In an interview with Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders, Dwight Howard says he still wanted to be a Net at the end of 2012 and says he was "promised" a trade to Brooklyn, presumably by the Magic.
"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."
The comment revives ugly memories of the Dwightmare which ran through the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season and beyond. Howard demanded a trade to the then New Jersey Nets in December 2011. From then until the Brooklyn Nets signed Brook Lopez in July 2012, there were multiple iterations of the Dwightmare.
The worst night was March 14 of 2012 when D12 signed a waiver of the early termination option in his contract and agreed to stay in Orlando through the end of the season rather than accept a trade to the Nets the next day. The Nets front office was blind-sided by Howard's change-of-heart but continued to pursue him during the summer.
In the off-season, he and agent Dan Fegan pressured the Nets front office to make a deal, but the Magic hemmed and hawed until the Nets finally pulled the plug with the Lopez signing. Some in Brooklyn thought the Magic were dragging them out, that they would never trade Howard to the Nets, said one league source.
The Nets’ final proposal to the Magic was four unprotected first-round draft picks, sign-and-trade deals with Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries. In return, the Nets would have received Howard, Jason Richardson, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark. The picks ultimately became the basis for the Boston trade.
The Magic ultimately did a four-team deal that yielded them three protected first round draft picks, two protected second round picks, Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington from Denver, Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic from Philadelphia and Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga from the Lakers. Richardson, Duhon and Clark were also sent out by Orlando. Orlando also received a $17.8 million trade exception which they let expire.