NBA Free Agency 2012 – Trading for Dwight Howard, Keeping Kevin Love

Slowly but surely, the Brooklyn Nets are making moves that might, eventually, allow them to land Dwight Howard, although in order to get the Orlando Magic center they’ll need a third team to help them make the trade happen. For Kevin Love, playing on the Olympic team just makes him realize he’s missing out, big-time, on playoff basketball with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

After getting Joe Johnson and re-signing Deron Williams (five years, $98.7 million) and Gerald Wallace (four years, $40 million), it was thought that the Nets’ super-team aspirations would have to take a backseat and wait for a year, as Howard’s contract (over $19 million) wasn’t one they could trade for with the pieces they had, which are pretty much Marshon Brooks, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez.

But the Cavs, who are interested in Humphries, can make such a deal happen. They can actually simply sign Kris Humphries, but prefer to get additional pieces, like Marshon Brooks, in what might turn out to be a mega, three-team deal. The Orlando Magic weren’t keen on going through with his one week ago, but things changed, and 7 days later are willing to consider.

The initial offer was sending Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries via sign-and-trade to Orlando, along with Marshon Brooks and three future first round draft picks. But the Magic, as we’ve mentioned, aren’t interested in Brooks or Humphries. They’re still in talks with the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers, but Andrew Bynum has refused to assure the Magic he will re-sign with them in 2013, making it quite risky. They like Lopez and the draft picks that come along, but that can’t happen without a third team due to the salary cap.

So the Nets’ hopes rely on the Cavs. But Cleveland, as other teams, might not be so willing to take part of this kind of trade, with many of the ‘smaller’ teams not too happy about the super teams trend, with the Lakers managing to get Steve Nash from Phoenix being another incentive for small market teams to try and stop star-groupings instead of the spread of talent.

You can talk about the new luxury tax all you want, but if the Lakers get Nash and the Nets get Howard, then what did the new CBA accomplish? You have to realize part of long-term planning is making sure you don’t help create teams you can’t beat.

Wasn’t the lockout all about this? Why did we have a strike? I guess that’s a question owners and players will need to ask themselves over the next few years, as a lot of things some of the participants didn’t want happening keep on occurring. No one’s thinking about making the league smaller, but in the long run, that might be an answer.

But there’s also something happening in Minnesotta, as Kevin Love partnering up with 11 players who were in the postseason this year is making him jealous, and frustrated. He did sign a four-year, $62 million extension with the Timberwolves six months ago, but after Ricky Rubio went down, the Timberwolves lost all hopes of seeing the postseason, finishing 26-40. That was their highest win total since 2006-2007, Garnett’s last season, but it wasn’t enough for Kevin Love.

My patience is not high. Would yours be, especially when I’m a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these Team USA guys seem to have great players around them. It’s tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don’t make the playoffs next year I don’t know what will happen. I’m happy with my contract, but I also want to win.

Love, who won the league’s most improved player award in 2011, kept taking steps towards super-stardom, as much as it’s possible in Minneapolis. He averaged 26 points and 13.3 rebounds a game, making his second All-Stat team. If he wouldn’t have gone down injured, if Rubio wouldn’t have torn his knee ligament, I’m quite certain that the Timberwolves would have made the playoffs. There’s no reason to lack confidence about their chances in 2012-2013, as long as everyone remains healthy. Adding Chase Budinger and a un-retired Brandon Roy into the mix, there’s plenty of room for hope in Minnesota. For Kevin Love as well.

Image: Love