Apr 7, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers small forward Matt Barnes (22) and shooting guard Jamal Crawford (11) guard Los Angeles Lakers small forward Earl Clark (6) in the first half at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Free Agency: Bizzaro Los Angeles?


 

Don’t ask me, because I don’t have an answer.

That’s the state of the 2013 NBA Free Agency period, when it comes to the city of Los Angeles. The Lakers, then the Clippers. One, a perennial powerhouse, the other, the laughingstock of the league.

That’s what we’ve all come to know.

And it still is that, except the roles have changed. It’s now the Clippers, then the Lakers.

On the eve of what may be a decision that changes the Los Angeles basketball landscape for the next five years, all hinges on one man’s decision.

SIGH.

Enter, Dwight Howard.

He could either switch the power(s) back on in LakerLand or, perhaps, shut it out for years to come. In most cases, it would be the Clippers waiting and sweating in anticipation. Hoping for a superstar to choose them, opening a championship window. Even the slightest of one. But now, that has all changed.

It’s now the Lakers who are begging, hoping and praying for Howard to choose them, to keep them relevant. They altered billboards, decorated businesses and even created a hashtag on Twitter (#stayD12) to push the movement of keeping “Superman” in the purple and gold.

But even after all that, it still might not be enough.

The legends, the aura and Kobe Bryant — still might not be enough.

The city, the possibility, the potential — still might not be enough.

This may very well be the first time a top flight free agent LEAVES the Lakers in the prime of his career…I could be wrong, but I’m sure that it hasn’t happened that often.

Howard could change the landscape of Los Angeles basketball. Of course, the Clippers still have to do something, but if Howard elects to leave…it won’t be the same.

As the Lakers continue to wait for Howard’s decision — like the rest of us — they also wait for their teams’ fate for the next handful of years.

We saw the Boston Celtics’ present era end just a week ago. In the next few hours we could see another era ending as well.

But, the Lakers won’t admit it. They’ll stick their chest out and walk with pride.

In some ways — a false hope.

Howard was (is) going to be the future. Without him, the Lakers don’t have one. Kobe Bryant is not going to be the centerpiece of another championship team. It’s not going to happen, no matter how much you don’t want to believe it.

Howard was supposed to be the next great Laker. He still can.

But, in the meantime, we wait. Just like the Lakers.

Except this time they’re hoping, instead of expecting.

 

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