ORLANDO, Fla. (CBSMiami.com) – The Orlando Magic has been down this road before. A superstar center wants to get out of Orlando and the team has to decide whether to trade him or squat on his rights and get nothing at the end of the season.
Center Dwight Howard is the prize of the 2012 free agent class. He’s 6’11” and weighs 265 pounds and is a dominant force in the middle. For his career, he averages 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game.
Whoever lands Howard will immediately jump up in the standings and be poised to put together a phenomenal team quickly. Not surprisingly, teams were permitted to start contacting player agents Wednesday and the offers are already rolling in.
According to multiple reports, the New Jersey Nets will offer center Brook Lopez and two future first-round picks in exchange for Howard.
The Nets are owned by a Russian billionaire who is looking to make the team a big draw as the team moves to Brooklyn and a new arena.
But that’s not all.
According to ESPN.com, the Nets are also willing to sweeten the proposal by agreeing to take on the three-year, $35 million contract of Hedo Turkoglu to give the Magic even more freedom to being rebuilding after Howard leaves.
Lopez is no slouch. He’s seven-feet tall and roughly 265 pounds. He’s been the best player on a bad Nets team for a couple of years.
He averages 17 points, 8 rebounds, and nearly 2 blocks per game for his career. He also makes 80 percent of his free throws and is a 50 percent shooter from the field.
Still, the Magic will have to give up Howard at some point this season. New Jersey’s offer is the first salvo in what will likely be a season-long quest by many teams.
The Magic will likely also hear from the Los Angeles Lakers who have the ability to offer some package that could include some combination of Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, and Andrew Bynum plus draft picks.