Phil Jackson arrived early, a full hour before shoot-around. His tall chair was back where he liked it but he didn’t sit. Instead, he walked out to center court, closed his eyes and took a long, slow breath. He was back and relishing that which lay before him – the path would be long and difficult and filled with learning moments. And then a soft chiming sound and the arena around him blurred at the edges and slipped away.
“Phil? It’s time to get up. I brought your tea.”
The lovely blonde woman set the cup down on his nightstand and smiled. She had been his partner for many years now, balancing the difficult tasks of managing the team’s sizable fortune, adapting to new business models and navigating dysfunctional family shoals that seemed best-suited for cable.
Phil rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “Are you headed into the office?”
“Yes, I have to. I don’t suppose you want to come to the game tonight?”
“You would be supposing correctly. Who’s on tap by the way?”
“Utah. We could watch it on TV instead? I’ll bring sushi and tempura.”
He shrugged. “If you want. What’s going on in the standings?”
Her voice sounded just a little tight. “Three games out of last place.”
Phil found his slippers and padded over to the nightstand. He picked up the cup and saucer and took a sip. Tazo Zen with just a hint of honey. He exited the room, stooped but still tall.
She called after him. “So what are you going to do today, Phil?”
A lazy yawn drifted from the next room. “I think I’ll take my tea down to the beach. The morning is filled with promise and adventure.”
“Okay then. I guess I’ll see you later?”
DISSOLVE TO LINKS:
Mike Bresnahan at the L.A. Times writes that the Lakers don’t even talk a good game.
Bill Plaschke at the Times asks if Dwight Howard has the brass to be the future of the franchise.
Zach Lowe & Bill Simmons go one-on-one in Grantland, on the Lakers’ woes.
Beckley Mason at TrueHoop takes a look at Steve Nash’s defense.
Larry Coon at ESPN explains why Lakers fans shouldn’t look toward the next draft for answers.
Kevin Ding at the OC Register relays that the Lakers are sticking with Mike D’Antoni.
Janis Carr at the OC Register reports that Dwight Howard’s shoulder has been cleared for continued activity.
Kurt Helin at ProBasketballTalk wonders if Dwight and Mike can co-exist.
The Great Mambino at Silver Screen and Roll takes a crack at charting a Lakers course to the playoffs.
Arielle Moyal at Lakers Nation offers news and rumors; an unsolvable conundrum.
Jeanie arrived halfway through the first quarter and set a large takeout bag down on the coffee table. It was filled with tempting aromas. Phil had already settled into a large leather recliner in front of a sensibly-sized flat screen.
“That smells good. What is it?”
“I got you diver scallops, tiger cry and teriyaki chicken. And beer.”
“Excellent. And what are you having?”
“Sashimi and goat cheese. Jim was being a total pill today by the way. What’s going on with the game?”
“Down by ten. They finally let Pau in.”
Jeanie squinted. “Where? I don’t see him.”
Phil pointed. “He’s way over there.”
“Have I ever told you how unceasing change turns the circle of life?”
“Yeah. Like a million times.”
“You want to hear about it again?”
Jeanie began taking the food out of the boxes and setting it out on plates. “Sure Phil, why not.”