Nets End Pursuit of Dwight Howard

A potential trade of Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets is dead after a last-gasp attempt to work a trade fell through Wednesday afternoon, a source familiar with the negotiations said.

Sources said earlier Wednesday that the Nets had decided to “resolve” their situation with Howard by 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday. That inspired renewed talks, in which the Nets offered four future first-round picks, center Brook Lopez and power forward Kris Humphries in sign-and-trade deals, the source said. The offer was rejected by the Magic.

General manager Billy King is meeting with the agent for center Brook Lopez in Los Angeles on Wednesday, sources said, and it was expected that he would either sign Lopez with the intent on dealing him to the Orlando Magic for Howard or sign Lopez with the idea of keeping him and moving forward without Howard.

The Nets were convinced the chance of making a deal for Howard would be undermined as teams sign free agents and eliminate their flexibility to be trade partners in providing the draft picks, salary-cap room and young talent the Magic are seeking for their disgruntled All-Star center.

Lopez’s agent has been pushing the Nets to either sign Lopez themselves or do a sign-and-trade by the end of the day, sources told’s Chad Ford. The Nets are fearful that Lopez will receive an offer sheet from another team if they don’t act by the end of the day, which would kill the opportunity to move him in a sign-and-trade for Howard.

There are rising fears within the Nets, sources told’s Marc Stein, that the Portland Trail Blazers will come after Lopez — a restricted free agent — as their next frontcourt target after a bid to sign fellow restricted free agent Roy Hibbert away from Indiana has been foiled by the Pacers, who have matched the four-year offer to Hibbert worth nearly $60 million that Portland had intended to offer but ultimately decided against.

One source close to the process told that the Trail Blazers and Charlotte Bobcats have informed Lopezs camp that they are prepared to sign him to four-year max offer sheets.

Source: ESPN New York