Dwight Howard Rumors: Nets out of D12 Sweepstakes If Lopez Signs Max-Deal

Michael DulkaContributor IJuly 11, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 03:  Brook Lopez #11 of the New Jersey Nets reacts against the Miami Heat at the Prudential Center on April 3, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.The Heat defeated the Nets 108-94.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 Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets are ready to turn the page on trying to trade for Dwight Howard, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.com. The team is looking to sign current center Brook Lopez to a max-deal. In signing the deal, Lopez wouldn't be able to be traded until December because of NBA rules.

The Nets need Lopez to agree to a sign-and-trade as the centerpiece for a trade to the Orlando Magic to get the highly sought after Howard. If the Magic are unwilling to pull the trigger on a trade soon, the Nets are prepared to move on.  

With the Nets out of the sweepstakes, it would open the door for the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets to get back into talks to acquire Howard. Discussions have taken place between those teams and the Magic already.

Brooklyn would enter their first season in their new city and arena with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez as their core. The team would probably be much scarier to the rest of the Eastern Conference with Howard, but the addition of Johnson should improve the Nets quite a bit already.

The Howard saga has dragged on and on while various parties have gotten cold feet and backed away. There is no end in sight for the Magic and Howard, as the Nets were considered heavy favorites to land Howard. 

Howard earlier informed the Magic that he was only willing to sign a long-term extension with the Nets. Now, the team that agrees to trade for Howard will have to do so without a long-term commitment, unless Howard changes his mind.

He's certainly done that before.

This could be a game of chicken played by the Nets trying to bait the Magic into pulling the trigger. Keep it locked on B/R for all the latest updates.