“Right now, we’re here in Orlando. We just had practice, and that’s what matters. Nothing else matters beyond today and this moment.” — Dwight Howard, Dec. 9.
That is what we call living day to day, or moment to moment, and that’s what we’ll all be doing today – whether we live in Jersey, central Florida, the BK, El Lay, the Metroplex or the Bayou.
Somebody is going to trade for Howard and/or Chris Paul, be it today, tomorrow or the next day, and it’s going to be a moment-by-moment process in riding out this rollercoaster.
Last night brought the news that Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, has been given permission to speak with the Lakers, Nets and Mavericks about trade possibilities for his client, who would have one foot out the door if he wasn’t living so much in the moment.
From Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “”The NBA today was a three-ring circus, and we were in the big top,” coach Stan Van Gundy said after practice ended. And Howard’s situation is the main show. “As the upcoming number-one free agent next summer, there is always going to be a lot of speculation regarding Dwight’s intentions,” Fegan told the Sentinel by phone. “Dwight is a very deliberate, thoughtful, considerate person, and when he makes up his mind in terms of either staying in Orlando or asking to be traded or waiting it out until the end of the year, I’m confident that he’ll let the Magic know.”
Safe to say they know.
Otherwise, why give permission to Mikhail Prokhorov, Mark Cuban, Jerry Buss and their minions to move forward with what will basically be a bidding process to land the three-time Defensive Player of the Year in a trade?
So the whole NBA is going to be held hostage again, both by this Trade Waiting To Happen and by the other one, in New Orleans, a.k.a. NOLA — or as David Stern would say: “No L.A.”
Yes, the Chris Paul situation remains fluid, too, with the difference being that he had both feet out the door before Stern took the unprecedented step of vetoing a three-team trade that would have sent him to the Lakers, delivered three or four starters (depending on your opinion on the relative merits or Goran Dragic) and a No. 1 pick to New Orleans, and would have allowed the Rockets to go all-in on Nene to play alongside Pau Gasol on a frontline that would have been the best in Houston since Hakeem Olajuwon and Otis Thorpe were bringing rings back to The Summit — the former arena that has been converted into a mega-church in the years since the Toyota Center was constructed in downtown Houston.
The Hornets and their de facto owner, Mr. Stern, have reportedly been given until Monday to reconfigure a trade that would pass muster with the league’s dictatorial director, or else face the prospect of litigation. As I tweeted and wrote yesterday, I am setting the over/under on a new Paul trade at 5 p.m. EST today, and y’all are free to wager amongst yourselves.
From Marc Stein and Chris Broussard of ESPN.com: “After a long day on the phones for the three teams trying to salvage their Chris Paul blockbuster deal, sources close to the process told ESPN.com officials involved in the talks were cautiously optimistic that a reworked trade framework will be ready to be presented to NBA commissioner David Stern for approval, perhaps as soon as Saturday. The exact tweaks to the original trade were not immediately known, but sources told ESPN.com the teams were working through the night to try to make amendments to the deal that would satisfy the league’s desire to see more youth or draft picks going to the Hornets in the deal.”
“Yes, we’ve been given autonomy to make another trade,” Hornets general manager Dell Demps told reporters at a news conference Friday night. “We’re back to work and everything is on the table.”
From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “The talks were revived Friday afternoon after Stern took the stunning step of killing the deal in its previous form in his role as the representative of the 29 owners who took custodianship of the New Orleans franchise in 2010. The goal was to tweak the deal in a way that allowed New Orleans to come away with younger players and more draft picks, the directive issued by the commissioner’s office after a trade that would’ve sent the Hornets three bonafide starters, a solid backup, and a mid-first-round pick was deemed not good enough by Stern. There is no deadline, per se, to complete the deal. But the three teams want to reach a conclusion one way or another as early as Saturday to avoid any further awkwardness and wasted time in a training camp that already is shortened by the abrupt end to the 149-day lockout.”
Paul showed up at training camp and participated in practice, as did Howard.
But it was looking more and more like those could be one-day cameos as two more young superstars try to leverage their way into more desirable landing zones in the same manner that LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and others have done.
Freedom of movement was one of the main things the players’ union was fighting for in the 149-day lockout, and it is now clear that there was a distinct winner on that issue.
From John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Yes, people are still calling, and we’re calling people,’’ Demps said. “So we’re confident we can get a deal.’’ Demps, though, didn’t have a timetable on when a deal will be completed. Regardless, Demps said, it’s unrealistic to consider keeping Paul after the point guard rebuffed the team’s offer of a five-year, $100 million extension. “It would be real easy if Chris signed the extension,’’ Demps said. “But the reality of it is, Chris didn’t sign the extension. We have to do everything we can for the organization. “I wish he stayed; I’m not going to lie. But it is what is.’’
Yes, it is.
And it is going to be another day of drama in New Orleans, Orlando and elsewhere as this two-headed monster tramples all other storylines on Day 2 of the post-lockout, abbreviated NBA season.