With the Lakers preparing to play the Magic in Orlando tomorrow night, Dwight Howard will be returning to the city where he spent the first eight years of his NBA career. In advance of the game, Howard spoke to Sam Amick of USA Today and expressed some regrets about the way he handled the situation in his final year with the Magic.
"In Orlando, I handled a lot of stuff the wrong way," Howard said. "If any of those people in Orlando are upset with how I did it, I apologize for the way I handled it and the way it was handled in the media."
Here's more from Howard and the rest of the Pacific Division:
The latest news and notes from around the Pacific Division on Saturday morning:
While the Los Angeles clubs stood pat and the Suns and Warriors only made small moves at the deadline, it was the Kings that were the Pacific Division's most active team, completing a six-player trade with the Rockets on Wednesday night. We have a couple links related to Sacramento's deal, as well as the rest of the latest items out of the Pacific:
A complete recap of trades that were completed before Thursday's trade deadline:
The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Sunday evening:
12:01pm: McCants has received word that the Rockets officially picked up Patterson's option, tweets Berman.
11:55am: Rockets GM Daryl Morey has informed Patrick Patterson's agent, Odell McCants, that Houston will be exercising its 2013/14 option on Patterson, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston. The fourth-year option will pay Patterson about $3.11MM in '13/14.
In addition to Patterson's option, the Rockets still have decisions to make this week on two more players for 2013/14. Cole Aldrich has a team option worth about $3.25MM, while Marcus Morris has a third-year option worth about $1.99MM. Houston initially had five pending option decisions, but the team waived JaJuan Johnson and Lazar Hayward, choosing not only to turn down next year's options on both players, but removing from the roster immediately.
To keep tabs on all the offseason's 2013/14 option decisions, check out Hoops Rumors' tracker.
The Bobcats certainly aren't a model of NBA success, but according to team president Fred Whitfield, the franchise was in even worse shape when he took the job in 2006, as Ely Portillo of the Charlotte Observer writes. “A lot of my friends that were very connected in this community told me to turn this job down,” Whitfield said. “They said literally everything that could be wrong with a company is wrong with the Bobcats.” While the 'Cats prepare to erase the memories of last season's on-court debacle when training camp starts next week, here's the latest from the rest of the league:
11:35am: Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets that he doesn't believe last year's rookies (Morris, Parsons) and this year's three draftees (Lamb, White, Jones) are all a part of the Rockets' offer, but that many of them could be involved.
7:43am: In an effort to convince the Magic to deal Dwight Howard directly to Houston, the Rockets are in the process of reconstructing their trade proposal for the star center, according to an ESPN.com report by Marc Stein and Chad Ford. Stein and Ford write that the Rockets are looking to clear the necessary cap space to absorb at least three additional contracts in addition to Howard's, from a group that includes Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Duhon, Glen Davis, and Jason Richardson.There are plenty of moving parts involved in Houston's planned proposal. The team will sign Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to offer sheets soon, and while Lin's will certainly be matched by the Knicks, it's less certain that the Bulls will match on Asik. If Chicago does bring Asik back, and Houston parts ways with Luis Scola, perhaps by amnestying him, the Rockets are confident they can fit many of Orlando's bad contracts under their cap.
The Rockets' offer to the Magic would involve some or all of the following assets heading to Orlando: Kevin Martin, Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris, Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lamb, Royce White, Terrence Jones, and future draft picks. The Rockets would also likely have to let go of a few players on non-guaranteed deals in order to absorb all the incoming salary.
Stein and Ford caution that the Magic are expecting a quiet weekend on the Howard front, which is probably fine for the Rockets, since the club needs to resolve the Lin and Asik situations before seriously resuming its pursuit of D12. When the Rockets are prepared to put their offer on the table, it might be the one that appeals most to the Magic. According to the ESPN report, GM Rob Hennigan is more interested in a package of young players and picks than he is in taking on a player like the Lakers' Andrew Bynum -- like Howard, Bynum is entering the final year of his contract, so with no assurances that he'll sign long-term, the Magic could find themselves in a situation similar to the one they're in with Howard, albeit without the history.
ESPN.com's Ric Bucher adds that the Hawks continue to pursue Howard, but hears from a source that Atlanta is "not the best option" for the Magic.
In his NBA AM piece for HoopsWorld, Steve Kyler reported that Dwight Howard is highly unlikely to change his mind again, but that the Magic seem to have a deal they'd do with the Nets if Howard waffles once more. You can follow all of today's Howard updates here, and check out the rest of Kyler's morning notes below: