After ESPN reported he was telling people that the Orlando Magic were "blackmailing" him to stay, basketball superstar (and centerpiece of the Brooklyn Nets' dreams) Dwight Howard tried to clear the air this morning. He spoke to Yahoo Sports, "I never used the word blackmail in reference to any of my dealings with the Magic. I never said that. It’s defamatory and it’s inaccurate. I know what blackmail means and any report that I used the term incorrectly is inaccurate."

However, Howard, whose demands/desires to be traded last year didn't pan out, did add, "There's only one team on my list and if I don't get traded there, I'll play the season out and explore my free agency after that," and it's widely believed he wants to go to Brooklyn. Of course, a source points out to the Post that he could "change his mind" again.

The Nets, who are hoping to make their first season in Brooklyn a memorable one, are meeting with their star Deron Williams today (and may be meeting Steve Nash before their meeting with Williams). The team is reportedly feeling confident about Williams re-signing, and last week, they sent a mobile billboard with birthday greetings outside Williams' home.