He wanted to go to Brooklyn. Then, he wanted to stay in Orlando.

Then, he wanted to go Brooklyn, and only Brooklyn.

In the end, Dwight Howard ended up with the Los Angeles Lakers, after several trade talks between the Nets and Magic fell through during the off-season.

In a long drawn-out episode that last the duration of the 2011-2012 season, Howard urged trade talks to the Magic front office, although, no specific request was set in stone until the season ended. Even after he made it well-known that he wanted to play with the Nets, a deal was never struck, and he was sent to California in the first week of August.

Now, for the first time since they drafted Howard in 2004, the Magic will have to go up against the Nets without him. All season, they will be playing teams for the first time without their all-star center, who was the centerpiece of the team for nearly a decade.

Tonight, the Nets (1-2) will look to find their footing, taking on the Magic (2-2) at Amway Center at 7 p.m. Both teams have looked far from sharp in the opening week of the season, and tonight should be a good test for both of them.

Nets' center Brook Lopez, who has built a reputation for not being able to play well against Howard in the past, should be playing with a purpose tonight. In many of those proposed trade offers, Lopez was in the middle of the deal, but he appeared to be a player that Magic general manager Rob Hennigan did not want in return for Howard.

So, with Orlando having a much less-intimidating front court tonight, expect Lopez look to break out in a big way, especially after his lackluster performance in Miami on Wednesday night.

Additionally, the Nets backcourt of point guard Deron Williams and shooting guard Joe Johnson will look to continue to play well together. Williams finished with 14 points against the Heat on Wednesday, meanwhile Johnson was held to just nine points. Expect bigger games from both of them tonight.

The Nets announced this afternoon that shooting guard Marshon Brooks sustained a sprained left ankle in shootaround this morning and is a gametime decision tonight. If he can't go, Brooklyn will need solid bench play from C.J. Watson, and a more concerted effort from Mirza Teletovic.