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Drama continues for Lopez, Howard and Nets

Marcus Henry | 11/7/2013, 11:19 a.m.

Talk of trading Brook Lopez to the Lakers for Dwight Howard won’t die down anytime soon, but we’re here to tell you that if the deal is made, it could set the Nets back.

There are some who are still convinced that Howard is the best big man in the game and the Nets need him to get over the top. Really? Lopez is first among NBA centers in scoring and third in blocks, trailing Roy Hibbert and Howard. He’s not the rebounder Howard is, but he doesn’t have to be with Reggie Evans, Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace around him.

Another thing worth noting is that Lopez isn’t a liability late in games because he can hit free throws. Lopez had 16 points and five rebounds in the Nets’ 97-77 win over the Orlando Magic on Monday. They hosted the Heat last night (Wednesday).

Now for the financial obstacles. Lopez is owed about $61 million through the 2015-2016 season. Howard’s deal expires after this season. A straight trade won’t work because Howard is making roughly $5.6 million more than Lopez. That means the Nets would have to add at least one other player to the mix. And considering the Lakers believe Howard is a superior player, they would want at least one first-round draft pick in addition to Lopez and a second and third player.

If a midseason trade doesn’t happen, a sign-and-trade in the offseason will be the only way the capped-out Nets can get Howard. He’ll be a free agent, and the Lakers won’t want to let him walk for nothing. Howard will want a deal worth at least $100 million. The Nets would have to send a package like Lopez, MarShon Brooks, Evans and perhaps a couple of draft picks to get him in a sign-and-trade. The Nets would likely be forced to take back a player like Chris Duhon or Steve Blake. Would that really benefit the Nets?

Howard would be a fine addition, but not at the cost of three key players and draft picks.