As Jonah wrote yesterday, Dwight Howard is pursuing legal action to get out of Orlando and ultimately play for the Brooklyn Nets. Of course, Howard opted in to his contract with the Orlando Magic back in March. Because Howard regrets he did this, he is hoping to have his opt in nullified and thus become an unrestricted free agent, at which point the Nets could theoretically acquire him.
Dwight Howard is the best center in the league, bar none. He is a rebounding machine and often unstoppable on offense. Over his career, he’s averaged 18 points and 13 rebounds a game. He is currently struggling with a serious back injury.
Howard is acting very desperately to play for Brooklyn and I believe that there is no chance that he will join the Nets this season, even though he really wants to. This is very unfortunate and it seems as though the Magic have done everything in their power to ensure that Howard doesn’t sign with the Nets. I explain below.
Back in March at the trade deadline, Dwight Howard was committed to playing with the Nets. He did not want to play in Los Angeles even though the Magic wanted to trade him there in exchange for Andrew Bynum. In fact, it seems as though Howard opted in to his contract in order to avoid being trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Magic gave Howard a choice to either opt in to play in Orlando or get traded to the Lakers. Howard chose to opt in and avoid Los Angeles, perhaps in order to get another chance to play in Brooklyn.
Unfortunately, Howard lost any chance to play with the Nets by opting in. He won’t be a free agent until next summer, by which time the Nets will have already committed to many lucrative contracts. Even if his latest attempt to nullify his opt in succeeds (unlikely), it will take weeks to happen.
Tim Bontemps explained in today’s NY Post:
“It’s hard to see a path for Howard to come to Brooklyn now, as the clock is working against both him and the Nets. The Nets lack the requisite assets to win a bidding war to land Howard in a trade, as they could only really offer Brook Lopez, some salary cap relief and future low draft picks.
And the Nets have already moved on to pursue other moves, including a possible trade to bring six-time All-Star Joe Johnson from Atlanta to Brooklyn – in addition to re-signing Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez to multi-year deals – that would eliminate any chance at signing Howard as a free agent next summer.
Even if the Nets don’t trade for Johnson, if they re-sign Lopez – who would have to be the centerpiece of any Howard package – without using him in sign-and-trade with the Magic, the next time he could be traded would be December 15, taking them out of the running for the rest of the summer and into the regular season.”
The Nets have already committed to pay a $40 million contract to Gerald Wallace and look to pay even more money for Joe Johnson’s services. Also, Brook Lopez could not be offered in a trade until December – way too late.
So, Dwight Howard is desperate to play for the Nets – but desperation alone won’t give him a chance to play in Brooklyn next season.