work out fine for them in the end.

  2. gcbball3 - Jan 14, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Edward norton, not matt Damon

  3. knicks4life - Jan 14, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Trade tony Douglas ,Landry fields , iman shrumpret ,1st round draft pick and and 3 million for deron Williams

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 15, 2012 at 3:08 PM

      No way the Nets do that.

  4. thekingdave - Jan 14, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Dude, including Harris in the “valuable youth” category, especially given his contract, is laughable. They will bring back more in trade if it comes to that, bank on it.

    • tubal22 - Jan 14, 2012 at 10:31 PM

      More in trade than Harris, Favors, two 1st round picks and 3 million in cash?

      I think not. Jazz got a steal since they were going to lose him anyway.

      • willardj - Jan 15, 2012 at 12:51 AM

        Favors is looking more and more like a stud in Utah. That was definitely a loss. And the pick New Jersey traded away ended up being Enes Kantor, who’s looked pretty good in limited time so far.

        Overall, the Jazz are clearly the winners of the deal. They’re considerably younger and they’re already a better team than New Jersey this year.

    • 00maltliquor - Jan 15, 2012 at 12:07 AM

      I know, right! Devin Harris is 29 and his game has fallen off HARD!

      Anyways, Prokhorov when he came in said he was gonna deliver a championship or something to that extent so he had to put in all his chips. It was a good gamble, landing Deron. I mean, what else was he going to do with that squad? All t does is set them back a couple years if anything if D Will leaves. Big whoop, the gamble was worth it.

  5. goforthanddie - Jan 14, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    Captain Obvious…AWAY!!!

  6. glink123 - Jan 15, 2012 at 4:49 AM

    Deron Williams is the most overrated player in the league. Period.

  7. cluelessdufus - Jan 15, 2012 at 7:52 AM

    well there not going to get him deron would make some good possible trades for solid role playes they need what the nuggets got for anthony a buch of decent role players and they still have some other players they can trade so trading deron would be a great move

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