Will the Brooklyn Nets Pursue Dwight Howard in 2013?

Doug RushSenior Analyst IJuly 12, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic walks off the court 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

So, we all finally got the Brooklyn Nets decision on Wednesday that they were pulling out of the Dwight Howard trade talks.

The Nets had to walk away from the trade offer.

The fact of the matter is simple: They had to lock up their current starting center, Brook Lopez, who got a four-year, $60 million deal (via espn.com) from the team on Wednesday.

With the new contract from the Nets, Lopez can't be traded until January 15, as per the rules of the collective bargaining agreement.

The Bobcats and Blazers were ready to sign Lopez to an offer sheet, so if they wanted to ultimately keep Lopez for themselves, the Nets had to work out a deal as soon as possible for the 24-year-old center.

It seemed like the Nets were "on the verge" of making the deal for Howard for about a week before having had enough of the games and drama.

The Nets were going to give the Magic a good package of players and draft picks to help rebuild their future, but the Magic decided not to accept Brooklyn's offers.

So with the new Lopez deal, it removes them from the trade talks for Howard. At least for now.

Remember, Howard still wants to go to Brooklyn and pair up with Deron Williams. So in 2012, the Howard-to-Brooklyn talks are basically all but over.

But what about in 2013?

Once January 15 hits, Lopez can be traded, and if Howard hasn't been dealt by Orlando, he could again demand to be shipped out before next February's trading deadline.

That is if Brooklyn even wants to do that come February. For all we know, maybe the Nets gel as a unit and become a powerhouse in the East.

I know it's a long shot, but you never know. Maybe Joe Johnson and Deron Williams each have a season for the ages and Brooklyn takes over the division, passing up the Knicks and Celtics.

In reality, the Nets as currently put together are at best a number-six or -seven seed—good enough to get into the playoffs only to experience a first-round exit against a team like Boston, Chicago or Miami.

If, come February 2013, the Nets are right on the border of making a championship run, do they decide to make the move for Howard to put themselves into NBA title discussion? Or, do they wait until the end of the 2012-2013 season, when Howard is a free agent and free to go wherever he desires—perhaps to join Williams in Brooklyn.

In 2012, we can put the Dwight Howard to the Nets rumors to bed.

But in 2013, we could see them resurrected again when things change during the next basketball season.