Complete Guide to the Never-Ending Dwight Howard Trade Saga

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2012

Complete Guide to the Never-Ending Dwight Howard Trade Saga

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    Dwight Howard is pinnacle of physical fitness, the embodiment of charisma and now, the epitome of all that is wrong with the NBA.

    For those of you who remain interested in the Dwightmare and had the stomach to read past the first two words, you can appreciate how overwhelmingly polarizing this saga has been. We're nothing short of exhausted, and yet, we're forced to suffer through what has become an insufferable soap opera.

    And amid the avalanche of conflicting reports, reversed sentiments and illogical demands, it's easy to forget where the drama originated, where the truth became overrated and where decisiveness became a fallacy.

    Eighteen months—that's nearly how long it's been since the footprints of Howard's self-inflicted demise began, how long it's been since inconclusive angles have become a staple and, most importantly, how long it's been since it all went wrong.   

March 1, 2011: The Then New Jersey Nets Enter the Fold

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    The effort to keep Deron Williams in a Nets jersey began almost immediately after the organization landed him in the February of 2011.

    From there, The Bergen Record went onto to report that—the then New Jersey based—franchise was reportedly prepared to chase a list of big names to entice Williams to stay, a list that Dwight Howard topped.

    Deron Williams has spoken with principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King about their plan and who they will pursue as they prepare for their Brooklyn move after next season.

    Orlando center Dwight Howard tops that list, sources said.

    The Nets want to improve the talent around Williams to get him to sign an extension when he’s eligible over the summer.

    "He definitely talked about that and it gets you excited," Williams said of Prokhorov. "When your owner says he’s going to spend the money and put people around you, that’s definitely appealing.

    "There’s a lot of stuff that appeals to me as far as my future here."

    If they hadn't been already, that's the moment Howard and Williams, and their futures, became intertwined.

    It would be all downhill from here.

March 2, 2011: Strong Words with No True Meaning

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    Almost immediately upon being pushed to the top of the Nets wish list, Dwight Howard was asked about such speculation by a group of New York area news outlets, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.

    His response, while noncommittal, was suggestive, but in a good way for Orlando.

    "Orlando's the most attractive place for me right now," Howard answered, a smile on his face. "They have a sexy new arena, a beautiful franchise, nice banners around here and been in the top four in the Eastern Conference for the past four years. Yes, Orlando's the most attractive place right now."

    And if that wasn't enough, Howard went on to refute the necessity of super teams, seemingly another early victory for the Magic.

    "I don't want to say you have to team up with another great all-star in this league to win a championship. I think it takes a team to win. If you get hot at the right time, it doesn't matter if you've got three all-stars or four. You can still get beat."

    Nothing like a team cornerstone endorsing his team's dynamic. The Magic had a star and pieces to compliment that star. They were a team, and one that Howard backed.

    But not for long.

April 8, 2011: Ric Bucher of ESPN Attempts to Drop a Bomb

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    More than a month after the Nets began to dance around the notion of adding Howard and just before the Magi met—and ultimately lost to—the Hawks in the first round of the 2011 NBA playoffs, Rich Bucher of ESPN attempted to drop a bomb.

    When asked about the possibility of a Howard trade, and where he could land, Bucher offered a handful of tantalizing sentiments.

    "I would expect a Dwight trade this summer or before the next season starts, from what I'm hearing. Rose likes his core because it's the core he has. He's not opposed to the Bulls improving it."

    "Let's put it this way: Dwight should want to go to Chicago and play with Rose. That combo would be Kobe-Shaqesque. But from all I hear, Dwight is looking at LA or NJ. Nothing in between."

    And here we have our first set of conflicting reports. Weeks after Howard brushed aside the concept of super teams, he was reportedly angling toward forming one of his own, somewhere that wasn't Orlando.

    Supposedly.

     

April 24, 2011: Howard Confronts Ric Bucher

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    On the heels of Ric Bucher's suggestive musings, Dwight Howard took the task of disproving the aforementioned assumptions into his own hands.

    According to Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD, prior to the start of Game 4 against the Hawks, Howard confronted the source of the recent rumors himself.

    "Where am I going, so I can tell my agent and my family," the big man asked Bucher.

    Sarcastic, though the question may have been, it offered some potential insight into Howard's future decision.

    Maybe he was indeed leaning toward the Magic. Maybe he wasn't actually searching for a way out. Maybe all this premature speculation would have a happy ending after all.

    Maybe, but probably not. 

April 28, 2011: Magic Postseason Elimination Fuels Howard Speculation

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    After the Magic were eliminated by the Hawks in the first round of the 2011 NBA playoffs, speculation regarding Dwight Howard's future ran wild.

    If Orlando wasn't deep enough to defeat a mediocre Atlanta team, how were they on the precipice of contending for a title?

    It was the earliest elimination for the Magic of Stan Van Gundy's sideline reign, which ultimately led to feelings of uncertainty becoming even more prevalent. The Orlando Sentinel even went as far as to post an interactive Howard jersey selection process—which provided us with the captioned picture—for the 2012 season.

    In a matter of merely weeks, the Howard situation had gone from being laden with optimism to hopeless pessimism.

June 1, 2011: Reports Surface That Howard Is Close to Extension

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    Perhaps the Magic wouldn't have to worry about trading Dwight Howard at all, as a report surface that he was close to signing an extension that would keep him in Orlando for two-years.

    David Pingalore of Orlando's WKMG news station was reportedly told by sources that a deal was "all but signed" by Howard.

    Well, that about wraps all this up then, right?

    Wrong.

June 2, 2011: Howard Refutes Reports of an Extension with Orlando Magic

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    Excitement on the Dwight Howard extension front was short-lived.

    The star center quickly went on to refute such notions to a group of reporters in Birmingham, Alabama, according to Josh Robbins and Daniel Paulling of the Orlando Sentinel.

    Dwight Howard on Thursday shot down an Orlando TV station's report that he will sign a two-year contract extension with the Magic before the current collective bargaining agreement expires on July 1.

    "There's no truth to that," Howard told reporters in Birmingham, Ala., where he spent part of the day working with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild homes damaged by late April's deadly tornados."

    "The biggest thing right now is everybody understands I have one more year left. I'm keeping my options open, but there's no other place I'd rather be than Orlando. I want them to understand that."

    So much for an unimpeded happy ending for the city of Orlando, as this report set the stage for a flurry of unsettling notions that would come next.

June 13, 2011: Howard Officially Admits He Won't Sign Extension

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    Merely one day after the Mavericks were crowned NBA champions, Dwight Howard reaffirmed his commitment to the Magic in the best way he saw fit—by questioning it.

    As if staring down the barrel of an impending lockout wasn't enough, right?

    According to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com, Howard wanted to stay in Orlando, but was prepared to become a free agent in the summer of 2012 nonetheless.

    Dwight Howard reaffirmed his desire to stay with the Magic, but told NBA.com on Monday that he will definitely become a free agent rather than sign an extension in the next year and also left open the possibility he would reconsider his future in Orlando if the team does not win the title next season.

    In a one-on-one interview afterward, though, he made it clear he is not happy with the collective personality of Orlando's roster and that changes need to be made. The same message, he said, was delivered to owner Rich DeVos and CEO Bob Vander Weide in a meeting last week that included Howard sharing thoughts on everything from personnel to fan involvement and arena atmosphere at home games.

    So, less than two months after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, Howard was apparently still committed to the Magic organization, just not the future they had ahead of them.

    And to think, that's not even the worst of it.

     

June 14, 2011: Howard to Lakers Reaches New Heights

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    Immediately after learning Dwight Howard was prepared to enter free agency, speculation of an inevitable move began to pick up even greater steam.

    The thickest source of such steam came Los Angeles, who had an equally gargantuan center with enormous potential to ship to Orlando in Howard's stead. 

    And there were no shortage of endorsements coming from Tinseltown in that regard, as the Lakers were fresh off a horrid postseason display and—in the eyes of many—in dire need of some serious changes.

    Even before parameters of such a deal—or any deal—were even discussed, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times got into specifics.

    The Lakers should trade Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom for Howard and J.J. Redick, and they should do it now, and before you start crying over spilled centers, stuff a black knee brace in it and let me explain.

    Within the odd confines of the current salary cap, the deal works. Within the strange alignment of both team's lineups, the deal fits. Even within the intricacies of the respective cultures, the deal makes complete sense.

    We must place an emphasis on the term "now," here. Plaschke writes it as if it's a fact, as if the Lakers could pull the trigger on such a deal whenever they wanted, as if Howard already gave up on the Magic.

    And yet, this came merely a day after Howard acknowledged his desire to remain in Orlando but also keep his options open.

    Confusing? 

    Perhaps, but you haven't seen anything yet.

October 17, 2011: Dwight Howard Interviews with Esquire Magazine

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    Though the lockout trumped a lot of the Dwight Howard talk—after all, nothing could be done—he still managed to steal the show on at least one notable in occasion.

    In a candid interview with Esquire magazine, Howard expressed his fascination with bigger markets and all that could be done in them.

    "There's more you can do in a bigger place. I'm stuck in a tough position because I feel like right now, where I'm at, I've done so much. And I just don't know what else I can do. I can't live for everybody else. I don't know what decision I'm gonna make as of right now. It's been crazy. Everybody wants me to come here, come play here, come to our team, do this. It's a great feeling, though, to be wanted."

    So, somehow, between June and October—without any major developments in between—Howard went from preferring to stay in Orlando, to believing there was nothing else he could do with the Magic.

    And here, ladies and gentleman, we have the Dwightmare growing up, into a full-fledged irrational soap opera, right before our eyes.

November 30, 2011: Nets Make First Post-Lockout Push for Howard

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    Less than a week after the NBA lockout officially ended, the eventually Brooklyn-bound Nets made the first legitimate push to acquire Dwight Howard.

    According to Marc Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN.com, the Nets were preparing an offer aimed at prying Howard away from the Magic as soon as possible.

    The New Jersey Nets are prepared to offer a trade package featuring Brook Lopez and two future first-round picks to acquire Dwight Howard before the Orlando Magic center becomes a free agent in July 2012, according to sources close to the situation.

    Sources told ESPN.com this week that, to sweeten the proposal, New Jersey would likewise offer to take back the contract of Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu, who has three seasons left on his contract worth just under $35 million.

    The Nets wasted no time in their pursuit of Howard, undoubtedly—at the very least—attempting to show Deron Williams that they were at least committed to chasing other big names, regardless of the result, which proved to be fruitless here.

    And to think, if the Magic had only pulled the trigger on this deal, your eyes wouldn't be glued to this particular screen right now.

December 2nd, 2011: Matt Barnes with an Eye into Howard's Future?

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    Everyone wants to board the Dwight Howard prediction train, even Matt Barnes.

    Back in December, Andy Kamenetzky of ESPN Los Angeles was kind enough to provide us with a bold soundbite, courtesy of Barnes himself.

    "You know, I've been hearing [rumors about] Dwight," acknowledged Barnes. "I've been hearing [rumors about] Baron [Davis in the event of getting amnestied]. I've been hearing stuff a lot lately. I've talked to both of those guys and they wanna be here, so we'll see what happens."

    Not to discredit the lockdown defender that is Barnes, but Baron Davis wound up going elsewhere, so that's not exactly a great sign for the Lakers.

    And perhaps that's why Barnes has failed to sign with an NBA team this summer. Maybe he's waiting on a resolution to Howard's self-induced soap opera before he makes a decision.

    Well, let's hope he's a patient man.

December 6, 2011: Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide Resigns

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    As reported by Dave Pingalore of Orlando's WKMG news station, longtime Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide resigned on the heels of a late night, potentially intoxicated phone call to Dwight Howard.

    Vander Weide eventually admitted to the Bright House Sports Network (via that FoxNews.com) that he had indeed been drinking when he called Howard at 1:00 a.m. to let him know he wanted him to stay in Orlando.

    "Maybe Dwight thought it was inappropriate to talk business after a couple of glasses of wine... Maybe I should have waited until the morning," Vander Weide told BHSN Tuesday.

    Howard, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, is expected to be courted by several teams across the league.

    Vander Weide did not cite the late-night mishap as a deciding factor to his resignation, adding he and Howard maintain "a very good relationship."

    Alex Martins was named his replacement and, despite what Vander Weide says about maintaining a "very good relationship," with Howard, the Dwightmare had claimed its personnel victim.

    And now, more than ever, it seemed the Magic were clinging to a hope that just wasn't there anymore.

December 10, 2011: Howard Officially Requests Trade to Nets

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    After months of posturing and beating around the bush, Dwight Howard officially requested a trade to the Nets in early December, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

    Orlando Magic superstar Dwight Howard has requested a trade to the New Jersey Nets, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Saturday.

    Orlando GM Otis Smith has made it clear that he will trade Howard wherever the Magic get the best possible package, but the fact that Howard is willing to sign a five-year, $109 million extension with New Jersey makes it likely that the Nets can be the most aggressive in offering an attractive package. New Jersey has been pursuing possible third-team partners to strengthen the offer for Howard, front-office sources tell Y! Sports.

    Though Lakers had long been considered the favorites to land Howard, Wojnarowski notes a number of factors, including Howard's reluctance to follow "the same career path as Shaquille O'Neal," as to why the big man prefers the Nets.

    And with this trade request came the end to the empty banter; there was no way around it now—Howard officially wanted out of Orlando.

     

December 14, 2011: A Four-Team Trade and a Four-Team Wish List

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    Merely days after Dwight Howard's official trade request, the Nets upped their pursuit of the All-Star center, pursuing a four-team blockbuster trade, as reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

    However, around the same time as Nets GM Billy King could be found attempting to "satisfy Orlando's demands for Howard", Chris Broussard of ESPN the Magazine reported the big man had put together a short four-team wish list.

    The "wish list" consisted of four teams Howard was willing to sign an extension with, and included the Lakers, Mavericks, Nets and Magic.

    While the aforementioned list still provided the Magic with hope or retaining Howard, it also severely limited their trade options moving forward.

    Or so they thought. 

December 22, 2011: Brook Lopez Fractues Foot and Nets Chances at Landing Howard

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    Three-days before the start of the lockout-shortned season, the Nets announced that Brook Lopez—the centerpiece of any Dwight Howard package—would undergo surgery to repair a fractured right foot.

    The news was devastating to both the Nets and Howard.

    Not only were Deron Williams and company down a big man, but their chances of landing Howard without being able to use Lopez as bait were slim to none. This came as an obvious blow to Howard, as New Jersey was his preferred destination, but he did have other options, the Nets did not.

    All New Jersey could do was sit tight, hope Lopez made a full recovery and that Howard wasn't dealt from the Magic before he did.

December 28, 2011: The Magic Dictate Terms of Their Own

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    Dwight Howard had been calling all the shots with regard to his future in Orlando, until the Magic set guidelines of their own for what they wanted in exchange for their star.

    According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Magic were not necessarily interested in an array of youth, but rather, established players that could keep the team competitive.

    A picture of what the Magic will ultimately expect in a swap for their defensive anchor has indeed begun to emerge, with sources briefed on Orlando's thinking telling ESPN.com this week that the Magic does not plan to hold out for youth and draft picks as the league-owned New Orleans Hornets were ordered to do in the Chris Paul sweepstakes. The Magic, sources say, would instead prefer to bring back multiple established veterans who can keep the team competitive. 

    Stein, meanwhile, also revealed that the Hawks had attempted to enter the mix for Howard, with a package built around the overpaid Joe Johnson.

    Sources told ESPN.com that the aforementioned Hawks, meanwhile, engaged Orlando in trade talks for Howard earlier this month with an offer believed to be headlined by $124 million guard Joe Johnson and swingman Josh Smith. You have to figure that the Magic, though, would insist on Al Horford if such discussions ever got serious. 

    So, after weeks of knowing what Howard wanted, we finally became privy to what the Magic themselves wanted, opening doors that we had originally believed to be closed.

January 2nd, 2012: Jermaine Dupri Gets Involved

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    Countless media pundits have attempted to capitalize off the Dwight Howard saga, none more puzzling than the music mogul Jermaine Dupri.

    Dupri tweeted January 2, 2012 that a Howard to Nets deal would be "finalized in the next" 48 hours, duping more people than most would care to admit.

    Almost needless to say, without a healthy Brook Lopez, such information—if you could call it that—was absolute nonsense.

    Not unlike a majority of Howard's actions over the last 18 months.

January 5, 2012: Golden State Warriors Emerge as Suitor for Howard

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    Despite the Warriors being conveniently absent from Dwight Howard's list of preferred destinations, the team would still aggressively pursue a deal that would land him with Golden State, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

    As the Orlando Magic consider deals for Dwight Howard, the Golden State Warriors have emerged as aggressive suitors for the NBA’s best center, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

    Golden State management is willing to take Howard as a one-season “rental,” with the hope of selling him on signing a long-term deal before he enters free agency this summer. Like most teams, Golden State has inquired with Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith, but the Magic have yet to commit to aggressively pursuing a trade of Howard.

    And thus, the concept of renting Howard was born.

     

January 8, 2012: An 80 Percent Chance Howard Stays in Orlando?

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    No, it couldn't be. Could it?

    Though it seemed that Dwight Howard's time in Orlando was all but over, Dave Pingalore of Orlando's WKMG news station was hearing otherwise.

    Local 6 Sports Director David Pingalore has learned that Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard may be rethinking his trade request.

    In December, Howard told the Magic he would want to be traded to either the New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks or Los Angeles Lakers.

    Pingalore's sources confirmed that Howard would rather stay in Orlando, and the sources said that it's an "80 percent" chance Howard stays.

    Talk about a complete flip-flop.

    The report also goes on to state that Howard was "heavily recruiting" Deron Williams to join him in Orlando.

    As if we weren't supposed to take this development with a grain of salt already.

     

January 10, 2012: Magic Not Interested in Amar'e Stoudemire for Howard

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    After a mediocre start to the season for the star-laden Knicks, Amar'e Stoudemire's name began to broach the Dwight Howard rumor mill before being quickly squashed by HOOPSWORLD's Steve Kyler.

    Now there are reports of the Knicks having interest in Orlando’s Dwight Howard, with Stoudemire again being the name mentioned as trade bait.

    First, the Magic have ZERO interest in Stoudemire according to sources close to the situation.

    Second, the Knicks and Magic have had almost no contact on the trade front.

    You're telling me the Magic weren't interested in assuming an uninsured contract that had over $80 million left on it at the time?

    Color me surprised.

January 16, 2012: Howard Expands Wish List

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    Less than two months prior to the truncated season's trade deadline, Dwight Howard expanded his infamous four-team wish list to five teams.

    Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com reportedly learned that the Clippers were now the fourth team outside of Orlando that Howard would consider signing an extension with.

    Dwight Howard now has a fourth team on his wish list: The Los Angeles Clippers.

    SheridanHoops.com learned exclusively Monday that Howard recently expanded his list of preferred future destinations, adding the Clippers to a list that already included the Nets, the Mavericks and the Lakers.

    “He’s been watching them a lot. He’s intrigued by the Clippers,” said the source, who is privy to the trade talks that have taken place between all of the aforementioned teams.

    How could Howard not be intrigued by the Clippers? They boasted the likes of two All-Stars in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, at least one of whom it would take to put Howard in a Clippers uniform, thus diminishing some of his "interest."

    Do we chalk such a sentiment up to illogical thinking on Howard's part or the misguided use of the oft-incorrect anonymous sources?

     

January 17, 2012: Howard Denies Adding Clippers to Wish List

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    Let's chalk up Chris Sheridan's report to the use of oft-incorrect anonymous sources, shall we?

    Almost immediately after Dwight Howard was believed to have added the Clippers to his wish list, the center himself denied doing so, according to Josh Robbins and Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel.

    Dwight Howard dismissed a report that he has placed the Los Angeles Clippers onto his list of preferred destinations.

    Magic General Manager Otis Smith said Howard's camp has not informed him that the superstar center has expanded his list of preferred destinations beyond the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Jersey Nets.

    Smith also said the Magic also have not granted permission to Howard's agent to speak with any teams in addition to the Mavericks, Lakers and Nets.

    So much for the impossible forming of a Howard, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul trio, huh?

     

     

January 23, 2012: Magic Reportedly Contact Knicks

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    Less than two weeks after a potential Howard to the Knicks scenario was all but squashed, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith apparently heard different.

    Smith, on his radio show, reported (via ESPNNewYork.com) that the Magic had, in fact, contacted the Knicks about a potential Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire for Dwight Howard swap.

    Magic GM Otis Smith has reportedly given Howard's agent permission to speak with the Nets, Lakers and Mavericks about possible trades. 

    But Smith reported on ESPN New York 1050 on Sunday that the Magic have also talked with New York about a possible transaction involving Howard for Stoudemire and Chandler.

    "I will preface my statement by telling you that [the Magic] have categorically denied this, but my sources tell me that they have inquired about Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire going to Orlando for Dwight Howard," Smith said.

    So, all of a sudden, the Magic were interested in obtaining two arguably overpaid big men, one whom's contract was uninsured?

    While we can't doubt Orlando's obligation to do its due diligence, we can acknowledge this deal made little sense for all parties potentially involved and had almost zero chance of happening.

    Another winner, Stephen A.

     

     

February 6, 2012: Kobe Bryant Diminishes Lakers' Chances of Landing Howard

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    Dwight Howard's affinity for the Lakers apparently wasn't as strong as we originally thought.

    According to Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM, Howard was turned off at the idea of becoming the third offensive option behind Bryant and Pau Gasol.

    Bryant told Howard that he wanted him to come to Los Angeles and help him win two more championships, but not as an understudy. He wanted Howard to be the team's third option behind himself and Pau Gasol, according to a source. Bryant tried to sell Howard on being his "Tyson Chandler" and made it clear that Los Angeles would be his, but only once Bryant decided he was done playing. 

    Howard was turned off by the idea.

    Didn't anyone ever tell Kobe you're not supposed to divulge everything on a first date?

    While Gasol didn't appear ready to open Howard with welcome arms, Bryant's fiercely demoralizing comments significantly damaged the Lakers chances at acquiring Howard.

    For the time being, anyway.

February 22, 2012: Home Sweet Home?

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    All was quiet—or rather, relatively quiet—on the Dwight Howard to Nets trade front until his final appearance at the Prudential Center fueled a wave of speculation.

    Actually, strike that, Howard himself fueled the wave of speculation, offering strong sentiments—courtesy of the Associated Press—on the warm welcome he received from Nets fans.

    "I just have fun with it. It's a humbling experience," Howard said. "I wish more people can see how it feels to go into another arena and have big faces and posters, it's a humbling experience. It's a blessing. I've been to every arena and it feels good to have a great reception, not only here but everywhere I go. And like I said, it's humbling and I really appreciate it."

    The buck didn't stop there, as Howard essentially squashed the notion—via Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com—that we was worried about the recruiting process or how LeBron James was now perceived.

    "You have to make a decision that's best for you," said Howard, adding that he's not concerned about the recruiting process. "I think what a lot of people were upset about was the fact that he did it on TV. But I think everybody's entitled to make their own decision. You have to do what you want to do with your life and he did it. I felt bad for the way he did it and how it looked it on TV. But that's LeBron. Right now, he's playing basketball and becoming a better person."

    Though Howard had resisted the urge to become even more public with his demands at this point, his comments leave nothing to be misinterpreted.

    He wanted to become a member of the Nets just as much as New Jersey and impending Brooklyn fans wanted him to.

February 26, 2012: Magic to Pursue Steve Nash

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    In an attempt to assemble a supporting cast that would push Dwight Howard to remain with the Magic, then GM Otis Smith was prepared to make a strong push for Steve Nash prior to the March 15 trade deadline.

    This was the first of numerous forms of wishful thinking on Orlando's part.

    The reason that Howard was so reluctant to stay—or so he would have us believe—was the Magic had very little assets. So, how would Orlando acquire a point guard like Nash, without the ability to offer the Suns adequate talent or cap relief in return?

    It's simple, it wouldn't.

     

February 27, 2012: Lakers Back in the Mix

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    By the end of February, Kobe Bryant reportedly hadn't killed the Lakers pursuit of Dwight Howard, according to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel.

    There's a rumor circulating involving Howard, where the deal actually will come down March 1.

    It goes something like this: The Magic send Howard, SF Hedo Turkoglu and Nelson to the Lakers; the Magic receive Bynum and Gasol. The salaries are close to matching up, making the deal work.

    A third team, the Toronto Raptors, could be part of the deal or in a separate trade with the Magic, sending PG José Calderon to Orlando.

    While such a deal never materialized, it served as a true testament to Los Angeles' interest in Howard.

    Regardless of what Bryant or Howard said, the Lakers were not prepared to drop out of the sweepstakes completely.

     

     

February 29, 2012: Monta Ellis to the Magic?

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    The Magic's never-ending attempt to assemble a supporting cast worthy of Dwight Howard signing an extension brought them to the Warriors doorstep.

    According to Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM, Orlando and Golden State began discussions on a deal that would land the high-scoring Monta Ellis in a Magic uniform.

    While Ellis was surely a talent that would have intrigued Howard, the same issue that applied to Orlando's pursuit of Steve Nash, applied here.

    How were the Magic supposed to get this deal done, especially considering the Warriors had their eye on acquiring Howard?

    What a great question.

March 5, 2012: Brook Lopez Strikes Agains

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    Brook Lopez continued his battle against his right foot just prior to the trade deadline.

    Lopez sprained his right ankle at the beginning of March, which would sideline him for three weeks.

    That made him eligible to return after the March 15 trade deadline, thereby rendering a deal for Dwight Howard almost impossible to be struck.

    And here we thought this plot couldn't withstand anymore twist and turns. 

March 12, 2012: Howard Not Prepared to Join Bulls

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    With the Magic being less than impressed with what other teams had to offer, the team seriously wished to engage the Bulls in trade discussions for their prized center.

    But Dwight Howard wasn't having it.

    According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, Howard's reluctance to commit to a long term deal with Chicago all but killed the possibility of him winding up alongside Derrick Rose.

    The Orlando Magic would like to seriously engage the Bulls in trade talks for Dwight Howard, but the All-Star center's apparent reluctance to make a long-term commitment to Chicago has all but killed the discussions, league sources told CBSSports.com.

    Magic executives are said to be unimpressed with the assets Howard's three preferred teams could provide in a trade, prompting them to engage in a calculated campaign to expand the field of potential suitors beyond the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers. But the team that can make the strongest case for Orlando to depart from its risky strategy of holding onto Howard are the Bulls, who could offer 7-footer Omer Asik, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer for Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, sources said. The Bulls also could offer a valuable first-round pick from Charlotte -- top-14 protected in this year's draft but but unprotected by 2016.

    At about the same time, though, RealGM was reporting that the Magic were linked to a three-team trade that would have landed Monta Ellis in Orlando. Whether talks simply fell apart or had no traction to begin with, though, a deal never materialized and Ellis was shipped off to Milwaukee shortly thereafter. 

    Oh well, the soap opera must go on.

March 15, 2012: Howard Waives Early Termination Option

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    After flip-flopping on whether or not to waive his Early Termination Option (ETO), ESPN's Chris Broussard reported that Dwight Howard ultimately elected to do so.

    By waiving his right to opt out, it ensured that Howard would remain with the Magic for the rest of the season, and most likely beyond, right?

    After all, he wouldn't have elected to stay if he didn't intend on making it permanent, right?

    You'd certainly think so, but that simply didn't turn out to be the case.

April 5, 2012: After a Short Hiatus, the Dwightmare Returns

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    Shortly after the trade deadline came and went, then Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy came forward with some not-so-shocking information—that Dwight Howard wanted him fired.

    And per Ian O'Connor of ESPNNewYork.com, Van Gundy's sources were credible as you can get.

    Stan Van Gundy said he knows his franchise player, Dwight Howard, has asked that he be fired as coach of the Orlando Magic, and get this: Van Gundy claimed his sources are better than any reporter's.

    "I was told it was true by people in our management," Van Gundy said Thursday, just hours before the Magic lost to the New York Knicks96-80. "So right from the top."

    Howard then entered the scene unaware of what he was walking into.

    Clearly unaware of the stunning claim Van Gundy had made, Howard suddenly appeared at his side and put his right arm around the coach.

     "Stan, we're not worried about that, right?" Howard asked.

    "That's what I just said," Van Gundy responded. "We've got to be worried about winning games."

    Once Van Gundy walks away, though, Howard is immediately confronted about what his coach just said.

    A day after denying to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard in a text message that he wanted his coach out, Howard appeared taken aback when informed of Van Gundy's disclosure. The center asked reporters to cite the source for the claim, and reporters kept reminding him that his coach had offered confirmation.

    "I haven't said nothing to anybody," Howard said in the text message Wednesday to Broussard. "My main focus is that me and Stan and the team are on the same page for the playoffs. Whatever happens at the end of the season is up to the management."

    So much for Orlando becoming a safe haven from another batch of soap operas.

     

     

     

April 20, 2012: Howard Shut Down for Season

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    After suffering a herniate disk, Dwight Howard was forced to undergo season-ending back surgery.

    As with all things Howard, there was supposedly much more than met the eye to his injury, some going as far as claiming that he faked the injury to intentionally hurt the team he was now dissatisfied with.

    This was undoubtedly something Howard took exception to, as he almost immediately conveyed to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

    "It hurts (emotionally)," Howard told ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard. "That's the first thing -- it hurts. And then with people saying and thinking I'm quitting on my team. This is a real issue. I tried to play through it and it just made my back worse."

    You know you've tarnished you're imaged when you can't even injured in peace.

April 24, 2012: Here We Go Again

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    Shortly after Dwight Howard shut down for the season, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported that the star center would once again request a trade from the Magic upon postseason's end.

    "The minute this season is over, according to what I am hearing from his camp, you can expect Dwight Howard to tell Orlando. 'Get me out of here. I don't want to be here any longer.' You've got Stan Van Gundy annoyed with the organization. You've got Dwight Howard disgusted with the organization. The way he's been treated, along with the way his teammates have been AWOL on him as far as he's concerned. You've got a problem."

    Apparently, waiving his Early Termination Option had done nothing to satisfy his teammates, or Howard himself. Subsequently, the only thing left to do was to attempt to force his way out of Orlando.

    Again. 

     

May 9, 2012: Magic Give Howard an Ultimatum

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    After growing tired of the uncertainty the became associated with Dwight Howard, Magic CEO Alex Martins gave the big man an ultimatum, according to David Baumann of Bright House Sports Network.

    After Orlando's season game to a close in Tuesday night's loss to the Pacers in Game 5, Magic CEO Alex Martins sounded like there will not be a repeat of the drama the team went through for most of this season.

    "If he decides not to sign an extension, then we're going to make decisions necessary so we don't go through a season like we went through this year," Martins said.

    When prodded if he meant he would trade Howard if he didn't sign a long-term deal, Martins added, "We'll cross that bridge when we get there but our number one goal is to get him to sign an extension this summer."

    Orlando was merely minutes into its offseason and already Howard's future was making headlines, an occurrence only the Dwightmare warrants.

    While Martins was undoubtedly attempting to force Howard into some kind of action, the team's ultimatum did little, if anything, to affect Howard. 

May 21, 2012: So Long Stan and Otis, and Howard Too?

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    After months of uncertainty, the Magic finally relieved Stan Van Gundy of his coaching duties and agreed to part ways with GM Otis Smith.

    The Magic fired coach Stan Van Gundy on Monday and agreed to part ways with general manager Otis Smith, severing ties with two of the architects of one of the most successful runs in franchise history.

    Smith and Van Gundy's relationship with Howard was the centerpiece of drama the team faced all season, and following their second straight first-round playoff exit, CEO Alex Martins said the shift was warranted.

    "It's time for a new leadership and a new approach," Martins said at a news conference to discuss the moves. "We simply came to the decision that we were not on the right track."

    Many had hoped—and even believed—that the departures of Smith and Van Gundy paved the way for Howard to remain in Orlando.

    But it didn't, as it came alongside a report from Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com that stated Howard "desperately wants to be traded prior to the start of next season."

    There's simply no pleasing this guy, is there?

     

June 6, 2012: There's Hope Yet?

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    Perhaps Dwight Howard remains fond of Orlando and actually isn't seeking a trade after all. Or at least, that's what a source reportedly told WESH 2 News' Larry Ridley.

    In an interview with WESH 2 News sports anchor Larry Ridley, the source said Howard is bothered by the hit his image has taken since this season's trade rumors and problems with Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy.

    The source said Howard is "hurt by all the negativity surrounding him (and) doesn't understand why he's blamed for everything that happens inside the (Magic) organization."

    Howard is continuing his rehabilitation in Los Angeles, and the source said he's waiting to see how the Magic improves.

    As much of Orlando may want to believe that Howard still possesses a shred of loyalty or dignity, the fact is that such a report had to be taken with a grain of salt and a handle of whiskey.

    Given all we know, how is it that Howard is, in fact, still on the fence about remaining with the Magic? This is one of those reports we simply cannot buy into.

    Nothing like re-instilling a sense of false hope into a potentially broken fanbase, is there?

June 30, 2012: Howard Implies Blackmail and Reiterates Trade Demands

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    In a meeting that Dwight Howard had with newly-instated Orlando GM Rob Hennigan, the franchise big man reportedly reiterated his wish to be traded to the Nets, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

    Broussard took it one-step further in an ensuing report, though, stating that Howard felt he had been "blackmailed" into staying.

    Howard picked up the option for the final year of his contract with Orlando on March 15. But since then he has grown increasingly disgruntled with the organization, even telling people close to him that he feels the Magic "blackmailed" him into signing the "opt-in" clause. However, some who know Howard say he used the word "blackmailed" incorrectly and simply feels the Magic made promises that have not been kept to get him to sign.

    What many had hoped to be a repaired marriage, now appeared more broken than ever, as trickery and deceit were added to the list of this saga's offenses.

    Most importantly, though, such sentiments ensured that Howard's soap opera was about to gain some serious traction once again.

July 1, 2012: Magic Hold Trade Discussions with Lakers, Nets and Rockets

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    Upon learning—once again—of Dwight Howard's intention to abandon ship, the Magic helped tip off the NBA's free agency period by holding preliminary trade discussions, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

    The Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic have had preliminary contact about a possible deal for All-Star center Dwight Howard, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

     Orlando officials are willing to discuss trades for Howard, and the Lakers have been one of the teams in touch with them over the weekend, sources said. The Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets have also talked to Magic officials, sources said.

    At the time, the Lakers, Nets and Rockets were the three teams with the most to offer the Magic, so their docket of conversations made sense. And so did their decision to move Howard swiftly.

    At least that's what we thought, until we realized nothing about this saga would ever move swiftly.

    And so, the saga continued.

July 2, 2012: Howard Never Cried Blackmail

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    In one swift motion, Dwight Howard reiterated his trade demand while putting the rumor of his supposed blackmail to bed.

    According to our good friend Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Howard never used the word "blackmail" nor was he prepared to sign an extension with a team other than Brooklyn.

    Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard told Yahoo! Sports he will not re-sign with a team outside his preferred list that trades for him, and emphatically denied that he ever used the term "blackmail" to describe how Magic officials convinced him to waive his early termination option.

    "I never used the word blackmail in reference to any of my dealings with the Magic," Howard said. “I never said that. It’s defamatory and it’s inaccurate. I know what blackmail means and any report that I used the term incorrectly is inaccurate."

    While it's refreshing to know that Howard supposedly hasn't resorted accusing the Magic of blackmail, can we actually believe him?

    I mean, his sentiments over the past year and a half haven't exactly proved truthful, have they?

July 8, 2012: Magic and Nets Closing in on Deal?

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    Dwight Howard may finally be on the move. Or so we were led to believe.

    On the heels of a report by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski that noted Bynum had not agreed to sign an extension with the Magic, the Nets found a third team—the Cavaliers—to help facilitate the trade and take on Bynum.

    And such efforts appeared to be working.

    According to Jarrod Randolph of RealGM, the Magic and Nets were closing in on a deal that would land the All-Star center in Brooklyn.

    Once again, though, the potential deal fell through and all parties involved were forced back to the drawing board.

July 11, 2012: Howard Negotiations Heat Up...Again

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    After accusations of blackmail, the Magic had no choice but to pursue trades, which they ultimately did, with multiple teams, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

    Though Orlando had no shortage of suitors, any deal would still be extremely complicated, which is why negotiations trudged on, characterized best as hot-and-cold.

    That said, optimism remained prevalent throughout the NBA that a deal could ultimately be struck and that an end would be put to this Howard saga once and for all.

    How did that work out?

July 14, 2012: Lakers Closing in on Howard?

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    What didn't work for the Nets, may work for the Lakers.

    Or maybe not.

    With the Nets having re-signed Brook Lopez, the door was left wide-open for the Lakers to swoop-in and pry Howard from the Magic.

    According to HOOPSWORLD's Alex Kennedy, Los Angeles was constructing the framework of a three-team deal that would have landed Howard in purple and gold, with the Cavaliers once again being the third party involved.

    The parameters of the deal appeared promising, but let's be honest, it would hardly be keeping in theme with the soap opera if the trigger was actually pulled on a potential deal.

    Almost needless to say, the Lakers' attempt proved just as futile as the Nets'.

July 16, 2012: Dwight Howard Takes on Twitter

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    As if Dwight Howard hasn't had enough negative publicity to last a lifetime, he apparently deemed it pertinent to convey his dissatisfaction with the Magic via Twitter.

    Luckily, for Howard's sake, the messages he sent to an Amway Arena employee by the name of Markee Randolph weren't public, until Randolph himself made them public, that is.

    The messages essentially displaced any blame on Howard's shoulders for this entire soap opera onto that of the Magic franchise's.

    Somehow, it doesn't seem like Howard was doing himself any good here.

    And it must be noted, these are messages he allegedly sent. He could, in fact, be completely innocent as well.

    I'll let you decide.

July 23, 2012: Magic Suspend Trade Talks, May Hold onto Howard for Entire Season

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    After the Nets had re-signed Brook Lopez and nothing else significant had materialized, the Magic appeared willing to sit on Dwight Howard as long as they deemed prudent, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

    The Orlando Magic have told rival executives that they might not trade Dwight Howard after all, according to league sources.

    An executive who has had discussions with the Magic regarding Howard said Orlando only will trade the star center in a deal that is great for the franchise. The executive said this has been Orlando's stance for the past "week or so."

    Such news is both painful and puzzling. After all this time, how could the Magic simply hold onto Howard? Even if it was only until February, that ensures another half-year of the Dwightmare, and why would Orlando want to subject itself to that.

    Surely, like Howard has time and time again, the Magic would change their stance, right?

July 25, 2012: Howard Refuses to Reverse Decision...for Once

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    Otis Smith may have failed to appeal to the sentimental side of Dwight Howard, but that doesn't Rob Hennigan would.

    Except that he did.

    After suspending Howard talks and n a whole-hearted attempt to do his due diligence, Hennigan attempted once more to convince Howard to remain in Orlando, a tactic that was met with an unwavering response, according Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

    Howard continues to rule out a future with the Magic, and wants a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers before the start of the season, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

    "Dwight remained unchanged in his want to be traded," a source with knowledge of the meeting said. "And he has no intention of signing another contract extension with Orlando."

    Well, you cannot blame Hennigan for trying, no matter how futile his efforts proved to be.

    Now when looking back at least, the Magic can say without a doubt they did everything in their power to keep Howard in Orlando.

     

July 27, 2012: Howard Complicates Situation in Orlando

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    No wonder the Magic suspended Dwight Howard trade talks.

    With Brooklyn seemingly out of the immediate picture, Howard reportedly set his sights on signing with the Mavericks next summer, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

    "Without a deal that would deliver him to the Lakers in the near future, sources said Howard wants Henningan to revisit trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets in January, when center Brook Lopez is eligible to be traded. If deals don't surface with the Lakers or Nets, Howard plans to sign with the Dallas Mavericksas a free agent in the summer of 2013.

    While the Lakers and Nets won't have the salary cap space to sign Howard, nor the opportunity to execute a sign-and-trade deal under new CBA rules, the Mavericks will be flush with cap space next summer. Mavs owner Mark Cuban plans to make a run at Howard, and potentially another star player, to join Dirk Nowitzki."

    Though Howard has remained firm in his assertion that he wouldn't sign an extension with any team other than the Nets, the hope was that he would loosen his stance with them out of the picture.

    But that simply wasn't the case, as Howard has his sights set on either a January departure or a union with the Mavericks next summer.

    For those wondering, that's how you kill a player's market value—by reaffirming an explicit list of intentions.

July 29, 2012: Howard Finally on the Move?

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    As it turns out, the latest twist in the Dwight Howard plot indicates that we might see him get dealt soon.

    According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, the Magic may not opt to sit on Howard much longer.

    With Dwight Howard reiterating his wish to be traded, multiple league sources predict  the Orlando Magic will again step up efforts to find their All-Star center a new team. 

    Several of those sources told FOX Sports Ohio on Saturday they believe Howard could be traded by the end of next week.

    The news is both comforting and meaningless as the same time.

    While it's refreshing to know that a Howard deal could be in the works, this toes along the same lines of everything else we have been hearing for over year.

    So, when will this all end?

    Your guess is as good as mine, and quite possibly better than the let's-throw-rumors-against-the-wall-and-hope-they-stick sentiments of Mr. Amico.