Dwight Howard's theme music ought to be "I love L.A."
His next move should be to ask the Magic to trade him to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum.
10 Reasons Dwight Needs To Be A Laker:
1. City of Angles. Yes, angles. Dwight's image is a wreck, but he could rebuild it as another rehabbing star in ever-forgiving Hollywood ("Howardwood?"). Stunningly, he has surpassed LeBron as the NBA's top villain. This is his best shot at reaching The Finals again as a member in good standing of a Super Team. Nothing removes a stain like winning and being associated with a championship brand.
2.Obi-Wan Kobe. So Kobe Bryant apparently called up Dwight and said come be my Tyson Chandler, my designated rebounder. Not the smartest recruiting pitch if you believe it. Still, Kobe is just the kick in the pants that Dwight needs. Perhaps the ruthless ways of the league's most cold-blooded assassin would rub off on him. And in two seasons or so, Howard could inherit the Laker kingdom after Bryant has faded away.
3.Shaq's ghost. It's time that Dwight gets over this, too. He has been reluctant to follow Shaq's path from Orlando to L.A., even though he's adopted the Superman persona, appeared in movies and recorded songs. With his legacy at stake, Howard has bigger issues than being compared to Shaq. Besides, Shaq followed George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Embrace it.
4.Nashville Nights. Dwight has been looking to play with a point-guard upgrade from Jameer Nelson for a while. Steve Nash might be 38, but he's a guy who can deliver centers the ball routinely on pick-and-rolls and alley-oops. He turned Marcin Gortat, Dwight's former back-up in Orlando, into the Suns' leading scorer. Better yet, Nash can be the go-between between Kobe and Kobe's love of taking every shot.
5.Si, Pau Gasol. Gasol is perhaps the game's best-passing big man. He can draw the defense away with his shooting and set up Dwight all night. Gasol can take the load off him in the paint. Howard won't have to grab every single rebound. Maybe he'll learn some Spanish, too.
6.Metta World Peace. Howard should look at it this way: It's only a matter of time before The Player Formerly Known As Ron Artest will do or say something crazy. Howard wouldn't look like he has cornered the market on controversy.
7.Jack Nicholson. Howard would become Courtside Jack's buddy, his golden ticket to reading more scripts, appearing in more movies and dancing with more models. Howard would be red-carpet-cool and know everyone in Hollywood. He'd have a better shot to land roles than many professionally trained actors because he's a Laker.
8. Brooklyn Dodger. Let's face it: Howard blew his chance of getting to play for the Nets in New York, his preferred big-market destination, by opting in with the Magic this season. If he can't be in the Big Apple or South Beach, L.A. is the place to be --- fun, sun and surf. No snow, either. And most of all, no annoying New Yorkers.
9. The Laker Girls. No explanation needed.
10.It's not Orlando. And for Dwight, that would certainly be the best part. If he wanted to get as far away from the city as possible, the Left Coast is it, given the NBA doesn't have a team in Anchorage. He's nearly a resident now.
Checking in with Stan
Not surprisingly, former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy (still sounds weird to say "former") has been contacted by a couple teams, but he wasn't interested.
Stan wouldn't go into detail.
Van Gundy has been enjoying his offseason. He and his son attended the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game. He also conducted a kids basketball clinic at Lake Brantley High School with several coaches attending.
I realize that Van Gundy doesn't have a great vertical leap and can't get you 13 boards a game. But if the Magic have tried to reconcile with Dwight, why not Stan? He's still the best coach in town …or on the club's interview list.
Kobe must be dreaming
Maybe you heard the brouhaha that Kobe Bryant started by saying the 2012 Olympic team could beat the storied '92 Dream Team. Well, sure. Michael Jordan turns 50 in February.
Jordan laughed off Kobe's claim, adding, "For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done."
Call it The Pipe Dream Team.
"I imagine he's trying to say it to legitimize his own Dream Team," Jordan said of Kobe. "But to me, it's not even a question what team is better."
Heck, the 2012 Olympic team isn't even the best 2012 team, missing injured stars Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge. Alas, The Daydream Team.
This 'n' That
Referee Krystle Apellaniz was one of the intriguing stories at the Orlando Pro Summer League. She's from Oviedo and graduated from UCF with a masters, thanks to Magic owner Rich DeVos' DeVos Sport Business Management Program. Apellaniz also was a wide receiver for the Orlando Fantasy in the Lingerie Football League. Love to tell you more about her, but after agreeing to interviews, she ducked out the back door Friday. Just what the NBA needs: Another official who can't make up his or her mind.... Brook Lopez got $61 million, Roy Hibbert $58 million and Ryan Anderson $36 million. Uh, why did the owners lock out the players and battle over money again? …. Magic fans are looking forward to this season like they looked forward to Dwight stepping to the free-throw line.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Brian's e-Book, "Dwightmare: Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic and the Season of Dysfunction" is available at all major on-line book stores.