Once it became clear that the Brooklyn Nets needed a third team in order to come up with a realistic trade offer for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, the likelihood of them actually being able to make that deal happen decreased significantly.
Putting together a trade between two teams is far more difficult than most people understand. A trade between three or more teams, especially when superstars are at stake, is all but impossible.
For most of Monday, the general consensus was that the Cleveland Cavaliers would step in and serve as the third team in a potential Howard trade. According to various reports, if the transaction had gone through, they would have acquired Kris Humphries while simultaneously shedding some hefty salaries in the process.
Over the last 12 hours, however, Dan Gilbert -- who famously spoke out against helping super teams form -- apparently grew apprehensive about blatantly contradicting himself and his old position on these sort things.
Via Yahoo! Sports:
Several league executives with knowledge of the negotiations believe the small-market Cavaliers had become sensitive to criticism they were contributing to the construction of another big-market super power.
With the Cavaliers out of the equation, Brooklyn management scrambled to find a replacement. The Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Bobcats and Minnesota Timberwolves have all been floated as teams that could theoretically help out – but so far none have actually stepped up to do so.
That in turn has re-opened the door for two squads that were in the Dwight Howard Sweepstakes a few days ago, but ultimately got their offers drowned out by Brooklyn noise.
Who are those two teams? The Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, apparently.
Per that same report from Adrian Wojnarowski:
The Rockets could be the most intriguing possibility for the Magic because they can satisfy Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan’s desire to get multiple draft picks and unload significant salary off his payroll. The Lakers have the one player, Andrew Bynum, that Hennigan covets, but Bynum hasn't committed to accepting an extension in Orlando, nor do the Lakers have the salary-cap space or ready access to draft picks.
Will the Lakers or Rockets come away with Howard? Will the Nets find a way make the deal happen despite Cleveland’s reluctance to help them? Will the Atlanta Hawks swoop in and shock the world by pulling off a trade that nobody saw coming?
Stay tuned – it doesn’t look like this mess is getting resolved just yet.
(Kudos Yahoo! Sports)