However, whether or not they are a serious contender for Howard remains to be seen and ESPN.com's John Hollinger doesn't think that they have the moves available to them to clear enough salary. According to Hollinger, today's signing of Mirza Teletovic complicates the situation further.
The Teletovic deal is for the non-taxpayers' midlevel exception, which caps the Nets' salaries at $74,307,000 for 2012-13. They cannot go over by one cent at any point.
Put in Williams at $17,177,193, Wallace at $8.9 million, Evans at $1.6 million, Teletovic at $5 million, Johnson at $19,752, 645 and MarShon Brooks at $1,160,040, and the Nets are in a pickle before they even pick up a phone to call Orlando.The hold for Humphries is $12 million, the hold for Lopez $7,692,458 and the hold for Green $854,389.
The league also adds a charge for empty roster spots, at the rock-bottom minimum of $473,604, figuring you eventually intend to fill them in order to field a team. Add three "holds" to get the Brooklyn roster to 12 players, and that's another $1,420,8162.
So according to Hollinger's math the Nets currently have approximately $76 million on the books and they are only allowed some $74.3 million. Try fitting Howard's $19 million plus salary into that and still field a league minimum of 12 players.
But it gets really tricky when you try to make room for the $19,536,360 owed Howard. Even if the Nets use all three free agents in a trade for Howard and throw in Brooks, that takes $21,706,887 off their books. Add in Howard's money and three roster holds to get the Nets back to 12 players, and they're adding $20,957,172 back on.
In other words, it cuts only $749,715 from the Nets' books and leaves them a heart-rending $1,103,807 shy of pulling off a Howard trade.
So according to Hollinger the Nets may not be able to add Howard even if both sides wanted to make that deal. That leaves Orlando to look elsewhere and teams like Atlanta and Los Angeles a little extra time.