How quick we were as Laker fans to forget about the legitimate 7-footer who provided the salt to fellow big man Pau Gasol’s pepper. We’ve moved on. After all, there’s Dwight Howard now. Oh look! Something shiny. Something new.
Look at Bynum now. You have to wonder what kind of deep emotional trauma we have inflicted on the By-guy that caused him to pull a Britney, or rather, the inverse of a Britney. His haircut suggests he’s a stunt double for Tracy Morgan on 30 Rock rather than a former All-Star. Doesn’t an afro just scream that he’s all but completely given up?
And why wouldn’t he? While he sits on the bench recovering from a couple too many frames in the bowling alley, the best center in the league has settled cozily into Bynum’s former role. Bynum was just a mere puzzle-piece in the trade (if you could call it that) for Howard. The Lakers were practically salivating over Dwight, and still are. Even with the coaching change, Howard is shaping up to be the golden boy, ready to take the reins from Kobe as soon as he’s ready to give them up, perhaps even before.
Speaking of the coaching change, the Lakers are the worst kind of ex. Not only did they trade Bynum in for the one person who is unarguably better, they are bettering themselves overall. They got rid of Mike Brown and seem to be on their way back to being contenders under D’Antoni. Forget Tuesday’s game against the Pacers. That was a fluke because Kobe had the flu. It’s not like he was able to put up big numbers that night. Oh wait…
Irregardless. At this point, it’s not even for certain that Bynum will play one game for the Philadelphia 76ers. He is out indefinitely, having problems with both of his knees. Not that it matters. The East is all Miami this year. Plus with the Knicks playing as well as they are, the shiny new toy that is the Brooklyn Nets and the ever present Celtics, it’s doubtful Philly will make it out of their own division.
It’s the Western Conference that’s up for grabs and it’s the Lakers that will be playing into May while Bynum sits idly by watching, just as he is doing now.
Bynum’s arranged marriage to the Sixers is leaving both sides second-guessing. Philly gave up oodles of cap space as well as first round picks for him, thereby jeopardizing any significant transactions in the future. Not to mention: the Sixers aren’t bad. Currently, they hold a 9-6 record and are only 3rd in their division. Basically, they will finish middle of the pack and go severely unnoticed. No sympathy or leverage to be found. You better believe this wasn’t what they signed up for either.
Philly is a high-risk, high-reward market. The fans will demand you take the massive, slightly (majorly) stupid risk yet will abandon you the second that risk inevitably goes awry. With a brand new GM in Tony DiLeo, he was absolutely out to prove himself- so he took that risk in Bynum. He understood that in Philly, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. They are the city that booed Santa Claus for crying out loud. DiLeo had as much, if not more riding on this than Bynum ever would. With the fans’ rejection of Andrew Bynum so far, that probably makes DiLeo less popular than Bynum himself. And I can’t imagine Bynum is being welcomed to the neighborhood potluck on Struggle St.
Side note: Not that Bynum was getting along with his LA neighbors either. It was reported on Thursday that Bynum is currently amidst litigation with his former LA neighbors over disorderly neighborhood behavior.
So as we watch our Los Angeles Lakers in this period of transition, and losses to the Indiana Pacers in our fight back to .500, patience is key. Sure there are ups and downs and bit of uncertainty, but we as fans have to believe that with a little more time and the return of at least one of the Steves, our beloved purple and gold will be okay. Lakers have a chance to pull themselves to that .500 mark tonight.
The Lakers have BOTH Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash under a three-year contract. As long as Dwight Howard is being utilized correctly, the sun doesn’t shine brighter than LA my friends, he will stay after his one-year tender is done. The Lakers have a plan. They are the team of the future. The only question is how soon that future will come.
Even if all else should fail, just remember, it could always be worse. After all, we could be Andrew Bynum.