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What really happened: why the Houston Rockets did not land Dwight Howard

Describing the Rockets’ reaction to this deal as “mystified,” Jonathan Feigen:

The Rockets had tried to position themselves for this opportunity, offering the Toronto pick they got for Kyle Lowry along with a pick from Dallas and were open to adding a pick of their own. They would have sent two players from among Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris, Donatas Motiejunas, Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones. And they would have taken back two large Orlando contracts – Hedo Turkoglu and either Chris Duhon or Jason Richardson – without sending back corresponding burdensome contracts to offer the Magic roughly $12 million more in cap room than they have now.

The Magic had seemed to want cap room and picks most, but at some point shifted to seeking a potential star player and decided that Arron Afflalo would be that player, making him the key to the deal.

Yesterday, upon news of the deal, I speculated that either a) the Rockets were not offering as much as had been reported or b) Hennigan had just grown sour with the negotiations, taking a lesser offer merely out of spite.

I failed to mention what now appears to have been the actual reason Dwight Howard is a Laker: Rob Hennigan is a complete idiot.

I outlined that a team has several objectives when trading a marquee player: a) lottery picks b) blue chip prospects and c) cap relief.  I said yesterday that Orlando decided to pursue none of these objectives.  I was wrong.  In a bout of hilarity so thick so as to be cut with a spoon, Hennigan pursued objective ‘B’ somehow characterizing the 27-year-old Arron Afflalo as a blue chip prospect.  I honestly don’t even know what to say.

Longtime readers know that this isn’t a case of sour grapes.  Every time the Rockets have struck out, I’ve rationalized the cause with acceptance.  Chris Bosh got his money and now has his title.  With Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams, Houston didn’t have a Danilo Galinari or a Derrick Favors.  But this?  All one can do is laugh.

Essentially, Rob Hennigan turned down a guaranteed lottery pick, a Dallas pick which is better than any of the three he received, two of Motiejunas/White/Lamb/Jones, and the possibility of unloading Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson….for some belief in the potential of Arron Afflalo.  All you can do is laugh.  When she leaves you for a doctor, you tip your hat.  But the ugly guy with no money?  All you can do is laugh.

I’m not bitter.  I like where we stand, and as Mike Pina outlined, the future is bright.  We have what we were offering.  Like the Rockets, I’m just mystified.

Arron Afflalo is on the books at $7.75million next season.  When the Magic are again relevant, Afflalo will be in his 30’s.

Rockets fans can rest easy that Daryl Morey didn’t “strike out” as is being posited by some through some propensity to overvalue and underbid.  He offered his full hand, one which was, by all objective accounts, a damn good hand.  Morey was simply dealing with someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing.  For that, Morey can’t be blamed.

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About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

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