*Incoming phone call by Dwight Howard* If you’re Rob Hennigan in your first two weeks on the job as Orlando’s GM, this is a call you don’t want to take. This is the call everyone knows where you just look at the ID for a couple seconds as you decide. Or, maybe if you’re Hennigan you’re psyched to take it because you have all this Oklahoma City front-office confidence and after all didn’t Howard just say he wanted to stay near Disneyworld? Yeah, he did say that last season at the trade deadline — and now, he’s told Hennigan he wants a trade to the Brooklyn Nets. ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that news Saturday night and even if it’s a a walk back from his last stance, it’s not a surprise with Howard, you know? Apparently Howard accused the franchise of blackmailing him and — OK that is a surprise. We’re calling it. The Nets get Howard and Ed Hardy in a trade and the Magic get Avery Johnson (Howard becomes player-coach) and like six players. You know Otis Smith just heard that news and thought, “Not my problem” with a huge grin. … Marc Stein reported Saturday about the anti-Dwight, Tim Duncan, who is working with the team to make him a Spur For Life. The deal will be worked out without a huge time crunch as other San Antonio business gets resolved. R.C. Buford just heard the Howard news and thought, “Glad that’s not my problem.” … Shipping up to Bawston now where at least 2/3 of the Big Three band is back together with the news Kevin Garnett is staying in the green and white. Local reports pegged his new salary at about $10.5 million each for three years. His $292 million in career earnings goes up. A lot of people don’t like KG — paging Duncan — but he had a hell of a playoffs that made us want him back. After the five-year they’ve had, and even if Ray Allen does the expected and carries the Mike Miller Memorial Torch in Miami, it would just seem weird to see Boston with just Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. … We seriously love this time of year on free agency eve with all this news. Another of the league’s big hitters is expected to stay home, too: Blake Griffin is expected to sign a five-year extension in July. Under the new CBA, teams can choose one guy to sign a five-year extension instead of the usual four, and the Clips were obviously going to target Griffin. … Continue reading to hear about Deron Williams’ Monday meeting between free agency finalists…
Deron Williams is meeting with Dallas and Brooklyn on Monday, he told ESPN’s Broussard on Saturday night, but he’ll go into it with one team favored. You figure that would make executives from each team even more nervous as hell BUT we have this sneaking feeling it only emboldens the two owners in this free agency fight. Mark Cuban will go into full Cubes mode offering up everything Big D has to offer, while Mikhail Prokhorov is going to be letting Deron in on some options on Russian oil fields. Maybe the possibilities of this showdown only seems like a hilarious premise to us. Nonetheless, we’d love to be sitting in on both teams’ strategy sessions this weekend as they err on the side of caution not knowing if they’re the favored team. Maybe the carrot Brooklyn dangles is Howard. … Michael Beasley will be looking for his third team in his (still) young career after the Timberwolves declined the option on his contract and Anthony Randolph‘s, as well. What do you do with Beas, who reluctantly took the sixth man role in Minny and had flashes of nice production? Randolph was the 14th pick from the 2008 NBA Draft that produced Beasley and also No. 3 pick O.J. Mayo — another guy whose contract option was just declined. We can’t dismiss the T-Wolves’ move as wrong, though: Beasley was owed an $8.1 million option, and that’s way too high for 11.5 points and 4.4 boards per game last season. Mayo and Beas have such similar stories on the court. Neither guy got solid footing with his team(s), despite these huge nights where you think they’ve put it together. Consistency’s the problem for Beasley moreso than O.J., though not in the locker room where you might expect with his past. By all accounts he’s been a stand-up guy who just didn’t mesh with Rick Adelman. … Shane Battier took cuts recently at a Miami Marlins game and reportedly dropped some balls into the gaps and even near the fence. He was probably casually discussing foreign policy with Ozzie Guillen while he was doing it, too. Chris Bosh was supposed to show up and had a jersey even waiting for him in the dugout, a Florida Sun-Sentinel story said, but he didn’t show up by game time. Seeing a 6-11 dude take cuts would have been interesting. … We’re out like Dwight Howard.
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