Dwight Howard Blew His Chance to Join Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets

Sam QuinnContributor IIIJune 27, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 06:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic grimmaces during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Amway Center on February 6, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

For what seems like the twelve billionth time, we are hearing that Dwight Howard wants to be traded to the Nets before tomorrow's draft.

Well Dwight, it is my personal pleasure to tell you that it's not going to happen. You had your chance to team up with Deron Williams, and you blew it the moment you decided to opt into the final year of your contract.

Before I get into explaining why a Williams-Howard tandem probably isn't happening, I feel like I should explain why I'm so happy about this.

What Dwight Howard has spent the last year doing is worse than anything LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony or any other destined-to-leave superstar has ever done.

He's making it perfectly clear that he wants no part of the Orlando Magic, yet still imposing his will enough to get one of the league's best head coaches in Stan Van Gundy fired. 

He's talking to other teams while still under contract with the Magic. He is essentially airing his own version of "The Decision," but doing it on a daily basis.

He's not even doing it because he wants to win, he's doing it because he wants to play in a big market. If I were an Orlando fan I'd be completely insulted. Heck, I live in New York and I'm insulted by this. 

The moment he panicked and opted in with the Magic, he lost his chance to team up with Deron Williams in Brooklyn.

Why? Because Deron Williams must realize by now that the Nets are one of the worst run teams in the league. He has spent the last year of his career watching them do things like trading the sixth pick in a six player draft for less than two months of Gerald Wallace. 

Why would he choose to waste another year of his prime in Brooklyn when he could go back to his home town and play for one of the best run organizations in the league? 

If Dwight were coming now then he might have a reason to stay, but why wait another year to compete when he can right now?

When the Magic feared Dwight bolting for Brooklyn in the summer the Nets had leverage, but now that Deron Williams may leave they have absolutely none. Without Williams the Nets aren't going to be able to lure Dwight Howard, so the Magic don't have to bother with their paltry trade offers.

Here's the really interesting part. With the Nets no longer a viable option, Dwight suddenly doesn't have a big market team to sign with.

The Knicks are locked into a core of Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. Ditto with the Lakers, except with Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and whoever they trade Pau Gasol for.

The Clippers could opt to clear the decks for a shot to pair Howard with Chris Paul, but that would mean letting go of Blake Griffin, which Donald Sterling won't do. 

Even if Howard were interested in the Bulls, they won't have the cap space to sign him considering the upcoming extensions they're planning for Taj Gibson and Omer Asik combined with the big money they already have committed to Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. 

Howard could try to follow Williams to Dallas, but unless they can find a taker for Brendan Haywood or Shawn Marion (which is unlikely) they won't have the money to pay him a maximum contract.

Any of these teams could try to get Howard via a sign-and-trade, but none of them have any leverage.

Since Howard can't sign with any of them outright, Howard's team would simply have to play chicken with him and say, "Ok Dwight, if you really want to go to Brooklyn alone be my guest, but we don't think you'd turn down an extra $25 million from us to do it, so we're not facilitating a sign-and-trade. That means you're staying with us, or signing with a bad, small-market team that happens to have cap space."

I think Houston's GM Daryl Morey realizes this, and that's why he's making such a strong push for Howard. He knows that if he can somehow get Howard to Houston he'll have nowhere else to go as a free agent and will be forced to stay. 

Whether it's Houston or Orlando, I think Deron Williams heading to Dallas means that whoever has Howard at the beginning of next year's offseason is going to get to keep him long term, he just doesn't have any other options. 

There's just no way he'd go to a Toronto or Detroit or a Williams-less Brooklyn. 

Howard blew his chance to go to a big market team at the trade deadline. Now he'll either have to stay with Orlando, stay with the team that "rents" him, or go to a bad team on his own.

As a fan who hates superstars who consider themselves above the game, I couldn't be happier.