March 13, 2012 |
Desperation or gamesmanship? As the clock ticks to within two days of the NBA trade deadline, the latest rumor out of Orlando has the Magic offering Dwight Howard the chance to decide the fate of the team's coach and GM. According to an ESPN Insider -- aren't they all? -- Magic CEO Alex Martins has told Howard that the team will add a quality player in the next two days and allow him to decide the fate of GM Otis Smith and Coach Stan Van Gundy if Howard signs an extension. It's in stark contrast to the situation between the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning, where the team was calling all the shots.
March 15, 2012 |
The Lakers can forget about trying to get Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. The Lakers won't get him before Thursday's trade deadline at noon PDT. Nor will they get him during the free agency signing period in July. ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard first reported that Howard has waived his early termination option and will stay with the Magic through the 2012-13 season. That has an instant trickle effect on the Lakers' front-office dealings. One, it's safe to say Lakers center Andrew Bynum will remain a Laker.
July 19, 2012 |
So, has Dwight Howard finally made up his mind? RealGM.com reported that Howard has signaled he would be prepared to sign a long-term extension after the 2012-13 season should the Orlando Magic trade him to the Lakers. But don't make a rush order for a "Howard" Lakers jersey. Don't start expressing giddiness over Howard pairing up with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Don't make plans to take off work next year so you can attend the Lakers' championship parade. All of those things might happen.
July 20, 2012 |
It appears Dwight Howard isn't the only one waffling about his future. Las Vegas oddsmakers seem split as well. They're coming to grips on determining how much Howard's presence would bolster the Lakers' championship fortunes. The Las Vegas Hotel and Casino considers it a big deal. The Lakers keep making leaps in its books. They went from 12-1 odds to 8-1 after the Lakers acquired Steve Nash. The mere possibility that Howard might come to the Lakers prompted the hotel to change its odds to 5-1. Regardless, the Miami Heat (2-1)
January 13, 2013 |
It was back to the fun times of seasons past, when the only tension in the building centered on the Lakers' winning two free tacos for each fan at Staples Center. Even then, it wasn't much of a question Sunday. The Lakers, with Dwight Howard back in the lineup, easily handled the Cleveland Cavaliers, 113-93, at Staples Center. Their six-game losing streak was punted and they were no longer the only team without a victory in 2013, allowing their fans to momentarily forget all that went wrong so far. Not that there was any celebrating.
September 17, 2012 |
With a two-week vacation just ending, I'm fully recharged and ready for the NBA's 2012-13 season. But are the Lakers? Oh, they're considered one of the heavy favorites to win the NBA title. But so are the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder. And with the gold standard in L.A. remaining championship or bust, that means there are still some unanswered questions. When will Dwight Howard fully rehab his back? To what degree will Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant be able to rest so that the veteran backcourt duo will become most efficient for the postseason?
September 24, 2012 |
In exactly one week, all the waiting will end. Steve Nash and Dwight Howard will wear the Lakers uniform for the first time. So, too will key reserve pickups in Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks. Kobe Bryant will enter a season happy about the Lakers' front office moves. Pau Gasol won't have to wonder if the Lakers will trade him. The Lakers won't have to fret about Metta World Peace being out of shape. As you can tell, there's plenty of storylines to dive into as the Lakers launch Media Day on Oct. 1 and begin training camp the next day. Will the Lakers' star-studded lineup prove enough against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat?
August 27, 2012 |
With the starting lineup the Lakers have accumulated, it's a hard task to dissect any significant weaknesses. Long ago the lightning rod for criticism, the Lakers' point guard spot suddenly becomes dangerous with Steve Nash directing the offense. Kobe Bryant's prolific scoring will become more efficient now that he'll relieve ball handling duties. Dwight Howard remains the league's top center both in scoring on the low block and denying looks inside. He has a trusty sidekick in Pau Gasol to facilitate and complement his post presence.
September 26, 2012 |
The possibilities leave the Lakers giddy. The options will make defenses feel helpless. It will give Lakers Coach Mike Brown a good problem to have in managing such high talent. The Lakers' starting lineup really needs no introduction. They have an elite scorer (Kobe Bryant), an elite passer (Steve Nash), an elite frontcourt (Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol) and an elite defender (Metta World Peace). Three of them have already won NBA championships (Bryant, Gasol, World Peace). Two of them have won league MVP awards (Bryant, Nash)
September 27, 2012 |
Little by little, there are hints that Dwight Howard's surgically repaired back is healing. The latest: Howard appeared on "Ellen" and performed the "Gangnam Style" dance for 45 seconds. If he can look that smooth and mobile on the dance floor, imagine how he'll look on the basketball court. Still, Howard looked out of breath after the dance, suggesting his conditioning could improve. Or perhaps he was just overwhelmed by the moment. After all, Howard revealed on the show that he's had a crush on Ellen DeGeneres ever since hearing her "sexy" voice as Dory in "Finding Nemo.