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Nets’ Lopez out 3 weeks with sprained ankle. Now what for Howard trade?

Mar 5, 2012, 5:24 PM EDT

Brook Lopez AP

We warned you that Brook Lopez’s ankle sprain early in the third quarter Sunday was pretty bad. You know it is not good when the coach will not address it after the game, saying they need to wait a day.

The good news is that X-rays came back negative, but the bad news is that he will be out three weeks, Ken Berger reports at CBSSports.com. That is better than it seemed at the time, so good news that there is nothing seriously wrong (like the broken foot that kept Lopez out for the first 32 games of the season).

But what about the Dwight Howard trade? Lopez was to be the centerpiece of the Nets offer to the Magic and now he will be injured through the March 15 trade deadline. New Jersey (well, Brooklyn) is Howard’s preferred destination. So, now what? Berger says it is moot until Orlando decides to trade him.

The Magic have been telling teams over the past month that they intend to keep Howard beyond the trade deadline, but rival executives are dubious. Howard has not publicly or privately given any indication that he wants to stay with the Magic beyond this season, and Orlando could lose him as an unrestricted free agent without getting any assets in return under new collectively bargained guidelines governing sign-and-trades.

If they are going to move him, New Jersey and Lopez still seem to be the frontrunner — a standard sprain is not going to scare a team off. If this were more serious it would be one thing, but if this is a sprain (and the Magic doctors would want to confirm that) it should not be a deal stopper. The Nets could take on Howard and the toxic contract of Hedo Turkoglu, if the Magic go that route and try to rebuild.

But basically, there is no change on the Howard front and will not be until the Magic change their minds.

  1. chiadam - Mar 5, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    “Not only did we get you one of the whackadoo Lopez brothers, we got the one with foot / ankle issues!”

    - something Otis Smith will not soon be saying to Magic fans.

  2. knicks4life - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Trade him Now¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

  3. drubeatz - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    7 feet tall and can’t rebound. He’s lazy and soft. And I’m a Nets fan. Maybe the last one. Orlando will be better off taking a chance that Howard will resign at the end of the year. Getting nothing for Howard is better than getting Lopez.

    • qwertify - Mar 6, 2012 at 4:38 AM

      Can’t rebound, but sure can score. And I don’t think Nets are offering Lopez for Howard straight up. I’m guessing there’d be picks and expiring contracts included, or even a 3rd team in order to get the Magic some quality players. You sure that still isn’t better than getting nothing?

  4. ningenito78 - Mar 6, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    I’m a Nets fan too. I agree that Lopez rebounding is mindboggling. But Lopez, Marshon Brooks and maybe 3 first round draft picks is better than nothing. No?

  5. deluxe3333 - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Maybe he should try dating one of the other Kardashians

  6. messer78 - Mar 6, 2012 at 6:11 AM

    Yao ming all over again, well yao had production before the injuries.

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