For months, Dwight Howard has helped spearhead the greatest PR debacle since Anthony Weiner‘s cell phone photos, and yet still had the gall to believe everything was going to be alright. He’s Dwight Howard. He gets what he wants. So over the weekend when he told Orlando they could stuff if, and that he, the man who’s won SO many championships (not) would only play for one team, Brooklyn, he probably figured he could get away with murder. Carmelo did it. LeBron sort of did it. Either the Magic could trade him for $.25 on the dollar or watch the big man float through the season doing his best VC-in-Toronto-in-2004 impersonation before bolting for Jay-Z next year. Turns out, it was actually the Nets who had enough of Howard’s back-and-forth games. Yesterday, they pulled the trigger on a mega deal that will see them send Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, Jordan Williams and a 2013 protected first-round draft pick originally owned by the Houston Rockets to ATL for $90 million worth of Joe Johnson. With this deal, the Nets pretty much told Howard they were sick of waiting on him. He basically has no chance of getting there now either by trade or in an outright signing. If Deron Williams comes back – and we’re not sure whether this deal helps or hurts – New Jersey is suddenly a dangerous playoff team, albeit one that’ll probably provide a few highlights in the first round outside of Mikhail Prokhorov doing something memorably stupid before falling to a team that actually knows what they’re doing. But for the Hawks, as John Hollinger points out, this makes them immediately much worse and yet could be the stroke of a genius. Next summer, the team could bring Howard into the fray with his best friend, Josh Smith, and they could also add Chris Paul, who wanted to play there coming out of Wake Forest. It’s a pipe dream, but for the ATL, it’s the best Dream they’ve had since Love Vs. Money … This wasn’t the only cap-clearing move the Hawks made yesterday. They shipped out Marvin Williams and the massive growth of failed expectations forming up on his back to Utah for Devin Harris and his expiring contract. That equates to $105 million in long term contracts that the team dealt yesterday. Danny Ferry, ATL’s new GM, just did more work in one day than half the league will do all summer … You know who’s really happy right now? LeBron. Not only does he finally have a ring, but Dwight Howard is turning that whole Decision thing into a forgotten dance … Keep reading to hear about another veteran who wants to go after rings in South Beach …
Speaking of gigantic contracts, Rashard Lewis‘s obscene deal is now over, and he’s using Jedi mind tricks to entice the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat. Apparently, L.A., New York and Miami are the favorites. But Miami isn’t just going for 2005 treasures who can’t play anymore. They’re going for 2005 treasures who can still play. Chauncey Billups wanted to come to South Beach last year after New York stabbed him in the back, and now HOOPSWORLD reports he has interest in joining up with the NBA champs. This’ll be a nice test for CP3’s recruiting efforts. The Los Angeles Times reports the Clippers are set to offer Billups a one-year deal for $4 million. If you were Miami, would you rather go after Billups or Ray Allen? … Everyone else might be leaving the cornfields, but Indiana’s George Hill is staying put thanks to a five-year deal. If you needed any more proof that the Pacers had moved past Darren Collison as their future starting point guard, this was the last straw. Hill took over the position last year by averaging 13.9 points and 5.3 assists in nine starts, while spearheading a seven-game winning streak. More than likely, this will open up a possible DC trade in the future … As for other point guards looking for new deals, Jrue Holiday‘s agent says he’s looking for a max extension with Philly, while Houston’s Goran Dragic wants his new contract with the Rockets to start at $10 million next year. What are these guys drinking? In fact, what was the point of the lockout? And we thought giving Gerald Wallace $40 million was bad … And in one of the most bizarre scenarios in recent Team USA memory, the Olympic Team is running out of options. If this keeps up, they won’t even need a selection show. Yesterday, it was reported Lamar Odom withdrew his name from consideration. Then, Anthony Davis sprained his ankle during a workout at the Hornets practice facility, and as of yet, there’s no definitive word on whether he’ll have a chance to compete for a spot. Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler are nearly guaranteed to be on the team. The remaining three spots will be fought over by Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay, James Harden, and then possibly Davis. Who would you take? This Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, NBA TV will air the USA Basketball Selection Show. While we still know many of the probable players, the final few spots should be very interesting … We’re out like Howard’s Brooklyn plans.
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