Brook Lopez Gets 4 Years, $61 Million From the Nets, But Brooklyn Can Still Pursue Dwight Howard After January 15th

Brook Lopez will remain a Brooklyn Net.

For now.

The Nets inked Lopez to a 4-year, $61 million contract because it couldn’t come to a deal with the Magic for Dwight Howard. But all is not lost, Nets fans – you can still trade for Dwight Howard after January 15th!

That leaves a few remaining suitors for Howard this summer:

– Houston
– LA Lakers
– Any other team with a clue willing to trade for a Top 5 player in the NBA

The problem: Howard hasn’t changed his stance on where he wants to go next. Why not? Don’t know. You’d have to ask him.

Houston could put together an enticing package – something like 2012 1st round picks Jeremy Lamb and Royce White, Kevin Martin’s expiring contract, the Rockets’ No. 1 pick from Toronto (in the Lowry trade; it’ll be Top 10) and hell, toss in 2011 1st round pick Marcus Morris. That’s four first round picks and future cap savings. But obviously the Rockets would first need a long term commitment from Howard, who would have to ask himself – do I want to go to a franchise that just lost a ton of talent? Howard would be surrounded by rookie Terrence Jones, wing Chandler Parsons, point guard Goran Dragic [Ed. Whoops! He’s in Phoenix.], Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson and … geez, not much else. That group winning anything? Using that trade as a template, Houston would be best served to yank Jeremy Lamb out of the deal and add in another future No. 1 pick … and even then Howard might balk.

As for the Nets … this doesn’t really change my Eastern Conference rankings from last week. What might is when we hear more about Derrick Rose’s return. I might end up sliding Chicago down to 7th and bumping New York and Brooklyn up a notch:

1. Miami
2. Boston
3. Philadelphia
4. Indiana
5. Chicago (probably being too generous)
6. New York (yup, Knicks ahead of the Nets)
7. Brooklyn
8. Cleveland
9. Orlando (obviously subject to change if Dwight Howard is dealt)
10. Milwaukee (can’t wait to see a full season of Jennings and Ellis)
11. Washington
12. Atlanta (could fall further if Josh Smith or Al Horford are traded)
13. Toronto
14. Detroit
15. Charlotte

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