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HOOP DU JOUR
It’d be impossible to show up less than zero. Not that it mattered anyway, I told Ratner. “I’ll be retired by the time your dream becomes reality.”
As it turns out, I’ll be correct by just a few months.
Still, the chances I’ll show up in November for opening night are a tinge greater if Dwight Howard is the Nets’ centerfold vs. Brook Lopez, and Deron Williams is their lifeguard.
NETS FREE-AGENCY TRACKER
Then again, I promise to get there early and leave late if I know Sandy Koufax, Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine, Ralph Branca, Tom LaSorda, Don Zimmer, Roger Craig, Vin Scully, Rachel Robinson and Joan Hodges — or just the wives of Jackie and Gil — are going to bless the occasion with their revered presence.
OK, so what are the odds Dwight and Deron become made members of the Nets?
First, let’s get this straight: Deron’s free-agent decision will not be based on whether or not Dwight joins him through an exchange program with the Magic.
Will the Nets do everything from their control tower to make Dwight land on their runway? Of course! Everyone knows what it will take to acquire his all-league services. We also know Dwight has eyes only for globally connected Nets czar Mikhail Prokhorov.
What’s more, Magic GM Rob Hennigan has been lopping off heads of front-office personnel and scouts since he was hired. Now it’s the players’ turn to be guillotined, presumably starting with Dwight.
Question is: Does any other team have more eye candy in its goodie bag than the Nets? The Lakers boast Andrew Bynum, also entering the last year of his contract, but neither team seems to want the other’s basket case. Moreover, Howard doesn’t seem especially eager to join forces with Kobe.
Within the last few days, the Rockets have provided a flurry of fantasy by obtaining first-round picks. They now own Nos. 12, 16 & 18. Supposedly, GM Daryl Morey is trying to convert those water-view lots into beachfront property in tonight’s draft, and then package it with two or three players for Howard.
There are two slight problems with this speculated strategy: Howard has given no indication Houston is even a blip in his living/playing plans; and starting from scratch, as the Magic appear set on doing, loses a little something in translation when the swap must include either Kevin Martin ($12.4 million) or Luis Sola ($9.4M/$10.2/$11.0).
Didn’t David Stern make it perfectly clear (by now, at least) how stupid it would’ve been for the Hornets to surrender Chris Paul for a 3 or 4 season sentence of mediocrity by assuming engorged contracts owned by players good enough to get the Rockets shut out of the playoffs?
Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, Bruce Ratner, Nets, Peter VecseyFollow Peter, Sandy Koufax, Carl Erskine, Ralph Branca, Brook Lopez, Don Newcombe, Joan Hodges, Roger Craig, Vin Scully