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Huq’s Pen: August Potpourri

I’m back.  Sorry for the three-week hiatus.  I just took the Texas Bar Exam this past week, a three day foray through Hell comprised of fifteen hours of testing over a span of three days, covering every aspect of law in this jurisdiction.  Hopefully that’s done with forever because I don’t want to have to leave you all again, especially during such critical times.

While I was gone, I took note of some things upon which I wanted to talk when I returned.  Unfortunately that list got too long and I had to scrap it.  But here’s a dump of what’s currently on my mind at the time of writing:

  • In the days following Dwight’s escape to greener pastures, the predictable backlash which unfolded was one of the more embarrassing spectacles I can remember in recent history.  Coming from that camp, you had notable, respected journalists taking to print and the airwaves to unleash a preposterously absurd brand of revisionist apologetics.  As it was told, Howard was somehow foolish for leaving a bad situation because that bad situation involved a storied franchise that never suffered through bad situations…and the Lakers would rise again from the ashes of ineptitude solely and simply for the fact that they are the Lakers.  It was a fascinating story.  What was even richer was the narrative posited that with the big man’s departure, the Lakers actually were now better off as they were free to serve course until Lebron and ‘Melo rode in next year on their white horses to save the day.  Fortunately, for the sake of intelligent discourse, the fires of that illogical pipe dream too have been doused by some smart observance of actual reality.  I normally hold myself above this sort of thing, but because of what all was spewed in those weeks, I will take a deep enjoyment in the coming seasons out of watching that franchise fade away into irrelevance.  Lakers fans can seek solace in the “count the rings” tropes they’re so fond of throwing forth because that’s about all they’ll have to cling to going forward.  

  • The two worst offseasons indisputably were had by Dallas and Milwaukee, two clubs that splurged on middle of the pack talent that won’t help towards the bottom line.  Dallas is a more fascinating case due to the existential ramifications involving Cuban’s previous decision.  You broke up a title team to land, two years later, Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, and Samuel Dalembert.  That really stings.  But at the end of the day, I just don’t know if I can fault the billionaire.  While re-signing Chandler would have given the Mavs their only shot at defending their throne, it also would have locked them into forthcoming mediocrity with the opportunity cost being what seemed, at the time, a real chance at a possible dynasty (in bringing in Williams and Howard.)  Excuse me for going this route, but given what I just endured, I have to: in law, we have what is called ‘the business judgement rule’ whereby a manager cannot be held liable for breaching a duty of care as long as the decision followed some norm of informed decisionmaking and rationality; it can even be a horrendously bad decision, so long as there was some reasoned basis.  Cuban’s risk backfired, but it made sense and for that, I can’t cast blame.  
  • The Pelicans really, really intrigue me.  Because in a vacuum, signing Tyreke Evans and trading two lottery picks for Jru Holliday, I think, are bad moves.  But when you have the best big man prospect since Tim Duncan waiting in the wings, it works and makes sense.  Why?  Because everything depends on Anthony Davis.  And if Davis becomes who we think he is, everything fits.  That’s the thing about having true elite talent.  You can make other square parts fit into round holes and take risks where it otherwise would be imprudent.  That’s why you always see these guys like Jamal Crawford–guys with reputations their whole careers for being chuckers who adversely affect their teams–go to good teams and resurrect their names.  It’s going to happen on the Rockets too at some point in the next three years.  They’re going to sign someone who they otherwise would never want and he’ll make them look good because of Harden and Howard.
  • Has anyone in the league, of late, become more underrated than Jeremy Lin?  I have people in my Twitter mentions talking about him like he’s Matt Maloney or something.  Now, he certainly had a disappointing postseason, but I don’t think his year went as poorly as people are making it out to have gone.  I’ll resume my series on Lin next week, with Part 2, but as a teaser, I actually expect Lin to have the most surprising breakout of any player on the team next year, given one caveat.
  • Finally, I think it would be absolutely awesome if Lebron left Miami next season and went back to save the hometown Cavaliers.  It would be the ultimate narrative: the anti-Jordan mercenary returning to save the locals.  But more importantly, these recent rumors of James’ interest in pursuing the post of players’ association presidency are promising.  The league’s labor concerns are a pet issue of mine and the disparity in bargaining power is at the crux of the problem.  Having the sport’s most powerful figure taking a leadership role can only be a good thing though still just a very small step in solving the union’s heap of troubles.

That’s all for now.  It’s good to be back.

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About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.