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With Dwight Howard off the market, Nets trade for Gerald Wallace

Mar 15, 2012, 1:34 PM EDT

Trail Blazers Wallace celebrates against Mavericks during NBA playoff game in Portland, Oregon. Reuters

The Nets had their hearts set on seeing Dwight Howard playing for them — either beginning this season by acquiring him via trade, or starting next year after signing as a free agent. New Jersey was widely reported as the team at the top of Howard’s list of where he wanted to play if he forced his way out of Orlando.

But after changing his mind multiple times throughout the process, Howard has committed to stay in Orlando at the very least through next season — a development which now leaves New Jersey scrambling to add enough talent to its roster to keep Deron Williams happy enough to where he won’t bolt this summer in free agency.

The Nets began that process by trading for Gerald Wallace, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. New Jersey is sending Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams, and a 2012 first round draft pick (which is top-three protected) to Portland in return.

This is a pretty good deal for the Blazers, but only in the context of just how far the team has gone off the rails since the season began. Head coach Nate McMillan is likely to be fired at some point, and the team’s locker room has reportedly turned toxic. Going through a full-fledged rebuild and starting from scratch isn’t a great place to be for a franchise that’s had star power in recent years, but hasn’t won a playoff series in more than a decade.

Williams has a player option for next season at just over $3 million, and Okur’s deal of over $10 million expires at the end of the year. The cap space is good, and the Nets — even with the addition of Wallace — still are going to be hard-pressed to make the playoffs, making the draft pick more valuable to the Blazers.

Looking at it from the Nets’ perspective, is Gerald Wallace enough to make Deron Williams think about staying in New Jersey? Doesn’t seem like it, but if nothing else, the franchise is showing him that they’re trying. And if they can pull off another, more-impactful deal or two — either before today’s deadline, or this summer — then they may ultimately be able to convince him to stay.

  1. phillysteak24 - Mar 15, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    what happens in the offseason when no one wants to sign with the Nets? They gave up their first round pick, then they are back to square 1.

  2. fanz928 - Mar 15, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    How is Gerald wallace worth a first round top 3 protected this year. That’s a bad trade

  3. lunasceiling - Mar 15, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Wow, the Trailblazers really are packing it in for the year and just going through the motions on the way to a lottery pick. They trade away one of the few players in that cancerous locker room that still gives a damn. Fan favorite, too…but the front office probably figures they can still bank on the loyalty of a really committed fan base. But for how long…?

  4. drunkenjunk - Mar 15, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    This sucks for Crash, he deserves better than going from one dump to the next.

  5. rotaylla - Mar 15, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    This drunk gotta be out of his mind..

  6. brianbosworthisstonecold - Mar 15, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Wow, now Wallace, next up Aldridge? Blazers have gone from rip city to crap town.

  7. vicktator - Mar 15, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    The Nets are a very stupid organization, I am going to enjoy watching them suck for years to come. When you are rebuilding, you don’t trade all of your young talent for rental players.

  8. bigzant82 - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    barclays center is goin be 1 empty arena come october

  9. mcarey032 - Mar 16, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    The Jazz look smarter and smarter for dealing Williams before they knew what was inevitable. Williams will more than likely be on the Mavs next year. Not sure where Dwight Howard will be, but Prokorov was so desperate to make a move to be competitive without assurances from Williams that he would be locked up long term that he has now put his team’s future in jeopardy.

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