Dwight Howard trade talks may have cooled, but they are far from over.
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 10 at 2:11 p.m ET by Jessica Isner: It's official: Cleveland is no longer interested in being the third team involved in a trade for Dwight Howard. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted the news on Tuesday:
Cleveland is out as a third-team trade partner in a possible Orlando-Brooklyn deal for Dwight Howard, sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 10, 2012
That leaves the Bobcats, the Timberwolves and the Clippers as potential third-party trade partners.
[End of Update]
Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico tweeted the latest trade rumor on Tuesday afternoon, bringing the Timberwolves and the Bobcats into the mix:
Latest on Cavs' involvement in Nets-Magic potential deal says they're still in it, but no more than Bobcats. And get this: T-Wolves in, too.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 10, 2012
Howard has been closely linked to the Nets and the Lakers over the last week, since they are two of the only teams in the NBA he has deemed suitable enough to give him a chance of winning a ring.
Will the Magic ultimately pull off a trade that sends Howard to Brooklyn?
But the Nets have long been the most likely destination for Howard, who could soon get his wish of playing with an elite point guard now that Deron Williams has agreed to stick around in Brooklyn.
Howard's gain, however, could be a big loss for whichever players end up dispatched to Minnesota or Charlotte in this trade. The Timberwolves finished in last place in the Northwest Division last season, while the Bobcats went 7-59, compiling the worst record in NBA history.
What It Means
If a trade is truly on the horizon, it means the end of an epic saga between Howard and the Magic. Howard—who has repeatedly asked to be traded—was far more of a disruption than an asset to Orlando over the last few months of the 2011-12 season, even as the best center in the NBA.
Perhaps when he is finally with a coach and a point guard that are up to his standards, it will be a different story.
What Comes Next
According to the Sporting News, Kris Humphries has emerged as a key component of any potential deal that involves the Nets. The Cavaliers, who were once a leading candidate to be the third trading partner in this deal, were interested in Humphries, but only for a one-year commitment.
Humphries reportedly wants a four-year deal, which could remain an obstacle for the Bobcats, who have also expressed interest in acquiring him.
The Timberwolves, in addition to the Bobcats, could step in as the third trading partner if the Cavs back out, but it could come down to finding a way to package Humphries in a way that satisfies both him, the receiving team and his agent, Dan Fegan—who, incidentally, is also Howard's agent.