In a lengthy discussion with Ryan Ruocco on ESPN Radio, Stephen A. Smith said Thursday that Dwight Howard still believes he will wind up in Brooklyn, despite the impediments, and that while he might be "delusional," it is not impossible. Smith added, the Nets would have to "capitulate" and the Lakers would have to be "convinced" Howard is going to leave before any deal can even be discussed.
Among the other points made by Smith in discussing Howard's current situation last March's trade deadline debacle:
--Howard told Rudy Gay that he "messed up" by getting traded to Toronto, that he "should have waited and ended up with me in Brooklyn." (One problem with that, however: Smith said Howard told that to Gay when the Lakers played the Raptors in Toronto recently. The Lakers haven't visited Toronto since the Gay trade...although a few days before the trade, the Lakers and Howard visited Memphis.)
--Dan Fegan, Howard's agent was unaware the center had opted to stay with the Magic the night before last season's trade deadline, that Howard "did that behind Dan Fegan's back." Smith said, "if Dan Fegan had his way, he would have been in Brooklyn last year." Ruocco, the YES broadcaster, said he knew that.
--The Magic did a "phenomenal job" of getting Howard's family, particularly his father, behind them. "He wanted his son to remain in Orlando," Smith said
Here's a transcript of the conversation between Smith and Ruocco...
SAS: "I had a reliable source tell me this...Dwight Howard will categorically deny it, but i trust my source...when they were playing Toronto recently, he sat there on the court and told Rudy Gay, 'You messed up bad man. You should have waited and ended up with me in Brooklyn next year. That's what he told him.
"Now, here's the problem. He doesn't determine that. He can't force his way to Brooklyn, can't pull that off. You gotta remember, the way the rules are stipulated now, you understand, the reality of the situation is that with the Nets, he had his chance. Now, if they want to let go of Brook Lopez, and they're able to unload Kris Humphries, you know,
things of that nature, something could happen. But the Nets have to be willing to capitulate and the Lakers have to be convinced he's definitely going to leave. They've got less than a week. You know trading deadline is rapidly approaching. It's February 21. It's a problem!
"But I'm just telling you...
RR: "He's still saying that? He's still thinks he's going to Brooklyn?"
SAS: "He still believes it."
RR: "Is he delusional or does he...is someone telling him that..."
SAS: "Yes, he does. It's not that it's impossible. It's that he doesn't have the right to dictate anything. Now, he's got an exceptional agent in Dan Fegan, that can make some maneuvers but if Dan Fegan had his way, he would have been in Brooklyn last year. You got to remember when he opted in, to stay in Orlando, he did that behind Dan Fegan's back."
RR: "Dan was not happy about that, I would imagine."
SAS: "Now, Otis Smith, the former general manager for the Orlando Magic ... Understand that Otis Smith didn't like back-door Dwight Howard or anything. When Dwight Howard came to him after they lost to San Antonio that Tuesday night, Otis Smith said go ahead and think about it. Don't make a rash decision. He didn't back door him. He wasn't sleazy or anything like that. Dwight Howard came, spoke to people and obviously, pressure from the family because the dad ... the Orlando Magic organization did a phenomenal job of ingratiating itself with the Dwight Howard family. The father did not want him to leave, did not want him to leave. I'm telling you, I know what I'm saying. I met the father, I talked to the father. Father don't rate particularly fond of me. You understand because I looked him in the face told him where I stood on the matter ... He wanted his son to remain in Orlando.
"So my point is that when Dwight Howard opted in, he did it behind Fegan's back. Fegan had nothing to do with that."
RR: "Oh yeah, yeah, I know."
SAS: "So, if you could do it behind your agent's back once, you're very unpredictable...."