Alright. How to attack this?
There’s the Laker fan perspective. I am indeed a Laker fan, after all. Try though I might, I’ve never been particularly adept at hiding that fact. Hell, why should I?
There’s the blog writer perspective. I mean, my partner in crime has been staging his own informal “Dwightmare” boycott, and now that this is over, he should be back any day now. That, for me, is grand news.
Then, there’s just the sanity perspective, and if this whole Dwight saga has been anything, it hasn’t been sane.
How about all of the above, then?
If this deal is indeed all wrapped up (and let’s pray to jeebus that it is) and Dwight Howard is, for now, a Laker, the stickiest and most enduring Basketball storyline in years had finally reached it’s conclusion. In the end, the Magic chose the “start over” option, shipping Howard and Jason Richardson (who by no coincidence is also a client of Dwight’s agent Dan Fegan) out of town for what amounts to nothing but a pile of draft picks and a useful player or two. For an actual breakdown of who gets what and who wins and loses, I’ve got that covered here.
As for the here and now, as of this very moment, Dwight didn’t get what he had his heart set on, but as plan B’s go, joining the Lakers on what now has to be considered the the lead horse in the 2013 Championship race ain’t too shabby.
As for what I think about Howard’s saga and how he handled himself, my opinions haven’t and likely never will change. I know in my heart that Howard made a mess of himself, his image and what anyone with an opinion likely thinks of him now, both as a person and a player.
I also know none of that really matters now, What’s done is done, as they say.
After a season of failure and coulda beens, the Lakers came out smelling like roses, no matter how much hand-wringing was done in the interim. Don’t get it twisted here: only one team truly won here, and it was LA. Doesn’t matter now if the Lakers actually hold onto Pau Gasol or decide to move him out for salary relief and/or something resembling a future star to pair with Howard in the years to come. Either way, Kobe Bryant has at least two bonafide big dogs to go to battle with next year and just like that, championship number 6, or 7 and 8 for that matter, seem either a foregone conclusion or at worst a very real possibly, depending on your disposition.
Truth is, even the most pessimistic Laker fan has to be dancing like a fool right now.
Hey, there’s no denying how good this team is now, at least on paper. Yeah, we’ll all learn just how good they can be come November, but right now it looks pretty damn good. All the questions about how Howard fits in or how much Nash has left or if all these mega talents can co-exist, well, they all qualify as “good problems” and really, I’m willing to bet that all of it works out for the better.
Sure, there’s still stuff to ponder. Dwight Howard can still leave after next season if the dream experience turns sour, and this whole thing does have the capcity to blow up in our faces if and leave the Lakers right back with they started, only worse.
Still, I don’t see that happening and less something downright freaky happens between now and next June.
As of today, it feels like a safe time to once again sing the praises of Mitch Kupcack, Jimmy Buss and the rest of the Lakers’ braintrust. Not for the move they made so much as the numerous ones they didn’t. In the end, in the absence of panic, they stayed patient and resolute amidst the relentless criticism second-guessing. They waited and waited (aaaaaand waited) for the right time and the right trade and wouldn’t you know it, all that waiting paid off.
For someone like me who spent these last few months on edge, hoping they wouldn’t find a way to fuck this whole thing up, I am ever so glad to have been proven wrong.
If nothing changes between now and the winter, the Lakers will roll into the 2013 season sporting a line-up of Kobe, Nash, Dwight, Metta World Peace and Pau, with Jordan Hill, Steve Blake and Jordan Hill the primary reserves. To say that this collection of talent is the best in the NBA is not only a given, but maybe even a gigantic understatement.To say that this team is set to melt the league like butter on hot popcorn is not only an obvious statement, but perhaps even a modest proclamation.
Anyway, I’m getting of myself. I mean, “they still have to play the games” and all that.
For now all the celebrations and parades and whatnot will have to wait til at least next spring, even if most of us acan see the championship banner if we squint just right.
Forget all that, though.
Today, let’s just be giddy. There’s plenty to be giddy about.