This is from ESPN.com NBA writer Marc Stein's weekend dime:
One leftover question from the whole Dwight Howard discussion to the left: Is there any scenario where the Nets, fearing that they won't be able to trade for Howard and thus putting themselves at great risk for losing Deron Williams in free agency this summer, decide to trade D-Will before the March 15 deadline to avoid that nightmare scenario?
Sources briefed on New Jersey's thinking say that there's only one such scenario.
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.
Makes sense. It would be a tough blow. The Nets would then be forced to likely build around (a hopefully healthy) Brook Lopez ($4.2 million qualifying offer in 2012-13), second-year pro Marshon Brooks , their 2012 lottery pick and whatever they land in the D-Will deal.
They would also have a ton of salary cap space, and probably look to move Jordan Farmar and Anthony Morrow , who would be slated to make a combined $8.25 million if Farmar exercises his $4.25 million player option. The Nets' only possible projected salary commitments in 2013-14 are team options on Brooks and Damion James.