Big baby Dwight Howard leaves the Nets in the lurch

Richard G. Carter | 10/12/2012, 4:17 p.m.
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By then, the Nets had amended the Magic deal, offering Lopez, rookie MarShon Brooks, injured center Mehmet Okur's expiring contract and two or three top draft picks for Howard alone. After missing the first 32 games, Lopez returned Feb. 19, played well in five games but sprained an ankle on the broken foot, which might end his season.

Despite Howard's infantile waffling about whether he wanted to stay in Orlando or go, Nets management felt their offer would be accepted. Therefore, when Howard told the news media that the Magic would have to "roll the dice" as to whether he would opt-in to stay with the team after the season, they were confident he would be a Net on March 15.

The wheelchair-bound DeVos staged a conference call to Howard late on March 14 with 17 people on the line, including his grandchildren. DeVos told Howard he had to sign a document agreeing to play for Orlando next season or he'd be traded the next day.

In the surreal news conference on March 15, a short-sleeved Howard said he would sign to stay in Orlando for 2012-13. He said he was pulled back and forth, nobody understood how hard it was for him, he received bad advice and was swayed by the conference call. He said DeVos told him he had Howard's favorite foods and desserts ready for him.

Incredibly, the juvenile Howard also said that DeVos' threat to trade him was the first time he really thought it might happen. He also said he felt the team had a good chance to "do something special" this season--an obvious shot at the Nets' slim playoff chances.

"I've been talking to the family for the last couple of weeks about how we can make this a better place, not just for the team, but for everybody here in Orlando," Howard said. "That's what our goal is. We just want to make it a great situation for everybody." Huh? What?

Howard and other trades aside, the Nets' hope to arrive in Brooklyn with a healthy Deron, Jordan and Shelden Williams, along with Lopez, Wallace, Brooks, Kris Humphries, Gerald Green, Anthony Morrow and a top draft pick--then the Brooklyn Nets-New York Knicks rivalry will be alive and well in the city. And that's the name of that tune.