NBA PM: Will Dwight Howard Ask Magic for Trade?
If ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is right, and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard will ask for a trade at the end of the season, then he has been getting some of the worst advice on the planet.
Remember, Howard said he had previously been receiving bad advice before ultimately deciding to opt-in to the final year of his contract at the trade deadline.
But now, just when it appeared that Howard would be back in Orlando next season after dealing with his current back injury, Smith’s report has the former Olympian heading for the door once again.
“The minute this season is over, according to what I am hearing from his camp, you can expect Dwight Howard to tell Orlando. ‘Get me out of here,’” Smith said on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “You’ve got Stan Van Gundy annoyed with the organization. You’ve got Dwight Howard disgusted with the organization. The way he’s been treated, along with the way his teammates have been AWOL on him as far as he’s concerned. You’ve got a problem.”
Whatever the truth of the situation is, the Magic have more problems than just Howard’s back. Either coach Stan Van Gundy or Dwight Howard won’t be back next season as that franchise appears to be turning toxic.
Goodbye New Jersey, Goodbye Nets
Monday’s 105-87 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers might have been a fitting way for the Nets to end their 35-year run in New Jersey (they actually played a total of 36 years in the Garden State, but only the last 35 were consecutive). That’s not only because the Sixers, along with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics, have tormented the Nets for nearly the duration of their tenure in Jersey. It’s also because the 76ers bought Julius Erving’s contract from the Nets, who owed $3.2 million to join the NBA and another $4.8 million to the Knicks in 1976.
Had the Nets not been forced to pay such a large fee (for the time) in order to gain access to the league and the New York City market, the Nets would have been able to keep Erving and probably would boast more than two ABA Titles in their rafters.
But as up and down as their history in New Jersey was, Monday’s spectacle in Newark was fun for the sellout crowd. Nets fans cheered loudly throughout the loss—particularly during a third-quarter run in which the Nets seemed destined to overtake the Sixers.
Halftime was made even more entertaining by the return of Nets legends, including Jersey City-native Mike O’Koren, Derrick Coleman, Otis Birdsong, Michael Ray Richardson, Darryl Dawkins, Kenny Anderson, Chris Morris, Kendall Gill as well as Biserka Petrovic, mother of the greatest shooter in team history, the late Drazen Petrovic.
There was also a video message from the greatest New Jersey Net ever, Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd:
“Congratulations on the celebration of 35 years. That’s a long time. Being a Net was a great time of my career and a great honor. So I hope you guys enjoy tonight and hopefully I’ll see you guys soon. Take care.”
Admittedly, beginning that message with “congratulations” was a bit awkward, but nothing was more damaging to the nostalgia of the day than Gov. Chris Christie’s comments at a nearby event before the game.
“I’m not going to the Nets game tonight and my message to the Nets is ‘Goodbye,’” Christie said when asked by the Associated Press for a reaction at a press conference. “If you don’t want to stay, we don’t want you. Seriously, I’m not going to be in the business of begging people to stay here. That’s one of the most beautiful arenas in America that they’ve had a chance to play in. It’s in one of the country’s most vibrant cities.”
Newark has gotten much nicer downtown, but calling it one of America’s “most vibrant cities” was a bit of a stretch. Anyway, Christie wasn’t done.
“They want to leave here and go to Brooklyn?” he asked rhetorically. “Good riddance. See you later.”
Derrick Coleman hadn’t heard the quote, but after HOOPSWORLD gave him the details, he responded with a gem of his own.
“She said ‘good riddance’ to the Nets?” Coleman asked. “She must (not) like basketball.”
(In Coleman’s defense, Christine Todd Whitman became Governor of New Jersey while he was still playing for the Nets and he could have mistaken “Christie” for “Christine” when the question was asked.)
But more than Gov. Christie’s quote, all the media in attendance wanted to talk to Coleman about his most-famous phrase: “Whoop-de-damn-do.”
“I was just talking to Kenny (Anderson) about that earlier, and I told him, ‘I was sticking up for you’ so I blame him all the time,” Coleman said. “It was the first thing that popped into my mind.”
For those that don’t know, Anderson went missing for a practice in 1994 and naturally the media went looking for answers. When asked for comment, Coleman reminded everyone that Dwayne Schintzius, who recently passed away, missed a practice himself just a few days earlier.
But when one reporter suggested that Anderson should set an example as a team leader, Coleman coined the exclamation, “Whoop-de-damn-do.”
“What can I say about that?” Anderson asked on Monday. “I missed practice. It’s 20 something years ago. I missed practice and everybody made a big deal about it. And Derrick said, ‘Whoop-de-damn-do.’ It is what it is.”
The Nets players in attendance all have different relationships with the team now, but former Nets center Todd MacCulloch made it clear that, even though he played only one season with the team, he didn’t see the move to Brooklyn as an end to anything. He, and many former players like him, are going to continue to be a part of the Nets family moving forward.
“They’ll be able to create that atmosphere in the new place,” he said. “That being said, not all arenas are equal, and from what I’m hearing the new one is going to be spectacular and will hopefully be a place that people will want to come (to) and be a part of something special and really enjoy themselves and have some nice comforts while they’re there.”
It’s hard to say whether New Jersey will miss the Nets or if the franchise will miss the state, but even during a loss, the best of both parties seemed to come out.
“You know, there are still a lot of good memories here,” Nets coach Avery Johnson concluded.
Glen Grunwald promoted to Knicks General Manager
Like coach Mike Woodson, general manager Glen Grunwald had been serving the Knicks under the “interim” title, that is, until today, when the team named him executive vice president and general manager.
“Glen has done a terrific job this season,” owner James Dolan said. “He is an intelligent, seasoned executive and we look forward to him continuing in the role of general manager for many years to come.”
Grunwald has been with the team since 2006, and was actually Woodson’s teammate at Indiana. His promotion definitely bodes well for Woodson staying on beyond this season.
“It has been a great honor to be a part of this storied franchise for the past six seasons,” Grunwald said in a statement. “I would like to thank Mr. Dolan for this opportunity and look forward to building on our commitment to give our fans a team that they can be proud of today, and in the future.”
Bob Myers promoted by Golden State Warriors
Grunwald wasn’t the only NBA front office executive to get promoted on Tuesday. Former Wasserman Media Group player agent—and a member of the 1995 UCLA Bruins National Championship Team—Bob Myers was promoted from assistant GM to general manager, while Larry Riley will become the team’s scouting director.
“We’re extremely pleased to announce Bob’s promotion as we conclude the 2011-12 season,” said owner Joe Lacob in a statement. “We are confident that he is the right person to guide our Basketball Operations Department into the long-term future and, similarly, through a very important time for this franchise as we begin to prepare for next season. As we acknowledged a year ago, we think his potential as a young executive in this business is outstanding and that intuition was certainly confirmed during his first year with the organization. Bob is a well-respected, intelligent and dedicated executive who has developed many solid relationships in the game of basketball and understands what it takes to be successful in this business. He’s the ideal person for this job.”
Myers represented players such as New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez before being hired by the Warriors in 2011.
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