Since it’s no secret that the NBA is a bottom-line league, as Thursday’s trade deadline rapidly approaches these words of wisdom become even more ubiquitous.
But that doesn’t make them necessarily true. People are not your most important asset.
The RIGHT people are.
With the trade deadline less than 48 hours away, no situation has become more disconcerting than that of Los Angeles Lakers, who must reverentially contemplate the future of the franchise while mourning the loss of their beloved owner, Jerry Buss.
The Lakers will begin the second half of the season a hopeless 25-29 and 3.5 games behind the Houston Rockets for the eighth and final playoff seed. And as the decorated future of the franchise, Dwight Howard has struggled to find his role and confidence with the team.
“They just don’t put the ball in the post,” Phil Jackson said in a revealing interview with Sports Illustrated. “They’ll use a screen-roll to get the guy in the post. But there’s no consistent plan to do it.
“Yes, Kobe will go in there. But Dwight [Howard] just doesn’t get any touches. They’ve basically eliminated his assets.”
Quite frankly, he looks as miserable as he’s ever been. Here is a back-and-forth between Dwight Howard and the boss, Chris Sheridan during All-Star weekend:
DH: “I’ve got to do what makes me happy. That’s it.”
CS: “What makes you happy? What has made you the most happy over the course of your career?”
DH: “Having fun on the court. That makes me happy.”
CS: “Are you having as much fun as you used to have on the court?”
DH: “At the present time, no. Hopefully it gets better.
With Howard, it’s not uncommon to begin with one problem and discover another.
Dwight is in the leagues biggest market with a star-studded cast, just as he wanted when he acrimoniously forced his way out of Orlando last season. Even so, Howard has become even more estranged, from his team and from the game.
“I was out in Houston this past weekend at the All-Star Game and I spent a lot of time talking to Dwight Howard,” Sheridan said in an interview with New York’s WFAN on Tuesday. “Let me tell you something — the guy is miserable. I’ve never seen a player as miserable in his current circumstances as this guy is right now. He said he wants the game to be fun for him again.”
While Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchack is adamantly on the record that Howard will not be traded, there is a growing sentiment around the league that he may spurn LA in the offseason when he becomes a free agent.
Do not put any stock into Kupchack’s assurances, though. It’s just NBA trade protocol: never let your players know they are being shopped in case the deal falls through.
So ensues the “Dwightmare,” as Howard once again finds himself the center of attention and the leagues biggest question mark before the trade deadline.