The post-season isn’t yet over but to some it feels like an orphanage. Please sir, we want some more. Laker fans and media have been mixed on the rash of moves since Phil hobbled away. The rumbles begin and swell from the epicenter. Jim Buss wants to run the asylum, he wants to do his father proud. Welcome to the show - it will grow and feed and it will consume you. Give us the information.
Is it so much about hiring Mike Brown? Not really. Not unless he shows some sign of system failure, unless he blinks. Then we will swarm. We are Jack and Piggy, we are wildebeests and pac-men, fueled by an uncertain disconnect. It is their post-season now, not ours. It can hit you, it can hurt you.
It might have been 15 years ago, I don’t quite recall. I was in a jury selection room, somewhere on the no-man’s stretch of Hollywood Blvd in the heat of summer. Doing my civic duty. Prospective jurors were brought forth. What is your name, your occupation, do you worship heathen gods? An old man took his place in the box. Gray hair, good posture, dead eyes. They asked his profession and he stared straight ahead and answered flatly, "I’m a dancer". He was excused immediately.
Watch out now, take care. Beware of soft shoe shufflers. Dancing down the sideboards.
The draft is roughly two weeks away. We have four picks, all in the second round, mostly the result of trades from somewhere in the past. It’s not a strong draft, the big answers don’t lie there but we need these picks regardless. We have yawing chasms at the point and we need shooters as well. We could get lucky - we could find a gem. Except that Jim Buss fired all the scouts, two weeks ago. And then he fired Ronnie Lester, the brain-trust when it comes to such matters.
Some say, give it a chance. Don’t be suspicious. We haven’t yet begun. And I respect these voices, enormously. But I cannot see the new emperor’s suit and if I can’t see it, I get worried. Phil Jackson said he hadn’t spoken to Jim Buss once this season. Jerry’s son is said to be a recluse. He did an interview and denied all this. He’s just the owner’s son, he only wants to make his father proud. I’m surprised he wasn’t asked about his racehorses, or what his favorite colors are.
The drumbeats grow softly in the distance, villagers gather torches and coat them with a flammable tar. We only want answers, Jim. We will not hurt you. We have built a platform for you to climb and speak from. We will let you leave when we are satisfied.
Mike Brown is probably a very decent guy. He turned the Cavs around, he was Coach of the Year. He says he has a plan. Something about spreading the floor, giving Kobe prime spots to score from and that’s good, Kobe likes playing on the wing. Mike wants us to get up the floor faster which isn’t a shock. The triangle wasn’t predicated on speed and the new system won’t be predicated on the triangle. We’ll need new blood, new skin for the old ceremony.
The prospect of a work stoppage is almost unfathomable, yet there are those in ownership drawn to the flames like old and bitter moths. Derek Fisher is working a delicate balance to bring sides together while protecting the union line. He has succeeded as a player, beyond and past most expectations. He’ll return next season but the shadows grow ever long. One of Phil’s favorite sayings holds relevance here, "unceasing change turns the circle of life, and so reality is shown in all its many forms". With the team stripped of its longstanding staff, could Derek build bridges once again? Might they include him in their vision, a connective thread to the future?
My dog grows increasingly infirm, his hindquarters crook to one side as he walks. He chews and worries his flesh. I take him out for his little walks, his confusion evermore apparent, not hearing my whistles or choosing not to. Looking off into the distance, hearing other voices calling. There was thunder and lighting in the afternoon today but no relief from the heat, only steam roiling off the wet pavement. A long summer ahead, the portent of discontent looms. We only want answers.
To everything, a yin and a yang, a push and a pull. I have written about the gray-scale eluding me, about strange dreams and childhood memories, frailties and finality, the obscuring of the sun. Fall will eventually come and if this journal still exists, it like all things, must change. There will be new and different themes, our season’s clock will reset. I make no promises about villagers and torches however- unrest has its place and far be it from me not to fan a flame here and there. Especially toward management. Phil Jackson provided a long and contrarian respite and now we cross our fingers and hit system restore. And wait.