Just when it seemed as if Dwight Howard's hopes of playing in Brooklyn had been dashed, sources confirmed that the Magic and Nets have re-engaged in trade talks regarding the Orlando center.
While no deal is known to be imminent, it remains possible -- though unlikely -- that Howard could partner with free-agent point guard Deron Williams and shooting guard Joe Johnson to create the Eastern Conference's latest super team. That didn't appear to be the case on Monday, when the Nets agreed in principle to a deal with the Hawks for Johnson, whose contract is worth $89 million over the next four seasons.
A source said the possible deal could include the Magic's acquisition of MarShon Brooks directly, Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries via sign-and-trade deals and multiple first-round picks. Various reports indicated that a third team may be necessary to absorb Humphries' contract, and one report indicated that small forward Gerald Wallace -- who has agreed to a four-year, $40 million deal with the Nets -- could be part of the potential package headed to Orlando.
Still, a source with knowledge of the Magic's plans said that the Nets are merely one of a number of teams amid trade talks, and that the Lakers, Rockets, Hawks and Mavericks are all reportedly in the mix. Howard's hometown Hawks may be the most intriguing option. New general manager Danny Ferry has cleared more than $100 million from the books over the next four years with the Johnson deal and a separate trade that -- once formalized after the free agency moratorium ends on July 11 -- will send forward Marvin Williams to Utah for point guard Devin Harris.