The start of the regular season means the return of Marc Stein's Weekend Dime feature on ESPN.com, and as usual, there are a few notable tidbits within the piece. Stein praises Lakers coach Mike Brown for his refusal to run from "ridiculously early" questions about his job security despite the specter of available names like Phil Jackson and Mike D'Antoni. In response to the notion of D'Antoni taking over the team, HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler calls it overreaction (Twitter link), which would seem to carry over to Jackson as well, especially considering the doubts about his desire to coach again. Here's more of what Stein had to say.
- Josh Smith is in the final season of his deal, worth $13.2MM this year, and he could represent an attractive trade chip. Stein nonetheless hears the Hawks will most likely hang on to Smith this year while retaining cap flexibility for what could be an active summer of 2013.
- One of the reasons why the Thunder traded James Harden is because the team is projected to pay, instead of receive, under the league's revenue-sharing model, despite playing in a small market.
- Seven coaches are in the final year of their contracts, including Larry Drew of the Hawks, Avery Johnson of the Nets, Vinny Del Negro of the Clippers, Lionel Hollins of the Grizzlies, Scott Skiles of the Bucks and Alvin Gentry of the Suns. Frank Vogel is the other member of that group, though the Pacers hold a team option on his deal for 2013/14.