Time to start all over again, from scratch.
Chris Paul to the Clippers? Chris Paul to Golden State? Dwight Howard to the Lakers? Dwight Howard to the Bulls?
Yep, those rumors are all out there this morning after the three-team deal between the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets fell apart late Saturday night, with the Lakers making a different deal by sending Lamar Odom to the Mavericks for a first-round draft pick.
The Mavericks were able to absorb Odom’s salary through the trade exception that was created when they dealt Tyson Chandler to the New York Knicks for Andy Rautins.
So here we are on Day 3 of the re-opened NBA season, and who has gotten better?
Not the Lakers, who will now turn their attention to trying to get Howard from Orlando.
Not the Rockets, who could have had a front line of Nene and Pau Gasol but instead have a roster of disgruntled players who are waiting to see what kind of Plan B Daryl Morey has in store.
Not the Hornets, who would have had three or four new starters if commissioner David Stern had not vetoed the original three-team trade on Thursday night.
Not the Nets, who were looking like the leading contenders for Howard before the Paul trade fell apart, and who now must contend with the possibility that Howard could be destined for the glamour market of Los Angeles rather than the purgatory of Newark.
Time for everyone to reset the dominoes, with opening night now just two weeks away.
And you know who’s looking good right now? I’ll give you three teams: Miami, Memphis and Oklahoma City. everyone else is in a state of flux.
Your morning roundup from around the Web:
From David Aldridge of NBA.com: “After hours of exploring various scenarios, with the Lakers providing additional picks and the Rockets giving up some more players, the Lakers got tired of waiting. “The league took too long to decide and may have overplayed its hand,” a source involved in the discussions said late Saturday night. The collapse of the talks leaves the Hornets frustrated and in an incredibly difficult bind, with just six players in camp and with Paul still seeking to be dealt elsewhere. Several teams, including the Clippers and Celtics, have held off of other potential deals in the hopes that they might somehow be able to get into the Paul Sweepstakes. The Clippers believed late Saturday that there was still a way for them to get involved, but it wasn’t clear what pieces they would be willing to use to try and make an offer to New Orleans. They had adamantly refused to include guard Eric Gordon in any potential trade discussions earlier this week. Boston had offered a package centered around guard Rajon Rondo, young players and draft picks, but the Hornets weren’t interested. The Mavericks have already let free agents Chandler and Caron Butler go, and appear to be ready to lose reserve guard J.J. Berea leave as well, citing the need to keep as much cap room as free as possible for the summer of 2012. Odom has two seasons left on his four-year, $32 million deal he signed in 2009, but only $2.4 million of his $8.2 million salary for 2012-13 is guaranteed, which would fall in line with Dallas’ approach for next offseason. The Lakers would have cleared more than $20 million in cap room by dealing Odom and Gasol for Paul, which many around the league believe they would have tried to use next summer on All-Pro center Dwight Howard. Now it will be much more difficult, though there is still the possibility they could send Gasol elsewhere in a separate deal. The Lakers, however, were one of three teams that have been given permission to enter into trade talks with the representatives for Howard on Friday, so it is reasonable to assume they’d be willing to package both Gasol and center Andrew Bynum in a deal for Howard. If the Lakers agreed to take back the salary of forward Hedo Turkoglu ($10.6 million this season), the deal could be made easily.
From Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: Howard, a 6-foot-11 center who was drafted by the team in 2004, did not give many specific reasons for his choice, but he indicated that he is not happy with the franchise’s on-court direction. He also said he wanted more of a “voice” in team decisions. “They know how I feel,” Howard said, referring to the team’s management. “We’ve sat down and talked plenty of times this summer before the lockout and after the lockout. They know what I’ve asked for and what we need as a team, and nothing that we’ve talked about has changed or anything.” His departure could have a severe impact on the franchise. The Magic almost certainly would not receive players of his caliber in a trade, and the franchise would lose its most recognizable star and its main attraction. Much remains unclear about what happens next. Faced with at least two trade requests from Howard in recent days, General Manager Otis Smith has given Howard’s agent permission to speak with three teams: the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Jersey Nets. Those talks should help determine what franchise is the best landing spot and allow his agent, Dan Fegan, to try to facilitate a deal that works for all sides, and maybe a third team. Most people who know Howard well believe he prefers to go to the Nets or the Lakers. Meanwhile, the Magic have no legal obligation to trade Howard before the NBA’s March 15 trade deadline. But while holding onto Howard through the end of the 2012 playoffs would offer some hope that he’d change his mind, it would also bring an enormous risk. Howard could join new team via free agency next summer and leave Orlando with no players in return. That scenario occurred in 1996, when Shaquille O’Neal, another superstar center with outsized charisma, signed a free-agent deal with the Lakers and left the Magic with a giant void on the court. Howard holds most, but not all, of the leverage now.
From John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune: ” Despite the Lakers’ decision, the Hornets will continue to explore trade offers for Paul. One of the teams he could wind up with is the Los Angeles Clippers, with whom the Hornets have had previous trade discussions. Another destination could be the Boston Celtics, where former Hornets David West is expected to end up at once a sign-and-trade deal is finalized.
From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: As the Bulls remained poised to sign veteran shooting guard Richard Hamilton once his buyout from the Pistons becomes official, a bigger target emerged. Think really big. Think Dwight Howard. … (Otis) Smith said that he would look at all 29 teams if the Magic choose to trade their franchise center. Sources said the Bulls, who can build a package around cap relief, young talent and attractive draft picks, will enter trade talks. A confidante of Howard’s, though, expressed hesitation he’d sign a long-term extension with a team beyond his preferred destinations. As for Hamilton, his buyout thus far is only a verbal agreement and has yet to be signed, according to two sources familiar with the situation. Once the buyout becomes official, Hamilton will have to clear waivers, which is considered a virtual certainty. He then would have to pass a physical, also considered a formality.