The Dwight Howard saga is over for now. At least the Brooklyn Nets' part in it, that is. With the Nets and Orlando Magic having failed to reach an agreement to bring the superstar center to Brooklyn let's look around the Inter-Google this morning and see some of the reaction.
For Nets, missing on Dwight Howard a setback amid strong offseason | The Point Forward
That’s why, despite all the nice things that have happened in Brooklyn over the last few days, and all the justifiable crowing from the team’s suddenly huge fan base, it’s hard to escape the idea that the Nets have missed a huge opportunity. As things stand now, they look like a capped-out scoring machine with a ceiling below the Heat’s and a lot to prove on defense, the end of the court where Eastern Conference rivals Miami, Chicago, Boston and Indiana rank among the elite and New York barged into that company last season.
That’s not a bad place to be, by the way. The Nets have done a nice job building a team that could well be the No. 2 seed in a conference where just about everyone is in some state of flux. Many teams would kill for that situation, and it matters that the Nets will be good upon opening their new building in New York. But when you spend like owner Mikhail Prokhorov is spending, and you spend that much on veteran talent, the goal is to contend for a title. And in failing — again, for now — to acquire Howard, the Nets have missed a chance to guarantee prolonged championship contention. That hurts.
[Complete Dwight Howard Trade StoryStream]
Magic GM says talks with Nets for Dwight Howard have reached a stalemate - BostonHerald.com
ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan indicated Wednesday afternoon that trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets about Dwight Howard have reached a stalemate because he believes the Nets haven’t made an offer worth taking.
Dwight Howard trade to Brooklyn Nets falls through; NY Knicks are big winners - NY Daily News
Howard doesn’t get to Brooklyn, so the Knicks have dodged the deadliest kind of bullet. Having to face the Nets with Howard meant the Knicks were looking at becoming No. 2 in their own town. Sure, they still have the tradition and the Garden and those two championship banners, even if it’s now almost 40 years since they sent the second one up to the rafters.
But as much as a knucklehead as Howard is, if he had come to the Nets and was fully recovered from offseason surgery to repair a herniated disc, his presence would have put the Nets above the Knicks in the standings. For a long time. Remember when Jason Kidd said, as he started leading the Nets to back-to-back Finals, "We’re not going to be No. 2 around here for long"? With Howard, that day might have finally arrived.
With Nets out of picture, Magic see their Howard leverage slip away - NBA - CBSSports.com News, Scores, Stats, Fantasy Advice
Were the Nets the big losers Wednesday, when trade talks with the Magic broke down and the Brooklyn franchise moved forward by signing Brook Lopez to a four-year, $61 million deal that blocked his participation in any trade until January? Well, the tantalizing idea of somehow finding a way to re-sign Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace, trade for Joe Johnson and put Howard in the middle of them all is a missed opportunity, for sure.
But the biggest losers? The biggest losers Wednesday were A) Howard, and B) the Magic. And depending on how long this agonizing drama plays out, not necessarily in that order.
Magic GM Rob Hennigan, a bright, respected, 30-year-old rising star of the basketball business, did not see anything the Nets were offering that moved him to send the best center in the game to the destination of his choice. And that's his right. But the problem now, one with causes and symptoms he inherited, is that he doesn't have the Nets to kick around anymore.
"That’s why this is even a better day for the Knicks than when they got Carmelo," one NBA scout joked after the Magic broke off trade talks with the Nets. "With Howard, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, the Nets would have been able to contend with Miami for the East."
So Howard stays in Orlando. That means until further notice, New York stays a Knick town.
No Dwight Howard, but the Nets' Party Will Go On - WSJ.com
Howard's absence won't kill the positive vibe among the Nets. Reporters on Monday asked Williams about the trade talks, and while he said Brooklyn would be "a better team" with Howard, he made a point of saying that he'd be "happy" with Lopez, whom he considers a "promising young player."
Maybe the Nets would be more formidable with Howard on board, but more draft picks and younger players gives the team long-term flexibility. Plus, as the team is currently constructed, the Nets are capable of "a lot," the assistant coach said.
"You have one of the top four point guards in the NBA," he said, referring to Williams. "You have one of the top [shooting guards in Joe Johnson], and with Gerald Wallace you have a wild card. He's good at times, but he can be all over the place defensively. He's not a team defensive player, but at the same time, I think he can guard LeBron James."
The Nets haven't been to the playoffs in five years, so the challenge of defending the league's elite in high-pressure situations is a victory in itself.