March 7, 2013
Relationships in the Lakers world are more like that of a Scottish clan than a traditional business. Around the Buss family there are rivalries, alliances and marriages (or pending ones, anyway) with all kinds of power implications. There are not a lot of clear lines of demarcation.
Out of that morass everyone deals with everyone. So it shouldn't be shocking that Phil Jackson - the coach Jim Buss passed over as coach and the guy engaged to Jeanie Buss - is texting Lakers star Dwight Howard.
Howard said as much before the Thunder thumped the Lakers. Howard told Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com that Jackson has texted him on back issues (via Sulia).
"I've had people really just help me out," Howard said. "Guys like Phil [Jackson], he texts me and he understands how it is to come off back surgery. He just said it takes a full year to recover, so you can't beat yourself up over the things that have happened this year."
Howard doesn't need to beat himself up, Lakers fans will do that for him.
Jackson also is right, which goes back to the debate about whether Howard should have rushed back at the start of the season or sat out for a few months and come back more ready for the rigors of the NBA grind. But that ship has sailed. The Lakers are where they are now.
The only way Howard improves his reputation damaged from the Dwightmare in Orlando followed by this season is to help get Kobe Bryant what he wants - a ring. Winning is the balm. That's not happening this year, but like Jackson said his back should be healthy next year. And then we'll see what kind of Lakers team they have assembled (and yes, I think Howard re-signs).