Dwight Howard, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams Could Beat Miami's Big Three

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic looks on against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 2012 in New York City. 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 Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Dwight Howard could still be headed to Brooklyn to join Deron Williams and Joe Johnson with the Nets via trade. ESPN's Chris Broussard is reporting that even after the Nets sent five trade assets to the Hawks for Johnson, they are still in the hunt for Howard:

"The Nets and the Orlando Magic are discussing a trade that would send Howard to the Nets for Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and the Nets' first-round picks in 2013, 2015 and 2017, sources said. Lopez and Humphries, who are both free agents, would go to Orlando in sign-and-trade deals."

It's actually not a bad deal for the Magic. They get three young players who've already proven they can produce in the NBA.

Brook Lopez leaves a little to be desired as a rebounder, but career averages of 17 and eight are very solid for a player who's basically played three seasons. Humphries has averaged a double-double in each of the last two seasons, including a 14 and 11 year last season. And Marshon Brooks averaged nearly 13 points a game as a rookie. Throw in the handful of first-round draft picks and you can see why Orlando is entertaining the offer.

For the Nets, the move would be phenomenal to say the least. Yes, they will have given up essentially an entire team in the last few days (eight players and at least three draft picks) for just two players. But it's worth it when you consider how good a trio of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Dwight Howard might be.

Howard is hands down the best center in the NBA, and arguably the league's second best player. Deron Williams has long been considered to be in a neck and neck race with Chris Paul to be the league's best point guard. Just having those two on the same roster would make Brooklyn scary.

Throwing Joe Johnson into the mix makes for a whole new animal. Johnson is a six-time all-star who's averaged 18 points a game while hitting 37 percent of his three-point attempts over his career. He's the perfect floor-spacer for the potentially devastating pick-and-roll combo of Williams and Howard.

This would be a big three that probably wouldn't need as much time as Miami's to gel. The games of these three players already compliment each other perfectly. For that reason, they should give the defending champs all they can handle as early as this season.

Of course, all this is assuming the trade to send Howard to the Nets actually gets done. It will be a blast to see how everything unfolds over the next few days.


Andy Bailey is on Twitter: Follow @ AndrewDBailey