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Magic lose big if Howard-to-Nets trade goes through 0

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
Magic centre Dwight Howard. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters file photo)

Magic centre Dwight Howard. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters file photo)

As the Dwight Howard trade watch slows to a crawl, the hope of those who love the NBA game has to be that the mockery of a deal currently being bandied about never comes to fruition.

The Miami Heat becoming a super team was one thing - but at least nobody forced LeBron James and Chris Bosh into anything - someone has to be forcing Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan into dealing Howard for a package that rivals what the Raptors got back for Vince Carter.

Just because Howard wants to play in Brooklyn doesn't mean Orlando has to send him there for a smelly gym bag.

Surely another team can offer more than the reported Brook Lopez (overpaid once he inks a new contract), Damion James (talented, but injury-prone and unproven in the NBA), Shelden Williams (a non-factor), Armon Johnson (D-Leaguer) and Luke Walton (horrible contract that at least will expire soon) and three first-round picks that likely will each be in the late 20s - or, basically, the least valuable picks in the draft aside from late second rounders.

Plus the Magic would also be sending away the still quite useful Jason Richardson, instead of Hedo Turkoglu or Glen Davis, who have brutal contracts.

Does any of that make sense for Orlando? No. But neither did trading the excellent Ryan Anderson for Gustavo Ayon or spending good money that could have went to Anderson to bring back Jameer Nelson.

As starts go, this is not a stellar one for Hennigan.

None of this would even pass muster in a video game.

And does Cleveland create a second Eastern super power just to try to spite James and to help prevent him from winning another championship?

If Howard does find his way to the Nets, it will be another tough pill for the Raptors to swallow.

It wasn't long ago it looked like the Nets would be the Atlantic Division's cellar-dwellars for years to come. Deron Williams was going to sign with his hometown Dallas Mavericks, Gerald Wallace had been acquired for the absurd price of the No. 6 overall selection in the 2012 draft and there was no way Howard was coming without Williams.

But, somehow, everything has lined up swimmingly for the Nets.

Sure, the team would have a wafer-thin roster, but that didn't stop the Miami Heat from winning it all this season. When you have a Howard-Williams-Wallace big three, health, not depth is the only thing you have to worry about.

With that core, the Atlantic will be Brooklyn's to lose for the next half-decade. With Boston, New York and Philadelphia already playoff teams, things aren't getting any easier for the Raptors.

HIBBERT STAYING PUT

Few will be surprised, but the Indiana Pacers wisely will match Portland's $58 million U.S. offer sheet for restricted free agent centre Roy Hibbert.

According to the Indianapolis Star, the Pacers thought hard about not overpaying for the big man, but 7-foot-3 all-star centres aren't exactly plentiful, so the team will keep Hibbert around.

Portland will still officially make the offer on Wednesday, when the NBA's moratorium ends and Indiana will have three days to match, which could slow down Portland's free agent plans even if the Hibbert outcome is now known.

CAMBY A KNICK AGAIN

Marcus Camby is a member of the New York Knicks again.

Traded by the Raptors to New York for Charles Oakley back in 1998, Camby will rejoin the club for the first time since 2002, after the Rockets and Knicks worked out a sign-and-trade agreement.

Houston will receive Toney Douglas, Josh Harrelson, Jerome Jordan and two second-round draft picks, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Camby helped lead the Knicks to the NBA final despite an injury to Patrick Ewing in 1999, but the team fell to the San Antonio Spurs.

NICHOLSON SHINES

It isn't easy for big men to shine in guard-dominated NBA Summer League, but Magic rookie forward Andrew Nicholson of Mississauga turned in an impressive debut.

The former Father Goetz and St. Bonaventure star, drafted 19th overall by Orlando last month, notched 24 points and 12 rebounds, including pivotal buckets and rebounds down the stretch of the Magic win.

Montreal's Kris Joseph had seven points, four rebounds and a couple of steals in a Boston win over Oklahoma City.

AROUND THE RIM

Sharpshooter Steve Novak will re-sign with New York for $15 million over four years, according to Yahoo! Sports. The Raptors had interest, but are overstocked at power forward . Danny Green has inked a three-year to stay in San Antonio . Forward/centre Jason Thompson has agreed on a multi-year contract extension believed to be worth about $6 million a year, according to the Sacramento Bee. Thompson played well with emerging star DeMarcus Cousins, but might now be the backup for rookie Thomas Robinson . Wade underwent knee surgery on Monday and will be sidelined for eight weeks . Congratulations to Canada's men's cadet squad, the fifth-place finishers in Lithuania at the FIBA U17 Championship last week thanks to a victory over Argentina. Meanwhile, Andrew Wiggins, Canada's premier prospect in any age group who was eligible to play for the cadets but wisely played up with the U18 team, wowed observers including LeBron James this week at a camp with his high-flying exploits.


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