Dwight Howard wants to trade in his Mickey ears, again. This time, his trade demands will likely be ignored, at least in terms of the team he is currently dead-set on landing with. A scenario having Howard end up on Brooklyn's roster seemed possible as recently as a Sunday, but today's actions have all but guaranteed he won't be heading to Flatbush. The Nets, in a state of transition both logistically and philosophically, have found themselves in the role of supporting actors in the latest Dwight Howard situation.
By acquiring Joe Johnson from the Hawks on Monday, thus ridding their franchise of four expiring contracts, owner Mikhail Prokhorov is setting the stage for the genesis of Brooklyn basketball. Retaining Gerald Wallace over the weekend was sneaky, and if most reports turn out to be true, the likelihood of point guard Deron Williams staying with the Nets seems to be increasing each and every day.
Howard's frustration with the Orlando Magic has reached the point of no return. Both he and management have recognized that moving the disgruntled franchise player would serve all parties involved. The difficulty with Howard's Brooklyn plea deals with salary structure, but it also centers around what the Nets had just transferred over to Atlanta. In shedding those contracts away for Johnson, the Nets limited even further the assets they could have packaged in a possible deal with Orlando.
Receiving those players would have forced Magic general manager Ron Hennigan to think about a total overhaul, a rebuilding process that could only begin once those numbers came off the books. And while the Johnson trades gives the Nets some measure of financial flexibility, it's still not enough to bring in a player like Howard. The man who calls himself "Superman" is the only one to blame for his limited options right now. Howard is the one who opted-in for the final year of his contract.
The move at the time didn't make a whole lot of sense, because it seemed that the only reason he did it was because he didn't know what else to do. His image had taken a serious beating, and by agreeing to stay for another season, he might have been able to soften people's view on him as a person of loyalty character. That went up in flames once the Stan Van Gundy thing went viral, causing an awkwardness that rippled throughout the entire organization, and ensuring that the coach would be fired once the season was over.
Howard's best play at this point would be to try and facilitate a trade to Los Angeles. The Lakers would be willing to part ways with Andrew Bynum, and the move would make sense for Orlando, giving them a centerpiece to replace the one that is bidding them adieu. A trade might prove beneficial for Bynum as well, getting him out of the Hollywood limelight and into a market more forgiving. The key for Howard is to exhibit patience, because Hannigan will get a deal done, but only if it benefits the Magic. Stay tuned.