No, I think he’s just still rehabbing his back in Los Angeles (as reported back in April, so maybe he’s doing follow-ups), but the imgur post calls to mind the innuendo’s and “me first-ness” of this free agency period (the moratorium wasn’t a moratorium, but teams made most of their moratorium moves official today). The biggest name—this summer at least—is still in limbo as of this writing, and so the Internet speculates and busily refreshes various social media platforms.
With Twitter especially there’s a tendency to want to know where Dwight is going before anyone else. For bloggers this allows them more time to provide context, get the relevant facts and report it first (thereby upping back-links on future articles at larger websites and driving traffic to their initial scoop). I get this; it’s been around since the dawn of journalism, and in the web world it’s part of the online culture now to be first (screw being right or informative—just throw teams against the wall at random and you’ll eventually get it right), but why are we treating Dwight’s impending trade from Orlando with so much hysteria?
He is the most dominant big man in the game, but not since Duncan in 2007 (and remember Parker was the NBA Finals MVP that year), has a sure-fire, dominant big man actually won a ring. Bynum wasn’t even the 3rd best player on the LA teams that repeated in 2009 and 2010. Sure Dwight got Orlando to the finals in 2009, but that was primarily on the strength of their 3-point shooting, rather than anything he was really doing on the offensive end. The Greg Oden fiasco in Portland combined with the knowledge every single GM in the league would have taken him over Durant in they had been in Portland’s place in 2007, merely reiterates how saliva-spewingly hungry for a dominant big man GM’s have become; even as point guards and point forwards are the new evolutionary standard for success in the league.
Yes, Dwight drastically changes a team’s defense by making the court smaller for opposing offenses, but he’s got a funky back, and for a large man that’s a problem as he approaches his 30’s. His rehabilitation and his recovery are big what-ifs when you’re thinking of pulling the trigger on a trade that will sink your supporting roster faster than you can say “Melo to the Big Apple!”
Then again, Daryl Morey has basically risked the entire Rockets franchise on the idea that getting Dwight to Houston will somehow convince him to sign this summer, and then all of a sudden Houston is in title contention for the next _ years in the West. That’s a pretty big maybe, but it’s a gamble Morey is willing to take and Morey isn’t David Kahn or Geoff Petrie; he’s a brilliant evaluator of talent and such a virtuoso of gualitative reasoning he goes to the MIT Sloan Conference every year.
I don’t know or particularly care where Dwight goes unless it’s LA and Orlando only gets Bynum in return. If that happens, the Lakers are again in serious contention in the West (if they aren’t already after getting Nash), but I don’t think a Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Dwight team makes the Nets the best team in the East or even the second best team in the East. I think Morey is right that you need a superstar to really contend for a title and Dwight is that, but how much would they mortgage to get him for a quick 2012-2013 season where he’s only a “probable” to start the season on the court (herniated disks are no joke) and almost assuredly bolt in the summer as a free agent?
There are a lot of bloggers and reporters and essayists out there that love the Dwight saga because it’s something to write about in the dog days of mid-July, but I’m just not convinced it’s as important as we’re all assuming. Or I’m just so tired of hearing about a guy that hasn’t really done anything in the league so far, I’ve invented excuses for why it doesn’t matter. Either way, yawn. Wake me when the season starts.