Rockets position themselves for a Dwight Howard trade, possibly also Deron Williams

The Rockets on Tuesday traded Chase Budinger to the Timberwolves for the 18th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft. And while on the surface this looks like another run-of-the-mill draft week trade, there are actually richer, superstar implications at stake here.

The trade gives the Rockets their third first-round selection (picks 14, 16, 18) in the draft. It’s believed that the Rockets will try to redirect the stockpile of picks in exchange for a higher selection in Thursday’s draft or as part of a deal for Dwight Howard, whom you might have heard isn’t too happy about his situation in Orlando. From Yahoo! Sports:

Houston has been undaunted by Howard’s private insistence that he wants a trade to only the Brooklyn Nets or Dallas Mavericks, sources said. Houston is willing to make a deal for Howard, believing it can convince him to re-sign before he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2013. Rockets GM Daryl Morey has been determined to use the assets on his roster to secure a high-level league star.

But those crafty Rockets’ don’t plan to stop with Howard. According to HoopsWorld, Houston also has its eyes set on — surprise, surprise — Deron Williams, who has long been reported as willing to team up with Howard somewhere. Where that somewhere is has obviously never been finalized. But with Williams, a free agent, saying his two finalists are the Nets and Mavericks, it’s been assumed those would be the only two teams on which both superstars could possibly team up.

However, the Rockets clearly believe adding Howard would be enticing enough for Williams to consider playing in Houston. HoopsWorld says that if everything goes according to plan — through various draft pick trade scenarios and the acquiring of Howard — the Rockets would have cleared enough cap space required to sign Williams.

So, can the Rockets sneak in and pull off a major coup? Seems unlikely. A lot of things need to go right for the Rockets to end up with both stars. But I sure hope it happens. Just so that our long national Dwight Howard nightmare can finally have some resolution. For now.

Photo: Jim O’Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Mavs reportedly worried Deron Williams will re-sign with Nets

Deron Williams reportedly has finalized his list of teams he’s considering in free agency to the Nets and Mavericks, but Dallas reportedly is worried that Williams is leaning toward re-signing with his current team.

Ken Berger of CBS Sports cites four rival executives and a fifth source in his report that the Mavs are worried that Williams isn’t planning to sign with them, even though they’re hoping they have a 50-50 chance.

The new CBA does them no favors either; the Brooklyn Nets can offer Williams a 5-year $100 million deal, while the best the Mavs can do is 4 years for $74 million.

The Nets have been going all out to try and retain their All-Star point guard, even getting him a billboard for his birthday. There were also two reports in May that said he was leaning toward re-signing.

If that’s the case — and it sure seems like it is — then we anticipate Dwight Howard will soon be joining him in Brooklyn. After all, even NBA.com expected that move.

Photo credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Nets wish Deron Williams ‘Happy Birthday’ with billboard outside his house (Picture)

If Deron Williams is going to make his decision in free agency based on who puts the most effort into wishing him a happy birthday, score one for the Nets. When Deron’s wife Amy left the couple’s home on Tuesday morning, which happened to be Deron’s 28th birthday, the billboard truck you see above was waiting outside their door.

That new Brooklyn logo certainly adds to the excitement. Deron has reportedly narrowed his list of teams down to just two, so I wonder if Mark Cuban already had a special “happy birthday” planned for the point guard he also happens to be courting. If he didn’t before this morning, he probably does now.

H/T NBA.com’s John Schuhmann via Ball Don’t Lie

Deron Williams reportedly finalized list to Nets and Mavericks

Deron Williams is the top free agent on the market, and he reportedly has finalized the list of teams he’s considering signing with to the Nets and Mavericks.

Marc Stein reports that Williams has instructed his representative to tell interested teams that call when free agency begins that he’s only considering those two franchises.

Williams was traded to the Nets two seasons ago and was said to be “leaning” toward re-signing with them now that they’re moving to Brooklyn. He’s also said to be considering the Mavericks, which are his hometown team. A February report said Williams told some Mavericks players that he wanted to play with them back when they were in the Finals a year ago.

Williams reportedly has enjoyed his time living on the East Coast while playing for the Nets, but he may choose to base his decision on which team he believes is the closest to winning a title.

“I want to go to a place where I feel like they will have a chance to build and build fast,” Williams told the LA Times earlier this month. “I’m not really in the mood for being part of a rebuilding process. I’m getting older. I’m about to be 28. I want to win. I want to win now. Also, I want to live in a place where I want to live and my kids will enjoy living. That’s pretty much it.”

The Suns and Rockets reportedly are also interested in signing Williams, while the Lakers reportedly are trying to trade for him. A May report suggested Williams was considering the Lakers, but they may not be willing to offer the Nets something enticing enough for a trade.

Unless there are assurances the Mavs can add some other free agents, we’re guessing Williams re-signs.

Deron Williams questions report saying he is likely to leave Nets

Deron Williams is one of the most highly coveted free agents this offseason, and the Nets are hoping to fend off suitors and retain him. However, a report published by Yahoo! Sports‘ Adrian Wojnarowski suggests the only way the Nets will be able to keep Williams is if they acquire Dwight Howard from the Magic.

Wojnarowski quoted a source as saying “It’s Dwight Howard or bust,” for the Nets to retain Williams.

The report says the Nets would be willing to trade the top overall pick in the NBA Draft (likely to be Anthony Davis) if they win it in the lottery.

We’ve heard since last December that Williams would remain with the Nets if they get Dwight Howard, so that part of the report is not surprising. But it differs from Sam Amick’s report last week that said Williams was leaning toward staying with the Nets.

Anyhow, Williams heard the Wojnarowski report and decided to place it in proper context:

[Read more...]

Deron Williams reportedly prefers Nets but Lakers also in the mix

With all the turmoil in Laker Land these days, the ever-coveted Deron Williams seems like somebody the Lakers might want to go after this summer.

But not so fast.

Williams, the hottest commodity set to hit the open market this summer, reportedly has already thought about heading westward to conquer the world with Kobe Bryant, but it appears the Nets currently have the upper hand. Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated explains:

[Read more...]

Deron Williams reportedly ‘leaning’ toward re-signing with Nets

The Nets have set up shop in Brooklyn, but the question still remains whether or not the current face of the franchise will join them. Deron Williams will be hottest commodity on the free-agent market this summer now that Dwight Howard has ostensibly taken himself off it. Williams hasn’t committed to Nets, leading basketball observers to question whether he will even give them a chance to keep him. But Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News has the latest:

Indeed, the movement by other players in free agency is important. Kris Humphries (unrestricted) and Brook Lopez (restricted) are both free agents while Gerald Wallace has a player option. Given that those three are arguably the Nets’ best players after Williams, their possible departures could play a part in Williams’ decision. Would Williams want to commit himself to a team in flux? (Frankly, even if all three stick around, that still probably isn’t enticing enough of a supporting cast for D-Will to remain a Net.)

Williams said he’d stay with the Nets if they were able to add Howard. But that’s obviously off the table (for now — you just never know with the three-ring circus that is Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic).

Also in the picture are the Mavericks, who Williams, a Dallas-area native, has expressed some interest in joining. The Mavericks have put themselves in position to shed the cap space needed to land Williams and another premier free agent this offseason. Williams, Dirk Nowitzki and another big-name free agent? Certainly sounds like an attractive situation for D-Will. If Williams doesn’t remain with the Nets, the odds-on favorite to land him has to be Dallas.

But as Bondy alludes to, a lot can happen in the NBA free agency soap opera. Chris Broussard will probably have Williams on half a dozen teams before he actually signs. So, stay tuned.

H/T I am a GM
Photo credit: Jim O’Connor-US PRESSWIRE