It turns out an actual deal was close to happening. At one point, Howard even told teammates a trade was done, at least according to former J.J. Redick.teammate
"There was a deal on the table right before the season started, right after the lockout ended, for [Howard] to go to Brooklyn," Redick said in a podcast with Yahoo Sports! Adrian Wojnarowski. "I can remember being in the shower after practice, one of the first practices of the season, and him saying ‘I love you guys, I'm headed to Brooklyn, trade is going down later tonight.'
"And I'm on Twitter, I'm on HoopsHype, you know for 24 hours, like ‘When this is going down?'" he continued. "It didn't go down, and I think for the rest of the season there was an underlying resentment because of that."
Before the trade deadline, Howard promised to exercise his option to stay with the Magic, only to once again ask out during the offseason. Orlando traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers that August as part of a four-team deal which included the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets. In return, the Magic received a package centered around Nikola Vucevic and Arron Afflalo, along with three first-round picks.
Why that Nets-Magic deal didn't go through is unclear. Reports prior to that point had Brooklyn offering Orlando Brook Lopez and two first-round picks in exchange for Howard.
In the end, Howard's first season in L.A. was a disaster. The Steve Nash during the offseason, were swept in the first round of the playoffs. Howard never fully recovered from April back surgery and also butted heads with Kobe Bryant. He rejected a contract offer from the Lakers that summer and instead signed with the Houston Rockets., despite adding Howard and
The Magic fired coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith following the 2012 season. Rob Hennigan replaced Smith as general manager and pulled the trigger on the Howard deal. The team has yet to make the playoffs since.
But no team has been affected more than Brooklyn. The Nets' failure to land Howard was a stumbling block from which they've been unable to recover. They did the make the playoffs the following three seasons, but only by trading legions of first-round picks to acquire aging veterans on poor contracts. Had this trade with the Magic gone through, they would have a young star who could have attracted other free agents and turn Barclays Center into the prime destination owner Mikhail Prokhorov desperately wishes it was.
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SB Nation presents: Nets owner puts team through bizarre workout
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