Archive for August 11th, 2012

The Lakers will again have the NBA’s highest payroll in the coming season, paying $27.8 million to Bryant, $19.5 million to Howard and $19 million to Gasol alone. They will endure the luxury-tax penalties until the summer of 2014, when Bryant and Gasol come off the books and the club plans to get under the luxury-tax plateau just when the NBA’s new repeater penalties would kick in.

Howard, 26, is aware of the hopes for championships until then.

“Everybody’s going to expect a lot out of us,” he said. “I know for myself, I’m going to give you 100 percent. I’m going to have fun. I’m going to smile. I’m going to dunk.”

Howard, who had missed just seven games in his first seven NBA seasons, professed renewed love for the game after April 20 surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back.

“I’ve grown a lot in these four months,” he said.

– Reported by Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register

Phoenix Suns agree to terms with Jermaine O'Neal

In the shadow cast by Superman’s arrival in Los Angeles, the timing of Jermaine O’Neal’s choice to commit to the Suns on Friday was unfortunate as an unrelated move.

Given the caliber of remaining NBA free-agent centers, O’Neal’s commitment to sign a one-year, $1.35 million contract with Phoenix could be fortuitous if — and it’s a huge if — O’Neal can be healthier than he has been for the later half of his 16-year career.

The Suns had only a backup center role and a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract to offer with a franchise that is in transition. The Suns came away with a six-time All-Star who is still only 33 years old because he entered the NBA out of high school.

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

“Getting to meet the veterans, bond with the guys, learning from everybody, not just Paul Pierce who plays my position, but learning from a guy like [Kevin Garnett] and learning from Rondo,” Joseph said when asked what he’s looking forward to most about training camp. “They’ve been around for so long that I can learn from each and every one of those guys and just be like a sponge and take everything that they’re telling me, while still using my own skill set. But listening to those guys can only do positive things for me in the future.”

If Joseph doesn’t make the final roster, he could latch on with the Maine Red Claws, as part of Boston’s recently announced single-team affiliation with the D-League club. But should things work out in his favor, he stressed the importance of accepting a bench role and delivering consistent energy.

“Definitely just coming off the bench and being some type of a spark,” Joseph said of where he could carve out a niche. “Rebounding the ball, just being a high-motor guy for the team off the bench, whether it be 5 minutes, whether it be 10, just coming off and doing what I do best — rebounding the ball, try to excel in transition, and things like that.”

– Reported by Greg Payne of ESPN Boston

How Deron Williams reacted to Magic trading Dwight Howard to Lakers

Deron Williams happy that the Dwight Howard saga is over

Deron Williams had checked out of the Dwight Howard rumors after Team USA’s Las Vegas training camp. Honestly. Too many twists and turns.

So when he woke up Friday and found out Howard was headed to the Lakers, his disappointment was only marginal.

“We went down that road,’’ the Nets’ franchise player said after Team USA made it to the gold-medal game by trouncing Argentina Friday night.

“Mentally I wasn’t in the Dwight sweepstakes anymore. It just got kind of old. I’m happy for him. I know he wanted to get out of Orlando. He did that and he’s going to a great franchise and I wish him the best of luck.’’

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Kobe Bryant reaction to Dwight Howard trade

The Lakers revamped their roster by acquiring Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade with Phoenix, and with the addition of Howard, the NBA’s most dominant big man who was left off the Olympic roster following back surgery.

“I’ll probably play two or three more years and (after that) the team is his,” Bryant said. “I’m excited for the Lakers franchise. Because this is a guy who can carry the franchise well after I’m gone. So it should be his. He should be willing to accept the challenge.”

Bryant whispered as he spoke to a large group of reporters after the U.S. defeated Argentina for the third time in three weeks. He was trying to play it cool but after expressing disappointment in December when the NBA voided a deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers, Bryant couldn’t contain his excitement.

“All of a sudden, that gets pulled out from underneath us,” Bryant said of the rejected Paul trade. “Then (the Lakers front office) regroups and they come up with something that’s even better. It’s . . . it’s unprecedented.”

– Reported by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News

Bulls keeping tight lid on Derrick Rose recovery

The Bulls are keeping such a tight lid on Rose’s recovery that they won’t even address whether his knee has recovered enough to allow him to begin shooting.

Because trainer Fred Tedeschi said Rose would begin spot-shooting 12 weeks after the surgery he had May 12, though, it’s fair to assume he has been shooting while working out in Southern California. That begs this question:

Given how hard Rose works and how much time he spends in the gym, how much better a shooter can he become if that’s all he is allowed to do for the majority of the offseason?

‘‘He can only do three things,’’ said former NBA point guard Tim Hardaway, who missed the 1993-94 season after suffering a similar injury. ‘‘He can dribble — not run and dribble, just dribble walking up and down the court; he can shoot a bunch of free throws; and he can shoot a bunch of set shots like he’s playing

H-O-R-S-E every day, all day.

‘‘But that’s going to make him better. If you shoot 1,000 jump shots a day, 1,000 free throws a day, you’re going to get better. That made my shot better. It

really made my jump shot and free-throw percentage better.’’

– Reported by Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times

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