Well it’s over. And, for better or worse, the Rockets have landed their center for the future. But the bigger story being framed here is that the Lakers missed out on Dwight Howard. That, for what seems to be the first time, the Lakers didn’t get their man. For an organization that is completely accustomed to getting the top free agents on the market, it’s a foreign feeling for everybody in the Los Angeles front office. And because this is something that hasn’t happened before, people are afraid.
What could this mean?
We’re hearing all sorts of things. Perhaps the most popular is that this is a sign of things to come. A sign that the Lakers have lost their luster. That the glitz and glamor of Tinseltown has been dwindled to nothing more than a dim lantern in a cavernous chasm.
But that’s not the case. Because, ultimately, this says more about Dwight Howard than it does the Lakers.
So, while Laker fans wake up at the dawn of what they believe is the end of the world, it’s really not that big of an issue.
Because the Lakers are still the Lakers.
We’ve heard the reports for years about Howard’s petulance. We’ve heard the stories of post-game theatrics and box scores waved about. He’s been more indecisive than a roulette wheel, with new ultimatums popping up like chrysanthemums. So then why are we surprised that Howard, who’s been more focused on sending toothy selfies and Vine videos to the social media masses than practicing a free throw, just couldn’t hack it in the city of blinding lights? A city, by the way, that Howard never wanted to play in in the first place.
In the end, the Lakers are still the Lakers. And while this is unprecedented, it doesn’t mean the smog-filled sky is plummeting towards the iconic L.A. skyline.
How many times have the Lakers been considered down and out? Well, admittedly not that many, but think about it with me for just a moment.
When Jerry West and Elgin Baylor left, nobody thought the Lakers would recover.
When Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shut it down, everybody said it was over for Showtime.
When Shaq was traded for Lamar Odom and Brian Grant’s hair, the Lakers were finally finished.
Stop me when you begin to sense a pattern here.
The point is that the Lakers still hold an undeniable edge over the rest of the Association. While they missed their man in this instance, consider the advantages they still hold.
They’re still the most storied franchise in NBA history, and one of the most recognizable global brands the planet has ever seen. And the Lakers still hold the most favorable geographic location in the NBA.
Next year will likely be a struggle, but even if Dwight returned that was to be expected. So, in reality, the Lakers are still on the (relatively) same track they were even with Dwight in the mix for their plans.
Plus, you can never rule out the chances that the Lakers do something crazy. Like, you know, lure a massive free agent that they’re not supposed to get. Despite taking a punch to the face in this particular match, nobody gets up and swinging again quicker than the Lakers. Remember when Chris Paul was on the team for a minute? The league quickly rescinded the trade, and the pundits were stating that it would take years for Los Angeles to recover from the blowback. It took them less than a year and they were out acquiring two more future Hall of Fame players. While that obviously didn’t end the way they were expecting, the fact that they have this ability is what’s important to dwell on here.
The Lakers are still the Lakers. And they’ll continue to be long after Dwight Howard’s days in Houston are over.
So while the team currently is down on the mat, staring wide-eyed into space wondering what just happened, they’ll be up again in no time. And then, like we’ve seen so many times in the past, it will be them throwing the punches. After all, that’s what they’ve done better than anybody else.
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