Deron Williams and Dwight Howard will be together inside Barclays Center tonight for the first time. But after watching the Nets spend the better part of a year doing everything they could to land Howard, Williams isn’t wasting any more time thinking about what might have been. “No, I don’t think about that,” Williams said after yesterday’s practice ahead of tonight’s game against the Lakers. “We’re happy with Brook [Lopez], we’re happy with the team we have now. “It’s not a ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ scenario.” Instead, it’s one where the Nets have moved on after Howard was finally shipped off by Orlando to the Lakers over the summer, ending the Nets’ season-long quest to acquire him. It’s also one that appears to have no chance of starting up again, as Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a published report yesterday the Lakers will not be trading Howard — and likely none of their other stars — before the Feb. 21 deadline. The Nets had hoped to pair Williams and Howard, which would have given them one of the league’s best inside-out combinations and two stars to headline their move to Brooklyn. But after Howard inexplicably chose to opt in to the final year of his contract with the Magic at the trade deadline in March — removing any chance of him signing with the Nets as a free agent in July — the Nets went in another direction, building their roster around Williams, Lopez, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace. The drama of whether or not Howard would come to Brooklyn also put a strain on Howard’s friendship with Williams, as the point guard said the two don’t talk as much as they used to. “Not really,” Williams said. “We haven’t talked as much as we had before everything went on.” The Lakers were expected to be title contenders after constructing their own foursome of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Howard. But things quickly fell apart, and they opted to fire Mike Brown five games into the season before hiring Mike D’Antoni, instead of Phil Jackson, to replace him.
Nets put Dwight Howard in rear-view mirror
New York Post | Feb 5