Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated got the big exclusive interview with Magic GM Rob Hennigan that we've all been waiting for.
In it Amick reveals that maybe the Magic did get a better deal than what the Rockets were offering. The Magic ended up with Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga and Nikola Vucevic. They also landed three first round picks that will all most likely end up well outside the lottery, and two second round picks.
It's not a terrible haul, but when the word was that the Rockets were offering three first round picks (Toronto's conditional one that was likely to be a lottery pick, Dallas' pick that was top 20 protected through 2017, and the Rockets' own first round pick, also likely to be a lottery selection) you had to think Orlando would be interested. Kevin Martin's expiring contract was also offered as were multiple young pieces among the four rookies (Motiejunas, Lamb, White and Jones) and potentially Patrick Patterson and/or Marcus Morris.
Amick, however, reports:
The offerings from Houston, sources said, weren't as plentiful as previously believed either. In both the two-team talks with Houston and three-team discussions that involved the Lakers and would have sent center Andrew Bynum to the Rockets, sources said Houston was offering only two first-round picks. From Houston's perspective, however, the comparative value of the picks far outweighed anything available to the Magic elsewhere and it had been made clear that a third pick could be added "if it got the deal done."
I gotta say, that's not a great deal. Two firsts only? I probably would have scoffed as well. Weren't the rookies made available? Here's Amick again:
Many assumed that the Rockets' three first-round picks from this year's draft -- guard Jeremy Lamb and forwards Royce White and Terrence Jones -- would be made available in a Howard deal. But sources close to the Magic said Lamb was the only such prospect offered, and that he was off the table by the time the talks involved the Lakers and Lamb had impressed at the Las Vegas summer league in July (he averaged 20 points in five games). Meanwhile, unwanted players like Gary Forbes, Jon Brockman and Marcus Morris were made available (along with shooting guard Kevin Martin, whose expiring $12.9 million contract was a must to make the money work).
So say the Rockets offered two firsts, K-Mart, and Marcus Morris. Would you have pulled the trigger if you were Hennigan? I wouldn't have, so kudos so far.
If you were like me, you were reading this going, "Yeah, but of course the Magic are trying to cover themselves. Maybe what they're saying isn't true." Well, Amick has even more to enlighten us on that front.
On the Rockets' side, meanwhile, sources said the message had been sent that the Magic could have one or possibly two prospects from a pool that included Morris, Patrick Patterson, Lamb, Jones, White and Donatas Motiejunas. Houston offered significant salary-cap relief, but, as had been the case on the topic of young players, never in the form that the Magic wanted.
So it was actually two firsts (maybe a third), K-Mart, and let's say Patterson and Motiejunas. Essentially, the deal wasn't as plentiful, but really it could have been, and basically it was just as good as we thought it was? Are we really saying the deal hinged on the addition of Jeremy Lamb or Royce White? Basically, the deal was exactly as reported with maybe one piece removed. And that's what all this "deal wasn't as substantial" stuff is all about.
If I'm Daryl Morey, I'm fuming over this. But I'm not the Boy Genius, who also made an appearance.
"I enjoyed working with Rob on a potential deal," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told SI.com via text message. "He went with what was best for Orlando and over time people will see that he has made a good decision. He has a plan for Orlando and he has proved his ability to execute a plan to make franchises great from his time in San Antonio and Oklahoma City."
Basically, this piece told me nothing except that Rob Hennigan is going to take Orlando to the top of the D-League or Europe or something. And that he's really smart. You know, I'm pretty smart too. When does Zach Lowe show up at my efficiency apartment to describe how great I did on my last quiz?