The newly named Brooklyn Nets have made a lot of moves in the early days of free agency. Yesterday, Brooklyn completed a deal with the Atlanta Hawks that included six players; five going to Atlanta (Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams, and Anthony Morrow) and one going to Brooklyn (Joe Johnson). The Hawks also received a lottery-protected first-round pick from the Nets. Some thought that this trade would put the Nets out of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. Turns out, the Nets are now in better position to acquire the big man. But so is someone else.
Howard can still end up in Brooklyn, but now the Atlanta Hawks have joined the fray. After escaping Joe Johnson’s huge contract, the Hawks some cap space and pieces to that they could ship to Orlando in exchange for Howard. The Hawks could offer center Al Horford, point guard Jeff Teague and the Nets lottery-protected pick, and if need be, their own first-round pick, for Howard. If the Magic don’t think that’s enough, the Hawks could offer newly acquired point guard Devin Harris instead. Harris was traded from the Utah Jazz to the Hawks in a deal that sent Marvin Williams to Utah. If the Hawks are able to acquire Howard, he would be paired with former AAU teammate Josh Smith. Both players on played on the AAU team Atlanta Celtics back in their high school days. The Hawks wouldn’t have much else around Howard and Smith, but it would be a start and they would have one of the more athletic front-courts in the league.
So what does all that mean to Brooklyn? Well, it shouldn’t mean much. The Nets could offer more than the Hawks. The Nets could send Johnson, Brook Lopez and first-round picks to Orlando for Howard. The Magic would probably have to add another player in the deal because of the size of Johnson’s contract.
I don’t think Orlando would want Gerald Wallace, even though Wallace was just signed to a new four-year, $40 million contract. Orlando wants Lopez and another player who is going to help them stay competitive. I don’t think Orlando is in any position to start rebuilding, especially with reports of next year’s draft being “weak”.
In my opinion, Howard has handled this situation with the utmost immaturity. He was unable to make up his mind and his indecisiveness handicapped the Magic organization to the point where it’s goes back to an old cliché. In other words, Howard is “holding a gun to the organization’s head” because he has all the power in this situation. It’s like the guy you think is your friend and that he has your back, you think you know him well enough, but he ends up stabbing you in the back and kidnapping your wife.
I feel bad for the Magic but now they have no choice but to trade their franchise big man.