While in Reno for the annual D-League Showcase, Marc Stein of ESPN.com asked executives from ten NBA teams on condition of anonymity how they see the Dwight Howard saga playing out.
Three of the ten teams predicted that Howard would end up in a Nets uniform:
The consensus is that the Nets, thanks to Lopez’s broken foot, will have to assemble a more attractive deal than the three-teamer discussed in December that would have sent Lopez and Portland’s Gerald Wallace to the Magic — while also unburdening Orlando of the unwanted contracts owned by Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Duhon — before Lopez went down.
Marc Stein, ESPN.com — Where Will Dwight Howard Land?
Stein also notes that a number of executives believe that Dallas is a sleeper to acquire both Howard and Deron Williams:
Lots of folks around the league are starting to believe that it’s possible if not probable. Even before the Showcase started Monday, two rival executives told ESPN.com that they think Marion will still have trade value at season’s end after the defense and energy he supplied during Dallas’ championship run and the solid manner in which he’s started this season.
If they’re right, even with two seasons left on Marion’s contract after this one (valued at just over $18 million) and his 34th birthday looming in May, Dallas really could have a shot if Howard is wearing anything but a Nets or Lakers jersey at season’s end.
Said one East admirer of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban: “Mark has made Dallas a destination city right up there with the Lakers and Miami.”
Dallas’s name has popped up before as a sleeper for superstars, for Kobe Bryant when he requested a trade in 2007, and in 2010 free agency for LeBron James. On the heels of an NBA championship, this time could end up differently, and that’s a worst-nightmare scenario for NJ.
Other scenarios discussed include New York (“audacious”), the Lakers (pushed by four, more than any scenario), and Chicago (“very interested”).