Behind The Scenes

Mike & Mike producer meets Howard fire drill; ESPN analysts on big trade

Dwight Howard will reportedly be in a Lakers uniform for his next post-game interview.

How far and wide did the news of Dwight Howard finally being traded affect the ESPN family?

Well, 10-month-old Sally Chapman, daughter of Mike & Mike in the Morning producer Liam Chapman, was treated to a quicker-than-usual-ride to her grandmother’s house this morning.

“She probably didn’t notice, but yes, I was scrambling a bit,” Chapman said. “But we don’t usually get stories like this that break overnight so there’s a thrill — and a bit of anxiety — when we get something like this. Funny thing was, Grandma was a bit late waking up this morning!”

Liam Chapman (center, grey zip-up)

When Chapman went to bed at 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday, the Howard trade was still a rumor so he figured he’d just book ESPN’s Chris Broussard for an update on where things stood. When he woke up at 3:40 a.m. Friday, sources were confirming the four-team trade. (The deal awaits league approval.)

“Before I showered, I emailed Marc Stein and texted Michael Wilbon, knowing they were both in London,” Chapman said. “By the time I got to the studio at 5:20 a.m., Marc had confirmed and I started working on getting others.”

There was also the matter of canceling a couple of scheduled guests, including Herm Edwards.

“We knew we would blow out the Howard stuff but we were able to keep a few NFL-related call-ins,” said Chapman, who was also making sure fill-in co-host Scott Van Pelt was comfortable in his early morning duties. “Scott and Greeny (Mike Greenberg) were great.”

The four-hour show wound up being jam-packed with NBA experts including Stein, Wilbon, Broussard, Ric Bucher, Jon Barry, Jeff Van Gundy, (the vacationing!) Stephen A. Smith and Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

“I feel good about that show we did,” Chapman said. “It was four hours of solid Dwight Howard talk. When news breaks I like to think our show is one of, if not THE best, at putting the news into context and providing quality guests.”

Best of all? Little Sally Chapman didn’t miss a wink of sleep.

Below are some comments offered by ESPN’s NBA Analysts on the Howard trade and featured across ESPN platforms Friday morning, including SportsCenter and Mike and Mike.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson on trade:
“Mike Brown will have an awesome team on the floor. Brown is a great defensive coach and now he gets the best defensive player in the NBA. Now he can do so many different things both defensively and offensively with Howard. The defensive shortcomings of any Lakers player will be erased by Dwight Howard. This puts the Lakers right in the championship hunt. I think you’ll see a great Dwight Howard.”

Johnson on Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder:
“The Lakers will be better than Oklahoma. The Thunder beat the Lakers by attacking the basket and now Dwight Howard can erase those easy layups. Also, Steve Nash allows the Lakers to be a better perimeter team. We know the Thunder are a talented team, but they’re not a smart team yet. So if the Lakers play smart, they are better than the Thunder.”

Jeff Van Gundy on new-look Lakers:
“I think now they are a tremendous defensive team. If healthy, Howard will transform them tremendously. He’s the premier rebounder in the game. Offensively they have question marks. Will they install the Princeton offense with Eddie Jordan as the teacher? What’s the learning curve? It’s still a great trade by the Lakers.”

Van Gundy on team chemistry:
“It’s all about success on the court. If you have success on the court, everybody becomes selfless off the court. If you struggle, there is finger pointing and different circumstances to deal with. I think Nash is an unbelievable teammate. He has an unbelievable ability to push people and, like Tim Duncan, be in the trenches with the guys. I have a tremendous respect for the way he is able to unite a team.”

Jon Barry on trade:
“I do like the move. I think they’re going to be a very good team, but just because you add stars doesn’t’ mean it’s going to work. I do think they need more athletes on the perimeter so they can beat the team they couldn’t beat last year – the Thunder.”

Michael Wilbon on trade impact:
“It changes everything about the Lakers and the league. For a third straight year you have enormous stories coming out of the summer. This is “Showtime” again in L.A.”

Wilbon on team chemistry:
“No chemistry concern. You have Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. This is like having coaches on your team additionally. There’s no other agenda, the only agenda is to win a championship.”

Stephen A. Smith on whether Howard will be happy in L.A.:
“Months ago he told me he wanted to go somewhere and start his own legacy. I think he’s over that now. You could do a lot worse than living in Beverly Hills. I think he is looking forward to playing in LA and looking forward to playing for a championship. He fully expects to capture his first World Championship come next June.”

The Lakers will appear on ABC’s 2012-13 NBA schedule six times, beginning Christmas Day when they host the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony at 3 p.m. ET. The Lakers will also make 10 appearances on ESPN this season, starting Friday, Nov. 2, when they host the Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30 p.m. ABC and ESPN’s 2012-13 NBA schedule.

Ben Cafardo contributed to this story.

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