NEW YORK (WFAN) – It seems the ongoing Dwight Howard trade saga just took a favorable turn for Brooklyn.
The Nets are “rapidly overtaking” Los Angeles as the favorites to land Howard, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Though not his preferred destination, the Lakers were thought to be in front for the unhappy center. But Los Angeles’ inclusion of first-round draft picks in their deal for Steve Nash — and trade chip Andrew Bynum’s “reluctance to commit to a long-term contract” with Orlando — has talks with the Magic on the rocks, Wojnarowski reported. Bynum is entering the final year of his deal.
Meanwhile, the Nets have “pushed into overdrive” for Howard, according to Wojnarowski.
And in a pair of tweets Monday afternoon, Wojnarowski detailed a “proposed blockbuster” that would send Howard, Earl Clark and Jason Richardson to Brooklyn for Brook Lopez, Damion James and Shelden Williams. Orlando would also receive three or four first-round picks and Cleveland’s Luke Walton, Wojnarowski reported.
“For now, talks are fluid, names coming in and out,” tweeted the NBA insider.
Brooklyn has reportedly made progress in its search for a third team to help facilitate the swap. According to multiple reports, the Cavaliers may take Kris Humphries in a sign-and-trade, leaving the Nets able to absorb some of the bad contracts Orlando would be looking to dump in a Howard deal.
Cleveland would want draft-pick compensation for their part in the trade, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. A fourth team could enter the mix to “provide” a pick in exchange for the Nets’ MarShon Brooks, Wojnarowski reported via Twitter.
The centerpiece going to Orlando would reportedly be restricted free agent Brook Lopez, who the Nets are looking to re-sign.
“Right now, we’re trying to get Brook Lopez re-signed and get him back in a Nets uniform,” said coach Avery Johnson. “We can’t control what other teams are doing. When you’re talking about trading with another team we have no power.”
Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel warned his followers not to expect a completed deal Monday.
“No hurry whatsoever,” he tweeted.
Howard may have placed Orlando in a rough spot when he told Yahoo! Sports there’s “only one team” he’d pass on free agency for after the 2012-13 season. While he wasn’t specific, that franchise was widely believed to be the Nets. Magic general manager Rob Hennigan confirmed last week that Howard reissued a trade request to Brooklyn.
Still, there’s some thought that other teams aren’t thrilled about Brooklyn forming a “Big 3″ with Howard, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.
“I don’t think anyone is all that anxious to help the Nets,” a source told CBSSports.com.
Do you think this is the week the Howard deal finally gets done? Be heard in the comments below!