NBA: Howard stays, but other big men go
AP Basketball Writer
Dwight Howard agreed to stay in Orlando on a day plenty of other big men were on the move.
Nene, JaVale McGee and Marcus Camby were among the centers who found new homes Thursday before the NBA’s trade deadline.
Denver dealt Nene to Washington, just three months after re-signing him to a five-year, $67 million contract. The Wizards sent JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf to Denver and Nick Young to the Los Angeles Clippers, trading away two of their talented young but sometimes immature players. Washington also picked up forward Brian Cook in the deal.
The Lakers got younger at point guard, acquiring Ramon Sessions from Cleveland and sending veteran Derek Fisher to Houston. Swingmen Stephen Jackson and Richard Jefferson were swapped in a Spurs-Warriors deal, and the New Jersey Nets picked up Gerald Wallace from Portland.
The Nets had bigger hopes, though, before Howard’s late change of mind.
“We were involved in a lot of things, some things didn’t work out, but the thing we did, did,” Nets general manager Billy King said. “I am always one who has the glass half full. We’re moving on. We have a starting small forward who is a great fit for us, and that’s all I can focus on.”
They had long been a favorite to land Howard, who had told the Magic before the season he wanted to be traded and listed the Nets as one of his choices. He was eligible for free agency this summer, and Orlando risked losing him for nothing.
Instead, he agreed to waive the early termination option in his contract, committing to stay with the Magic through the 2012-13 season.
“Now we can get back to playing basketball and having some peace and trying to win a championship,” Howard said. “I feel like we have a chance to win and I didn’t feel like either one of us should give that up.”
It was a relatively quiet trade deadline, with teams wary of taking on long-term contracts with the more punishing luxury tax rules in the new collective bargaining agreement. And with the lockout pushing the deadline back from its usual February spot to mid-March, teams had a little more time to decide whether they were really contenders and a move was worth it.
“You could look at everybody’s records, and you could pretty much know what their objectives are going to be,” Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said.
Big names such as the Lakers’ Pau Gasol and the Celtics’ Rajon Rondo – along with the rest of Boston’s top players – stayed put after all been linked to rumors. Gasol got a new teammate to feed him the ball.
The surging Lakers, up to third in the Western Conference, needed an upgrade at the point before potentially facing All-Stars Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker or Chris Paul in the postseason.
Sessions had been backing up No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, but the Lakers had their eye on him for months. They got him and forward Christian Eyenga for reserves Luke Walton and Jason Kapono.
Fisher, the Lakers’ starting point guard the last five years, was sent to Houston along with a first-round pick for Jordan Hill. The Rockets also landed Camby from the busy Trail Blazers for point guard Jonny Flynn, center Hasheem Thabeet and a second-round pick.
Jackson was on the move again, just days after Milwaukee had shipped him to the Warriors along with Andrew Bogut for a package highlighted by Monta Ellis. Jackson was sent to the Spurs, yet another of his former homes.
San Antonio also sent a conditional first-round pick to the Warriors.
• The Indiana Pacers acquired guard Leandro Barbosa from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for a second-round draft pick and cash considerations.
• The Philadelphia 76ers got Sam Young from the Memphis Grizzlies for the rights to Ricky Sanchez.
The Blazers made a number of changes after falling out of the playoff race and hardly competing in their last two games. They fired coach Nate McMillan, dealt Camby to the Rockets, and sent Wallace to the Nets for center Mehmet Okur, forward Shawne Williams and a 2012 protected first-round pick.