It was only a few months ago that Dwight Howard was the biggest and most interesting story in pro basketball. His stint with the Orlando Magic was clearly over, and all that remained was determining where he would land next. There were only four serious options: the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers or Houston Rockets by trade; the Dallas Mavericks if Howard played out his contract with the Orlando Magic and then sought out a team via free agency. That’s it. There were only four options.
We all know what eventually happened – but who did Howard want to land with? During a recent interview with Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Howard answered that very question.
"I would've gone there and played. I didn't have a problem with it," Howard said, when asked how he would have felt about being traded to Houston.
"At the same time, there were two places that I'd rather go to and I'm here at one of them. I'm happy. If I would've gone to Houston, I would've played as hard as I could with the Rockets.
"It just so happens that I came to the best organization in the history of the NBA."
When his next destination was a popular subject of debate, Howard made it explicitly clear that Brooklyn was his No. 1 option. It was never all that apparent why he wanted to join up with the Nets so badly, but that was definitely his first choice. Ultimately, after the Joe Johnson deal went through and it became apparent that heading to BK wasn’t a feasible option, Howard warmed up to L.A.
The really interesting thing about Orlando agreeing to trade Howard to the Lakers is that, in theory at least, Houston seemed to have more desirable trade assets. The Magic got nothing back for Howard; Houston, reportedly, was willing to give them a very sweet combination of draft picks and young prospects. For whatever reason, though, the deal never materialized. A lot of people think it’s because Howard indicated to Rockets brass that he wasn’t interested in signing an extension with the team if he were to end up there – but that’s just unverified gossip.
If you take Howard at his word, he was apparently willing to play for Houston. Good thing Mitch Kupchak didn’t let it come to that.
(Kudos Los Angeles Daily News)