Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy recently tweeted that Hennigan's final plea to convince Howard to give the organization one last shot was shot down by the star center:
Meeting between Dwight Howard and Rob Hennigan is over. Howard wouldn't drop his trade demand, per source. Magic's last-ditch effort failed.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 25, 2012
Hennigan should have learned that there is no reasoning with a superstar who has become over these last few months one of the most selfish and indecisive that we have seen in recent memory. He tried to reason with Howard a few weeks ago and ask him for a chance, but that request was denied as well (per ESPN).
Even after Hennigan's past failures, he still had a golden opportunity to make this dreadful situation a bit better.
Kennedy went on to tweet a couple of vital pieces of information, that if Hennigan and his team carried out, could have led to Howard changing his mind:
Dwight Howard agreed to meet with the Magic, thinking they'd have a coach and plan to improve roster in place. Today, they had neither.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 26, 2012
Instead, Rob Hennigan wanted to talk things out with Dwight Howard and improve their relationship. Howard was frustrated after the meeting.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 26, 2012
It has become extremely easy to hate Howard throughout this whole process, but this is one time that it is nearly impossible to take Hennigan and company's side.
If someone, on multiple occasions, gave you specific indications as to what your wishes were, would you go to meet with that person and try to change their mind again?
Maybe you would, especially if that person could potentially save your job and make your new employer millions of dollars.
You wouldn't do so without a clear-cut plan, though.
As a general manager, Hennigan made a huge mistake by meeting with Howard to "improve their relationship." It's not surprising that Howard was frustrated because, when somebody is trying to woo you, they should employ an impressive way of doing it.
Hennigan did no such thing. Instead of coming to Howard with a prospective coach and a step-by-step process to surround him with quality talent, he moseyed out to Los Angeles for a nice conversation.
Not to mention, this all could have been avoided if the Magic went through with the prospective deal with the Brooklyn Nets that would have sent numerous quality players, a first-round draft pick and cash in exchange for Howard's services (via Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski).
There is no telling what the Magic may come away with now.
Howard is the one to blame for triggering this elongated process, but the inexperience of Hennigan certainly contributed to the circus act.
The three come from a team-first school of thought, meaning that Hennigan doesn't have much training in dealing with diva superstars of Howard's status. He believed that he could plead his case to a man who hardly knows what he wants in the first place.
Of course, it's impossible to blame this entire debacle on Hennigan. He was thrown into an awful situation that nobody could have schmoozed their way out of.
Now the only thing he—and the rest of the basketball world—can do is wait.