And here’s how he would get there: Howard would be sent to the Nets for center Brook Lopez, forwards Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks as well as first-round picks in 2013, 2015 and 2017, sources said. Lopez and Humphries, who are both free agents, would go to Orlando in sign-and-trade deals.
That deal would give them their version of the Big Three: Howard, Deron Williams, if he elects to re-sign with Brooklyn and Joe Johnson, the former Hawk who will become a Net when the blockbuster deal with Atlanta is official on July 11.
A lot has to happen for Brooklyn to achieve its lofty mission. Williams is a key. The Nets are still waiting on him to tell them whether he will re-sign with them as a free agent, but sources say Williams was pleased with the trade for Johnson, so he is expected to stay, although he is being heavily courted by his hometown team, the Dallas Mavericks.
On Monday, Howard told Yahoo! Sports that he would sign a long-term contract only with the Nets, but after the Nets’ trade with Atlanta for Johnson, the chances of Howard going to Brooklyn appeared dead because of the enormous salary the team took on and concerns about salary cap space.
But Nets’ ownership has deep pockets and matching contract values could make a trade possible.