December 11, 2011 in Sports

All-Stars Howard, Paul at center of trade talks

 

While the New Orleans Hornets try to trade Chris Paul, Dwight Howard wants to be moved, too.

Howard has formally requested a trade from the Orlando Magic, general manager Otis Smith said Saturday.

It’s unknown if the Magic will grant their All-Star center’s wishes, but they have given New Jersey, Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers permission to talk with his agent about trades.

The Hornets seem more motivated to deal. The NBA, as their owners, killed the first attempt Thursday, a three-team trade that would have sent Paul to the Lakers. But general manager Dell Demps said they will keep trying, since Paul has told them he won’t sign a contract extension this season.

Howard, Paul and the Nets’ Deron Williams were expected to lead the 2012 free-agency class. Instead, two of them could soon be on the block, giving the NBA an immediate jolt to its post-lockout return.

“I’m like everybody else. I’m adapting to all this nonsense,” Celtics forward Kevin Garnett said.

“I think this whole league is in a bunch of uncertainty at this point and I fall in line with that. A lot of players don’t know what it is.”

Some deals are getting done: Tyson Chandler joined the New York Knicks via a sign-and-trade in a three-team deal and Boston re-signed Jeff Green – but most of the focus remained on the status of the two All-Stars.

Until those situations are cleared up, business is moving slowly around the NBA.

Top free agents such as Nene and Marc Gasol remain unsigned and other transactions will wait, with one agent describing the free-agency process thus far as like “molasses.”

In the meantime, Paul was back at Hornets practice for the second straight day. Pau Gasol, who would have moved to Houston in the proposed three-team deal, practiced for the first time with the Lakers, knowing it could also be for the last time.

“If the NBA hadn’t stopped it, I would be gone,” Gasol said. “I wouldn’t be here. It’s tough to keep your balance. At the same time, I’m happy it hasn’t happened, because my heart is here, my mind is here. I want to be here. That’s the reality. I heard it was back on the table again. Everything is possible again.”

With little time between the ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement and the Christmas season openers, the NBA had training camps and free agency open Friday.

But because so many transactions still haven’t been completed, teams are being left short-handed as they begin preparations.

The Knicks had only six players practicing as they maneuvered to fit in Chandler. The Hornets were similarly limited.

The Chicago Bulls are waiting to add a piece, believed to be Richard Hamilton once his buyout from the Detroit Pistons is complete. Team officials couldn’t talk about him, but center Joakim Noah is sure the front office will make the right move.

“I think Rip’s a hell of a player,” Noah said. “I have confidence they are doing the right things. For us, the only thing we can do is work hard.”

The Knicks got the piece they coveted, a defensive-minded center who anchored the Dallas Mavericks’ defense last season. Chandler got a four-year deal worth about $56 million from the Knicks, who will put him between Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire in one of the league’s best frontcourts.


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