With the injury to Brook Lopez and the recent report that Dwight Howard is intrigued by playing for the Los Angeles Clippers, the New Jersey Nets are all but out of the running for the star center, right?
Even if we disregard Howard refuting rumors that link him to the Clippers, the simple fact is Los Angeles does not have enough assets or financial flexibility to land him. That is, unless the team is willing to deal Blake Griffin, which they aren’t. After the Clippers, the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks seem to be dominating headlines with regard to Howard’s next destination.
But what about the Nets? No doubt Lopez’s injury hinders New Jersey’s pursuit of Howard, but only for the time being. As Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld reports, the Nets remain Howard’s team of choice.
Dwight Howard hasn’t added the Los Angeles Clippers to his list of preferred destinations, multiple sources confirm. Right now, the New Jersey Nets appear to be Howard’s top choice, with the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers not far behind.
While the Lakers can offer a dominant center in Andrew Bynum, that’s all they can offer, unless they are naive enough to ship Pau Gasol off as well.
As far as the Warriors go, they have a star talent to provide the Orlando Magic with in Stephen Curry or Monta Ellis, but it is doubtful Howard’s camp allows him to get dealt to Golden State, even if only for a fraction of the season. And when it comes down to it, are the Warriors seriously going to deal one of its cornerstones in exchange for an essential rental? Reports say yes, but sheer logic, says no.
Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks are appealing to Howard, but let’s face it, all this team has to offer is the cap room to hold onto him next summer. As far as trade packages go, Dallas’ won’t even hold a candle to most other teams’.
That leaves the Nets, and the injured Lopez. At 24, Lopez will have no problem regaining his offensive composure. Additionally, Lopez’s defense is not as raw as it’s made out to be. While he needs to improve his toughness, he is athletic and has potential on that end, and Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing should have no trouble helping him reach it.
What really puts the Nets ahead of the game though is their ability to offer multiple impact pieces. Anthony Morrow is a strong scorer, and Marshon Brooks is instant offense as well. And we cannot forget New Jersey has already shown it can go out and find a third team to help facilitate the deal. Their financial flexibility doesn’t hurt their chances either.
Somehow, if that’s still not enough to sway any doubters, then we must refer back to the earlier report. Not only is New Jersey willing and able to offer more tangible assets than other suitors, but the team has Howard himself in their corner.
Under the current circumstances, that’s all that matters.
Dan Favale is an avid basketball analyst and firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His work can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.