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Dwight Howard Trade: Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak Recounts How Deal Went Down

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak thought the Dwight Howard deal was dead.

Recounted in the Orange County Register, Kupchak went from reviewing the Lakers roster with executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss with Andrew Bynum as the starting center, to fielding a phone call from Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan that afternoon.

What transpired was the trade that landed Howard in LA, Bynum in Philly with the 76ers, Andre Iguodala on the Denver Nuggets and a group of players and assets heading to the Magic.

Kupchak didn't hide his frustration as the days turned into weeks and nothing on the Howard front was coming to fruition.

"I just never felt that there was a deal that they thought that they would do," Kupchak said. "Without going into great detail, I just felt the Magic were just canvassing the league, which is the job. ... I didn't think there would be a deal. It got really quiet a couple weeks ago. Before that, it was very crazy - and then it just died. So we had kind of moved on.

"We had signed Jordan Hill. We had signed Antawn Jamison. And we thought it was over."

The Lakers landed their big man and drastically changed the landscape in the Western Conference and the NBA. The Lakers were back as major contenders.

"Looking back on it, he did exactly what he was supposed to do," Kupchak said of Hennigan. "He took his time. He looked at every opportunity, narrowed it down, negotiated, went back to a different team, negotiated some more, kept on coming back to you."

What came back in the deal was Howard. So you can say that Kupchak did his job as well.

For more on Howard and the Lakers, check out Silver Screen and Roll.