There were many words written last week about Dwight Howard " leaving $30 million on the table " when he decided to sign with the Houston Rockets over the Los Angeles Lakers -- even though that wasn't really accurate at all -- and how Howard is a disloyal, overrated, pigeon-hearted baby for moving on to a third team in as many seasons.
Now, the number du jour is $77 million, as in the guaranteed money New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk is "giving up" by "retiring" at the age of 30 , with 12 years left on his contract -- a claim that's even more farcical than the idea that Howard lost anything by leaving LA for Texas.
In ditching the NHL, Kovalchuk abused the Devils franchise far more than Howard ever cheated the Lakers or the Orlando Magic out of anything. He abandoned a team that defied the league to get him a record contract, and in doing so, left them ill-equipped to compete for some time to come. And now his reward will be an even more lucrative deal in his native Russia.