Dwight Howard has done an impressive job transforming himself from a likable and goofy star into the NBA’s biggest prima donna in just 6 months. For a man who refuses to utter a swear word and who entered the league hoping to add a cross to the NBA logo in deference to his religion, he clearly is not a bad person.
But the 26 year old center, drafted out of high school, is proving he still has yet to grow up. Immaturity in the NBA usually describes players like DeMarcus Cousins or Andrew Bynum who regularly show lapses in judgement, inconsistent effort, and poor body language. Dwight’s immaturity is a different breed and possibly a much worse one, considering the damage it has done, not just to his own reputation, but to the NBA as a whole.
For the NBA’s most physically imposing specimen, Howard’s childish antics have long seemed out of place. But as they have begun to affect his business decisions and those of several NBA teams, he needs to grow up and quickly.
Now it appears the Howard drama could be nearing its end, or at least relocating and continuing in Brooklyn. A ridiculous 4 team, 14 player trade is in the works that could look something like this, according to ESPN:
According to sources the Nets would receive Howard, Jason Richardson, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark in the proposed deal. The Magic would get Brook Lopez, Luke Walton, Damion James, Shelden Williams, Armon Johnson and three first-round picks — two from the Nets and a lottery-protected first from the Clippers. The Cavs would get Kris Humphries, Quentin Richardson,Sundiata Gaines, a first-round pick from the Nets and $3 million in cash. The Clippers would receive MarShon Brooks.
Trade talks are still ongoing, so this is subject to change, and may not ever come to fruition. As of now, though, this appears to be the most likely scenario, as Howard has limited his trade request to just the Brooklyn Nets.
Howard’s inability to decide his fate at the trade deadline has clearly affected many people, and his change of mind to again desire to be traded will affect even more.
The list of casualties in the Dwight Howard hostage situation:
- Howard’s reputation
- Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy (fired), with whom Howard long butted heads and who Howard demanded be fired if the Magic hoped to keep him
- Orlando General Manager Otis Smith (fired), who Howard complained did not include him enough in decisions
- Deron Williams: Williams re-signed with Brooklyn largely because of the possibility of Howard coming. He seems to have been recruiting Dwight for some time.
- Joe Johnson: Without Johnson D-Will says he would not have stayed with the Nets, so by trading for him they were able to keep one superstar (Williams) that they needed to bring in another superstar (Howard). Complicated stuff.
- Gerald Wallace: Wallace was an early attempt to achieve the same outcome that the Johnson trade brought. The Nets hoped having Wallace on the team would make them more appealing to both Williams and Howard.
- Damian Lillard: Drafted 6th overall by the Blazers using the pick sent to them in the Wallace deal, Lillard would most likely have been taken outside the top-10 had the Blazers not been there. Other teams in the lottery didn’t have a pressing need to draft a point guard.
- Mirza Teletovic: Teletovic was forced to restructure his contract with the Nets after the Joe Johnson trade to free up extra cap space to fit Howard into the salary cap. He gave up several million dollars.
- Brook Lopez: Lopez would go from being a complementary piece on a talented playoff team to the main option for a barren Orlando roster.
- Kris Humphries: For the proposed trade to work, Humphries (as well as several of the smaller trade pieces) would have to agree to a one year agreement with the Nets and a sign-and-trade to the Cavaliers. Given that the Cavs have the space to sign him for a longer deal without the trade, Humphries would lose out on the financial security of a multi-year contract. His agreement to this trade is its biggest holdup right now.
- MarShon Brooks: Brooks would go to a Clippers team that has a very similar player in Jamal Crawford. That could reduce his role.
- Jason Richardson, Earl Clark, Chris Duhon, Armon Johnson, Damion James, Sundiata Gaines, Luke Walton, Shelden Williams, and Quentin Richardson: These guys are all just throw ins to the trade to make it work financially and to give teams like Orlando and the Cavs more financial incentive to be a part of the deal, as they shed salary.
- Houston Rockets: Houston tried desperately to get Howard during the draft, hoping to use their three 1st round picks to entice Orlando into a deal. If not that, they hoped to move into the top-10 and draft Andre Drummond and include him in a trade for Howard. Neither of these worked, and Houston is now left with 3 more decent players on a team full of decent players. They’re still stuck in no man’s land between playoff contention and the lottery.
- Brian Shaw/Michael Malone: The Pacers and Warriors respective assistant coaches are among the names of interviewees for the Magic coaching job. These coaches both had important roles on their teams’ benches and their departure could have a negative impact on their former teams.
- Marvin Williams: Atlanta traded Joe Johnson and Williams, clearing cap space to make a run for Howard, who grew up in Atlanta. Williams will get a fresh start in Utah.
- Andrew Bynum: The lower we get on the list, it’s more of a stretch to determine the impact. Bynum’s name was mentioned a lot as the Lakers’ trade chip to get Howard. LA’s willingness to trade him could drive him away as it did to Lamar Odom.
Prior to the beginning of last season Howard demanded trade, citing the Nets, Lakers, and Mavericks as desired targets. Orlando clearly did not want to part with their franchise centerpiece and tried to convince him to stay during the first half of the season. But Howard maintained his desire to be traded, and Orlando did not want to risk losing him as a Free Agent after the season and receive nothing in compensation, as Cleveland did after LeBron’s departure.
But constrained by his request to be traded to 1 of only 3 teams, none with desirable assets they were willing to part with, Orlando had its hands tied. But as a deal with the Nets, centered around Brook Lopez and draft picks, pieced itself together, Howard suddenly changed his stance (several times), finally deciding he wanted to stay with Orlando – but
would not sign a new contract. Instead he just waived his Early Termination Option, agreeing to stay with Orlando 1 more year before becoming an Unrestricted Free Agent, essentially realizing Orlando’s greatest fear of losing him for nothing.
Howard injured himself late in the season, forcing him to miss the playoff – ironic considering he claimed to stay with the Magic to make one more title run. Following the season he gave Orlando the ultimatum: him or Van Gundy. Along Van Gundy’s firing, Otis Smith was shown the exit. Howard then laid his trade demand back on the Magic management. Not cool.
Howard’s saga has shown his immaturity was worse than anyone ever imagined. He seemingly manipulated his team in order to try to force his way onto the Nets without them giving much up. Sadly it appears that plan may have worked.
Somewhere, LeBron is smiling. Just weeks apart he gets his first title and is no longer atop the NBA’s most hated list.