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Odds & Ends: Ariza, Wiz, Udrih, Howard, Jackson

Here are some odds and ends from around the NBA on this Thursday night:

  • The Wizards had a busy offseason, which kicked off with Trevor Ariza informing them that he planned to exercise his $7.7MM player option for 2013/14.  Ariza didn't foresee this offseason as a good one to test free agency, writes Michael Lee of the Washington Post, who sees Ariza ahead of rookie Otto Porter Jr. on the Wizards depth chart based on the team's summer league.
  • Lee adds that if the Wizards plan to add a big man, they'll like only be able to offer a minimum salary.  Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is willing to become a tax-paying team, per Lee, but would rather do so once he has a contender on his hands.  
  • Keith Schlosser of the Knicks Journal examines the addition of Beno Udrih to the Knicks' backcourt, arguing that Udrih is of borderline starter caliber.  The Knicks got another bargain, Schlosser says, writing that Udrih's acceptance of a minimum salary implies he is on board with the "win now" mentality of the New York locker room.  Filling a clearly defined role, previously occupied by Jason Kidd, should facilitate Udrih's transition, Schlosser opines. 
  • In an interview with ESPN Radio in Los Angeles, Lakers executive vice president Jeanie Buss said that the team would have had a much better chance to keep Dwight Howard if her father, the late Dr. Jerry Buss, had been healthy and involved, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA.  Buss called her father "the best closer in the business" and also stated that her husband, former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, still has the itch to coach, but stopped short of implying anything about a return to the Lakers.  Hear the full interview here.

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