NBA Trade Rumors: Nets Can't Afford to Let Dwight Howard Slip Away

Jessica Marie@ItsMsJisnerCorrespondent IIJuly 11, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic reacts to a missed free-throw during the game against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on March 13, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  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 Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Good news for the NBA-loving free world: The Dwight Howard trade drama is close to being officially over.

July 11 marks the end of a half-year-long soap opera that's given us laughs and tears, pain and joy, and now it appears the Magic have finally found a trade partner or three that will help them dispatch their disgruntled star once and for all.

Chris Sheridan tweeted the good news early on Wednesday morning:

Source on Dwight Howard trade: "It's all coming to a head." Translation: He's being dealt somewhere today.

— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) July 11, 2012

But there is one team that has been involved in the Howard trade drama from the very beginning. That team needs to make sure that when all is said and done on Wednesday, Howard is on their roster, and that team is the Nets.

For months, the Nets have been desperately seeking a way to trade for Howard, and now, they're on the precipice of obtaining the player they so dearly need in order to compete in the Eastern Conference.

They already have locked up Joe Johnson and Deron Williams; Howard is the missing piece, the most skilled center in the league who can push this team up from the dregs of the Eastern Conference and into the playoffs in a few short months.

By all indications, Brooklyn the best destination for Howard. It has an elite point guard Howard so desperately wants to play with, it is in the type of high-voltage media market in which Howard would thrive and it's going to be the most talked-about team in the NBA at the beginning of next season as it makes its debut in a new city.

Plus, there's that small financial factor: The Nets have the money to pay him the way a top-tier center should be paid.

The deal has been close to coming into fruition. According to the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan, a multi-team deal that would've sent Howard to Brooklyn collapsed on Tuesday, and in the aftermath, the Lakers have re-emerged as a very possible trade partner because they're willing to take on Jason Richardson's undesirable contract.

There's also the possibility, Bresnahan reports, of the Rockets emerging as the third trade partner in a potential deal with the Lakers and the Magic that would send Howard to L.A. and Andrew Bynum to Houston.

But the Nets can't let that happen. To lose Howard now—whether it's to the Lakers or the Rockets or whomever—would be an insurmountable blow. The Nets aren't yet complete; they aren't yet a team that has all of the necessary pieces it needs to compete with the Heat or the Bulls.

In this NBA day and age, you can't just be good; you have to be stacked. The Heat have built a team that seemingly cannot be beat unless a similarly formidable machine is built elsewhere, and Howard gives the Nets that final piece of the machine. He gives them the opportunity to compete with the best of the best.

They may have D-Will and Johnson, but without Howard, the Nets are still nothing. This is the day to become something.