The Nets cleared a ton of cap space last summer for a shot at a big-ticket free agent, but were left overpaying for Travis Outlaw when everyone signed with other teams.
They spent most of the first half chasing Carmelo Anthony before watching him wind up across the Hudson at Madison Square Garden. They wound up with a pretty nice consolation prize in Deron Williams, although his acquisition didn't come with the contract extension that guaranteed he'd be a building block for the long term.
With a move to Brooklyn looming and lots of tickets to sell in a town long dominated by the Knicks, the Nets need Williams to be fully committed to the team to sell themselves as something other than the same old Nets. Enter Dwight Howard.
In order to get Williams to stay around, the Nets went hard after the league's best center during this truncated offseason in hopes of building a two-man core as good as any in the league right now.
Howard seemed interested in the Nets when he wasn't proclaiming...