Howard is infamous at this point in his career for single-handedly changing the atmosphere of the Orlando Magic. At first, it was his demanding that the Magic brass fire Stan Van Gundy.
He claimed the only way he'd stay in Orlando was if he was given a new coach. Then, his trade demands came to the forefront. In short, Howard destroyed the morale of the Magic last season.
There's no need to have that on your team, and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov should be pleased he doesn't have to deal with that nonsense.
It would have taken a ton to acquire Howard—likely MarShon Brooks, Brook Lopez and several draft picks. Even for a player of Howard's caliber, this represents a huge package to give up in any deal.
The pieces that would have been given up have been valuable contributors this season—especially Lopez.
Lopez has arguably outperformed Howard thus far in the 2012-13 season.
Let's take a look at the numbers.
Lopez has dropped 18.6 points, grabbed 7.3 rebounds, shot 52.3 percent from the floor and converted nearly 74 percent of his free throws. He was also just named as the All-Star replacement for Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (per Royce Young of CBSSports.com).
He also boasts a strong player efficiency rating (PER) of 25.23.
Howard, on the other hand, is having arguably one of the worst seasons of his eight-year NBA career.
He's scoring just 16.7 points, grabbing 11.8 boards, shooting 58 percent from the field and converting an atrocious 49.6 percent of his free throws. His PER is 19.79.
Howard does have the upper hand in rebounds, but his ridiculously low conversion rate from the free-throw line gives Lopez the advantage in the head-to-head comparison.
Lopez has been a bigger impact on the Nets than Howard has been on the Lakers—I think that much is clear. Why, then, are the Nets reportedly still interested in bringing "D12" to Brooklyn (per Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM)?
Apparently, the Nets front office feels as if a combination of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Howard would be a huge improvement over their current alignment. They believe this so strongly that they're searching for a third team to make facilitating a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers easier.
The proposed three-team deal would have included the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kevin Love (that is, before he broke his hand). The three teams would have done a big-man version of musical chairs—Howard to Brooklyn, Love to Los Angeles and Lopez to Minnesota.
Now that Love has injured himself, the search continues for Nets general manager Billy King.
I cannot begin to express how much dislike I have for this idea.
Lopez is playing well beyond what was expected of him this season. While he's still not a force on the glass, it's obvious that he's trying to improve.
Offensively, he's been everything the Nets could have asked for. He's become the perfect complementary piece to the dynamic backcourt of Williams and Johnson.
Although the team has lost three of the last four games, the Nets have finally found chemistry under coach P.J. Carlesimo.
Consistency was hard to come by with Avery Johnson, but Carlesimo has brought the team together and made chemistry building much easier. Actually, there may not even be any more reason to build chemistry—it's already there.
Swapping out Lopez for Howard would make chemistry building a necessity yet again. Howard would need to learn to play with Williams, and Carlesimo would have to figure out the best ways to incorporate him into the offense.
The transitional period that would inevitably happen would not be worth pulling the trigger on a trade.
For all the critics out there, yes, I understand and acknowledge that Howard is the overall more talented player than Lopez. He's bigger, stronger and quicker. At the same time, he's also more of a team cancer.
Keeping Lopez and watching him develop over the next several seasons is in the Nets' best interest moving forward, but also for this season.
Going after Howard would be the wrong move at this point in time—just move along, Mr. King.