Nets put out the red carpet for D-12

Pyrotechnic shows? An added placard featuring a newspaper article about Barclays Center outside the Magic locker room? “Loud and Proud” section tickets for $12?

“I think from time to time we put those signs out there,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said prior to Wednesday night’s game against Orlando in Newark. “I think you’ll probably have to ask guys in marketing. I’m not a marketing guy. Right now, for us it’s not about recruiting anybody, it’s about the guys that are in our locker room. Especially for our team that’s been decimated by injury, I’m just trying to figure out who’s going to be in our lineup every night.”

It seems fairly obvious what’s going on here.

The Nets’ marketing department wants to make sure Dwight Howard knows the way the organization feels about him. Essentially, they’d love to have him aboard.

Howard did not talk to reporters before the game, his usual ritual. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy wasn’t in a talking mood either. The Magic coach said he noticed the signs, but wouldn’t elaborate any further.

• Backup point guard Sundiata Gaines will try to gut through a sore toe.

• Johnson said the Nets are hoping that center Brook Lopez can play in back-to-backs after the All-Star break. It’s also at that point where Johnson hopes to get Lopez’s minutes back up to around 30 per night.

• Howard is a 50.1 percent free throw shooter this season. So is Hack-a-Dwight a possible strategy for the Nets? 

“I think it can be an effective tool,” Johnson said.