The Orlando Magic and New Jersey Nets almost had a trade involving Dwight Howard in place prior to last Thursday's NBA trade deadline, reports Peter Vecsey of the New York Post. Orlando, which was simultaneously working to convince Howard to waive the Early Termination Option on his contract and discussing trades involving the six-time All-Star with other teams, and the Nets nearly consummated the trade at noon the day of the deadline, according to Vecsey.
In the trade, Orlando would have received fourth-year center Brook Lopez, rookie swingman MarShon Brooks, the expiring contract of Mehmet Okur, "and two or three" future first-round draft choices for Howard. The Magic would not send any other players to New Jersey in the trade, as the Nets were no longer willing to add excess salary.
The Magic managed to avoid having to trade the league's best center, however, when Howard agreed to forgo free agency until 2013 by waiving his 2012 ETO. New Jersey instead sent Okur's expiring contract, as well as injured forward Shawne Williams, to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gerald Wallace in what Vecsey calls their "Plan B" move.