There was a lot of speculation that back in 2012 if Dwight Howard had evoked his early-termination option in his contract that he would have been a
Brooklyn New Jersey Net and Brook Lopez would have gone to the Orlando Magic. Looking at the roster now and it’s probably a good thing for the Nets that he waived the ETO, but it turns out the Nets might not have gotten him anyway because, according to John Feinstein of CBS Sports Radio, the Magic liked an offer from the Houston Rockets better.
“We were sort of the ugly guy chasing the pretty girl for awhile,” Houston’s general manager said on The John Feinstein Show. “We (had tried) to trade for him twice. In fact, once we were allowed to talk to Dwight when free agency started off, he told us how – and we didn’t know this for sure – but how Orlando basically told him he was going to get traded to us if he didn’t re-up with them a couple years back when he resigned. He was almost a Rocket a couple times. Obviously in this business, you’ve got to be well-prepared, and you have to have some good fortune.”
Personally, I was never in love with the idea of getting Howard. As good as he is/was, he’s been injury prone and a distraction in the clubhouse. It would have been awful if what happened last season in Los Angeles had been going down in Brooklyn. I also felt that Brook Lopez wasn’t just a guy you give up on despite foot surgeries.
It’s a fun topic for debate, but it turns out that the Nets wouldn’t have been the ones to land Superman had he left Orlando at a time when many expected him to. It’s hard to say whether the team would have been better off with or without that trade, but it is hard to see them pulling off both or either of the Joe Johnson and Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trades that they have made since the Dwight non-trade.