Eric Pincus is one of many NBA writers changing affiliations as the season approaches, heading from HoopsWorld to the Los Angeles Times, where he'll cover the Lakers. He gets a head start on his new gig in today's piece for HoopsWorld, as he wonders whether the team's improvements to its bench will be enough this season. He's got more on the Lakers, and we'll pass along that and other updates out of the Pacific Division.
- New Suns point guard Goran Dragic was "shocked" by the sign-and-trade deal that put Steve Nash in a Lakers uniform, as Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports writes. It's a move that would have taken Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby by surprise at the beginning of the summer, as well. "My first reaction was I can't do that," the Suns executive said. "As time went on, (Suns owner) Robert Sarver was really good and said, 'We have to make a basketball decision that's best for our franchise.' "
- Nash believes the Suns will be all right without him, as Spears writes in the same piece. "They can be a surprise team this year," Nash said. "They brought in a lot of guys who can play. They brought in some young guys and put themselves in a position to build. I think they did a great job."
- Chris Duhon isn't represented by Dan Fegan, but like former Magic teammate Jason Richardson, he wasn't surprised Orlando included him in the Dwight Howard blockbuster, Pincus reports. “I kind of anticipated being traded and it’s fortunate that I was able land in a nice spot here in L.A," Duhon said. "I’m just going to try to make the most of this opportunity."
- Pincus also sizes up the chances 6'2" guard Darius Johnson-Odom, the 55th pick this past June who's in Lakers camp on a non-guaranteed deal, has of making the regular season roster. With Devin Ebanks and Jodie Meeks penciled in as the backup two guards, and four point guards on the roster, Johnson-Odom faces long odds, Pincus opines.
- Dwight Howard says it wasn't just his back that was affected by the herniated disk that required season-ending surgery last year, as Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times tweets. "It affected my nerves to the point where my whole left leg just went dead," Howard said.
- ESPNLosAngeles.com scribe Arash Markazi sizes up the impact new shooting coach Bob Thate could have on the Clippers.