Dwight Howard Trade Talk: Should New Jersey Nets Move Deron Williams?

Danny PaskasSenior Analyst IJanuary 12, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 30:  Deron Williams #8 of the New Jersey Nets reacts in the final seconds of their 105-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 30, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If this season's trade deadline passes and Dwight Howard is wearing a Los Angeles Lakers or a Dallas Mavericks jersey, the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets could be in trouble.

If Howard is still in an Orlando Magic jersey when the trade deadline passes, the New Jersey Nets could be in really good shape to sign him as a free agent.

Or they could be in really bad shape, with the possibility of he and Deron Williams teaming up to sign with the Mavs, a la LeBron James and Chris Bosh dually signing with the Miami Heat in the summer of LeBron, aka the Nets' worst nightmare.

There are other ways to improve the Nets other than acquiring Howard. Howard is not the only solution, but if Deron has his heart absolutely set on playing with Dwight and there is no other way of keeping him in Brooklyn, general manager Billy King has a very difficult decision ahead of him.

The quick, rational decision would be to trade Williams to get at least something for him. 

But, trading Williams could prove to be impossible. He is on his way to becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, making it difficult for teams to give up anything significant for his services to be used for just a few months. 

The team trading for him is going to surely want Deron's assurances that he would stay with them beyond this season.

Williams has repeatedly claimed that he wants to be on a contending team, that he just wants to win. So what teams would fit this description?

The Lakers could be a possibility. Pau Gasol and spare parts for Deron could be a good return.

The Mavs could offer a package of Lamar Odom and Rodrigue Beaubois.

If Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant clash again, would the Oklahoma City Thunder consider a Westbrook-for-Williams swap?

Any one of these three trades could get the Nets at least some assets back, quite an accomplishment given the circumstances.

But, would it be so disastrous if the Nets lose Deron for nothing? They will still have a lottery pick in this year's draft, which is said by many analysts to be very deep, and they will have plenty of cap space to work with in free agency.

While the New Jersey Nets have struck out in free agency in the past two offseasons, the Brooklyn Nets are offering a change of scenery in the form of the $1 billion Barclays Center, set to be ready in late September, and a Brooklyn fanbase starving for a professional sports team ever since the Dodgers left.