At 12:01 this morning, the moratorium on NBA transactions was lifted — and boy, that moratorium sure worked to make everybody stop talking about trades, didn't it? — and shortly thereafter, Deron Williams made it official, Tweeting out a picture of him signing his contract. (You can just sign multi-million-dollar contracts on iPads now? We live in the future.) So he's here. That's official. As if anyone's thinking about Deron Williams anymore. [deep sigh] Okay, let's check in on what's happening with Dwight Howard.
Today has always been the unofficial deadline to get something figured out, Howard-wise, because trading him is so complicated that it requires several sign-and-trades, and those players need to start finding out what's going on. Like everybody else — media, merchandisers, fans, people who just want their summer back — players are waiting on the damned Dwight Howard business to just end already.
Is it going to end with the Nets? Right now, we sort of think the odds are about 30–70 against it. It's just starting to look like, as Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski put it this morning, "the Nets are starting to believe that Magic general manager Rob Hennigan simply wants to do a deal elsewhere." The Magic are back knocking at the door of Houston and the Lakers, though the Rockets, with their trade with the Knicks for Marcus Camby, seemed to be signifying a teardown rather than a buildup. One would think that the Magic would just want this over with already, so everyone can get on with their lives, but they're still flailing around looking for a better deal than the Nets' one.
It's tough to blame them, really: The Nets deal is highway robbery. There really isn't much left the Nets can add to the pot, with Lopez (whom the Nets need to either trade or sign before someone else — maybe the Charlotte Bobcats — forces their hand by offering him a contract they'd then have to match, eliminating the ability to trade him for Howard), three first-round picks, and one more they'd get for MarShon Brooks. That's not a disaster of a deal for Dwight Howard, but it's not even close to full value. But it's tough for them to get full value when Howard keeps demanding he go to the Nets.
It's just the same big ole mess it was six months ago. Supposedly it should get settled one way or the other today. But we'll believe that when we see it. We're gonna be writing Dwight Howard updates for the next 25 years. It'll be our purgatory.