Superman had hardly cleared Hollywood airspace before the rumors of the next Los Angeles Lakers superstar acquisitions began. And as always, the dreams are as big as California:
With Dwight Howard gone to Houston, Pau Gasol with his bags packed awaiting his next destination and Metta World Peace cut loose via amnesty, the Lakers are banking cap space and could be on a position to chase the two biggest fish in the 2014 free agent pond – LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony – to team with Kobe Bryant for a few more championship runs.
It sounds incredible. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh flanking LeBron have been an incredible Big Three. But Kobe, ‘Melo and King James in his prime? Even all the Dodgers’ money couldn’t build a better marquee.
Too bad it will never happen.
Don’t blame it on any LeBron James loyalty to South Beach or his distant dream to bring Cleveland their first sports championship since the days of Jim Brown. Blame it on good old-fashioned greed and selfishness.
Bryant still needs one ring to tie Michael Jordan’s bling collection. Do you think LeBron is going to help Kobe get there? And do you think Bryant, even in the twilight of his career, would take a step back and play second banana to anyone, even for the opportunity for a sixth title?
What would the Lakers do for a coach anyway? Bring back Mike Brown?
Even a Kobe-Carmelo duo makes little sense. Imagine being Steve Nash on the break — with Bryant on one wing and Anthony on the other. Who gets the ball? Who rolls his eyes and throws up his hands when he doesn’t?
It’s a great daydream. And with the Lakers, all things are possible. But until Kobe is ready to cede power or until he discovers that coming back from this injury is a taller order than he imagines, the Lakers are stuck with finding support players — or stars willing to give the resident legend a wide berth.
Johnny B. Unlucky
Heisman winner Johnny Manziel’s timing when it came to oversleeping at a Peyton/Eli Manning camp wasn’t great. But he also picked the worst possible time to offer the sports media a juicy topic to feed upon.
July is always the slowest month in sports — unless you like seeing which over-oxygenated cyclist wins the Tour de France — and All-Star week is the slowest of them all.
No baseball for a few days, NBA free agency is all but over and here comes “Johnny Football,” sending his party boy image on a fly pattern down the sidelines and thumbing his nose at the royal family of football in the Mannings.
Of course, this is no surprise. Manziel nearly spent his Heisman Trophy season on the sidelines due to academics and needed a letter-writing campaign from his coaches to get on the field. Now you give that kid, barely 20 years old and not even a sophomore, the biggest honor in college sports, set him loose on the summer and expect him to self-impose a curfew? Right or wrong, that’s not Johnny Football.
He should know better. He should do better. But I don’t expect too much improvement in either area. This is not Tim Tebow, on or off the field, and that’s not for better or worse, just different.
If Texas A&M loses to Alabama this year and Manziel watches A.J. McCarron walk off with the Heisman, it won’t be because he kept late hours in mid-July.
The Diamondbacks’ first half of the season and 2 ½ game lead at the All-Star break didn’t impress Vegas one bit. One betting service has Arizona a 20-to-1 shot to win the World Series, the worst of all the division leaders. Meanwhile the Dodgers – who needed to win 17 out of 22 games just to get back to the .500 mark – are 9-to-1 odds to win it all.
But what are the odds of another D-Backs-Dodgers meleé this season? Anything less than even money is a sucker’s bet.
Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.