There is a question mark in that headline because there needs to be one.
Things are going to change by the hour today, and who knows what kind of twists and turns the Chris Paul
trade fiasco is going to take before the league officially re-opens for business at 2 p.m. EST.
In case you missed it, 86 percent of the players who cast ball0ts voted to approve the new labor agreement before commissioner David Stern 86’d the three-team trade that would have sent Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. If that vote were to be held again today, there’s no way that percentage would come in so high.
So what does this mean for Dwight Howard? I was hearing last night that a Howard-to-LA trade was a real possibility, and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert mentioned the same thing in his e-mail to the commissioner urging him to void the Paul deal.
“Howard has yet to tell the Magic he will not re-sign with them after this season, but the sources said he will within the next few days, perhaps as early as Friday. There is also a chance that Howard will not attend the opening of training camp Friday, according to a source. As ESPN.com reported last week, the Nets are ready to offer the Magic a package built around center Brook Lopez and two first-round draft picks, New Jersey’s own and one the Nets acquired from Houston in a previous trade, according to sources. New Jersey is also willing to take back Hedo Turkoglu and the three years, $34 million remaining on his deal. … The Nets are continuing to pursue free-agent center Nene in case their plan to acquire Howard falls through.”
In Florida, columnist Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel weighs in:
“If Howard makes it known that he will only sign long-term with New Jersey, other potential bidders would be scared away by the slim chances of re-signing him. And if other teams are too scared to make substantial bids, the Nets will have the best offer on the block. Magic officials like Lopez, a 7-foot-tall center who is about to enter only his fourth NBA season. But that “like” is relative. The number of quality centers is at its lowest level in decades, and it’s not necessarily a great achievement to be, say, the eighth-to-10th best center in the game. The Los Angeles Lakers’ Andrew Bynum, another 7-footer, hasn’t reached his potential yet, and he’s an injury risk already at 24 years old with questionable knees. But his upside is much higher than Lopez’, and Magic officials know it. What the Nets could offer is the ability to put the Magic far under the cap: The Magic would be sending out far more money than they’d be taking in. And then the Magic could use the amnesty provision on Gilbert Arenas. Those moves would suddenly give the Magic some badly needed payroll flexibility.
It remains to be sen what kind of trickle-down effect the events of last night will have on other teams’ planned roster moves. For instance, do the Knicks still want to amnesty Chauncey Billups in order to facilitate a deal that would bring them Tyson Chandler? Or does it behoove them to hold their cards until they see how the CP3 situation shakes out? Remember, Paul’s preferred destination from the get-go was New York, and the New York Post is reporting that the Knicks made an offer of Amare Stoudemire for Paul.
Fasten your seat belts, folks. It’s going to be a rollercoaster ride today.