I have been a New Jersey Nets fan since I was about six years old. Couple this with the fact that I am also a New York Jets fan, as well as a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, and you can see why I am a relatively bitter/cynical person. But I digress...
The Nets are amazing at giving their fans unbelievable hope, and then immediately crushing that hope with a hammer the size of an elephant. Within the last ten years, the Nets have consistently broken the hearts of their few remaining fans, time and time again.
For example, the Nets made it to the NBA Finals in two consecutive years (losing both series), and then subsequently were a sub-mediocre team at best for the next ten years. Players didn't—and still don't—want to come to play in New Jersey, whether it be in East Rutherford or Newark.
Only a few short years later, Bruce Ratner and Co. announced that they would be moving the team to Brooklyn, thus giving their fans further heartache. Turn the clock back to last year, and you are left with the whole Melo-Drama disaster. Year after year, every time things start to look up, Nets fans are abruptly brought back to reality and reintroduced to the curse of bad luck that follows the Nets wherever they go.
I saw it happen year after year for nearly the entire lifespan of the organization, and I foresee it happening one more time at the conclusion of this season.
Last year, after failing to land the smug superstar known as Melo, the Nets somehow managed to trade for Deron Williams, a legitimate top three point guard in the NBA.
As much as I still think the Nets needed to make this trade, they gave up a tremendous amount of assets (Devin Harris, the number three pick in the 2010 draft in Derrick Favors, and multiple first round draft picks) in exchange for the hope that D-Will will sign a long term extension sometime this year.
However, the lockout and new CBA put a major damper on the Nets' hope to sign Williams to a long-term extension prior to this season. Williams has stated that he will wait to sign any extension until the end of this season, which makes sense for him because he will be able to secure a longer term deal, which equates to more dollars for Mr. Williams.
Enter Dwight Howard. The perennial NBA All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year has stated, according to sources close to ESPN's Chris Broussard, that D12 wants out of Orlando, and also claims that the Nets are not only on his trade wish list, but that New Jersey/Brooklyn is his preferred destination.
As a Nets fan, I cannot tell you how stoked I was to hear this news. Then, when I heard Howard had met with Billy King and Prokhorov in Miami, let's just say I was so amped up that I couldn't sleep for a few days.
But then came the expected bad news. The Magic were considering filing tampering charges against the Nets for the alleged meeting between Howard and the Nets front office, which would have cost the Nets draft picks. Then, Orlando stated that they believe they could resign Howard and were not entertaining trade proposals. Let's just say the problems have continually piled up over the last few months.
Now, let's talk about my biggest fear. We already know how much the Nets gave up to acquire Deron Williams. Williams has seemingly made it clear that he only wants to stay in NJ/Brooklyn if the front office could make the team a serious contender (which would mean trading for Dwight Howard).
The Magic have started off smoking hot this season, and may be delusional enough to think that they have a serious chance to resigning Howard. If the Nets cannot acquire Howard, whether it be via trade or free agency, I know that D-Will will be on the first plane or bus to MSG, Dallas, or LA.
If Howard is traded to another team besides the Nets before the trade deadline expires, apparently, the Nets will still have no interest in trading Deron Williams. This severely worries me. Yes, it would be awful to trade Williams away, and we would unlikely be able to reacquire the caliber of talent that we gave up in order to trade for him, but in my honest belief, we would need to cut our losses at that point.
But my absolutely biggest fear is that Howard does not come to NJ, and we do not trade away Williams (assuming, as stated previously, that we cannot sign him to a long-term extension). If this is the case, we will have given up a plethora of talent in the Williams trade, we'll have lost Williams and never obtained Howard, and will go into Brooklyn with a .200 level team.
The only real talent would be MarShon; a recovering Brook Lopez, whose rebounding skills were atrocious prior to his major injury; and Kris Humphries (if we can sign him to a long term deal). The rest of the roster would be better suited for a D-III college program.
With the Nets' awful start, I really worry about whether or not they still have a serious chance of being able to induce Howard to sign a long-term deal if Orlando approves a trade to the Nets.
The Nets' abysmal yet typical start likely means that they do not have a realistic chance of making the playoffs this year. That might scare Howard away, considering how much he has expressed his ardent desire to be on a competitive and contending team.
But who knows, maybe the Magic would be willing to trade Howard to the Nets (assuming he'd sign a long-term deal), and are just waiting for the Nets to be consistently bad enough to secure themselves a top lottery pick.
Or maybe I'm completely off-base, and the Nets by some miracle will end up signing Williams and Howard at the end of the season, and will be able to retain MarShon, Lopez, and the top draft picks as they head into the Barclays Center.
This is one of the few times in my life where I hope I'm wrong...