- Posted: 10:15 AM, July 3, 2012
Believing the Magic would not engage them in a deal for Dwight Howard, the Nets solidified the Joe Johnson deal with the Hawks and then received a late night (early morning) call from Orlando GM Rob Hennigan to re-open discussions for the superstar center, multiple sources have confirmed.
This came after Orlando had shot down two separate offers from Brooklyn on Sunday.
“Let’s just see where this goes,” offered one person close to the situation who stressed there was nothing imminent.
The Nets would gather in Howard by re-signing both Brook Lopez (restricted free agent) and Kris Humphries (unrestricted) and sending them along with MarShon Brooks and three first round picks in alternating years -- a team cannot go two straight years without a pick which can be its own or someone else’s. One source claimed Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu would not be involved while multiple reports say he would travel north to Brooklyn.
The Nets have a $3 million trade exception which could be used to absorb another Magic contract but not that of Turkoglu who is due nearly $12 million next season,
Sources caution that the Magic still are reaching out to other teams trying to compile as many offers as possible. The Lakers and Rockets were engaged in talks but apparently those proposals were so appealing it drove the Magic back to the Nets on speed dial.
The Nets, who are determined to bring a highly competitive team to Brooklyn after 35 largely publicly ignored seasons in New Jersey, have been the most active offseason team by far.
They have agreed to re-sign Gerald Wallace for four years and $40 million. And then, proving to Orlando all eggs were not in Howard’s waffle basket, GM Billy King and friends pieced together a deal to land Johnson from Atlanta for Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, a re-signed DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams (four expiring contracts) and Houston’s 2013 lottery-protected first rounder.
“They weren’t going to sit around and wait on Howard,” one source said.
And with the cap space rapidly disappearing, it was “Hello Billy…” from Orlando.
And so for one day and a few hours, one of the biggest story lines in Nets history, Deron Williams’ decision on where to play, took a backseat. The Nets met with Williams Monday – presenting him with the Johnson trade scenario as an opening gift. Williams is expected to announce his plans to either re-sign or bolt shortly.
So if all goes as planned (hoped), the .333 Nets of this past season could open in Brooklyn with a backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson plus a front court of Gerald Wallace, Dwight Howard and – does it really matter.