NBA Trade Rumors: Reports Say Dwight Howard to Nets

Josh Martin@@JoshMartinNBANBA Lead WriterDecember 19, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If a report late Monday proves to be true, Dwight Howard could finally find his way out of Orlando.

According to John Ireland of ESPN Radio 710, superstar center for the Orlando Magic could be a member of the New Jersey Nets as early as Tuesday. Ireland's tip came from a source who accurately predicted last summer that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would end up on the Miami Heat together.

Howard had told Magic GM Otis Smith before the start of training camp that he wanted out of Orlando, with New Jersey listed as his destination of choice, ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks. A move to New Jersey would allow Howard to team up with fellow All-Star Deron Williams and serve as the face of the franchise as it prepares to relocate to Brooklyn in time for the 2012-13 season.

The Nets figure to send a package including young center Brook Lopez and a bevy of draft picks back to the Magic in exchange for Howard.

Such a trade would make Howard the second NBA superstar to move since the lockout was lifted last month, joining point guard Chris Paul, who was swapped from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Clippers amidst a storm of controversy.

The pairing of Howard and Williams in the tri-state area would presumably vault the Nets well into the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, placing them in league with the likes of the Heat, the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks.

The Nets would still need to upgrade the rest of their roster, particularly at power forward and small forward, though not too dramatically. After all, Howard and Williams would constitute the best inside-out combination in the East and might even give the Clippers' pairing of CP3 and Blake Griffin a run for its money.

Howard, the three-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year, will also be a boon to New Jersey's defense, which was patently average last season under head coach Avery Johnson.

If nothing else, the addition of Howard should give team owner and purported Bond villain Mikhail Prokhorov greater incentive to check in on his franchise amidst his run for the Russian presidency.