by Lang Whitaker

For most of the summer, I fell into a groove of coming home at night, setting my Sidekick on silent and putting it aside, to check it three or four times before going to bed. Tuesday night, as the NBA season was tipping off, my Sidekick went right back to blowing up throughout the night. And it don’t stop. The NBA is back. And I love it.

We’re still swamped at work, which is why I’m posting this at 2:38 a.m. A few things…

• Russ, Jake and I were at the Nets/Bulls game last night. Russ and Jake were taking copious game notes, while I was working on other stuff. Then I spent halftime with the Noah family: Yannick Noah, Cecilia (Jo’s Mom), Jo’s sister, Yannick’s current wife and a mess of other people, including the most French-looking man I’ve ever met in my life.

I’ve met more NBA families than I can remember, but this crew was far and away the coolest — drinking wine, having a smoke, laughing, hugging, cheering for the Bulls (even though Joakim was injured and not playing). Just a very laid-back vibe. The funniest thing was that nobody in the crowd there at the Meadowlands/Continental Airlines/Izod Arena seemed to recognize Yannick Noah, even though he’s a French Open winner and worldwide reggae star.

• I don’t like ESPN the Magazine, but I do like those commercials with Greg Oden. I like when he says, “I’m a chameleon.”

• And then there’s the big story: Remember how I said a week ago that there wasn’t going to be anything happening anytime soon regarding Kobe being traded, because there wasn’t really any smoke? Now there’s more smoke than a Cypress Hill concert.

I talked to a few NBA people last night and early this morning, and there’s definitely something happening between the Bulls and the Lakers. From what I was told, the key pieces out of Chicago being offered right now are Ben Gordon and Ben Wallace. Sacramento is also involved, throwing Ron Ron in the mix, and L.A.’s trying to get some draft picks out of somebody. And I also heard that even Kobe has told people he thinks he’s heading to Chicago.

If I was Chicago, I’d give L.A. anything they want other than Luol Deng in exchange for Kobe. Watching the Bulls lose to the Nets tonight, I just kept thinking that the Bulls are overrated. They’re a good team, but I don’t think they’re going to win the East. This is a broad generalization, but watching Chicago, it seems like all they have is guards and big guys who can’t shoot. And to me, Ben Gordon is strange fit with them, because he’s such a volume scorer — he has to have to ball in his hands to be effective — which diminishes what Luol offers. And if the Bulls could team Hinrich with Deng and Kobe, then have Tyrus Thomas and Joakim underneath with Nocioni mixing it up, I think they’d be the favorite in the East.

Now, why would L.A. want Ron Artest and Ben Wallace? No idea. Together they’d shatter plenty of backboards with all the bricks they toss up. Who would become the Lakers’ main scorer, Jordan Farmar?

Anyway, something is happening, and it’s going to happen soon. It’s too late to turn back now. Exactly what is going to happen, I don’t know yet. But as soon as I hear anything, I’ll let you know.