Skip to content

Report: Nets-Magic Howard deal blew up because of Orlando animosity

Aug 11, 2012, 9:50 AM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

Business is business. But business is conducted by humans, and humans have emotions, like pride, anger, and resentment. And it turns out that what may have sunk a potential Nets-Magic deal wasn’t the deal itself, but how Orlando felt about the Nets. From the New York Daily News:

A league source told the Daily News that a stumbling block in negotiations was lingering animosity stemming from the Magic’s belief the Nets illegally contacted Howard in December without Orlando’s permission. The Nets denied they had met with Howard, and charges were never filed with the league.

via Brooklyn Nets’ Deron Williams lost interest in Dwight Howard sweepstakes well before Thursday’s trade to the Lakers – NY Daily News.

In the same article, Deron Williams says that the Magic “just didn’t want to deal him to (the Nets).”

The reaction from most people is going to be outrage, or disgust, that personal feelings should never get in the way of a deal this important.

My response? There are bigger things at play here.

For starters, the Nets’ deal wasn’t some awe-inspiring package of young players and picks. The picks all came from one team, which was going to be 25-plus with a core of Deron Williams and Dwight Howard. Brook Lopez is a phenomenal talent, but because of his free agency status, was going to end up giving them a sizable contract that was going to be hard to move if Lopez has injury issues or regresses further. Even if Kris Humphries would have been on a $9 million one-year deal as Yahoo Sports reported, 1. Humphries would have to agree to take substantially less than market value (he signed for two-years, $12-million) and 2. you’re still looking at over $20 million going on the books in 2013 for an absolutely wretched team. Even with Marshon Brooks and the cap-clearing, that’s not a good deal. you can argue it was better than what they got, that comes down to how you feel about Lopez, and there are arguments to be made on both sides.

But there’s a bigger point here.

In business, the companies that thrive long-term have a commitment to doing it the right way. You can skirt those tactics for a while, but eventually, the rot gets through your organization and your hubris takes its toll. And there’s something to be said for maintaining your pride. If the Magic legitimately felt that the Nets had tampered with their player, their best player, that’s a huge violation of NBA rules and of NBA managerial conduct. It’s one thing to tamper with your player, it’s another to then continually collude with that player’s camp to ruin all other leverage in regards to other deals and to constantly pressure the team into making the trade. And there’s a lot of evidence that that might have gone on. You can’t blame Howard’s people. It’s their job to fulfill their clients wishes. That’s what their responsibility is, not to the team. But to Howard, and to the Nets, as members of the NBA, there’s a way to conduct business and a way not to. So if Orlando decided it didn’t want to have someone steal their lunch money, then trade their backpack to get a third of that money back, I don’t see how you can blame them.

It’s not about being petty. It’s about conducting yourself in a way that maintains your self-respect. Maybe the Nets did nothing wrong, they certainly have always claimed so. But there were reports about meetings between Prokhorov and Howard prior to Orlando granting teams permission to speak with him. Even if they did nothing wrong, the Magic acted out of self-preservation.

Sometimes you just can’t let people walk all over you, even if it is, “the best thing for you.”

Latest Posts
  1. Raptors even series with Game 2 win over Nets

    Apr 22, 2014, 11:08 PM EDT

    DeMar DeRozan DeMar DeRozan

    Raptors win Game 2, but it feels like this series is Brooklyn’s to lose.

  2. Pacers bounce back with blowout Game 2 win over Hawks

    Apr 22, 2014, 10:38 PM EDT

    Paul George Paul George

    Pacers go on a monster third quarter run to even series with Hawks.

  3. Cavaliers GM says he’s shifting team into ‘targeted acquisition mode’

    Apr 22, 2014, 9:09 PM EDT

    David Griffin David Griffin

    Interim GM for the Cavaliers intends to remain aggressive in upgrading talent, but there are other issues that need to be addressed first.

  4. Warriors abandon arena on the water plan, buy land in Mission Bay area of San Francisco arena

    Apr 22, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors

    Building on the water was always a long shot, now they found a place they can get a deal done.

  5. Nowitzki says Mavs plan to stick with Jose Calderon… but for how long?

    Apr 22, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs - Game One Getty Images

    Calderon’s defensive limitations are an issue, but Nowitzki says, “We’re rolling the way we’re set up.”

  6. Kentucky’s Julius Randle makes the expected official: He will enter NBA Draft

    Apr 22, 2014, 2:29 PM EDT

    Julius Randle AP

    Most teams have the Kentucky power forward 3-5 on their draft boards.

  7. Bulls’ defense not reliant on Joakim Noah

    Apr 22, 2014, 12:55 PM EDT

    Defensive Player of the year certainly helps, though

  8. Interesting names pop up in Utah Jazz coaching search. Like Ettore Messina.

    Apr 22, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT

    Partizan NIS Belgrade v CSKA Moscow - Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 Partizan NIS Belgrade v CSKA Moscow - Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16

    Would the stable and consistent Jazz roll the dice on European legend Ettore Messina? A bigger name like Lionel Hollins?

  9. Gregg Popovich voted NBA Coach of the Year

    Apr 22, 2014, 11:01 AM EDT

    Gregg Popovich Gregg Popovich

    The best coach in basketball finally won the award.

  10. Monday NBA grades: Memphis’ point guards get high marks

    Apr 22, 2014, 2:40 AM EDT

    Mike Conley, Kendrick Perkins Mike Conley, Kendrick Perkins

    Mike Conley and Beno Udrih were huge… that Blake Griffin guy isn’t bad, either.

Featured video

Warriors vs. Clippers playoff preview
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Durant (2844)
  2. D. Wade (2797)
  3. A. Jefferson (2554)
  4. D. Rose (2542)
  5. J. Noah (2509)
  1. L. James (2446)
  2. K. Bryant (2257)
  3. A. Bogut (2199)
  4. S. Curry (2041)
  5. D. Howard (2005)