Dwight Howard Trade Rumors: New Jersey Nets Can Learn from New York Knicks

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 2, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 21: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic dunks over Terrel Harris #14 of the Miami Heat during a preseason game at Amway Center on December 21, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

When trying to acquire a superstar the likes of Dwight Howard, the New Jersey Nets already have a template in place to go from. It's a template the New York Knicks wish they had during the 2010-11 season.

That template is summed up in one word: wait!

The Knicks were so anxious to acquire Carmelo Anthony last season, they shipped their entire roster to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for a few auxiliary pieces, led by Chauncey Billups. Problem was, they had to gut their entire roster to bring over one player.

And what problem is haunting the Knicks this season? You guessed it: depth.

This season, the Nets find themselves in a similar situation: They have the opportunity to acquire a superstar in Howard, but most likely, they will have to gut their roster of its major pieces to do so.

New Jersey will likely center a deal around Brook Lopez, and out of desperation, MarShon Brooks could be a throw-in, along with anything else the Orlando Magic see fit to ask for. They will almost certainly play on the desperation of the Nets, and who can blame them?

Long story short, the Nets will end up gutting their entire roster of its talent much like the Knicks did, leaving little to no depth as a whole in the process.

Instead, if Howard is really serious about Deron Williams and the Nets being his preferred destination, then New Jersey is better off waiting for the big man until the offseason, when they can sign him as a free agent.

Don't forget, Howard has a ton of pull going for himself as long as he says he won't sign an extension with any team but New Jersey. In that case, no team will gut their own roster just to acquire the best center in the league as a rental.

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Head coach Avery Johnson of the New Jersey Nets talks with Deron Williams #8 on the bench during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 23, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Nets 110-95.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The only question is, can New Jersey afford to take such a chance? My initial thought would be no, and like the Knicks' dilemma of a year ago, they simply can't take the chance of having D12 change his mind about the Nets being his preferred team because he is in a rush to get out of Orlando.

And rest assured, the Magic will make a deal as long as there is one to be made just so they don't walk away with nothing.

On the flip side of all this, New Jersey could wait and hope that Howard is true to his reported word about the Nets being his No. 1 choice, and in which case, the Nets will be looking quite impressive going into next season, and more importantly, their new arena in Brooklyn.

They would be able to hold onto Brooks and Lopez, forming a lineup along with D-Will and D12. That would be one of the most dangerous, explosive lineups in the entire NBA, and the Nets would be instant NBA Finals contenders.

As great a scenario as that is, it's doubtful that it'll actually happen. New Jersey will be itching to get Howard to New Jersey to secure their dream pairing for the move next season.

Although they'd have a very good team with D12 and D-Will together this season, taking the chance of waiting and eventually signing him as a free agent would give them a great team. That move would give risky a new meaning.

Talk about patience being a virtue. For the Nets, patience could be the difference between a competitive team and an NBA Finals team in the 2012-13 season.

It remains to be seen if New Jersey will want to play that game of "chicken," but don't expect them to. Howard will be a Net come March, and such a trade will make the explosion from a block of C4 look like a lit match in comparison.