Nothing says "I love you" like a late night phone call to your ex—or soon-to-be free-agent—after a few rounds of drinks but the same call also says "run for the hills."
Either way, it's never a smart thing to do as ex-Orlando Magic CEO, Bob Vander Weide, found out after admitting he phoned Dwight Howard pleading with the star center to stay with with his team.
It sounds like the CEO's booty-call might have backfired.
Vander Weide, who unexpectedly retired yesterday, told Bright House Sports Network he called Howard a few days ago after having "a couple of glasses of wine" and "maybe should have waited until the morning."
"Maybe Dwight thought it was inappropriate to talk business after a couple glasses of wine," Vander Weide told the network about the 1 a.m. phone call. "I was playing paddle with a couple of friends."
The Magic are desperate to keep Howard in Orlando. Arguably the NBA's best big man, Howard can opt-out of the final year of his contract on July 1, and has expressed his desire to go to another team.
The situation has pretty much forced the Magic to deal the five-time All-Star now before they risk losing him for nothing in return when he becomes a free-agent.
In the meantime, teams have been taking advantage of the shaky relationship between Howard and his current team.
The Los Angeles Lakers—most notably—have offered everyone but Kobe Bryant for Howard but it's the New Jersey Nets who have actually put a tangible deal on the table.
The Nets have offered Brook Lopez, draft picks and cap space in order to keep their own All-Star point guard Deron Williams in Newark before they team moves to Brooklyn next year.
On Monday, Williams—who has his own opt-out decision to make after this season— claimed he had spoken with Howard about coming north and is "sure" he would sign an extension if he was dealt to the Nets. The two players were teammates on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.
"[Howard's] a monster," gushed Williams. "He's like a created player. He's not real."
The Nets might be facing an uphill battle for the coveted big guy playing alongside Williams.
Los Angeles—and the bright lights of Hollywood—might be too much of a draw for the aspiring actor Howard and the trade bait—Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum—might be too tempting for the Magic.
While the desperate call by Vander Weide might have been fueled by liquor—as suspected by Howard—the Magic are still in the mix for Howard. The former CEO told Bright House that Howard is still waiting to see what Orlando offers the center before he becomes a free-agent after this season.
"We have a pretty good relationship," said Vander Weide. "I have a pretty clear understanding where Dwight's head is and that's between him and this organization."
Still, the Nets don't want to turn any trade negotiations with the Magic into a media feeding frenzy, ala the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony.
"We're confident—Billy [Nets GM Billy King] and I," said Nets coach Avery Johnson. "We've been confident all along. Last year, we had a circus atmosphere when we were trying to make deals for some guys. Hopefully, if we do anything, you guys [the media] won't find out until you kind of find out what we did [with Williams]," said Johnson.
Johnson said that trade talks with Orlando are in the preliminary stages and will be kept under wraps until the time is right.
"I can't talk about it publicly," said Johnson. "But it's a foregone conclusion that we're working at it and hopefully, we'll get something done."
Maybe it's time for the Nets to bring out the big guns to lure Howard to Jersey and their new Brooklyn home next year—Madison Avenue and Jay-Z.