Dwight Howard, Chris Paul Trade Rumors: Nets Preparing Major Deal?

11/30/2011 09:52 am ET

Remember how hectic the shortened free agency period was for the NFL? Well now that the NBA lockout is over, teams are discussing major trades and roster moves before the season starts on Christmas day, according to ESPN's Marc Stein and Chad Ford.

And you know what that means: Let the Dwight Howard trade rumors begin!

ESPN reports that the New Jersey Nets are preparing a major trade for the all-star center before he becomes a free agent in 2012, which would include a package of Brooks Lopez and future first-round picks.

Judging from the trade speculation that Howard generated toward the end of last season, his future will certainly be one of biggest storylines throughout the shortened 2011-12 season. Even though the reigning Defensive Player of the Year said in May that his preference is to stay in Orlando after his current deal expires, he tellingly decided not to sign a contact extension a few weeks later.

Earlier this week, Chris Broussard of ESPN reported that the Los Angeles Clippers are prepared to "do whatever it takes" to acquire Howard, except dealing phenom Blake Griffin.

The Clippers are also said to be interested in Hornets point guard Chris Paul (who isn't?). So are the Celtics, who are reportedly willing to trade Rajon Rondo to get him. According to Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is "highly motivated" to acquire Paul, but the Hornets aren't interested in just a two-team deal.

However, Broussard also reported on Tuesday that the New York Knicks are on the top of Paul's wish list.

Teams won't be able to make official roster moves until Dec. 9.

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