Brooklyn Nets: What Could Have Been
Before all the mistakes, the Brooklyn Nets were actually on the right path. We look back at what could have been for the franchise
An 8-time All-Star, a 5-time All-NBA First Team, a 4 time NBA All-Defensive First Team, a 3-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, a 5-time NBA rebounds leader, and a 2-time NBA blocks leader.
Yes, Dwight Howard used to be the best and most dominant big man in the NBA. Especially during the years of 2008-12, there was no one even remotely close.
Unfortunately, the marriage between Dwight Howard and the Magic ended with an ugly divorce. Howard had a lot of success in Orlando. He carried them to back to back conference championships in the East, and even a NBA Finals appearance against Kobe and the Lakers. He will go down as one of the all time Magic greats. However, there is still a sour taste left in the mouths of Magic fans.
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It all started when Dwight Howard grew unhappy with the Magic management in 2011, which led to him eventually asking for a trade.
Dwight Howard’s trade demand from the Orlando Magic is due in part to the organization not granting his requests for specific trades and signings over the last several years, the All-Star center said Sunday night.
“I’m pretty sure if you go down the line of teams, every GM has a pretty good relationship with not just the best player but all the players,” Howard said. “If you don’t have a good relationship with the people you work with, how are you going to get better?”
Howard’s preferred destination was the Brooklyn Nets, who were going to open up their new stadium, the Barclay’s Center, in 2012. The Nets had traded for All-Star point guard, Deron Williams on February 23rd, 2011. The Nets seemed like an up and coming team, and Dwight Howard wanted to be a part of that.
There became pressure on the Nets to acquire Dwight Howard.
The Dwight Howard sweepstakes are heating up, and now there is more pressure on the Brooklyn Nets to trade for the Orlando Magic big man.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, all-star guard Deron Williams will only re-sign with the Nets if the team acquires Howard and become an instant championship contender.
What was interesting, though, is that Dwight Howard signed an amendment on the day of the trading deadline for the 2011-12 NBA season. This waived his right to opt out at the end of the season, thus committing to the Magic for the following season.
This led the Nets to believe that Howard no longer had a shot to wear a Nets uniform.
After 24 hours of flip-flip-flopping, Howard finally has committed to stay in Orlando next season, thus ceasing the Magic’s efforts to trade him to avoid losing him as a free agent and receiving no assets in return.
The Nets, long Howard’s preferred destination if he were traded or became a free agent, immediately shifted their focus from the All-Star center to surrounding Deron Williams with talent. The Nets acquire Gerald Wallace from Portland for the expiring contract of injured center Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams and a conditional first-round pick. New Jersey, whose preferred plan was to pair Howard and Williams in Brooklyn next season, now look towards an uncertain future with Williams, who himself has an early-termination option and become a free agent July 1.
Aside from this, the Brooklyn Nets simply did not have the trade bait to acquire Howard from the Magic. Other teams, like the Los Angeles Lakers, had more appealing offers.
“There are a lot of horses in the race for Howard and although the Nets would love to pair Howard with Williams, it’s not in the cards for the Nets. They aren’t going to be able to put together trade bait that trumps an Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom package deal.”
Ultimately, despite the notion that Howard would continue his career in a Magic uniform, he was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers on August 10th, 2012 in a ginormous blockbuster deal that also involved the Nuggets and the 76ers.
Before Deron Williams was dealt to the Nets, he was averaging a career high 21.3 points per game with the Jazz in the 2010-11 season. He played and started in 12 games for the Nets that season and averaged a career high 12.8 assists. He went on to average 21.0 points per game and 8.7 assists per game the following season for the Nets.
There was a time when people argued Deron Williams over Chris Paul. They were very much in the same category. Deron Williams played well during his time with the Nets, but it is hard to not think about what the Nets could have been with Williams and Howard together.
Not only would they have formed a dynamic duo, but they would have attracted free agents and other big names to come and play with them. Remember, Joe Johnson was acquired by the Nets in 2012. He could flat out score the ball, and could put up 20+ a game with ease.
Imagine that trio together. Williams was always a tremendous passer, and Dwight Howard was the perfect candidate to receive those passes. Unfortunately, the Nets never really had the trade pieces, and they fell out of the race completely when they thought Howard was going to stay in Orlando.
The Brooklyn Nets are currently the laughing stock of the NBA, it is hard to think that would still be the case if Dwight Howard became a Net.