Lopez injury limits Orlando’s Dwight Howard trade options

17 Comments

The foot injury to Nets center Brook Lopez has not left the Dwight Howard trade stuck in the mud.

It was already there.

Orlando has put the breaks on the process — they are not ready to trade Howard. Maybe they think they can convince him to stay, maybe they think the offers improve closer to the deadline. Until the Magic are ready to deal, everyone is just spinning their wheels and kicking up mud.

But when the Magic do decide is time, they will find their options limited.

The Nets were one of the three teams Dwight Howard said he would sign an extension with if traded. (The Lakers and the Mavericks are the others.) The Nets were considered the frontrunner because Howard wanted to be there and because of a package of picks and players — with Lopez at the heart of it.

But is that going to happen now? There are a lot of questions.

Do the Magic still want Lopez as a centerpiece? Foot issues can linger and it sounds like the Nets want to rush Lopez back — they are saying four-to-six weeks for an injury that takes months to heal. Look at Roddy Beaubois in Dallas, he had this same injury, was out more than five months and was not the same player when he returned.

Can the Nets get other teams involved? Check out this tweet from ESPN’s Marc Stein.

In last week’s proposal, Nets offered five first-round picks and recruited Blazers to send Gerald Wallace to Magic. They need more help now

Are the Lakers in the driver’s seat? Maybe. They are offering Andrew Bynum and maybe Pau Gasol too (depends on who you ask). If the Magic decide to deal tomorrow the Lakers have the best package of guys they can ship out ready to play. But this goes back to the first thing we said — until the Magic decide deal, nobody is really in the best position to make a trade.

The Nets have one other concern — Deron Williams. The Nets are going to suck this season. Even with Williams and Lopez (who have them 20 points a game last season, Lopez is a borderline All-Star) the Nets might not have made he playoffs. Now they are certainly headed for the lottery.

What if Williams isn’t coming back, do the Nets need to trade him? Do they need to just give up on trading for a star and rebuild through the draft? Can the sell that to Brooklyn?

If Howard and Williams become free agents next summer, Mark Cuban and the Mavericks will be sitting right there with a lot of cap space.

Lots of questions. The only thing we know is that with Lopez injured the Nets will not like whatever answers the find.