If there's anything we've learned over the last week of insane basketball trades and almost-trades, it's not to assume any deal is dead till another deal is done. To that end, the Lakers are back in the hunt for Chris Paul, competing directly with crosstown rivals the Clippers. And although things started to look bleak over the weekend, the Nets are reportedly in "serious talks" for a four-team trade that would bring superstar Dwight Howard to New Jersey (and Brooklyn). Maybe owner Mikhail Prokhorov sweetened the pot by offering someone a cabinet seat?

According to Yahoo Sports, Nets general manager Billy King has "aggressively pursued the necessary players and picks" to try and satisfy Orlando’s demands for Howard. ESPN adds more details about who would be involved in such trade, including Portland Trail Blazers swingman Gerald Wallace and Nets center Brook Lopez, both of whom would go to Orlando. Orlando also would shed the long-term contracts of Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Duhon—both would be absorbed by the Nets—while also potentially receiving future draft considerations.

Howard previously narrowed down the list of teams he's willing to sign contract extensions with to four: the Nets, the Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks and the Orlando Magic. The Magic however are doing everything they can to not trade, but if they decide that Howard is not likely to re-sign with them next season, the Nets appear to be well situated right now. If the Nets are able to make the trade happen, they would most likely have to release forward Travis Outlaw and renounce the rights to free-agent power forward Kris Humphries. With all those balls up in the air, it really is in the team's best interests to get a deal done before the season starts.

Another motivating factor for the Nets: their Plan B, to sign center Nene, is off the table. Nene signed a five-year-deal worth more than $67 million with the Denver Nuggets, who he has played his whole career with. In other words: the Nets have no more backup plans.