Nets call off bid for Howard

  • Article by: HOWARD BECK , New York Times
  • Updated: July 12, 2012 - 6:51 AM

After months of effort by Brooklyn,


Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard (12) went after a rebound in front of the Timberwolves' Nikola Pekovic (14) earlier this year.

Photo: John Raoux, Associated Press - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

LAS VEGAS — The flirtation was fierce and enduring, covering many months and nearly the full range of human emotions: Dwight Howard wanted Brooklyn, and Brooklyn wanted Dwight Howard, badly.

The mutual attraction was undeniable, but the logistics proved burdensome, and Wednesday the Nets ended the long-distance affair, suspending their pursuit of Howard, the Orlando Magic's disaffected superstar.

The Nets instead re-signed center Brook Lopez to a four-year, $60.8 million deal — a move that eliminates any chance of acquiring Howard until 2013, assuming he is still available. Lopez was to be the centerpiece of any deal for Howard, but after signing his new contract he cannot be traded until Jan. 15. Lopez will make $13.7 million next season, and his contract includes a player option for $16.74 million in 2015-16.

Nets officials worked furiously over 10 days to land Howard, even pulling in a third and fourth team in an attempt to craft a blockbuster trade. But they never could provide Orlando with a satisfactory package of players, draft picks and payroll relief.

"I think the parameters of what we talked about are a little bit in a stationary position," Rob Hennigan, the Magic's general manager, told reporters at a hastily called news conference in Orlando, Fla. Given those parameters, he said, "I'm not sure that there's anything to really continue to discuss."

The Nets declined to comment on the suspended talks.

The sobering news about Howard came on an otherwise-cheery day for the franchise, which completed an anticipated trade for shooting guard Joe Johnson, a six-time All-Star, just hours after re-signing Deron Williams, their All-Star point guard. The Nets also announced the re-signing of Lopez and forward Gerald Wallace, as well as the signing of Mirza Teletovic, a high-scoring forward from Europe. They were working to re-sign Kris Humphries, their starting power forward.

The Nets also acquired Reggie Evans from the Los Angeles Clippers by using a so-called trade exception. In exchange, the Clippers will have the right to swap second-round picks with the Nets in 2016.

Johnson and Williams could quickly become one of the league's most dynamic backcourts. The Nets had visions of creating a star-studded juggernaut in Brooklyn with the addition of Howard.
Orlando is still expected to trade Howard in the coming months. But the Nets will continue to have fierce competition in the chase, with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Houston Rockets and perhaps others making their pitches.

Howard, 26, has been pushing for a trade for nearly a year and has listed Brooklyn as his preferred destination. He has threatened not to re-sign with any other team when he becomes a free agent next summer.

Howard could have joined the Nets as a free agent this week. Indeed, the Nets had planned for enough salary cap room to sign both Howard and Williams, who are close friends and have talked about playing together. But during a turbulent period in February, Howard instead chose to opt into his 2012-3 contract, taking him off the market.

The Nets, needing a second star to convince Williams to stay, made the deal last week to acquire Johnson, a move that — combined with other recent signings — eliminates any chance to create cap room next summer.

Any trade the Nets made for Howard this week would have required using both Lopez and Humphries in a sign-and-trade deal. But the NBA calendar was working against them. Once the league lifted its signings moratorium, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, the urgency to sign Lopez and Humphries increased. Lopez, a restricted free agent, had maximum-salary offer sheets from at least two teams — believed to be Portland and Charlotte — and he would have become untradeable the moment he signed one.

Now, the Nets' best hope is that the Magic remain patient and hang on to Howard into next season. Howard is recovering from back surgery and might not be ready for opening night.

Asked at Wednesday's news conference if the Magic might simply keep Howard, Hennigan said, "We haven't ruled out anything."

Although Magic officials have been unmoved by previous Nets offers, the chance to create a more enticing multiteam deal will increase once the season starts. Most players who signed contracts this summer will become trade-eligible on Dec. 15.

No team has been more active this offseason than the Nets, who signed, re-signed, acquired or traded 12 players on Wednesday. Even without Howard, they have completed a makeover that should put them squarely in the middle of the playoff pack in the Eastern Conference.

Williams and Johnson are proven scorers and playmakers, while Lopez is one of the top-scoring centers in the league. Wallace is a rugged defender. Evans (rebounding) and Teletovic (scoring) could form the basis of a solid second unit.

The Nets remain in need of a backup point guard, although Johnson can also play the position. They are about to lose shooting guard Gerald Green, who is being offered a three-year, $10 million deal by the Indiana Pacers, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Johnson, 31, spent the last seven seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. To acquire him, the Nets gave up several minor players — Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, DeShawn Stevenson, Johan Petro and Jordan Williams — plus Houston's first-round pick in 2013 and the Nets' second-round pick in 2017.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local team is currently the biggest disappointment?

Weekly Question