Dwight Howard is still trying to influence where he gets traded.
Howard wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets and play with Deron Williams, and to influence that he told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo (and NBC Sports Network) that he would only re-sign to stay with one team.
As the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and other teams prepare possible trade offers for him, Howard told Yahoo! by phone that, “There’s only one team on my list and if I don’t get traded there, I’ll play the season out and explore my free agency after that.”
Howard wouldn’t name the team. Woj’s sources say and pretty much everyone with a working Internet connection knows he is talking Brooklyn.
Howard is trying to scare off other teams. It may work with the Lakers, who would rather work on keeping Andrew Bynum happy and re-signing him than rolling the dice with Howard.
The Rockets, it’s still worth the risk for them. If they trade for him they become instant near contenders and have a year to convince him to stay. If he does they remain at the top of the West. If he leaves them after a year they will fall to the bottom of the league but can rebuild through high draft picks. Either way, they get out of their current spot stuck in the middle of the league, good not great.
Howard also spoke to the report from ESPN that he felt Orlando “blackmailed” him when he opted in for next season and he wanted to be clear about what he told the Magic organization.
“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….
“This was not the first time [that I asked for trade],” Howard said. “I communicated this to [Magic president] Alex [Martins] and [former general manager] Otis [Smith] way before Friday that I wanted to be traded – months before this meeting with Rob Hennigan. That was all way before Stan [Van Gundy] got fired.”
I’m not sure any of that helps his public relations position. Fair or not, he’s going to take a hit in some quarters when this trade goes down, wherever it is.