On the first day deals and trades could be officially logged, Dwight Howard's dream of playing for the Nets suffered a huge setback, enhancing the chances that the Magic will open training camp with the disgruntled superstar on its roster.
After talks between the Magic and the Nets reached a stalemate, Brooklyn signed free agent center Brook Lopez to a four-year deal worth about $60 million on Wednesday. That move will prevent the Nets from trading Lopez until Jan. 15 because of NBA rules. And with Lopez ineligible to be dealt, the Nets don't have the assets to make a deal with the Magic.
What happens next is not immediately clear. Magic general manager Rob Hennigan told reporters he's in no rush to trade Howard, and he would not rule out having Howard begin training camp with the team.
"What I've said from Day 1 is that we will do whatever it is that's in the best interests of this organization," Hennigan said. "I'm going to stand firm to that."
Though many Magic fans have clamored to trade Howard to the Lakers for center Andrew Bynum, any such deal faces a hurdle. Bynum's knees and lengthy injury history worry the Magic more than the fact that Bynum is scheduled to become a free agent after the coming season.
The Rockets now might be the front-runners to acquire Howard. The Rockets, desperate to add star power, are willing to trade for Howard even if he gives them no assurance he will stay beyond next season.
Howard now faces a choice: Will he consider expanding the list of teams he could consider signing with long-term?
So far, he has said he only would re-sign with the Nets. It seems unlikely Howard will reconsider his stance toward Orlando.
Knicks to match Lin offer: Jeremy Lin will stay in New York and be the starting point guard, according to coach Mike Woodson. Lin agreed to sign an offer sheet with the Rockets for about $28 million over four years. The Knicks have said they planned to match any offer for their restricted free agent, and Woodson repeated that Lin will "absolutely" enter camp as the starter, even with the Knicks agreeing to a deal with veteran Jason Kidd. The offer sheet still hasn't been signed and sent to the Knicks, who have three days to match. Lin, via Twitter, denied a report that he was unhappy with the Knicks for not signing him right away.
New for Nash: Steve Nash made his move to the Lakers official. "Being here right now is something I never foresaw," the former Suns guard said. "That (jersey) was a major hurdle for me just to get over visually as a player."
Busy Nets: General manager Billy King kept Deron Williams, traded for guard Joe Johnson and forward Reggie Evans, kept starting forward Gerald Wallace and signed Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic. Then he re-signed Lopez after a Howard deal failed to materialize.
"Billy's done a good job of making some big moves and it makes us relevant again," said Williams, who signed his deal in Las Vegas right after the free agency window opened on the East Coast at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.
Mavericks: Former New Orleans center Chris Kaman announced on his Twitter account that he is going to Dallas, but the team did not make an announcement.
Spurs: The team re-signed 13-time All-Star Tim Duncan, 36, for three years and $36 million, multiple outlets reported. "We are all thrilled that he'll spend his entire career as a San Antonio Spur," coach Gregg Popovich said.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.