Dwight Howard’s exit from the Orlando Magic was anything but graceful, with him publicly going back and forth on whether or not he would stay or go.
After initially demanding to be dealt during the 2012 season, Howard signed a waiver of his early termination option that would prevent him from opting out of the final year of his contract, essentially locking him in with the Magic for one more season.
Things changed once again, however, and ultimately, Howard decided his future was somewhere else. He was eventually traded to the Lakers, of course, where he never wanted to be in the first place and bolted as soon as he got the chance.
What Howard had wanted was to be traded to the Nets, where he would be the centerpiece for an exciting franchise in a new arena where money was no issue for ownership in terms of building a championship roster around him. That ultimately never came to pass, and it stung a bit, considering Howard’s claim that he was promised that a deal to send him to Brooklyn was indeed in the works.
In the summer of 2012, reports emerged that Howard requested a trade from the Magic. Unlike midseason when he didn’t know what would happen, Howard believed his next move was clear.
“I thought the Brooklyn thing was going to come through at the end of the season,” Howard said of a potential trade to the Nets. “It was something that was promised, but it didn’t happen. Once it didn’t happen I figured everything happens for a reason. I just let it go. I was upset for a while, but I just let it go.”
It wasn’t for lack of trying on Brooklyn’s part.
The final offer from the Nets included four future first round draft picks and Brook Lopez in exchange for Howard, but Orlando was more interested in a traditional rebuild than signing up for Lopez on a max deal for the next several seasons.
When the Magic said no, that’s the route Brooklyn opted for instead.
It all worked out in the end for Howard, who finally ended up in the situation of his choosing — even if it took a year of purgatory in Los Angeles to get him to his preferred destination.