The Translator: Dwight Howard

The Translator is a recurring feature of the blog where we present what someone said and what (we think) they mean by running his words through our high-tech Truth Detector.

(This idea was inspired by colleagues Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand, who I cover the Yankees with. They started it on the Yankees blog during spring training.)

Here’s what Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard had to say after his team beat the Heat on Tuesday night: “I want to finish this season out and give our team, give our fans some hope for the future. But I feel they have to roll the dice. It might be tough, but I feel we've got a great opportunity. But they've got to roll it.”

Translation: Keep me so the Nets don’t have to trade any assets to get me by Thursday’s deadline. I want to play with Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks and those two 2012 first-round picks. Good luck trying to rent me (perhaps some team will emerge out of nowhere prior to the deadline). You’re not getting Andrew Bynum -- who is playing like a star, by the way -- and Golden State is out of the running. It’s been real.

D-12 has now backed the Magic into a huge corner, gone all in and put them at a franchise-changing decision for all of their chips.

Do they keep him and roll the dice that they can make a deep playoff run? Or do they try and trade him, knowing they probably aren’t going to get a good package if they do?

Larry Coon and I broke down the Nets’ potential cap situation here.

The gist of it: based on the scenario we used, the Nets need to clear a small amount of cap space to be able to fit D-12, Lopez and Deron Williams.

Given that, it can be inferred -- and reports have stated -- that the Nets are likely to try and move players like Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro and maybe even Anthony Morrow to accomplish this.

A team like the Nets would love to keep Morrow and his sharpshooting abilities -- D-12 even listed him as one of the teammates he would love to play with -- but his $4 million salary next season makes him attractive on the trade market. Farmar ($4.25 million player option) also would be a nice piece for a contender. Petro ($3.5 million next season) wouldn’t be, but the Nets will still try to get rid of him, and he is expiring in 2012-13. Shawne Williams (out for the season) has a $3.1 million player option.

Don’t pop champagne just yet, of course. Nothing is official. But if you’re a Nets fan, you have to be encouraged by these developments.

Of note: The Heat Index’s Michael Wallace asked Howard what made him change his mind on wanting to stay: “I never did change it.”

No need to translate this. Howard’s agent gave the Magic a list of three teams he’d like to be traded to: the Nets, the Mavericks and the Lakers.

He’s never backed off this. The Magic were hoping he’d change his mind. He hasn’t. And now, it looks like Howard is going to get his wish: playing for a Nets team that is loaded with talent and headed to Brooklyn.