That is the news out of Orlando this evening, and now it is a question of whether New Jersey has enough pieces to get the deal done.
It has been well known that New Jersey is willing to deal center Brook Lopez and two first-round draft picks to Orlando, taking back the contract of Hedo Turkoglu in the deal to give Orlando salary cap flexibility.
But is that enough to get the league’s most dominant center? Also, can the Nets clear more than $5 million in salary cap space to make the deal work under NBA trade rules? My sources tell me New Jersey is confident it can clear the additional cap room, so the timetable on getting this mega-deal done could be quick rather than slow. (Trading Jordan Farmar and Damion James for a draft pick would get the Nets the room they need).
Turkoglu has a 15 percent trade kicker, which bumped his original 2011-12 salary from $10.6 million to $12.2 million. Howard is making $18.1 million this season, so the Nets would be sending only $3.08 million out and getting back $31.3 million in salary. Using the amnesty clause on Travis Outlaw ($7 million) would get New Jersey’s cap number down to the $33 million range, hence the need to clear an extra $5 million to fit both Howard and Turkoglu in under the cap.
Here is more on this story from Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, who was the first to report the news of Howard’s trade request:
“(Magic general manager Otis) Smith said Howard has made the request twice in separate conversations since Monday. Smith emphasized that the Magic want to keep Howard long-term, and he added that Howard and his camp haven’t told the team that he definitely will not remain with the franchise. Indeed, Smith repeated what Magic officials have said for days: that the team will make every effort to keep the All-NBA First Team center. “We wouldn’t be who we are if we don’t take a look around all 29 teams and try to make the best deal for the Orlando Magic, Smith said. “He can have his list of teams that he would like to go to, and we’ve probably got a few on our list of teams that we would like. But at the end of the day, we want him here and we want him in a Magic uniform for his career. With that said, we’re going to make the best possible deal that we can make if we have to trade him.”