Dwight Howard is preparing to star in the Dwightmare Part Two.
Except that he's not.
The Brooklyn Nets are preparing to make another run at Dwight Howard, according to a source.
Playing in Brooklyn with Deron Williams and Joe Johnson was at the top of Howard’s list last summer and the Nets are convinced that he still has a strong desire to make the Barclays Center his home office. The Nets have played well under P.J. Carlesimo and feel like the addition of Howard could be the piece that gets them to the NBA Finals.
Nets general manager Billy King has closely monitored the struggling Lakers and quietly searched for a third team with an attractive piece that would help facilitate a trade that would deliver Howard to the Nets, according to sources.
In other news, my sources tell me that common sense and general logic have taken a severe a hit within the confines of the Barclays Center.
Moving beyond the obvious—barring a trade demand, Howard isn't going anywhere—who are the Nets going to deal in exchange for Los Angeles' big man? On a roster chock full of handsomely paid stars and on behalf of a team with little to no financial flexibility, what type of proposal is Brooklyn preparing?
Deron Williams is obviously off limits and while the Nets would gladly ship out Brook Lopez, he solves absolutely nothing in Los Angeles. At all.
Joe Johnson has had success under Mike D'Antoni before, but that was eight years and hundreds of millions of dollars ago. The Lakers aren't about to take on his albatross of a contract while at the same time destroying any hope they have of staging a free agency coup in 2014.
What about Gerald Wallace? Kris Humphries? Marshon Brooks? They're doing some pretty nice things over there in Brooklyn, right?
Again, short of a trade request from Howard himself, the once perpetually smirking big man isn't going anywhere. And even if he was, the Lakers aren't about to hand him over for a Humphries or Wallace and Brooks, among others.
Let's not concern ourselves with such trivial details, though, because according to Rudolph, the Nets already have all that figured out:
The feeling out of Brooklyn is that Howard can be had for the right price because of the Lakers’ struggles and long-term commitment to a collection of pieces that just don’t seem to fit or complement Howard’s assortment of skills.
The only missing element was a third team with an attractive piece that would force the Lakers to consider the future of the franchise and directly question Howard about the direction he’s leaning at this point of the season. King, according to sources, was confident that he had a trade proposal that was a perfect fit for all teams involved.
So, let's get this straight: Billy King, Brooklyn's general manager, is operating under the assumption that the Lakers would be willing to move Howard because he doesn't seem to "fit"? Not only that, he's banking on them relinquishing him at a discounted price?
I'm beginning to think common sense and general logic couldn't take a hit in Brooklyn, because it seems it didn't exist to begin with.
For argument's sake, though, let's say the Nets had some grounds for such a belief (they don't). Let's assume the Lakers are open to making some major changes (they might be). Why would Howard, not Pau Gasol, be the one the Lakers move? Why would they retain a 32-year-old big on the downswing over a 27-year-old beast still in his prime?
Better yet, why would Los Angeles essentially give Dwight away? Back issues and all, he still remains the only player in the NBA averaging at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.
Oh, that's right, it doesn't matter. King and the Nets have a master plan, remember? A multiteam accord that is a "perfect fit for all teams involved," including the Lakers.
And one that's also unrealistic:
According to sources, King was planning to contact the Minnesota Timberwolves in order to gauge their interest in a three-team trade that would send Kevin Love to the Lakers, Brook Lopez to the Timberwolves and Dwight Howard to the Nets. Other small pieces would need to be included, but the proposed trade was thought to be intriguing enough to start conversations in the Lakers front office that would force them to deal with Howard earlier than planned.
That idea, however, was shelved when Love was sidelined 8-10 weeks with a broken hand. The Nets believed the Lakers would be interested in Love, but not an injured Love, even if they’re facing missing the playoffs, according to sources.
Even before Kevin Love was injured, thereby killing the already nonexistent potential behind this deal, this makes absolutely no sense.
Not only have the Minnesota Timberwolves refused to trade Kevin Love thus far, but they're unlikely to shift their stance in favor of Lopez of all players. Though Nikola Pekovic is all but a lock to get paid elsewhere this summer, the thought of him and Lopez playing together for even a half-season is overwhelmingly redundant.
Plus, if Minnesota is so reluctant to commit any money to Pek, what makes Brooklyn believe it would be receptive to shelling out nearly $60 million for the oft-injured Lopez?
More importantly, why are the Lakers doing this?
I get that Love is the perfect stretch 4 for Mike D'Antoni's floor spacing offense, but even if he was healthy, sacrificing Howard's defense for his offense doesn't suggest success is on the way. Los Angeles is already ranked eighth in points scored per 100 possessions; it doesn't need anymore offense.
But it still needs defense, even with Howard.
Who are the Lakers more likely to trade by season's end?
The Lakers are ranked 21st in points allowed per 100 possessions, and that's with Howard holding opposing bigs to a PER of 14.2 per 48 minutes. How is their defense going to fair with a timid Love who's allowing power forwards to average a PER of 18.9 per 48 minutes?
If we were talking about Los Angeles dealing Gasol in exchange for Love, there would be a case to be made. But we aren't, and if we were, neither the Lakers nor the Gasol-obsessed Timberwolves would need the Nets to facilitate a deal.
So yeah, a play by the Nets for Howard is beyond insane. He's not going anywhere, especially Brooklyn, and the Nets would be doing themselves a great disservice by getting caught up in the hoopla again.
Sparing us—and the Lakers—from the burden that comes with fallacious and incoherent trade musings is just a bonus.
*All stats in this article are accurate as of January 21, 2013.