Here's a random picture of James Harden with USA sunglasses. This has nothing to do with today's links. This has nothing to do with anything, actually. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Did you hear? Dwight Howard is now a Laker, meaning he is no longer the least disliked player on his team. Though it's close.
- ESPN experts grade the trade for the four teams involved. Hint: Orlando easily grades out the worst of the four. That organization makes no sense to me.
- Jeff Caplan writes about the Howard trade from a Mavs perspective, while assuming that both Dwight and Bynum will resign with the teams they ended up on. To me, I don't either one is a guarantee to happen, though both are likely simply because the money's greater.
- But what about all the awesome Dallas golf courses!?!? You're right, I was kidding -- Dwight and Bynum will both sign with the Mavericks next offseason. And Chris Paul. And Josh Hamilton.
- Also by Caplan: he breaks down the center position for the Mavericks. He also brings up the fact that some people were calling the Brenden Haywood the Mavericks "best-ever" center immediately following the trade. That's cold, Jeff. I've been trying to forget that ever happened.
- Mike Fisher, with his takes on the situation. The Maverics have an "up-hill battle" to have chance at either one of those centers during free agency next year, he says. He also finds the gem in the next bullet.
- Ben Bolch, for the L.A. Times: "Go ahead and mark it down, with a Sharpie: The Lakers will make it back to the Finals in 2013. And they will win it."
- What, wait? Heard the expression 'jumping the gun'? Well, that's Usain Bolt style right there. Let's forget the fact that Miami got better and Oklahoma City got older. This team is a Steve Nash back injury away from blowing up like the Showtime Lakers did. A healthy Nash will be able to get touches to Dwight and Kobe and throw a few bones Gasol's way as well, but if he continues having injury problems, as 38-year olds are ought to do, things could being volatile very quick. That's what happened when you combine two massively oversized egos.
- I don't actually expect a Kobe/Shaq sized fallout between the two new LA superstars, but there's too many factors at play that could prevent the Lakers from even making the Finals, much less winning it. Until they show me otherwise, they're not even the best team in the West.
- Bryan Gutierrez has another twitter mailbag over at Mavs Fast Break.
- Finally, don't miss this Terry Stotts article by Kelly Dwyer. It's a good read.