By Ray RattoCBSSports.com Columnist
(CBSports.com) — The price of enjoying the Los Angeles Lakers’ extraordinary flame-out is a high one. But good on you if you’re ready to pay it.
It means having to spend the next three days talking about it, in far more exacting/excruciating detail than one has covered either Osama Bin Laden or the tornadoes that tore up the South.
It means having to listen to people tell you how much they loved the Lakers getting such a monumental comeuppance. It also means people whining about that comeuppance.
It means lectures on what dirty, disrespectful, cheap and gutless players Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum are, and how lame were their apologies/explanations.
It means enduring unconvincing bleats about how they were goaded into their behaviors by the sneaky foreign agents Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea.
It means unceasing encomiums to Phil Jackson and his essential zen-itude.
It means venomous sniping about how Phil Jackson couldn’t, or wouldn’t, do squat without the two best player of the age.
It means more Mark Cuban taking oblique swipes at David Stern.
It means more David Stern taking oblique swipes at Mark Cuban and whoever else irritates him at any given moment.
It means whining that the playoffs aren’t the same without the Lakers.
It means rejoicing in the fact that the playoffs won’t be the same without the Lakers.
It means post-Phil analysis.
It means post-dynasty analysis.
It means Whither Kobe Bryant analysis.
It means Withered Pau Gasol analysis.
It means Bynum analysis, as in “What crummy team can he be exiled to for being Andrew Bynum?”
It means Magic Johnson going on the Lakers.
It means Jerry West going on the Lakers.
It means grousing about the Mavericks, Thunder and Grizzlies and how none of them can compare to Miami or Boston or Chicago in a final series.
There will be plenty of lectures on the dirty play of Andrew Bynum.
It means more fevered psychoanalysis about the Heat to replace the fevered psychoanalysis about the Lakers.
It means, “Is LeBron James finally the new Kobe?”
It means, “Is Derrick Rose the new Kobe?”
It means, “Is Dwight Howard the new Kobe’s foil?”
It means, “How did Ron Artest end up looking like the sane one?”
It means, “Did you forget his suspension in Game 3?”
It means, “Why don’t the Mavericks get enough respect?”
It means, “Why don’t you understand that the Mavericks got lucky and don’t deserve respect?”
It means more lockout talk to fill in the dead spots left by Lakers talk.
It means Derek Fisher on someone’s TV show offering desk-bound playoff analysis.
It means Phil Jackson on the side of a river in Montana Skype-ing playoff analysis to the desk-bound.
It means Phil Jackson coaching rumors. Lots and lots and lots of Phil Jackson coaching rumors.
It means a vaguely unsatisfying championship series.
It means a potentially fascinating championship series.
It means hockey fans thinking that their sport will get a bump in viewers and interest without Laker games.
It means hockey fans thinking that their sport could be next if their own final ends up being Tampa Bay-Nashville.
Whatever it means, frankly, it means it non-stop. The Lakers are believed to be endlessly fascinating by dull-witted/creature-of-habit TV producers and writers who live in crippling fear on an NFL lockout, or worse, Brett Favre.
And so it goes, now and for weeks to come. It means that this might be an excellent time to garden.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.com