ESPN.com's Chris Broussard is reporting that the Nets' on-again, off-again pursuit of Dwight Howard has suddenly re-accelerated, making it look like a trio of Howard, Williams and Joe Johnson could make Brooklyn a formidable Eastern Conference obstacle to repeat aspirations in Miami.
If such a move would turn up the heat in the East, where would this leave the Western Conference Mavs? Owner Mark Cuban has long held out a long-shot hope to rest the Mavs' future on the broad shoulders of Howard, who, it was presumed, might be persuaded to join the club if they also employed the hometown services of Dallas' own Williams.
It was already apparent that if the Mavs could not land Williams, they would go after Nash, but one would imagine that the pursuit will go into high gear if a possible Nets deal for Howard takes quick and clear shape—a trade that would surely cement Williams' reported desire to re-sign with Brooklyn.
In an interview with ESPN's Marc Stein, Nash initially thought he might make his decision in the first day of free agency, but a three-year offer of $36 million from the Toronto Raptors, reportedly laid out on Canada Day, is presumably still on the table. (Perhaps while Nash waits for Williams' next step.)
Nash groomed his early All-Star skills with the Mavs before he signed with the Suns in 2004, and even if the Mavs can't match the Raptors' lucrative offer, Cuban would likely offer a healthy sum to the two-time MVP if Williams re-signs with the Nets and leaves Nash as the most coveted free agent on the market.
For his part, Nash might take less money to play for a championship contender like Dallas, where the Canadian could reignite a fiery cross-cultural duo with his close friend and former teammate Dirk Nowitzki.
That pairing seems much more plausible than combining Nash with the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks are chasing Nash, who resides in New York during the summer, but since both Nash and Anthony need the ball in their hands to maximize their offensive output, Nash would be better served looking elsewhere.
One thing is for certain among all this uncertainty, as the Beastie Boys would say, there will be "no sleep till Brooklyn"—if the Nets pull off this blockbuster trade, it could mean that two point guards will choose championship contention over the appeal of going "home," with Williams declining an offer to play in his home state and Nash rejecting an appeal to come home to Canada.
And Nash and Williams could wind up squaring off in the 2013 NBA Finals.
Crazier things have happened—and are happening—in the never-linear plot of the NBA.
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