Dwight Howard

The Nets see the Knicks holding Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire and hope to raise the stakes with Deron Williams and Dwight Howard.

As they prepare for their long-awaited move to Brooklyn next year, the Nets are set to offer a trade package which included center Brook Lopez and two future first-round picks to Orlando for Howard, the superstar center, before he becomes a free agent in 2012, according to an ESPN.com report.

Howard’s presence would be another lifeline for a franchise that has won 36 games over two years. The Nets believe Howard would lead to Williams, who can opt out after this season, into signing up long term, but right now, the best chip the Nets have is money. Williams ultimately can get five years and $100 million for the Nets. Other teams could pay $70 million over four. Howard and Williams together could give the Nets the needed big splash for their Brooklyn move.

The report said the Nets, to make the deal work, would slap their amnesty clause on Travis Outlaw and would take back Hedo Turkoglu with three years and $35 million remaining. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, if the Nets were able to acquire Howard before his opt-out decision, they only could extend his deal one year.

– Reported by Fred Kerber of the New York Post

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