The Nets, who have already agreed to re-sign Deron Williams and have traded for Joe Johnson, look like they will be the winners of the Dwight Howard derby. In a proposed four-team deal that also includes the Clippers and Cavaliers, the Magic will send their franchise center to Brooklyn for a package that includes Brook Lopez and a handful of first round draft picks.
Howard will likely join Williams and Johnson in the latest creation of a "Big Three" situation. The Celtics won a title in 2008 after bringing together Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen and the Heat followed that up with a title of their own this past season after adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh to go with Dwyane Wade after the 2010 season.
I can't believe the Magic are settling for the package of picks and players they will supposedly be getting. Howard is a premiere player and I'm shocked that the Magic didn't hold out for better compensation. A deal with the Lakers for Andrew Bynum would have made more sense than the current deal, which could be finalized very soon.
Moving into the new arena in Brooklyn with Howard, Williams, and Johnson will make the Nets instant contenders in the top heavy Eastern Conference. They also have re-signed Gerald Wallace, have agreed to sign EuroLeague forward Mirza Teletovic, and look like they will be adding Jason Richardson, Chris Duhon, and Earl Clark from Orlando in the trade. The Nets would also likely be able to fill out their roster with veterans willing to play for the minimum in order for a chance to compete for a title.
So much for my crazy and unlikely proposed sign-and-trade that would have brought Courtney Lee and Marcus Camby to the Celtics in exchange for JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Greg Stiemsma, Keyon Dooling, Mickael Pietrus, and a first round draft pick. You have to hand it to me, no one proposes more one-sided trades that benefit his own team more than I do. It's a gift.
Well, Camby will be going to the Knicks in a sign-and-trade that will give New York a quality backup center for Tyson Chandler. The Knicks actually don't look too bad on paper - Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chandler, Jeremy Lin, Jason Kidd, Camby, Steve Novak, and J.R. Smith would be their top eight if the season started today and they should get back Iman Shumpert sometime after Christmas - and will make the Atlantic Division possibly the toughest in the league (more on that below).
So, the Celtics still need a shooting guard, or two considering Avery Bradley's health problems, and more depth at center.
The team is looking to add Courtney Lee at shooting guard and could also re-sign veteran Keyon Dooling as veteran insurance until Bradley returns from shoulder surgery.
A sign-and-trade with the Rockets for Lee would likely cost the Celtics at least JaJuan Johnson, their first round pick in 2011, and a future first round pick. That would be a nice price to pay for the Celtics to add a potential starter at shooting guard.
The team also needs to add another center, which is why I dreamed up the Lee and Marcus Camby scenario yesterday, because they currently only have rookie Fab Melo and veteran journeyman Sean Williams behind Kevin Garnett at center and, in a perfect world, Garnett would actually play his natural power forward position instead of moonlighting as a center. One possibility at center would be to re-sign Greg Stiemsma but he could be looking at a bigger payday than what the Celtics can afford.
With the Nets looking like they will add Dwight Howard to a team that already has Deron Williams and Joe Johnson and the Knicks building what looks like it will be their most talented team since the mid-1990's, the Celtics need answers to these problems immediately.
Having a rotation of Garnett, Brandon Bass, Paul Pierce, Lee, Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, and Stiemsma would make for a competitive team but they can't afford to lose out on Lee and Stiemsma and hope to be a serious contender in the East.