The Couch Slouch
The NBA season is here, and it's the West's World
Frank Lloyd Wright once said, "Tip the world over on its side and everything will land in Los Angeles."
(Why not Sacramento?)
LeBron James landed last year, followed this year by Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
When you say "La La Land" now, one "La" is for the Lakers and the other "La" is for the Clippers.
Staples Center is no longer big enough for the two of them – the Clippers intend to move to the Lakers' old stomping grounds in Inglewood, with a new arena planned for 2024 down the street from the Great Western Forum.
The NBA traditionally is divided into the Western and Eastern Conferences. But in 2019-20, it is now divided into Los Angeles and Points East.
(By the way, if everything did land in Sacramento, I'd be able to get to In-N-Out Burger quicker.)
Anyhow, here's a not-quite-comprehensive look at the new NBA season:
* Let's get this nasty replay-as-an-officiating-tool business expanding again out of the way first. NBA coaches this season have the right to challenge one call per game (on limited situations), plus replay can now be triggered by the NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J., without the involvement of the game referees.
Here's a thought: One day the NBA Replay Center might also handle pass-interference disputes for NFL games being played at the same time as NBA games.
* Memo to the Brooklyn Nets: You are one short of a dynamic duo. Sure, everyone is excited by the arrival of Irving and Kevin Durant. Except Durant will miss the entire season; as a rule, I like my $164 million superstars to be ready to play within, oh, three months or so of joining the team. And when Durant does return in 2020-21, he might be a shadow of his former self. Take it from me: I've been a shadow of my former self since 1993, and it's not a pretty sight.
* The cheesesteak contingent says this is the year The Process leads to The Finals for the Philadelphia 76ers. Uh, no. Yes, Ben Simmons hit a three-point shot in preseason, another wacky and inexplicable effect of climate change. And, yes, the Toronto Raptors lost Leonard and the Boston Celtics lost Irving. But The Process remains an irrevocably corrupt, contaminated, contemptible entity, and it will never be rewarded.
* James Harden, you remember Russell. Russell Westbrook, you remember James. This could be the greatest pairing since Simon & Garfunkel. Or it could be the biggest flop since the AOL-Time Warner merger. Whether it's a tour de force or a train wreck, watching the Houston Rockets alone is the worth the price of NBA League Pass.
* If you are a disgruntled L.A. fan, you might want to latch onto the New Orleans Pelicans – they have ex-Lakers Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram, plus ex-Clipper J.J. Redick (and the head coach is ex-Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry). And why stop there? Why not move to New Orleans? Less traffic, lower taxes, no Kardashians.
* The Golden State Warriors have moved into a new arena, but they forgot to bring most of their team. Gone: Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and, until he is healthy, Klay Thompson. Was it something Steve Kerr said? No – life happens. And as long as Stephen Curry is still in town, the Warriors are still happening.
* Let's be very, very honest about the Dallas Mavericks. The only reason to mildly root for the team the past 20-odd years was Dirk Nowitzki; the main reason to root against the Mavs was Mark Cuban. Nowitzki is gone, Cuban is not. Case closed.
* With column space at a premium these days, Couch Slouch cannot justify writing lengthy items on the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards. They always stink.
* A billion Chinese people can't be wrong, can they? In A Few Good Men, Col. Nathan Jessup shouted, "You [messed] with the wrong Marine!" Well, Adam Silver, you [messed] with the wrong regime!
Ask The Slouch
Q. Several years ago, you ran a question that said, "If Dan Snyder really loved the R*dsk*ns, wouldn't it make more sense for him to have bought the Cowboys and run that franchise into the ground?" If you print that one again, I will send you $1.25. (Doug Pratt; Kensington, Md.)
A. You really should send the buck-and-a-quarter to Jeff Brown of Arlington, Va., who submitted that gem.
Q. If replay review had been afforded to either of your first two wives at the ceremonies, would the "I do" have been reversed to "I don't"? (Jack Drury; Cumberland, Md.)
A. Actually, I believe one of them did try to back out on our wedding day without the benefit of replay.
Q. Is it true that the NCAA was fully supportive of the "pay to play" idea until they couldn't agree on how much the players should be charged? (Steve Cullen; Richmond, Va.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. Does the signature of Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross on player paychecks constitute written proof of attempting to fix NFL games? (Mike Soper; Washington, D.C.)
A. Pay this wise soul, too.
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