Odds & Ends: Dieng, Iguodala, Howard, Kennedy

With the NCAA tournament approaching, it won't be long before we begin to receive reports on college underclassmen declaring their intent to enter this year's NBA draft. One player who may leave school early is Louisville junior Gorgui Dieng, who I profiled back in December. As Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com reports, Louisville coach Rick Pitino is nearly certain that Dieng will enter this June's draft class.

"If he is projected as a first-rounder, he is leaving," Pitino said. "And I'm almost sure he'll be taken in the first round."

Here are a few more Wednesday afternoon odds and ends:

  • "Every indication" is that if Andre Iguodala opts out of his contract this season, he'll do so to lock up a long-term deal with the Nuggets, according to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. Iguodala has a 2013/14 player option worth about $16.15MM.
  • Count George Karl among those who is hoping the Kings remain in Sacramento, as Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. "I think everybody knows I'm a Seattle guy and I want basketball back in Seattle, but I don't want basketball out of Sacramento," the Nuggets coach said. "It's a politically correct answer, but it's a truthful answer on how I feel."
  • Dwight Howard told reporters, including Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, that he'd thought "plenty of times" about how the season may have played out if he hadn't returned from back surgery so quickly. However, Howard doesn't regret his decision to come back early. D12 also mentioned that he has received encouragement from Phil Jackson via text messages.
  • Ian Thomsen of SI.com ranks the top ten most powerful people in the NBA, with David Stern beating out LeBron James for the No. 1 spot.
  • The Rio Grande Valley Vipers (the Rockets' D-League affiliate) have acquired D.J. Kennedy in a five-player trade, as Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside details. Kennedy, who had a brief NBA stint at the end of last season with the Cavaliers, had been having an excellent year for the Erie BayHawks, averaging 18.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 5.5 APG.
  • ESPN.com's Chad Ford fielded exclusively draft-related questions in his usual Wednesday chat.

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