Talks about a blockbuster four-team trade that would send Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets continue to progress, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The tentacles of the proposed deal stretched across more than 10 players and three teams on Monday, with the Nets recruiting a fourth team to take on guard MarShon Brooks in exchange for an additional draft pick to send to Orlando. Nevertheless, multiple complexities need to be resolved to complete the deal, including the negotiation of contracts for four of the players in the proposed trade: Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Damion James and Shelden Williams.
In the proposed deal, Howard, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark would be sent to Brooklyn, and the Magic would receive the Nets' Lopez, James, Williams and Armon Johnson, Cleveland's Luke Walton and three future first-round picks, sources said. Cleveland would receive Orlando's Quentin Richardson, Brooklyn's Sundiata Gaines, Humphries (on a one-year guaranteed deal), a first-round pick and $3 million from the Nets. Brooklyn also is in talks with the Los Angeles Clippers to exchange Brooks for an additional first-round pick to send to the Magic. If the Clippers decline to participate, other teams are in position to take on Brooks, sources said.
Talks between the Magic and Nets remain fluid with some of the deal's parts moving in and out based on different scenarios. One proposed hangup to a trade: Humphries would be against taking a one-year contract with the Cavs, instead seeking a four-year deal, a league source told Y! Sports' Marc Spears. Like Humphries, Lopez, James and Williams are all free agents and would have to agree to new contracts to be included in the deal as sign-and-trades.
Despite Orlando’s desire to make Lakers center Andrew Bynum the centerpiece of a trade package, a significant stumbling block remains in Bynum’s reluctance to commit to a long-term contract if he's traded to the Magic, sources said. Orlando doesn’t want to face the possibility of trading for Bynum only to lose him to free agency after the upcoming season.
The appeal of the Lakers' potential package for Bynum has also been diminished with Los Angeles sending its 2013 and 2015 first-round draft picks to the Phoenix Suns in the Steve Nash sign-and-trade deal. The NBA doesn’t allow teams to trade first-round picks in consecutive years, so the Lakers can’t offer Orlando their 2014 and 2016 first-round picks.
The Magic are portraying patience in making a deal for Howard, but have a strong distaste for engaging in a prolonged process that drags into the summer. From new general manager Rob Hennigan through Orlando ownership, the Magic want to find the best possible deal for Howard soon and cut ties with him, sources said.
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Bynum, 24, has one year left on his Lakers contract and has a short list of potential teams with salary-cap space and supporting cast that primarily include the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets with the Cleveland Cavaliers and a "couple others" on the list, league sources said. If Bynum remains with the Lakers past the Howard derby, he’ll have strong incentive to accept a maximum contract extension to stay in L.A., sources said. Otherwise, he has expressed a desire to test the free-agent market.
As much as Hennigan prefers to send Howard to a Western Conference team, the Magic keep coming back to the Nets as the best, safest package. Howard’s preferred trade partner – Brooklyn – has pushed into overdrive in offering up trade scenarios and options for the Magic, sources said. For now, Orlando prefers Lopez as a centerpiece player over having its pick of the Houston Rockets' roster, sources said.
The Nets started extension discussions with Lopez over the weekend, preparing for the possibility he could stay with them on a five-year deal or be moved to the Magic in a four-year contract as part of a sign-and-trade package for Howard. Lopez has been seeking a maximum contract extension --- five years for $78.6 million --- from Brooklyn, but the two sides are still negotiating a number. If Lopez is sent to the Magic in a sign-and-trade, the most he could get is $58.4 million over four years.
Hennigan has been consistent in pushing teams to offer him multiple first-round picks, as well as be able to absorb one of the Magic’s high-priced veteran contracts, including Hedo Turkoglu and Richardson, sources said.
While the Nets are still working to use Cleveland in a potential deal, they're finding traction with two other possible scenarios to find a home for Humphries' contract, a source said.
Orlando further signaled its desire to start a complete rebuilding process when it sent restricted free-agent forward Ryan Anderson to the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday in a sign-and-trade deal. Anderson would’ve signed an offer sheet with the Hornets for $36 million over four years, and the Magic decided that was too steep a price to match. They Magic acquired backup center Gustavo Ayon in the sign-and-trade deal.
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