Theater Of The Absurd Continues: Orlando Considers Tampering Charges

If any one word can describe the NBA since July 1, “absurd,” or some variation of it, might be the best choice. 

The lockout was a daily grind of absurdity, with ridiculous claims left and right, and a mind-boggling refusal to move on the final few steps of a deal that could have saved a full season. 

Then, the NBA decides to change its mind after setting December 9 as the date to start doing business, opening the door to a flood or rumors that would have Noah scrambling for his tools and some lumber.  

THEN, Chris Paul is dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in a move that has the masses screaming about the farce of a reason “parity” was to keep the NBA locked out.  On a day the deal was officially ratified, a small market star was going to a mega-market powerhouse. 

THEEEEN, the NBA decided that a trade like that looked bad.  So it, as the owner of the New Orleans Hornets, chose a perception of “heavy-handed authoritarianism” over “hypocritical money-grubber” and vetoed the trade, sending players, executives, writers, bloggers and half of Twitter into a frenzied tailspin. 

And now, in what may seem like the coup de grace were it not for the sick feeling, based all these recent events, that there is still more absurdity to come, the Orlando Magic are considering tampering charges against the New Jersey Nets.  The beauty of this lies somewhere in the Garden State, and an alleged meeting between Howard and owner Mikhail Prohkerov Thursday night. 

Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that a story dropped early Friday morning that Dwight would be requesting a trade to the Nets.  The timing seems right.  A meeting (allegedly) with the Nets owner leading to this leaked story fits the timeline.  It also fits the circus the NBA has become.  A jet-setting Russian billionaire encroaching on the New York Knicks’ turf flouts the NBA’s rules and meets with one of the league’s biggest stars. 

And if these charges have merit, the Nets could be punished to a point where they lose the necessary assets to trade for Howard, and thus keep Deron Williams appeased enough to stay.  

These are two teams who think they might be on the verge of doing something pretty good with the right moves.  Maybe they got too desperate and pushed the limits too far.  Maybe this will all end up being nothing, and the saga will continue with Orlando seemingly trying to both appease Howard by trading for role players he likes, and testing the market to see what they can get back for him.  

What I do know is this:  This isn’t the last absurd story we’ll read about the NBA.  The last 24 hours have been mind-blowing.  The last six months have been mind-numbing.  David Stern had a vision of forever changing the NBA with his lockout, and he might have done that.  But there’s no way in hell this is what he was thinking.