Browsing Posts tagged Dwight Howard

No team has been as active during the offseason as the Nets, who will begin the 2012/2013 season in their new home of Brooklyn. It may take some time for the team to band together and gel, but as the year wears on, the Nets may become a darkhorse in the Eastern Conference. Does that make them a worthy team to back with your free NBA picks?

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Yesterday, Deron Williams announced (via Twitter) that he would re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets were able to offer more years (five) and dollars ($98 million) than the Dallas Mavericks were able to. Williams has been practicing at the Net facilities and has been extremely pleased with the team’s off-season moves, so this deal wasn’t a major shock to anyone. Williams, a Top 3 point guard, averaged 21 points and 8.7 assists last season.

While the Nets have agreed in principle with Williams and Gerald Wallace while agreeing to a Joe Johnson trade, Billy King and Net management has focused on acquiring Dwight Howard. Many, including yours truly, thought the Nets had no chance to trade for Dwight. However, the Nets are offering Marshon Brooks, two sign-and-trades (Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez) as well as three future first round picks. Howard is obviously the kingpin of this deal and won’t come cheaply, so expect the Magic to try to shed some bad contracts (i.e. Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu). Given the Nets financial obligations, expect a third team to be engaged.

Should the Nets acquire Dwight Howard, their ‘Big 4’ of Howard, Williams, Johnson, and Wallace would be among the league’s best. While I don’t think this team could beat Miami right away, they’ll have opportunity to be competitive. That’s a lot more than 27 other teams can say.

Last night, the Nets and Atlanta Hawks agreed to a trade that will send shooting guard, Joe Johnson to Brooklyn for package of expiring contracts and a lottery protected first round pick. Effectively, the Hawks shed a $90 million contract while the Nets bolstered their starting lineup in an effort to keep Deron Williams. Johnson has averaged at least 18.2 points per game during his seven years with Atlanta. By making this trade, signing Gerald Wallace, and potentially Deron Williams, the Nets do not have the money or assets to acquire Dwight Howard

Sources say that the Magic were unwillingly to talk trade with the Nets. Currently, Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries are not under contract and the Nets are not willing to part with Marshon Brooks in any deal. A sign-and-trade isn’t possible and the Nets lack the cap room to get Howard. Trading Gerald Wallce isn’t a possibility, either. The Nets are expected to re-sign both Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez.

From the Nets’ perspective, I don’t understand why they would take on Joe Johnson’s contract. The Nets will effectively pay Johnson $90 million over the next three seasons. The Nets could amnesty Johnson next season, but that wouldn’t make much sense. Bottom line, the Nets are pulling out all the stops to keep Deron Williams.

Many expect Deron to re-sign with the Nets and a starting five of Williams-Johnson-Wallace-Humphries-Lopez could vie for a Top 4 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. This lineup lacks to the firepower to challenge the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, but should be good enough to be a playoff contender. 

For the third time in the last calendar year, Dwight Howard has demanded a trade to the Nets. Howard, who picked up his 2012-13 player option, is not happy with the Magic ownership and their reluctance to make him happy.  Howard, a three-time defensive player of the year, is the game’s premiere center and an imposing defensive presence. Howard also understands the numerous sponsorship opportunities available in New York and the importance of aligning with other superstar players. Free agent, Deron Williams, has wittled his free agent decision down to the Mavericks and Nets. With Williams, the Nets have failed to make the playoffs. However, the Nets have promised to bring in premiere talent and Howard may be the kingpin that keeps Deron.

With Gerald Wallace and a plethora of young players, the Nets have the supporting pieces for their dream super duo. Howard and Williams give the Nets strengths at two of the toughest poisitions in the NBA. In addition, a starting lineup that features Williams, MarShon Brooks, Wallace, and Howard could challenge the East’s top teams. The Nets strengths at point guard and center are clear weaknesses of the NBA Champs.

Currently, Gerald Wallace is the Nets’ marquee player. However, all signs point to Williams rejoining the Nets. Re-signing Williams may start a chain reaction of signings. Jason Kidd has started that he will join Williams on his next team. The Nets could get creative and build a package for Howard. Landing Howard will instantly vault the Nets into the league’s top teams and challenge for an NBA title.

Tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery will change the future of the league. The winning team will land the rights to selected prized Kentucky center, Anthony Davis. During his freshman season at Kentucky, Davis averaged 14.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG, and an outstanding 4.7 BPG. Davis’ defensive abilities have drawn comparisons to Marcus Camby. Add in his low-post offensive presence and mid-range game and Davis has the ability to be a special player. The Charlotte Bobcats have the best odds to land Davis (25%) while the Washington Wizards (20%), Cleveland Cavs (13%), New Orleans Hornets (13%), Sacramento Kings (8%), and Brooklyn Nets (8%) have outside chances to land Davis.

Of note, the Brooklyn Nets have the most to gain (or lose) during the lottery. After trading a protected first round pick to Portland for Gerald Wallace, a Top 3 selection will allow the Nets to keep the pick. With Deron Williams’ impending free agency, a Top 3 will give the Nets some options…

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There are a whole lot of scenarios that could change my NBA picks on this young rivalry between now and the start of next season, but these two teams both have some promise. The Knicks obviously made the playoffs, but ran up against the Heat. The Nets had a disappointing season and have a lot of questions they must address.

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With the trade deadline just eight days away, the Knicks and Nets must address their weaknesses and determine what fixes can be made right now. For the Knicks, they’ve uncovered Lin-Sanity and signed J.R. Smith this season. For the Nets, the re-signed Kris Humphries, but really haven’t done much else. With the trade deadline quickly approaching, here are the key weaknesses (and appropriately solutions) for each club.

AP Photo

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One word: Wow.

I don’t think anyone envisioned the Lakers getting beat by the Mavericks, let alone getting the broom-job. The Lakers played some of the worst basketball I’ve ever seen them play in the last few years. They looked completely uninterested during the game, similar to the effort they put during the 2008 Finals against Boston.  Kobe wasn’t Kobe. The team didn’t play with confidence or grit. The Lakers played one of the classless fourth quarters of basketball that I’ve ever seen. There’s no excuse for actions by Andrew Bynum or Lamar Odom and both players may be dealt this off-season. It’s clear that the Lakers will make some changes and one big center in Orlando will likely be atop their wish list. The Knicks have some vested interest in Mr. Howard, but ultimately how does this Laker season affect the Knicks chances?

It's Been Real, Mark.


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Match-Up: Boston Celtics (3-1) at Orlando Magic (1-3)

AP Photo/Winslow Townson, Pool

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Match-Up: Orlando Magic(2-0) at Charlotte Bobcats(0-2)

AP Photo/John Raoux

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