NBA Rumors: Dwight Howard Isn't Worth the Headache for Brooklyn Nets
However, if the team is serious about becoming contenders in their new home, then the Nets would be better off subtracting one headcase, not adding another.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday that Williams isn't interested in staying with the Nets "unless they become an instant Eastern Conference contender," and that even should Brooklyn buck the odds and "win" this year's NBA draft lottery it's very possible that the Nets would deal the pick to Orlando in an effort to keep Williams by landing Howard.
The Nets have a 7.5 percent chance of winning the lottery, and sources said the organization would be willing to part with Davis for the chance to pair Howard and Williams for the franchise's move into a new Brooklyn arena next season.
Howard regrets forgoing his early termination option on his 2012-13 contract, sources said, and wants a trade before next season. Nevertheless, the Nets become far less appealing should Williams leave in July as a free agent, so Howard's camp is applying pressure on Orlando to expedite a deal once it hires a new general manager.
"It's Dwight Howard or bust," said a league source who has spoken to Williams.
If that's the case, then let it be "bust," because pairing Williams and Howard in Brooklyn would likely create more problems in the long term for the Nets than it would solve.
For one, even should the Nets deal the first overall pick (almost certain to be Kentucky forward Anthony Davis) to obtain Howard, there would be the not insignificant matters of re-upping Williams and Howard, who would become a free agent in July of 2013.
This would entail committing a significant portion of their overall payroll to only two players, so they'd best be sure that Deron Williams and Dwight Howard are the cornerstones they want to build the future of their franchise around.
Granted, Williams and Howard are both All-Star-caliber players in the prime of the careers, so at first glance, pairing them would seem to make sense.
On the other hand, both are also enigmatic talents who have each already quit on one franchise (Williams the Utah Jazz; Howard the Magic) and sabotaged their head coaches right onto the unemployment line.
Are those really the sorts of players you want to build a team around? How long before the honeymoon ends and smiles and pats on the back turn into pouting and grousing? The first sign of struggles? The second?
It's just not worth the risk.
It's completely understandable that with the team back in the five boroughs and moving into a shiny new arena that the Nets want to make a big splash and draw in fans.
However, if by some stroke of good fortune the Nets do land the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft and the rights to draft Davis, then they should take him, let Williams leave if he's going to leave and build the roster right way.
Do it the wrong way and all you're going end up with is a bloated payroll filled with bloated egos and a string of first-round playoff exits.
In other words, they'd become the Knicks.
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