Howard Proves Worth to Nets

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As if to prove that the Nets needed a player as good as Dwight Howard, especially at this very moment when they are moving to Brooklyn, Orlando Magic center Howard made his point Thursday by making a violent block of a shot very early in the first quarter.

The blocked shot resulted in the ball flying from under the basket right into the courtside seats, as far as the fourth row.

The Amway Center crowd exploded in a collective cheer, which was actually an expected reaction. Of course, if this had been the home court for the Nets, the refrain might have been the same chant that came out during the Tuesday night home opener game, “We want Dwight!”

The 16 points that Howard made, along with 24 rebounds and 3 blocks, contributed to the dismantling of the Nets. The game ended with a 94-78 win by the Magic.

Interestingly, as Howard went into the last year of his contract, he told the Magic that he did not intend to return, also telling the franchise the list of three teams he would want to be traded to: the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Nets, in no particular order.

Howard is actually a close friend of Deron Williams, guard to the Nets, from having been teammates in the Olympics in 2008. In fact, on the night of the Orlando game, the two players actually had dinner together.

Howard admitted that they communicated over the phone or on Twitter around two times per week, having become friends since the Olympics.

He described Williams as wanting to be silly and joking about donning on a disguise, but Howards apparently did not think this was the time.

In fact, both of them made little deal of their dinner together, insisting that it was no indication of anything major going on.

“I talk to a lot of guys,” Howard insisted.

Still, the possibility of a trade stays doubtful, as the Magic steered clear of a deal a few days before the start of the season, which had involved Brook Lopez in the package. Since then, Lopez had suffered a foot fracture that called for surgery, which will likely keep him out of the games until, at the earliest, mid-February.

Apparently foot injuries are really tricky in the NBA, as shown by cases with Yao Ming, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Bill Walton.

This is nothing new to the Magic, the team that went through a series of injuries to the ankle and operations to Grant Hill. Had the team not been interested in Lopez prior to the injury, it is unlikely that they would want him after the surgery, after their painful journey with Hill.

This does not only leave Orlando in trouble, but it also affects the Nets, who are also trying to maintain their best player, Williams.

Williams can actually leave as a free agent this season, and if Howard is not in the picture, Williams will likely leave. After all, he has no serious roots with his team, having had the majority of his career with the Utah Jazz.

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