Wither the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets?
In the midst of Dwight Howard's constant hemming and hawing about staying in Orlando, the team he's been linked to more than any other, the Nets, hangs in limbo as well.
The Nets plan has been to lure Howard to Brooklyn, either through a trade this year or as a free agent signing in the offseason, to pair with Deron Williams as they move into their new downtown digs.
But if Howard really is staying put in Orlando at least through next season, what does that do to the Nets' plan? Williams has no such option in his contract. After this year ends, he's gone unless they re-sign him.
It's hard to imagine Williams moving to Brooklyn with the Nets without Howard. There's not a lot on the Nets roster beyond Williams after Brook Lopez, who can't stay healthy. And even though New Jersey will have money to spend if they don't get Howard, the free agent pool for this offseason dries up quite a bit after Howard and Williams.
The bottom line is that the Nets should be spending their time today leading up to the 3 p.m. deadline trying to get as much as they can for Williams or risk moving to Brooklyn with nothing to show for their trade from last season.
Williams has been completely non-committal regarding his future with the Nets and reports have him signing with his hometown Dallas Mavericks in the offseason, presuming Howard doesn't wind up in Brooklyn.
The Nets have now replaced the Magic as the ones getting screwed the worst in this whole melodrama. Without Howard, there's no Williams—which is why they must deal Williams today.
While there is some school of thought that the Nets will still keep Williams even if they don't get Howard and subsequently try to make deals to augment the roster around their current point guard, that still doesn't guarantee them anything.
Get as much as you can for Williams now or risk making your big move with Jordan Farmar and Kris Humphries as your marquee names. That's the dilemma facing the Nets if they decide to roll the dice on Williams.