When the Brooklyn Nets landed Joe Johnson yesterday, the move seemingly accomplished two things: The almost-assured likelihood of Deron Williams re-signing with the franchise and the dimming prospects that Dwight Howard’s more-annoying-by-the-day crying tactics will actually work towards sending him to Brooklyn.
This morning, neither are actually official, though the widely-held belief is that it is only a matter of time before Williams’ re-signing becomes a reality, and now, according to sources and ESPN’s Chris Broussard, a potential deal between the Nets and Orlando Magic involving Howard isn’t quite dead yet.
With the silly amount of money that will be tied up in Johnson and — if he re-signs — Williams, it was thought that Brooklyn would be building around that All-Star backcourt with hopes that a healthy Brook Lopez could be the presence in the middle to get the team, looking to make a splash in their first year in Brooklyn, of course, back into the postseason.
Now, with the newest batch of rumors saying that the Nets could offer Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and three future first round picks to the Magic, the trade winds again will swirl on and on, a conclusion to this whole Howard train wreck appearing to be no closer than it ever has been. Rumors and sources and possible scenarios and preferred lists; it’s the same lingo with a new timestamp.
One of the more interesting parts about Brooklyn’s trade for Johnson was that it did seem to finally put an end to the Howard-to-the-Nets saga. The Nets will be locked into their current roster long enough as it is, and since teams like the Atlanta Hawks are clearing the decks in full-on rebuild/cap space mode, it seemed as though different franchises could get involved in trade talks, whether they were on the mythical always-changing “list” of Howard’s or not.
But clearly, this isn’t going to end unless the Magic ultimately decide that the Nets don’t have enough to offer, because Brooklyn is going to do what it takes to get their own “Big Three” signed and ready for tip in their inaugural New York-based season. Even if it means dealing promising players like Lopez, or future first round picks that, for what they lack in certainty, at least provide flexibility and potential to improve in the future. Landing Howard would mean a legitimate trio playing for the Nets next season. Whether or not it would be hamstring any potential moves in the near future for the franchise isn’t as big of a concern for them as landing the league’s best center is. It’s not hard to see their side of the story, basketball-wise.
That’s why, at this point, it’s going to come down to whether or not Orlando will take the Nets’ best offer, or, how much they can bleed them for. It’s apparent now, a day after taking on one of the league’s gaudiest contracts in Johnson’s, that Brooklyn believes, because of Howard’s intolerable resistance to anything else, that they’ll always have a fighting chance in the Howard race regardless of anything. They appear willing to go all-in on the Williams-Johnson-Howard trio — sort of sounds like a law firm — no matter the financial repercussions. The marquees and building-size banners are almost ready for print, and it sure does appear, no matter how much longer it drags out, that there will only be one ending to this story.
Griffin Gotta contributes to The Hoop Doctors and is a co-managing editor of Straight Outta Vancouver on SB Nation. The story arcs and infinite weirdness of the NBA are addictions he deals with every day. Email him at griffingotta at gmail dot com.