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Nets sign Brook Lopez to extension, end pursuit of Dwight Howard. For now.

After widely reported talks between the Nets and Magic for a Dwight Howard trade failed to go anywhere (twice!), the Nets now have reportedly decided to stop wasting their time.

The Nets killed their pursuit of Howard on Wednesday by agreeing to a max contract extension with center Brook Lopez, who was believed to be a centerpiece in any potential trade making Howard Brooklyn-bound. Even after they acquired Joe Johnson, the Nets remained in the hunt, but evidently now they felt their efforts were futile.

“We’ve moved on,” a source told ESPN. “It just got to a point where we couldn’t keep going back and forth with Orlando. They had about 14 days to do something and didn’t. We just had to move on, and we felt that way [Wednesday] morning.”

Lopez’s extension is reportedly worth $61 million for four years. Under the CBA, it also makes the soonest a Howard-to-the-Nets trade (well, one involving Lopez, at least) can happen Jan. 15.

Unless another team can step up and come to an agreement on a trade with the Magic, Howard might be forced to play at least the first two-and-a-half months of the season in Orlando. And it would be the end of the world if that happened.

Teams reportedly still hoping to work a deal with the Magic include the Lakers, Hawks and Rockets, who are apparently starting to get desperate enough that they’re considering doing crazy things. Maybe not drug-addict-desperate-for-drug-money crazy. But still crazy. Here’s the Houston Chronicle (via I am a GM):

To create enough cap room for the kind of blockbuster trade that has been proposed, the Rockets are considering making veteran forward Luis Scola an amnesty cut, likely in the next 48 hours, a person with knowledge of the move said. That would create enough cap room for the Rockets to take on the additional contracts necessary to complete a trade for Howard.

Scola, 32, is due $21 million guaranteed over the next three seasons. The Rockets could wait until Tuesday to make Scola an amnesty cut, by which he would receive his full guaranteed salary but not count against the salary cap or luxury tax figures.

Amnestying Scola, one of Houston’s two best players, we’d like to emphasize, still would not guarantee Howard being traded to the Rockets. Insert your own gambling metaphors here.

Photo: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE



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