Dwight Howard would lose several million dollars in player contract money if he signs with the Nets in free agency instead of re-signing with the Magic, and whether that difference could be made up or possibly exceeded in endorsements has been a subject of strong speculation.

"Dwight Howard playing with Deron Williams and having a winning team, plus being in a market like Brooklyn, there will be lots of opportunities," said a sports marketing executive who requested not to be identified. "And I think that should play into his decision. The New York market compared to other markets, the opportunities are not going to be the same off the court. You're talking about the No. 1 media market in the country and [$2.5] million people in Brooklyn alone, and New York is still the hub of the corporate world. You've got every kind of industry, ten-fold.

"(Dwyane) Wade was comfortable with Miami, and Miami's a great city," the sports marketing executive said. "And I think LeBron (James) probably didn't want to put the whole thing on his back; that's part of his personality, perhaps. Dwight wants that; that's the difference. I don't think LeBron wanted it, but Dwight wants it. Dwight is more interested in the off-court stuff than maybe LeBron was."