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Dwight Howard Trade Rumors 2012: Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets Close On Contract Extension, According To Report

Brook Lopez and the Brooklyn Nets have been negotiating a contract extension and could agree on one at some point within the next 48 hours, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

If Lopez' extension is not part of a sign-and-trade sending him to the Orlando Magic, it will almost definitely keep the Nets out of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes until at least the middle of December.

If the 24-year-old Lopez signs an extension with the Nets, he will not be available to be traded until Dec. 15 per rules stated in the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement. Lopez is a key component of the package Brooklyn is hoping to use to lure Howard from the Magic.

Brooklyn has been looking to spin a deal for Howard, but talks with Orlando hit a snag on Tuesday when a potential trading partner to facilitate the deal, the Cleveland Cavaliers, reportedly dropped out.

For more on the Nets, please be sure to visit our blog Nets Daily for all the latest news and updates along with SB Nation New York.