Howard To Brooklyn Falling Apart Fast
Rotoworld.com mentions that the Cleveland Cavaliers, the third team in the trade, have backed out. In addition, Kris Humphries is looking for a long-term extension, not enough players were willing to take part in sign-and-trades, and the exchange of medical records for Brook Lopez and Howard sparked concerns.
I'm not going to act like a saw this coming; I thought the deal was a lock. However, when you think about, it really is not all that surprising.
First of all, why would the Cavs want to aid in the formation of another "super team," further burying themselves in the Eastern Conference? Are they so spiteful towards LeBron that they would rather help create a team to beat him rather than experience their own personal success? Well, I guess not. They probably realized that the best chance they themselves have at success is balance throughout the conference, and Howard going to the Nets would further unbalance the East.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Kris Humphries was going to be shipped to Cleveland on a one-year contract. However, Humphries certainly deserves better than that after averaging 14.2 points and 11.3 rebounds last season. He's not any sort of elite player, but a one-year deal for those numbers is a slap in the face. Humphries is warranted to deny the one-year deal and look for a better contract, and I really should have seen that coming.
As for all the sign-and-trades, of course when you've got that many players in a deal one of these NBA divas is going to have a problem with it. Did they expect to sign-and-trade a hundred million players and have all of them say "yeah I'll take that money and play for that team rather than hit the open market"? Another bump in the road I should have expected.
Finally, the medical concerns of the two big pieces. I'm not sure how concerned the Nets were with Howard's recent back surgery; I'd imagine they'd take him unless they heard he had Jared Sullinger-itis.
As for Lopez, he underwent two foot surgeries last season, and in the five games he played he averaged a disgraceful 3.6 rebounds. Adding a foot injury on to the fact that Lopez is a one dimensional player likely made the Magic curious what else was out there.
I posted an article including other potential trade partners yesterday, so click here if you want to check that out.
The Hawks are surfacing as one of the favorites to land Howard, and Marc Stein of ESPN has suggested the Hawks moving Al Horford, Jeff Teague, and some picks for the big man. ESPN has also reported that the Magic are now in discussions with the Lakers and the Rockets.
The Lakers don't make much sense to me, as Howard has said he won't sign an extension in LA and Bynum (the likely trade piece for Howard) has said he won't sign an extension in Orlando. The Lakers don't have any good draft picks to offer and their team is old besides Bynum, so I don't see a deal getting done unless Bynum agrees to sign long-term in Orlando, which he won't.
I could see the Rockets packaging Kevin Martin (who was reportedly on the trade block not long ago) along with one of the Rockets' recent draft picks, and a future pick or two for Howard.
I think the Magic should contact the Hawks and ask about the availability of Josh Smith, who has reportedly requested a trade. He could be a great centerpiece of a deal that could include a couple picks.
I also believe the Warriors, who reportedly were willing to "rent" Howard not too long ago, could come into play and offer David Lee along with Andrew Bogut and/or some draft picks.
If you want a more in-depth analysis of those trade scenarios, take a look at the link I posted above.
Trust me, I'm just as sick of this Dwightmare as you are. I really hope he doesn't go to the Nets for two reasons: 1) I'm a Knicks fan and the Nets would be filthy, and 2) I don't want Dwight to get what he wants after all this madness. The chances of Howard wearing a new jersey come opening night remain high, but the chances of it being a Brooklyn Nets jersey are dwindling. This situation should continue to be interesting and annoying simultaneously.