It was a whirlwind first month of the season for the Lakers, but nothing has changed Dwight Howard's affection for L.A., tweets Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. "From 1 to 10, I'd give it a good 12," Howard said. "I love it. It's been a lot of fun. Just everything here." Still, unless Howard signs an extension during the season, which is unlikely, the big man's answer about whether he likes his surroundings only really matters next summer, when he's due to hit free agency. While await that, here's more news out of the Western Conference.
- Among other NBA news in his Weekend Dime, Marc Stein of ESPN.com passes along that Derek Fisher will be making a prorated minimum salary with the Mavericks.
- The Mavs have serious rebounding problems, and the team's release of Troy Murphy in favor of Fisher this week doesn't help matters, writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News.
- Suns GM Lance Blanks insists the team's assignment of Kendall Marshall to the D-League this week is not an indictment of the rookie point guard, notes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. "There’s nothing negative about developing and having a team that supports you," Blanks said. "It’s been really cool to watch his maturation from college to summer league to the pros. We’re just as excited as the day we drafted him."
- Gordon Hayward recently lost his starting job, and the timing is poor, since he'll be up for an extension to his rookie-scale contract with the Jazz this summer. Still, he's not making any fuss about his new role, as Susan Bible of HoopsWorld documents.
- The Thunder gave Scott Brooks a four-year extension this summer, but Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM.com wonders if he's the right coach for the team, taking him to task in particular for his over-reliance on amnesty candidate Kendrick Perkins.