Sources: Dwight Howard eyeing Nets

Updated: December 9, 2011, 9:37 PM ET
By Chris Broussard | ESPN The Magazine

Dwight Howard will ask the Orlando Magic to trade him to the New Jersey Nets, and a deal could go down as soon as Friday, sources close to the situation said.

Howard's representatives have already told the Nets that they are his preferred destination.

Howard
Howard

When Howard speaks to the Magic, he will tell them that he will not re-sign with the team after this season, sources said. There is also a chance that Howard will not attend the opening of training camp Friday, according to a source.

As ESPN.com reported last week, the Nets are ready to offer the Magic a package built around center Brook Lopez and two first-round draft picks, New Jersey's own and one the Nets acquired from Houston in a previous trade, according to sources.

New Jersey is also willing to take back Hedo Turkoglu and the three years, $34 million remaining on his deal.

The appeal of the Nets for Howard is the chance to play with All-Star point guard Deron Williams and the Nets' move into a new arena in Brooklyn for the start of the 2012-13 season.

Williams and Howard spoke several times about teaming up during the lockout.

If Howard is indeed committed to joining the Nets, he can all but force the Magic to make the trade by declaring his intentions not to sign a long-term contract with any other team, thereby assuring that those clubs make low-ball offers to Orlando.

In light of the league's refusal to allow Chris Paul to dictate a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, one has to wonder if it will sit idly by and let Howard facilitate a move to the Nets.

Howard's decision to go to the Nets would put a monkey wrench in the Los Angeles Lakers' plan to team Howard with Kobe Bryant by trading Andrew Bynum for the Magic center.

The Nets are continuing to pursue free-agent center Nene in case their plan to acquire Howard falls through.

Chris Broussard is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.

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