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Chasing Dwight Howard: The Saga Continues
In one of the most dramatic, drawn-out debacles in recent history, Dwight Howard has publicly stated his desire to play in the place dreams are made of, leaving the sunny beaches of Orlando for the bright lights of Brooklyn.
I'm not certain I blame him. The Nets' love is not unrequited, as Howard has won Defensive Player of the Year for three straight years and is an automatic double-double on the stat sheet.
After giving unheralded stud Gerald Wallace 4 yrs./$40 million, Deron Williams 5 yrs./$100 million and trading for Atlanta Hawks PG Joe Johnson, adding D-How to the mix would be absolutely ludicrous. Howard knows he could produce with those kind of players around him, and the chance to play for new ownership and in a newly emblazoned stadium would bring the star a limelight he never received in Orlando.
Trading Howard for a few picks and cash, however, isn't as simple as it sounds.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
Howard, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark would be sent to Brooklyn, and the Magic would receive the Nets' Lopez, James, Williams and Armon Johnson, Cleveland's Luke Walton and three future first-round picks, sources said. Cleveland would receive Orlando's Quentin Richardson, Brooklyn's Sundiata Gaines, Humphries (on a one-year guaranteed deal), a first-round pick and $3 million from the Nets. Brooklyn also is in talks with the Los Angeles Clippers to exchange Brooks for an additional first-round pick to send to the Magic. If the Clippers decline to participate, other teams are in position to take on Brooks, sources said.This is only the beginning. Just last night, Houston swapped Marcus Camby for Toney Douglas, Josh Harrelson, Jerome Jordan and second round picks in 2014 and 2015 in hopes of cashing in on the Dwight Howard sweepstakes.
They just won't let the dream die, will they? After trading for two extra first round picks in hopes of dealing for Howard before the draft, the Rockets have still not landed his services. Something tells me they aren't going to now. Call it a hunch. A really obvious hunch. So obvious that it punches me in the face.
And just when you thought it wasn't crazy enough, the Charlotte Bobcats are rumored to take the Clippers role in the trade should they back out.
While the trade makes sense on many levels, I still feel like these middling clubs are fighting over the scraps, where only the Nets and the Magic are set to gain any real value for the future of their clubs. Teams like the Rockets, Clippers and Cleveland have luxury tax to play with, and they know this is the last year in which they can before the interest rates get jacked up. I guess teams are just buying while they can so they don't have to pay later.
The biggest hitch in the trade thus far is Kris Humphries, as he's wanting a multi-year deal from the Cavaliers instead of a one-year gig. I can't blame him for wanting a little bit of security out of the trade, honestly, and if Howard gets to voice his opinion and get what he wants, then why shouldn't he? Maybe it's because Humphries isn't an All-Star, elite defender, but that's another matter altogether.
I'm not sure who is going to be the bigger villain this next season, Howard or Ray Allen, but it is going to be a close race.
ESPN's take on the trade.
All-Star Game/HR Derby Poses Questions
-Will Prince Fielder finish in the top 5 in home runs before his career is over? It's possible. Is he a better player than Ken Griffey, Jr.? Not even close.
-In a game that decides who has home advantage in the World Series, why on Earth would you allow players from all teams instead of players from contenders? Shouldn't it be the players who will actually MAKE the post-season?
-Or should it be players who people vote into the game, so as to gain a higher viewership and generate overall excitement about the game as a whole? Should MLB do away with the prolific impact of the game altogether, using season records and standings to determine home-field advantage? Would the Cardinals have won last year had they not played at home? Am I digressing?
-I know Matt Cain threw a perfect game, but c'mon, why isn't R.A. Dickey starting for the NL? It's not like he's bad or anything. In fact, he's quite the opposite. And he's 37. And a knuckleballer hasn't started the All-Star Game since Cincinnati’s Bob Purkey started for the N.L. in Boston in 1961. And I just don't understand it.
-Anyone who is wondering why Verlander is starting should look no further.
-Did Tony LaRussa snub Reds and Brewers players when trying to fill out the rest of his NL team?
-Does anyone actually care about the All-Star Game?
Marquee Players Still Lacking Contracts in NFL
With the deadline nearing for deals to be made, here's five strange scenarios going on in the NFL right now.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Unfortunately for Maurice "Jesus Christ!" Jones-Drew, I don't think he's going to get a deal any time soon. He's got two years left on an expiring contract and isn't happy about it. Despite leading the league in rushing last season behind a make-shift O-Line and shaky quarterback play, the Jaguars front office doesn't think he can stand up and dig into the trenches long enough to warrant a long-time deal. While realistically they may be right, if there is any running back out there who can take a beating week in and week out, it's MJD. Pay the man and move on.
Wes Welker: Could Wes Welker don a new uniform in 2013? Don't rule it out. After dumping loads of money onto Gronk, the Patriots are a little strapped for cash. I don't think the Patriots would let one of Brady's favorite targets just walk away without a fight, but he can't be tagged again and could leave for a more lucrative deal should the right caller come along.
Drew Brees: Brees' deal is as good as done, though it really shouldn't have taken this long. New Orleans' brass has strangely balked at Drew's asking price, which sits near the $19 million/yr. mark. Brees has already stated that he will sign the franchise tag and play if he is not awarded a contract, paying him roughly $16 million for the year, but for it to come down to that would be a devastating blow between a franchise quarterback and his team. No disrespect to Chase Daniel, but the Saints are a shell of themselves without Brees manning the helm.
Ray Rice: I don't even know why this hasn't happened yet. I mean, I've read about it and tried to grasp the reasoning, but I just don't see it. ESPN sources say Rice and the front office are about $1 million apart on the asking price, so I look for this deal to come pretty soon. Rice has plenty of years left in him and is a key cog in a potent Ravens offense.
Matt Forte: I like how the Bears have secured a back-up in Michael Bush (4 yrs./$14 million), but haven't straightened things out with their premiere halfback. Forte has hinted at not reporting if he doesn't get a deal soon, and that would be bad. Before his season ended last year, Forte was lights out in 12 games and was the main reason for the Bears early success. With Cutler getting old buddy Brandon Marshall back and his O-Line returning to health, it would be insane if the Bears didn't sign Forte to a deal, and yet it doesn't seem imminent.