Dwight Howard told Sam Amick of USA Today last night that he thinks Phil Jackson, rumored to be close to taking over as Lakers coach, will be "great for me," and said he's anxious for the team to resolve the upheaval surrounding the head coaching position. "Yeah, because a lot of stuff that happened last year — I really had nothing to do with it, but it came out like it was me," he said. "So now when it comes out or if somebody says something about me, I'm going to stand up say, 'Hey, this is not going to happen again.' I'm just going to play. I don't want to get caught up in it." There's plenty more this afternoon on the Lakers and their Western Conference rivals, as we detail here.
- Kobe Bryant, who's backing Jackson's possible return, feels he has unfinished business to accomplish under the Zen Master's tutelage, writes J.A. Adande of ESPN.com.
- In the wake of a report by Bruce Rader of WAVY-TV that it was Kings co-owner George Maloof who met with the Virginia governor, the mayor of Virginia Beach and officials from Comcast-Spectator last week, Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty takes the Maloofs to task for denying the meeting took place.
- Defense and surprising three-point shooting are reasons why Jae Crowder, the 34th overall pick this past June, has made a sizable impact early this season for the Mavericks, as HoopsWorld's Alex Raskin observes.
- Offseason signees Ryan Anderson, Brian Roberts and Roger Mason have teamed with incumbent Jason Smith to form a potent bench for the Hornets, notes Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune.
- Blazers coach Terry Stotts, once an interim coach of the Hawks, weighs in on the challenges the next Lakers coach will face in taking over the team in the middle of the season, as Mike Tokito of The Oregonian examines.