Tyson Chandler trade and Dwight Howard

It appears the Dallas Mavericks will be able to salvage a potentially valuable trade exception from Tyson Chandler's free-agent defection to the New York Knicks. ESPN.com's Marc Stein is reporting that the Mavs and Knicks do appear to have worked out a sign-and-trade.

For the Mavs, it means instead of walking away empty-handed, they'll take a sizable trade exception since Chandler's first-year salary with the Knicks will be more than $12 million. The Mavs, obviously, can use the trade exception for a future deal. Stein is reporting the deal Dallas will try to make is with Sacramento Kings for center Samuel Dalembert.

So, before anyone starts thinking that the trade exception is the ticket to nabbing Dwight Howard, slam on the breaks. Howard's agent apparently has been granted permission by the Orlando Magic to talk to three teams: the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and the Mavs. That's a nice start and it certainly puts Dallas ahead of 27 other teams that would love to have the game's premiere big man.

However, the Lakers, even if the Chris Paul trade ultimately lands the superstar point guard in L.A., still have center Andrew Bynum to dangle. The Nets, who are putting together a sizable offer for Denver Nuggets center Nene, have young center Brook Lopez, who averaged 20 points a game last season. The Mavs have the older and less productive Brendan Haywood to offer as a center replacement.