In an interview with Kevin Ding, Mitch Kupchak provided some interesting insight into the Dwight Howard trade saga.
Then, when free agency rolled around, Howard reiterated his trade demand to Orlando and the Magic once again were very active, trying to work out a deal where they could send their talented big man out of town and move on.
However, things slowed and became frustrating for the Lakers, who moved on and almost gave up hope on trading for D12:
The process, Kupchak conceded, was “frustrating” for him as Hennigan led him down dead-end streets that had no telling signs.
“I just never felt that there was a deal that they thought that they would do,” Kupchak said. “Without going into great detail, I just felt the Magic were just canvassing the league, which is the job. … I didn’t think there would be a deal. It got really quiet a couple weeks ago. Before that, it was very crazy – and then it just died. So we had kind of moved on.
“We had signed Jordan Hill. We had signed Antawn Jamison. And we thought it was over.”
Then one day, while Kupchak’s family were on vacation without him, the Magic called. They had a proposal for the Lakers. That proposal ended with the Lakers getting Howard within a matter of hours and Kupchak would jet off to the East coast to join his family on vacation shortly after – what’s the bet a few cold beers were downed that night?
So, what brought on the change of heart for the Magic? Maybe they finally realized that the return for Howard wouldn’t be as great as they liked. Or possibly they felt better about calling a team and offering them a package instead of having one offered to them? Perhaps they felt they were more in control this way?
Either way, they got some young talent, but not enough to be good, and that was the aim in the first place: grab some prospects and picks and suck for a few years while they get the top selections in the draft. It’s all about the future now. Remember, their general manager – Rob Hennigan – is from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team that came up from nothing to become a championship contender.
In his article, Ding points out that Moe Harkless – a rookie heading from the Sixers to the Magic in the blockbuster trade – was a key part of getting this deal done. The Magic would’ve drafted Harkless in June if Philadelphia hadn’t snagged him first. And when the trade was completed? 30 days had just passed from when Harkless signed his first NBA deal; the amount of time teams have to wait before trading for a newly signed rookie.
Anyway, the moves have now been made. The pieces are in place. And soon, we’ll get to see how they all fit together.