Sheridan: Dwight Howard, clearly unhappy, can still get to Brooklyn

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HOUSTON — Dwight Howard wasn’t playing ball with the reporters who tried Friday to pin him down on his future, which was no surprise given his reluctance lately to discuss anything about his future.

And the future of the NBA’s best (?) big man is one of the top topics around the NBA as All-Star Weekend arrives, because nobody knows what that future might hold. Will he stay with the Lakers? Will he leave El Lay in a lurch by leaving as an unrestricted free agent to sign with Dallas or Atlanta?

Will he even make the playoffs?

“I didn’t expect for it to as go as sour as it’s going,” Howard said at All-Star weekend. “Guys getting injuries, us not winning, the drama on the outside of the locker room. We’ve had to deal with a lot.”

Will he have to keep dealing with that drama in the years ahead as the Lakers turn over the majority of their roster?

Does it make any sense for him to do so?

If you think not, then how about this question, which is the one folks should be asking themselves: Does Dwight Howard have a secret plan to get to the Brooklyn Nets, the team that has been his No. 1 choice for more than nearly two years?

“There’s no need for me to talk about what happens at the end of the season. There’s no need to go back and forth about it. I just feel at the end of the year I should have the opportunity to make my own decision, and I shouldn’t be pressured or criticized for waiting til the end of the year,” Howard said.

Check out the most significant part of that quote — “I should have the opportunity to make my own decision.”

Those are similar to the words LeBron James spoke when he was getting ready to leave Cleveland, and there are those around the NBA who are convinced that James knew months in advance that he’d be taking his talents to South Beach.

Secret plans are as much a part of the NBA as dunks and irascible commissioners, and if a secret plan exists for Howard, it is not all that difficult to figure out how it would unfold. Further, after speaking with Dwight at All-Star Weekend, I walked away more convinced than ever that Howard is as unhappy as he has ever been in his career, and he is going to find a way to fulfill his ultimate goal and end up at the Barclay’s Center next season.

Here is our back-and-forth.

DH: “I’ve got to do what makes me happy. That’s it.”

CS: “What makes you happy? What has made you the most happy over the course of your career?”

DH: “Having fun on the court. That makes me happy.”

CS: “Are you having as much fun as you used to have on the court?”

DH: “At the present time, no. Hopefully it gets better.”

So let’s get back to that secret plan. I’ll break it down nice and simple for you.

Step 1: Howard remains with the Los Angeles Lakers for the entire season, which jibes with the Lakers’ plans. Howard said Friday that Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has already told him he will not be traded.

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Comments

  1. Sheridan got FIRED from ESPN says:

    HAHAHAHAH Sheridan!

    Give it up already! If Dwight is leaving, the Lakers aren’t giving in to his every whim and sending him where he wants to go. Plus, they DONT WANT BROOK LOPEZ. How many people have to bang that into your pea sized brain. If he’s living, he’s giving up a massive shoe contract to sign in Houston or Atlanta. Good luck, Sheridan. I know you’re still angry about LeBron not signing with the Knicks, you dolt.

  2. Here’s the thing though. The “leverage he’s been waiting his whole career for” has happened twice already. The first time, he blinked and re-signed. Regardless of why, he re-signed when he didn’t have to. He could have walked to the Nets then. The second time, at the trade deadline, he said he’d only re-sign the Nets (who hadn’t signed Lopez yet) and was traded to LA instead. This time, it seems to me like his “leverage” is the least it’s been during this whole situation. This time he has to leave one of the most popular franchises in history, who has superstars on the team, in one of the biggest US and international markets, AND leave $30million on the table, after he’s had arguably his worst season as a pro while coming off injuries, AND the teams who can sign him in the off-season seem to be nowhere near what he wants (except maybe Dallas). On top of that, Lopez seems to be outplaying him, is younger, and the fan base seems to like him. It really seems like he doesn’t have that much leverage.

    Regardless of what he will do, I think everyone expects the Lakers to dare him to lave $30million on the table and/or go to one of the other teams.

  3. Wait a second. Reassessing the Howard situation, there is no way he is going to give up $30 million if there is the slightest doubt in his mind that his career might be cut short because of back issues or that he may never return to being the player he was before these issues. He will take El Lay’s money. Kobe won’t be there forever. Personnel will turn over and maybe he will even lobby for SVG to become the next coach!

  4. he shouldnt have f’d up the good thing he had in orlando, what an idiot

    • Isn’t that the truth! These very talented players with big egos think they need a big forum, a big city to be superstars. But look at Durant and Westbrook, Duncan and Parker, and countless others. The LeBron/Wade/Bosh model sucks.

      D12 should have let management build a team around him, without him trying to be amateur GM. Draft wisely and make strategic trades. Not Arenas, and other FODs (friends of Dwight).

  5. Step 5: Lakers say we are sick and tired of dealing with you, diva. Find happiness in Dallas, Atlanta or Houston for $30 mil less than in El Lay. Kupchak then gets on the smart phone and rings up unrestricted FA Andrew Bynum and with the Jackson 5 song “I want you back” playing in the background, inquires how his knees are doing…..

    • @zodiak – that letting Dwight walk and signing Bynum, an unrestricted FA, is brilliant! what a great story line THAT would be. plus, the NBA’s glamour franchise would be PICKING Bynum over Howard, which would a substantial blow to his fragile ego. I love it!

    • Zodiac Lakers would only have mini mid 2.5m to sign free agents as despite loosing D12′s 19.5m off the books would still be over the cap, so no way they could sign Bynum. Barring Kobe amnesty or Gasol trade for no incoming salary.

      http://cbafaq.com/blog/?p=9 A few of you are throwing around incorrect information so please read Larry Coons explanation if Dwight can become a Net this summer, in response to Sheridan’s article.

  6. As Larry Coon pointed out, Nets would have to shed about 29 million in salary.
    However, its ridiculous to talk about, because although Chris Sheridan and others may not believe it, Nets actually would not trade Lopez for Howard any more. Howard is damaged goods and Lopez is a 24 year old All Star, who is getting better.

    However, there is one way that Howard could join Nets and Lopez.
    He can sign with Nets for the mini-MLE!! That would shock the NBA and Howard’s reputation would be re-born if he started to win again.

  7. It’s difficult to the point of being patently impossible. If you look at the teams with cap space and the assets the Nets would want them to take, it’s not feasible IF Lopez on the table. Without him on the table it’s even worse. Are you being stubborn that you keep saying “is is possible”. Yes it is.

    It’s also possible I may have Halle Berry over to dinner soon. But i’d doubt it.

  8. Dwight may be pushing this but the Nets are done. Move on.

  9. there is something close to surreal now about the entire Howard saga. If one steps back a second, what do you have? A very gifted and huge center….but one coming off a serious back injury who still is not 100%. An immature young man who loves the drama…clearly…..either that or he is very stupid, and I dont think he is at all. He’s smart enough but very entitled….nothing new there, but what i dont understand is why teams still want him?? I wouldnt. Just for the back problems alone. No way. Look at Bynum…….he may never play again. Big men with injury histories….stay clear. Plus he a locker room cancer of sorts. A distraction at the very least.

  10. Yeesh…this is embarrassing. As pointed out below, teams over the cap can’t complete sign-and-trade deals. This isn’t to say Dwight to the Nets impossible, but it is way, way, way, more difficult than a simple sign-and-trade. I think you could have found this out with a simple search of the CBA, Sheridan.

    • Again, difficult but NOT impossible.

      • Jack Peters says:

        The simple fact Chris is that you put wrong information in your article. They cannot do a sign and trade, it is IMPOSSIBLE. Both the Lakers and the Nets would have to get under the cap for that to happen. If anything there’s going to have to be a lot of clearing of cap space (via trades) by the Nets and then sign him outright.

  11. This article is factually incorrect. In order for Brooklyn to acquire Howard, or any player, via a sign and trade they need to be below the apron after the trade. Brooklyn is above the apron BEFORE the trade. The only “clear cut” way for Brooklyn to get Howard is by moving Lopez, Wallace and Humphries. Assuming the apron is $76 million, Brooklyn would need to move Lopez and Humphris plus ask Howard to take a pay cut.

    The ship has sailed as far as Dwight Howard joining the New Jersey Nets that call Brooklyn home.

  12. The Nets won’t be able to obtain Howard in a sign-and-trade, because they’ll be almost $15m over the luxury tax line heading into the offseason, and starting next season (which starts on July 1, before S&T deals are allowed) teams above the “apron” (tax line plus $4m) aren’t allowed to receive players via sign & trade.

    • Nets can get below apron. Would be difficult, not not impossible. Would require salary dump that would include 1st round picks going out for nothing in return,.

      • That’s fair. I think “difficult” is putting it REALLY mildly (they’d probably have dump Joe Johnson for nothing, while also getting the Lakers to take Humphries, just as a starting point). But it’s definitely not impossible.

  13. I would expect a professional NBA writer to have at least a moderate degree of salary cap knowledge. But you just wrote an entire article about an imaginary sign and trade deal between two teams that are WAY over the cap, and therefore unable to be involved in sign and trade deals? Wow.

  14. Willie Jones says:

    I take it this idiot doesn’t know that the nets and Lakers can’t do sign and trades because both are over the cap? Way to go Chris…… proving how little u know about the sport you “cover”

  15. I thought a sign and trade was not possible for Lakers as an over-the-cap team?

  16. Why would the Nets get rid of Lopez? He is the best center in the game right now and by far the best player on the Nets. Ohh wait Sheridan said they would move Lopez to the 4 spot.. Yea that makes a lot of sense in todays small ball. This is my first time on your site and I won’t be coming back. Make believe articles are the worst.

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