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The Tortuous Waiting Game

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The offseason really is torture.

The anticipation of the draft lottery, where fortunes can be flipped in a moment. (See: Ainge, Danny and Pritchard, Kevin.) The buildup to the draft, with hours and hours flying all over the country and reams upon reams of mock drafts and scouting reports and days and days of rumor mills and trade talks and jitters. The opening of free agency, when you wonder if you can keep your guys or get someone else's, when trades start to shake up the landscape and reform the preseason leaderboard. The doldrums of September, when literally nothing happens. The opening of camp in October, followed by the teasing preseason, with five minutes of starting lineups and a little too much Pooh Jeter. And finally, the silent days before opening night, where all hope springs, from Atlanta to San Antonio and New York City to Clipperland.

Six months of waiting. And waiting. And waiting. The Kings, with their infinite chalice of compassion, added another bit of punishment this offseason (with an assist from Billy Donovan and Pat Riley). So we sit with the draft and trade talk in the fairly distant future, waiting on a coach.

Sure, Stan Van Gundy is being held hostage by first Donovan and now Riley (who is evil, by the way). But what about the fans of the Orlando Magic and the Sacramento Kings? This is a no-win situation. When Van Gundy ends up in Orlando, the fans know they're getting the second choice, a second-tier candidate once the golden apple was yanked from their grasp. When Sacramento hires Kurt Rambis or Scott Brooks or P.J. Carlesimo, we know we're getting the second choice, a result of the biggest coaching clusterf*ck in recent NBA history. No one wins here.

But there's a chance -- a slight chance -- that Van Gundy ends up in Sacramento, thanks to the nefarious shrewdness of Riley. Then we know we're Van Gundy's second choice, that he'd rather be in Orlando but circumstances forced this. We get our man, and we still don't win. I know there are worse fandom situations, and I know this is all kind-of petty in the grand scheme. But it's still stressful for us diehards, it still lengthens and enhances the already-present anxiety the offseason is filled with.

In short, this sucks.