Report: Magic, Nets in talks to send Dwight Howard to Brooklyn

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Twenty-four hours ago it looked like the Nets were moving on from Dwight Howard, but things change fast in free agency. I say change fast because a version of this deal wasn’t good enough for Orlando at last year’s trade deadline and even recently we heard the sides were far apart, but suddenly everything has changed?

Maybe. Chris Broussard of ESPN tweets that they are.

Sources: The Nets & Magic are discussing a trade that would send Dwight Howard to Brooklyn for Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks… and the Nets’ first-round picks in 2013, 2015 and 2017….move would give Nets Big 3 of D-Will, Dwight & Joe Johnson

Would, could, but it’s not that simple.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports that the Magic want (and the Nets are good with) Hedo Turkoglu and the two years, $23 million left on his contract to be part of the trade. Which I would insist on if I were the Magic because if I’m Orlando and I’m rebuilding I don’t want that anchor of a deal on the books. But adding that contract into the mix complicates the deal immensely.

Already this is a far from simple deal. Both Humphries and Brooks are free agents who would have to agree to a sign-and-trades to the Magic, for example. You may… actually, you will have to overpay both of them to get them to go to Orlando.

To make the deal work a third team has to come in and take on Humphries in a sign-and-trade to keep him off the Magic’s books, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and the NBC Sports Network. This could actually end up being a complex series of sign-and-trade deals with a lot of moving parts. It is not straight forward. A lot of things could blow it up.

And there are multiple reports this is not the only deal the Magic are currently working on involving Howard — CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger calls it a full court press with the Magic talking to the Lakers, Hawks, Mavericks, Rockets and pretty much anyone else interested. How serious those other talks are is unclear.

What is clear is that this may not happen quickly (certainly not as quickly as Howard and Nets fans hope). No deal could be consummated until July 11, so the Magic are not under any pressure to agree to terms right now.

If  if it works, Nets GM Billy King will have pulled off a trade for the ages. The Nets would have D-Will at the point, Joe Johnson at the two, Gerald Wallace at the three and Howard in the paint. A few days ago that would have seemed impossible. And it’s going to cost Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov a lot of money — just that starting four plus Turkoglu would have the Nets $9 million into the luxury tax without anyone else on the roster. Of course, he can afford it. And he would certainly have a team that could open the new Barclays Center.

Howard saying he would only re-sign in Brooklyn certainly helped the two sides come come together and talk — teams like the Lakers and Clippers reportedly have interest in Howard but only if he agreed to stay with them. The number of trading partners the Magic had has fallen off and they don’t want him back when training camp opens.

So Howard may get his way, he may land in the New York marketplace, in a brand new building on a very competitive team.

Maybe. Things change fast in free agency.

Report: Clippers interested in Tobias Harris

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The Clippers spent all season pursuing Kawhi Leonard – even trading Tobias Harris to the 76ers in February. Leonard will reportedly meet with the Clippers in free agency.

But Leonard just won a title with the Raptors, and stars almost never leave the defending champion. The Clippers must consider fallback plans.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

One team that should express interest in Harris should they miss out on Kawhi Leonard, according to league sources: The Clippers.

Harris will have plenty of suitors – including Philadelphia, which can offer him a five-year contract for a projected max of $190 million. (His projected max with another team is $141 million over four years.)

But the Clippers would be the spiciest option.

L.A. got a haul for Harris – Landry Shamet and two first-round picks, including the Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder (which has huge upside). Imagine the Clippers keeping all that and still getting back Harris.

They could even chase Leonard again next summer if he signs a 1+1 contract with Toronto. If they don’t sign any another free agents to multi-year deals, the Clippers could give Harris the max and still projected to have enough cap space to max out Leonard in 2020. And keep Lou Williams at his partially guaranteed $8 million salary. And keep Montrezl Harrell‘s Bird Rights. And have about $7 million left over.

Even if Leonard re-signs on a 2+1 to reach 10 years of service and a higher max-salary tier in 2021, the Clippers have nobody on the books for that year other than rookie-scale players. Harris’ salary would not encumber L.A.

There’s no indication the Clippers and Harris soured on each other. The Clippers just preferred Leonard, got a strong offer from the 76ers and knew Harris might not wait out Leonard’s decision just to be a fallback in L.A.

But with those Philadelphia assets already banked, if Leonard stays in Toronto, the Clippers could turn back to Harris.

For Harris, it might matter whether Philadelphia offers the larger max. But among all his outside options, he at least already knows he fits well in L.A.

Marc Gasol opting in with Raptors for $25,595,700

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He joined the Raptors this season, helped them win a championship and will stay.

No, not him.

Marc Gasol, who had a $25,595,700 player option for next season.

Raptors PR:

Marc Gasol has exercised his player option with the Raptors for the 2019-20 season.

If Kawhi Leonard re-signs, Toronto will be happy to have a solid starting center like Gasol for a title defense. This leaves Leonard and Danny Greenwho’ll also be an unrestricted free agent – as the only core Raptors not locked up for next season.

But if Leonard leaves, Gasol will be an overpaid cog on a middling playoff team. There just isn’t that much of a market for merely solid centers, especially a 34-year-old.

Of course, Toronto knew Gasol’s salary situation when acquiring him just before the trade deadline. The Raptors got the best immediate outcome with a championship. Paying him $25,595,700 next season is a perfectly acceptable cost.

Report: Sixers ‘expressing confidence’ they will re-sign Jimmy Butler; Rockets still seek sign-and-trade

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If the Philadelphia 76ers put a five-year max contract of $189.7 million in front of Jimmy Butler, the smart bet is he signs it. Fast. Butler will be 30 next season and has a growing history of injuries, plus the Sixers are going to be contenders with him. That’s a lot of money and a good situation to walk away from.

The Rockets are still hoping to lure him away to Houston, forcing a sign-and-trade on Philadelphia, but the Sixers are confident they will keep him, reports Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN.

As noted in the ESPN story, there is no indication that the Sixers or Butler are down with this trade idea.

The only way this sign-and-trade happens is if Butler goes to the Sixers and says he’s leaving anyway and wants a sign-and-trade to Houston. Then Philadelphia would play along only because they could get something back for Butler, rather than losing him outright.

However, I have heard from league sources that if Butler leaves Philly the Lakers are the team at the top of his list, paring with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Whether that is true or not, he has options including the Knicks. Maybe for Butler the chance to chase a ring with James Harden and Chris Paul is a bigger draw, however, to make that happen the Rockets will be stripped of a lot of depth. If the Lakers add Butler at the max, they will have three stars, Kyle Kuzma, and the rest of the roster will be minimum contract guys (plus somebody for the $4.8 million room exception).

If Butler leaves Philadelphia, the most he can sign for with any team is a four-year, $140 million contract. That includes in a sign-and-trade with the Rockets, under the new CBA a player cannot sign the larger five-year max as part of a sign-and-trade, it can only be for the $140 million the Rockets could sign him with outright.

While this is a fun rumor and report that gets a lot of ink, it seems highly unlikely to come together. Never say never in the NBA, but this seems a longshot.

That said, a Rockets locker room with Jimmy Butler, James Harden, Chris Paul, and a lame duck coach would be good for those of us who love NBA drama.

Rumor: Several teams want to pair Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler

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Kawhi Leonard is choosing between staying in Toronto with the Raptors or coming to Southern California and being a Clipper, according to sources and multiple reports.

Jimmy Butler probably signs a five-year max contract to stay in Philadelphia if the Sixers put it in front of him (as their management has said it would do), but if not the Lakers are considered to be the frontrunners according to the buzz around the league.

However, there are teams dreaming of pairing Butler and Leonard this summer, reports Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Multiple teams have expressed interest in pairing Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler together in free agency this summer, per league sources familiar with the matter.

Those teams, obviously, would need to create the cap space required to sign both players. The teams interested in Butler and Leonard believe they would have interest in playing on the same team, per league sources.

This doesn’t suggest that Leonard is seeking to team up with any other player; that doesn’t fit his persona. But teams interested in pairing Leonard and Butler believe they would have interest in playing together.

There is a whole lot of supposition in that report (and from teams).

First, and Begley touches on it, this assumes that Leonard wants to team up with Butler, or anyone for that matter. Superteams are not his style. Butler can bring drama with him, and that is also not Leonard’s style. On the flip side, does Butler want to partner up with Leonard?

Second, there are not a lot of teams that can clear two max salary slots. Brooklyn, the Clippers (if they trade Danilo Gallinari, something certainly possible), the Knicks and maybe a couple others with some cap gymnastics. Just a note here: the writer Begley is based in New York and covered the Knicks for ESPN for many years. Draw whatever conclusions you want from that.

Third, this is most likely not the path for either of them. Never say never, because NBA free agency can flip on a dime, but pairing those two is not the most likely outcome.

But it’s the silly season, so rumors are everywhere.