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Report: In 2012, Magic had deal in place to trade Dwight Howard to the Rockets

Aug 14, 2013, 6:17 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Orlando Magic Getty Images

Dwight Howard made the decision to join the Rockets in free agency this summer, but he could have been playing for Houston last season and skipped the largely unpleasant experience he had with the Lakers entirely.

Howard was in the process of forcing his way out of Orlando late in March of 2012, but ultimately opted in for the final year of his contract — a move which kept him in town through the end of the regular season, and eventually saw him traded to Los Angeles that summer.

Had he not done so, the Magic had a deal in place to trade Howard to the Rockets.

From Ken Berger of

League sources confirmed that the Magic and Rockets did, in fact, tentatively agree to a trade in March 2012 that both sides were prepared to follow through on had Howard forced the Magic’s hand and kept his right to opt out after the season and become a free agent. It would’ve involved at least some of the young assets that were so attractive to Howard this summer when he chose the Rockets as a free agent. (Magic officials, according to sources, later told Rockets officials that they preferred Houston’s deal to Brooklyn’s.) Thus, while Howard gave up some money in the short term to leave LA, he wound up on a roster that didn’t have to be decimated to acquire him.

Brooklyn was reportedly a preferred destination of Howard’s, but there wouldn’t have been much left in terms of assets had Howard been traded to the Nets — a situation that long-term wasn’t all that appealing.

Howard has always had trouble seeing past the immediate future, however, and the Nets, as they did this summer by adding Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, would certainly have found a way to surround Howard with top-level talent had a trade for him materialized.

Ultimately, Howard ended up in Houston anyway, where he wanted to be and where he was wanted. But it could have happened a season sooner if only he’d had a more unwavering vision of the place where he wanted to spend his future.

  1. worldbfree4me - Aug 14, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Howard had to see if what was said about KOBE was true, so yeah he chose to give California a shot. But Shaq was right about KOBE being a Bi-othch so he shook! No loss, except for Jerry Browns taxes!!

    • lancexsch - Aug 14, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      uhh yeah.. whoever Jerry Brown is…

    • kb2408 - Aug 14, 2013 at 10:35 PM

      Dude, this is 2013, that junk you’re talking about happened a decade ago. Why don’t you quote some of the things Shaq has said lately about Kobe. Better yet, why don’t you quote some of the things Shaq has said about Dwight. About how Dwight couldn’t handle playing for the LAKERS. Or how Dwight is better off playing in a “little town”. Kobe gave him the greatest advice he could’ve gotten when he said, “let me show you how to become a champion.” But Kobe haters didn’t even pay attention to what he said right before that when he said that Magic, Kareem and Jerry West taught him how to be a champion. If Kobe, one of the 5-15 greatest players ever, could accept being taught how to be a champion, why couldn’t Dwight? Dwight is exactly where he needs to be, in a town that won’t pressure him to lead the team to championships, a team where he’s not “expected” to win championships and a place that will accept his “I just want to have fun” mentality. The Rockets will never be on the LAKERS level. As a matter of fact, the only franchise we look up to and truly respect is the Celtics.

      • apanther - Aug 15, 2013 at 9:07 AM

        I cosign this. So true. Howard can’t handle the real pressure of being the star in the big city. Thats why Brooklyn wouldnt have worked out either.

  2. ddarqwon - Aug 14, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    It worked out the absolute best possible way for Howard and the Rockets because had the initial trade for Howard gone through the deal for Harden would likely not have been possible.

    Fortuitous indeed.

  3. sportsnut101 - Aug 14, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    D12 has been the most over hyped player in past 3 yrs he gets all the attention
    doesnt dominant like he should 18 pts 13bds n 2 blks is not dominating
    I need 30 15 n 4 most nights especially playoffs this guy should be mvp at least once
    but as longs as he’s happy being happy then thats what matters

  4. mrlaloosh - Aug 14, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    Howard will be looking to move on in one or two years. He’ll force his way out of Houston. Mark my words. He’s just an immature ass clown.

  5. newyorkshets - Aug 14, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Yes I see but Dwight Howard is still a turd.

  6. thekingdave - Aug 14, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    This has been known to Rockets fans going back to last summer when Morey made another run at him. It’d be nice if Berger would man up and reveal what young “assets” were involved in the deal. Parsons obviously, but then D-Mo and Greg Smith beyond that? No one else was on the roster then and D-Mo was still overseas.

  7. gmsalpha - Aug 14, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    Definitely worked out for Dwight Howard in the end. I’m still shocked that he is so short-sighted though. Yes, he would have to deal with an aging Kobe and play in a system he isn’t happy with for about two years.

    But after that? The Lakers are always going to the THE LAKERS, though with that schmuck Jim Buss in charge, it’s not quite the same. Still, players want to play in the purple and gold, they want to play in front of all the Hollywood celebrities, they want to play under all those championship banners.

    The Lakers might not make the playoffs this upcoming year, but after shedding all those old players soon, they’ll have money to make a run at some big time players and will be competing again for championships with Howard as the face of the franchise.

    But no. He went to Texas to play in a college atmosphere where he’ll feel loved and save a lot of money in taxes. Isn’t that just adorable?

    Tempting as it might was, the better long-term bet was to stay in L.A.

    • davesmall1 - Aug 14, 2013 at 9:57 PM

      Typical Laker fan’s prognosis. The Lakers will always be great because all the players want to live in a smoggy city with a perpetual traffic jam and way overpriced real estate. Yeah, right. Sure thing. Makes perfect sense. ROFL.

      The Lakers are the new Bobcats.

      • kb2408 - Aug 14, 2013 at 10:42 PM

        Win something then talk crap. When was the last Rockets title? Yeah, the two years that MJ decided to play baseball. If you’re expecting Dwight to lead them to a title evidently you haven’t been watching the NBA the last few years. Being talented does not automatically make you championship material. Just ask the Mailman, Gervin, Barkley, Reggie Miller, Stockton, Ewing, etc…None of them one a title but they all had something Dwight lacks…HEART.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 14, 2013 at 11:49 PM

        Chris Paul wanted to live in that “smoggy city with a perpetual traffic jam and way overpriced real estate”.

        Also, if you think that is what LA is, I’m interested to hear what you think of San Francisco, considering it is more expensive and has worse traffic.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:50 AM

      So Howard went to a team that was better, younger (and likely to improve even without him going there), which will be a top team in the west for years to come, instead of staying with the Lakers, putting up with a couple crappy seasons while the cap situation was resolved and then HOPED the Lakers made solid moves to bring in talent. Looking at what the Lakers consider talent this offseason leads me to believe they will struggle picking the right guys even if he stayed. Sounds like he was making a smart, long-term decision.

  8. patfic15 - Aug 14, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    This article is about as relevant as an article showing that Portland was considering drafting Jordan.

  9. tigers182 - Aug 14, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    The Hollywood celebrities? You mean Penny Marshall and Arsenio Hall? Oh yeah I’d totally take millions less to play 1000 feet away from them. That’s why all the free agents flock to the Lakers.

    Now that there’s a salary cap, get over your artificial dominance.

  10. cavemanna - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:30 AM


  11. 00maltliquor - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    Would be nice to know what the exact deal was…….

  12. oldcat157 - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:11 AM

    Key factor = James Harden. Wasn’t there before and likely not had Houston landed Howard in 2012. Howard would not be in Houston now if Harden was somewhere else.

  13. lhollis74 - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    All you haters that refuse to acknowledge that Los Angeles is the premier destination are hilariously pathetic! Where were the espy awards held, for that matter, where are nearly all award shows held if not in ny, oscars, tony awards? Am I missing any,lol? Where are the biggest films shown first along with Chicago and ny? If not ny, where does all of America travel to with aspirations of stardom? Texas, lol!? We got the snow, beaches, wine country, the most golf courses(yes we do, look it up)oh, did I forget Disneyland?lol Btw, we love the jealousy shown by the haters that go out of their way to tell us were not all that,lol.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:39 AM

      There is zero data that suggests players want to sign because of the big city appeal of NY or LA. The data on free agent signings resoundingly concludes that players want to sign for winners, not big markets. Now, it just so happens that the Lakers have won a few championships in LA, so they are (or perhaps were based on the direction they’re trending) attractive, but why weren’t the Clippers getting big free agent signings. It’s the same city. Beautiful weather, wine country… and losing 50 games a season. Now that the Clippers are winning, players (and coaches) are flocking there.

  14. timb12 - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    Lol at wine country.

    I don’t like how people say he’s not expected to win in Houston, he’s just here to have fun. I live in Houston and I expect the Rockets to compete for a championship. I’m not saying give them the trophy already, but the Houston fans expect some rings out of signing Howard. Their faith might be misplaced, but we didn’t expect him to just bring laughs to the team. We want the Rockets to win and we expect them to.

    • lhollis74 - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:54 AM

      That is precisely the disconnect. Of course you guys should want to win a title, but shouldn’t Howard want that just as much? Pay attention to his words, he says he wants to win, but does the word “championship” ever exit his mouth?

  15. lhollis74 - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    He’s already told us, he just wants to have fun! This is for rockets fans really, Honestly, what percentage of fun do you think he’s having these last few weeks vs. working hard preparing for upcoming season? Trust and believe, your game improves in the offseason, knowing what we all know about him, he’s working but how much vs. playing around with friends in new city without the la pressure?

  16. themagicfanguy - Aug 15, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    @Ihollis74 No. Florida has the most golf courses, not CA.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 15, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      The most golf-mad state in the union, based on per capita golf courses is ….

      North Dakota.

      With one course for every 5,468 people, it is far and away the best served state in terms of course availability.

      The most golf-impoverished state, on the other hand, is California, with one course for every 32,679 people.

      – copy/pasted from

  17. sfsugator - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    who cares

  18. themagicfanguy - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    “Based on per capita”…. That’s not what we said.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 16, 2013 at 1:05 AM

      Florida also has the most overall. I was just linking more information to the discussion. If you clicked the link you would have read the next few sentences and seen that written as well.

  19. arrondior - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Yes, LA is a high pressure town, but I honestly don’t think it’s why Howard left. If you look at the Laker squad, it’s way too old and injury prone. Even if the Lakers are healthy, they just didn’t have the athleticism to emerge from the West even with Howard. Everyone who’s objective can see this. What the Lakers were asking Howard to do was waste another 2-3 years of his life as the team transitioned from a Kobe led franchise to a Howard led franchise. While that is the best possible scenario for the Laker organization, I don’t fault Dwight for wanting to go to a young team with a lot of potential. Oh and by the way it’s a much more laid back atmosphere where he has two of the best big men in NBA history as mentors…

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