Nene, JaVale McGee and Marcus Camby were among the centers who found new homes Thursday before the NBA’s trade deadline.
Denver dealt Nene to Washington, just three months after re-signing him to a five-year, $67 million contract. The Wizards sent JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf to Denver and Nick Young to the Los Angeles Clippers, trading away two of their talented young but sometimes immature players. Washington also picked up forward Brian Cook in the deal.
The Lakers got younger at point guard, acquiring Ramon Sessions from Cleveland and sending veteran Derek Fisher to Houston. Swingmen Stephen Jackson and Richard Jefferson were swapped in a Spurs-Warriors deal, and the New Jersey Nets picked up Gerald Wallace from Portland.
The Nets had bigger hopes, though, before Howard’s late change of mind.
“We were involved in a lot of things, some things didn’t work out, but the thing we did, did,” Nets general manager Billy King said. “I am always one who has the glass half full. We’re moving on. We have a starting small forward who is a great fit for us, and that’s all I can focus on.”
They had long been a favorite to land Howard, who had told the Magic before the season he wanted to be traded and listed the Nets as one of his choices. He was eligible for free agency this summer, and Orlando risked losing him for nothing.
Instead, he agreed to waive the early termination option in his contract, committing to stay with the Magic through the 2012-13 season.
“Now we can get back to playing basketball and having some peace and trying to win a championship,” Howard said. “I feel like we have a chance to win and I didn’t feel like either one of us should give that up.”
It was a relatively quiet trade deadline, with teams wary of taking on long-term contracts with the more punishing luxury tax rules in the new collective bargaining agreement.
The surging Lakers, up to third in the Western Conference, needed an upgrade at the point before potentially facing All-Stars Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker or Chris Paul in the postseason.
Sessions had been backing up No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, but the Lakers had their eye on him for months. They got him and forward Christian Eyenga for reserves Luke Walton and Jason Kapono.
Fisher, the Lakers’ starting point guard the past five years, was sent to Houston along with a first-round pick for Jordan Hill. The Rockets also landed Camby from the Trail Blazers for point guard Jonny Flynn, center Hasheem Thabeet and a second-round pick.