Odds & Ends: Gasol, World Cup, Wizards, Freeland

With the NBA season four weeks old tonight, it's no surprise the Heat sit on top of the Eastern Conference standings. The GrizzliesSpurs and Thunder aren't shockers atop the West, but two teams coming off their first meeting, not to mention eventful offseasons, share the fifth-best record in the league: the Knicks and the Nets. As we wait to see how the rest of the season plays out, here's the latest from around the league.

  • Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni brushed off Pau Gasol trade talk, saying, "That definitely doesn’t come from us," notes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Sulia link). 
  • Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun believes both Gasol and the Lakers could benefit from a trade.
  • In no surprise, an NBA spokesperson said the league has no plans to take in-season breaks to accomodate the new qualifying schedule for the basketball World Cup, tweets ESPN's Alvaro Martin. 
  • HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy wonders if it's time for the Wizards to let go of coach Randy Wittman, and wouldn't be surprised to see the team make a deal at the trade deadline.
  • Joel Freeland has gone from contending for the starting center job to out of the rotation, and while the British big man is frustrated, Blazers coach Terry Stotts remains optimistic, as The Oregonian's Joe Freeman chronicles.
  • The Bulls' bench is a poor match for Tom Thibodeau, and demonstrates a disconnect between the coach and the front office, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune. Still, Thibodeau isn't calling for any changes, as fellow Tribune scribe K.C. Johnson observes.
  • Just as Tyreke Evans regressed following his Rookie of the Year campaign, Isaiah Thomas finds himself the odd man out of the Kings rotation a year after his impressive rookie season, notes Jim Cavan of The New York Times.

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