ESPN Insider’s John Hollinger examines possible landing spots for Dwight Howard.
Magic GM Rob Hennigan revealed Monday that Howard told him he wants to be traded to the Nets.
Hollinger’s entire take can be found here (Insiders only):
As Dwight Howard tries to engineer a trade to Brooklyn, the Nets seem far less interested in him right now. They've been moving away from a Howard scenario ever since they traded a lottery pick to Portland for Gerald Wallace, removing one of their two biggest chips in a potential Howard deal.
They still can put together a fairly enticing deal, however. Right now they could use a signed-and-traded Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks and the same cap flotsam they're offering to Atlanta for Joe Johnson (Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, Jordan Williams, Johan Petro, Darwin Cook, Jamie Feick, Foots Walker and a signed-and-traded Benoit Benjamin), and the idea would be for Orlando to send them Howard and dump as many bad contracts as they can in the process. As with the Houston deal referenced above, Orlando would try to stick the Nets with Glen Davis, Jason Richardson and Chris Duhon in addition to Howard.
This is comparable to Houston's offer, but from here I think Houston's has the slight advantage. The Rockets offer two good players on expiring contracts that Orlando could immediately flip for other assets, and four young players against one from the Nets. The one counter from New Jersey is that it offers a legit starting center in Lopez to be the foundation for the Magic, but a Lopez-Ryan Anderson frontcourt will give up 200 points per game.
Brooklyn also can offer draft picks -- including, ironically, a lottery-protected pick from Houston dating from the Terrence Williams trade -- but the Magic are unlikely to place a huge value on picks likely to be in the 20s.
Of course, the real way for the Nets to leverage themselves into a Howard deal is by keeping their cap space open for 2013 and making it seem a fait accompli that Howard is going there anyway. That type of maneuver might scare off "rental" suitors such as Houston and Golden State, or at least give them enough pause to limit their offers.
Instead, the Nets seem to be taking that option out of commission entirely. Maybe it's worth it to get a Williams-Johnson-Wallace-Kris Humphries-Lopez lineup; certainly that's an impressive starting five. Nonetheless, I'd have to think Williams, Howard and any three randomly selected humanoids would be more impressive. As always, the Nets have me scratching my head.