Monday, November 07, 2005

T.O. Expected To Sign With Lakers

The latest suspension of Terrell Owens seems to indicate that his days with the Philadelphia Eagles are over.  Despite all his baggage, however, one high-profile franchise is apparently eager to add the controversial star.  Reports have surfaced that Owens is close to an agreement with the Los Angeles Lakers.


T.O.’s contract squabbles, petulant behavior, and persistent jabs at quarterback Donovan McNabb have far overshadowed his on-field performance this season.  The Eagles organization is clearly tired of the wide receiver’s antics and the resulting soap opera that has played out in the media.  Owens will meet with head coach Andy Reid this week to discuss the situation, but he has likely reached the point of no return.


Lakers owner Jerry Buss has followed this story from afar with great interest.  Although the Eagles want no part of an ongoing media circus, Buss gleefully recalls how his team dominated the NBA press coverage during the days of the Shaq and Kobe feud.  O’Neal’s departure and the team’s fall from the playoff picture last season made the franchise far less relevant to sports fans.  In a town that salivates over juicy storylines, the addition of Owens would again make the Lakers the talk of the league.


One question posed by many skeptics is how Los Angeles head coach Phil Jackson will react to Owens.  Reportedly, Jackson has received assurances from T.O. that after scoring baskets, he will get back on defense instead of conducting celebration dances.  Owens was granted one exception: after his first hoop as a Laker, he plans to grab the basketball, sign it with a Sharpie, and present the ball to Jack Nicholson at courtside.


Although the potential signing is primarily about buzz, Owens does have extensive basketball experience.  He played three seasons in college at Tennessee-Chattanooga, as well as five games for the Adirondack Wildcats of the United States Basketball League in 2002.  Reminded that McNabb was a member of 1996 NCAA finalist Syracuse, T.O. could not resist another chance to tweak his Eagles teammate: “They would have won the title with Brett Favre.”


Agent Drew Rosenhaus praised Owens for seeking new challenges.  He remarked, “Terrell has already achieved his chief goal in the NFL, accomplishing the historic double of being the league’s best wide receiver AND worst teammate.”  Rosenhaus added that despite T.O.’s poor public image, he has been an ideal client.  “I love to be around Terrell,” he gushed.  “Because then I’m only the second-biggest jerk in the room.”


Signing Terrell Owens will not vault the Lakers back to contention, but pairing him with Kobe Bryant will keep them in the limelight.  Less important matters, such as adding championship trophies, will be left to other teams.