With only three players under contact for next season (and that’s if you include Johan Petro in the category of “NBA player”), the Brooklyn Nets do not have the pieces to challenge other teams in the Dwight Howard trade sweepstakes. And, with Deron Williams openly discussing potentially playing for the Lakers next year, his desire to return to the team and become a Dwight Howard recruiter (should the big man reach free agency) seems to be very low. So, how can the Nets actually acquire the mercurial center?
To me, it seems there are two potential routes: acquiring numerous pieces this offseason and trading them for Dwight or acquiring Williams and a few other high quality players, hoping he makes it to free agency, and signing him to an enormous contract next offseason. The second one is barely even worth mentioning, as the Magic are most certainly going to get rid of Dwight and all the hoopla surrounding him as soon as they possibly can.
That puts the Nets in quite a dilemma, as the only way they can get the All-Star center is by trading away players they don’t currently have. Imagine you’re a free agent looking for a new contract, like Ersan Ilyasova or Gerald Green. Why would you sign with Brooklyn if you know that they will likely trade you for Howard? Signing a contract with the Nets, should Billy King attempt to acquire Dwight, would essentially double as signing up for a half-year stay in Brooklyn and playing out the rest of the contract in the Magic Kingdom.
The Nets could look to acquire Dwight as they have in the past, but doing so would completely squash the rebuilding process they need to undergo if they want to return to the form they had earlier this year. If they sign Deron and trade for Dwight they would have the star power to theoretically compete, but they would create a very small window of opportunity for themselves. And, as the Miami Heat have shown, it isn’t easy to assemble a team of stars and waltz to the championship. If Brooklyn wants to put together a competitive team for years to come, acquiring Dwight and following the Miami method of team building is not the way to do it.