Words by Phlip
Please excuse my absence, my life has been EXTRA fun since just before the end of the NBA season.
• June 5th was my lady’s birthday.
• June 8th she graduated college.
• June 23rd we got married.
• June 24th our daughter was baptized.
• July 1st was my own birthday.
• July 4th was July 4th.
• July 7th was our (my twin, our cousin and brother-in-law) party for the 4th and our birthdays, an annual family event.
• July 15th will be the baby’s birthday.
So yes, my hands were full, and while I was off work for roughly half of that 3-week stretch, I was never far from the NBA goings on…
First thing’s first, and everyone is talking about it. Dwight Howard would be served his just comeuppance if no team in the NBA was willing to deal for him and his nonsense, thusly forcing him to leave Orlando as a free agent and therefore taking less money on his contract. Now, I’m no dummy and I know that this will not happen; I’m just saying it is what he would deserve. The apparently most major players in this are his preferred Brooklyn Nets and the Lakers – both of whom have already made moves to allow themselves to get along just fine without him. Each passing day serves it that Brooklyn may become less and less interested and the Lakers’ front office are already notoriously fickle as it is and if they’re convinced not to make moves, then they will not make moves.
Personally, after the way he has carried this situation; taking a coach, GM and organization down with him, the Lakers fan in me does not want to see him come to the team. This is magnified that we already HAVE the second-best center in the league, who may have a leg up on Dwight Howard by simple virtue of diversity of his offensive repertoire and ability to hit free throws. All things considered, I would rather see us keep Bynum – whose demons we already know – and not upset team chemistry any more than necessary. As stated on Twitter recently, I would rather see Ron Artest traded straight up for Tayshaun Prince. Their contracts match, and we get a small forward who is mature enough to not haul off and commit idiotic maneuvers and can hit his shots consistently. Besides, would it not be HILARIOUS to see him have to return to the scene of his most infamous endeavor at least 41 times a season?
Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks’ experiment in taking a surefire repeating champion coming into last season and making a lottery team of them. Last year Caron Butler and Tyson Cleotis Chandler were allowed to escape and Dallas narrowly escaped (two more losses and they’re a lottery team) missing the playoffs just in time to be swept for their efforts. Immediately putting an official end to the Lamar Odom era in Dallas, they made things better by letting their point guards escape to the Eastern Conference while adding pretty much nothing in the draft. With free agency officially starting on the 11th of July and all the desirable point guards effectively spoken for, I REFUSE to believe that Dirk Nowitzki can carry this team to the playoffs alone… No, Brendan Haywood and Vince Carter will not count as “help” for anything that matters.
The New York Knicks…
No, I am not going there yet. I will wait and see if they match that offer sheet that Houston has set out for Jeremy Lin.
The damned Miami Heat…
At the beginning of last season, I said they would win it all. They proved me wrong early in the season and then proved me begrudgingly right at season’s close. Having added one of the best shooters in the history of shooting to properly stretch the floor and making people WANT to come and play for veterans’ minimum money – not that Rashard Lewis has shown to be worth more than that – there are likely only a few scenarios that will see anyone knocking them off this season…
1. An injury to LeBron James – and ONLY to LeBron – they worked around everyone else being out over the course of the season, but eventually needed LeBron to be LeBron when it mattered most.
2. This experiment in LA with Kobe and Nash being for real… For fear of going to long with this, I will not get into details, but a Nash/Kobe/Gasol pick-and-roll should scare people.
3. Boston not being dead yet… Boston has been Miami’s albatross of sorts, and with the same coach and roster mostly intact/upgraded, they cannot be ignored.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Clippers have sewn Blake Griffin up with a 5-year/$95million contract, which shows that they are committed to him making them a lot of money. As understood, Chris Paul is feeling out this season before making a commitment, but with them having made the playoffs this season and actually getting out of the first round, the prospects of him remaining look quite good.
Again, tonight is the time where these agreed-upon deals can be signed, so the start of business is effectively tomorrow. When there is some real ink signed and official moves made, then we will have more to discuss in this offseason.
I COULD go on about Team USA in the Olympics, but I will go on record as saying they’re going undefeated on the way to gold, and no one will be closer to them than 15 points.