When the Magic and three other teams finalized the deal that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers, many writers and fans questioned Orlando's haul, wondering aloud if the Magic couldn't have landed more from another club. In his latest piece for SI.com Sam Amick takes an in-depth look at Rob Hennigan and his first big move as Orlando's general manager, exploring offers for Howard from the Nets and Rockets.
While the Nets' proposal has previously surfaced (Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and either three or four first-round picks), there have been conflicting reports on what Houston offered for the star center. Amick's piece doesn't entirely clear up the confusion, but it does provide some clarity. Here are the details of the Rockets' offer as reported to the SI.com scribe:
- The Rockets were only offering two first-round picks. However, from Houston's perspective, those selections were more valuable than any that other Howard suitors were offering the Magic. One of the picks was from Toronto, with protection that all but guarantees it will be a lottery pick, while another was from Dallas, and has a chance to be entirely unprotected by 2018.
- Houston was also open to adding a third pick "if it got the deal done," Amick hears.
- According to Magic sources, Jeremy Lamb was the only one of the Rockets' three 2012 first-rounders available, and even he was taken off the table after a strong Summer League showing. However, Rockets sources tell Amick that the Magic were told they could have one, or possibly two, prospects from a group that included Lamb, Terrence Jones, Royce White, Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris, and Donatas Motiejunas.
- Kevin Martin and his $12MM+ expiring contract were necessary in the deal for salary-matching purposes. The Rockets also offered players that the Magic had little interest in, such as Gary Forbes and Jon Brockman.
- Houston offered "significant cap relief… but never in the form that the Magic wanted," says Amick. I won't try to guess exactly what that means, but given their cap situation, the Rockets would only have been able to take on some of Orlando's undesirable contracts, rather than all of them.