Dwight Howard Rumors: New Jersey Nets Set Deadline

If the New Jersey Nets aren't able to come to terns on a trade for center Dwight Howard with the Orlando Magic by the end of this week, they will move on to their backup plans.  Plans, as in plural.  A source tells Colin Stephenson the Nets "have a Plan A, B, C and D".

It's clear signing free-agent center Nene to a four-year $64 million contract is the team's first choice if a Howard trade isn't possible. Thankfully the two players share an, agent, allowing the Nets to do all they can to try and wrap up the Howard situation without worrying about Nene bolting for a deal with the Denver Nuggets or Houston Rockets.

There's no way to know exactly what the next plans would include if they are unable to reel in Howard or Nene. Kris Humphries is still unsigned and while he is on the radar, the power forward hasn't seen the market develop the way many envisioned.

Josh Howard is still available and former Net Richard Jefferson could be if the San Antonio Spurs amnesty the small forward as expected. Bringing in either player would finally allow New Jersey to use their own amnesty on Travis Outlaw, but won't exactly make anyone forget about Howard.

Making things even more complicated is Howard's quick back track over the last couple of days. He has gone from one foot out the door to playing nice with Orlando management and media.

"If you're willing to change and you're willing to do what it takes to win then, you know, you got me," the center told a group of reporters on Monday.

Both teams could work on a deal right up until the March 15 trade deadline, but the Nets would not be able to include any free agents they sign until after March 1. Meaning if the deal isn't made this week, it is nearly impossible to get one done before the first week in March.

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