The Dwight Howard trade saga is finally over after last week’s trade to Los Angeles.
Everyone around the league is trying to figure out exactly how the deal went down. After all, Orlando was holding out for a better deal and some had trouble saying exactly why this was the deal to hold out for. The Magic did not receive any All Stars in return and seemed destined for the bottom of the league. Of course, that might be exactly what they wanted in the end.
Since Dwight Howard first announced his trade demand last December, the Magic have engaged discussions with just about every team in the league. Initially, the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers were involved. The Warriors tried to jump in at one point. The Rockets got serious for a long while.
In the end, it was the Lakers who were able to put the puzzle pieces together. And that left a lot of general managers with fan bases to appease and support to drum up giving some explanation as to why Howard is in Los Angeles rather than in their city.
Daryl Morey is first up since it appeared his Rockets were closest to getting Howard. He told a radio station in Houston that the Lakers offer beat his out and that Rob Hennigan will prove himself to be a capable manager once he implements whatever plan he is devising right now.
The details of that offer came out Wednesday with Sam Amico of Sports Illustrated reporting the Rockets’ offer was not as bountiful as previously reported. It included only two first round picks, only Jeremy Lamb out of the three rookies Houston drafted in this summer’s draft and one of their young prospects. It seemed Houston’s hesitancy from taking on some of Orlando’s long-term salaries prevented the deal from getting done. But Morey still had high praise for the way Hennigan conducted himself.
In Amico’s report, sources tell him that the Magic’s negotiations with the Nets broke apart when the Nets re-signed Brook Lopez. Deron Williams might have lost interest sooner than that. He told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News that the Dwight sweepstakes “got kinda old” for him. He felt confident that the Nets did everything they could and the Magic just were not interested in the deal the Nets had to offer — although there are reports that the Magic still had some sore feelings from Billy King allegedly meeting with Dwight Howard in Miami in December shortly after the original trade request.
There were others involved in the Dwight Howard conversations too.
Philadelphia, who ended up with Andrew Bynum, offered Andre Iguodala for Howard but found Orlando was not interested, favoring a complete rebuild of the roster. They seemed pretty happy with what they got, judging from the press conference the 76ers held for Bynum on Wednesday.
The Hawks also had dreams of bringing Howard back to his hometown. But Orlando found dealing within the division with Atlanta was a non-starter. And the Hawks may not ultimately have had what the Magic were looking for.
There was a lot of frustration for a lot of people throughout the Dwight Howard saga. Orlando played it slow and patient and that made things worse in the public arena and likely made some general managers slightly annoyed. As we are seeing, teams are explaining why they could not get Orlando to deal Howard to their cities.
The simple answer might have been few teams had the specific collection of assets Orlando wanted. Maybe the Magic did not even get that in their deal.
But judging from the teams that have spoken, most thought Orlando wanted a star (or relative star) in return. Those offers clearly fell short. And now everyone in the league is moving forward past the Dwight-mare.