It's over. Dwight Howard is not going to Brooklyn.
In its final proposal, Brooklyn reportedly offered Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, four first round picks and salary cap relief. Considering this offer was approximately 20 cents on the dollar, the Magic were right in turning it down.
First of all, let's talk about Brook Lopez. Despite being one of the league's worst rebounding centers and a major injury risk, he just signed a max contract.
Why would the Magic, a team that has had major cap issues in the past few years, want to take on a contract like that?
Lopez is a fine player to have on a rookie scale contract. At best, he might be worth eight figures. But a maximum salary contract? That's simply wasted money for the Magic. They aren't winning the championship built around Lopez, so there's no point in overpaying a slightly above-average center.
Now let's look at the picks. Four first round picks sounds like a lot, but remember where those picks are coming from. Four first-rounders from a team with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Dwight Howard would probably be in the late 20s.
Those picks have very little value. At best, the Magic might find a starter with those picks, but they'd end up having to overpay him four years down the line in free agency anyway. Draft picks only have value to rebuilding teams when they can bring in good players. Those Nets picks wouldn't.
Next let's talk about who the Magic aren't getting. For reasons that make no sense to me, MarShon Brooks wasn't in that trade.
Brooks is Brooklyn's best young asset. He's locked into a reasonable contract for the next three years and has the potential to be a 20-point scorer.
And the Magic don't get him? That has never made any sense to me, whether in a single trade between Brooklyn and Orlando or in a three- or four-team trade.
The total package here would have been one overpriced and overrated center and a bunch of picks that wouldn't have helped Orlando anyway.
And the Nets get not only Dwight Howard, but useful bench pieces like Jason Richardson and Chris Duhon for such a package?
The Magic made the right call. That offer as well as every other the Nets have made is nowhere near equal value. They were right to turn it down.
Maybe they won't get Andrew Bynum. Maybe Houston won't be able to bring in a major asset to offer the Magic. But we know somebody can offer more than Brooklyn's pu-pu platter.
Dwight Howard is simply too valuable not to bring in real assets. The Magic made the right move in turning down Brooklyn's offer.