The storyline on the Lakers tonight is their makeshift starting backcourt of Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock, but as soon as their season ends, the attention will no doubt shift back to marquee names, and Dwight Howard in particular. HoopsWorld's Bill Ingram, with an assist from colleague Eric Pincus, breaks down the numbers to show that Howard would make more money in the first four years of a contract with the Rockets than he would in as many seasons with the Lakers, thanks to differing tax rates. Still, L.A.'s ability to offer a fifth season, enhanced endorsement opportunities and the cachet of the purple and gold provide varying levels of motivation for Howard to re-sign with the Lakers.
As we wait for yet another Dwight decision, there's plenty of news from around the league:
- Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com suggests David Stern's stance on expansion may be softening somewhat (Sulia link). Stern had been adamant that the league won't try to solve the Kings dilemma by adding a team, though Spurs owner Peter Holt, chairman of the Board of Governors, said the issue isn't off the table.
- In an Insider piece, Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com argues the Thunder shouldn't regret the James Harden trade in the wake of Russell Westbrook's injury as much as the deadline move that sent Eric Maynor away.
- A team executive who saw Greek swingman Giannis Adetokunbo practice tells Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News that while he's a project who probably won't see significant playing time for two or three years, he's still worth a first-round pick (All Twitter links).
- Martell Webster is open to coming off the bench if he re-signs with the Wizards, notes J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. The Wizards and Webster, whom I tabbed one of the season's best mid-level exception signees, appear to have mutual interest in a return.
- Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv wonders what would have happened if Kenyon Martin were on the other team in the Knicks–Celtics series. Martin was close to a deal with Boston earlier this season.