HANG TIME CAPITAL BUREAU — The Orlando Magic are in discussions with several teams about potential trades for Dwight Howard, including the Brooklyn Nets, according to a league source. However, despite reports of a possible deal between Brooklyn and Orlando, the source indicated nothing was imminent, and that the Magic will take its time before deciding what to do with the six-time All-Star.
ESPN.com reported Tuesday morning that the Nets and Magic were discussing a deal that would send Howard and forward Hedo Turkoglu to Brooklyn for center Brook Lopez, forward Kris Humphries, guard MarShon Brooks and three future first-round Draft picks. However, a source directly involved with Howard’s trade talks said the teams had not been engaged in talks since Sunday, before Brooklyn agreed to a deal with the Atlanta Hawks that sent guard Joe Johnson to the Nets for several players and a protected 2013 first-round pick. Another source said the two teams were talking, but that the Magic were talking to other teams as well about Howard, who has asked to be traded to Brooklyn.
The Nets would have to re-sign Humphries, a free agent, before trading him to the Magic in any potential deal. Humphries, who was fifth in the league in rebounds per game (11) last season, is one of the more coveted free agents on the market.
The Nets got Johnson Monday from Atlanta for guards Anthony Morrow and Jordan Farmar, forward Jordan Williams, center Johan Petro and the 2013 pick, which initially belonged to Houston. In absorbing the remaining four years and $89.2 million of Johnson’s contract, the Nets committed the bulk of the cap room they had this summer.
The Nets are waiting to hear from free agent point guard Deron Williams, who is being courted by the Mavericks, and who is the key to Brooklyn’s hopes of building a title contending team as it moves into the new Barclays Center next season. Williams is likely to decide where he will play in the next day or two. The Nets’ acquisition of Johnson is not contingent upon whether Williams returns. Howard and Williams are close and had hoped to play together next season, either in Brooklyn or Dallas. But Howard complicated those plans when he decided to opt in to the final year of his contract in Orlando instead of becoming a free agent this summer.
The Magic have tired of Howard’s on-again, off-again desires to play in Orlando, and are determined to trade him this summer rather than go through all the drama that Howard’s shifting desires produced last season. The team fired former general manager Otis Smith and former coach Stan Van Gundy after the Magic’s first-round loss to the Pacers in the playoffs, and hired Oklahoma City executive Rob Hennigan as its new GM late last month. Hennigan acknowledged Monday that Howard reiterated his trade request to him in a meeting the two had in California last week.