Players who are oft featured on Hoops Rumors, like the Lakers' Pau Gasol, can attest to the fact that trade rumors can negatively impact your on-court performance. Magic guard Arron Afflalo was in headlines for a good portion of the summer as it was rumored he would be in a deal sending him to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe. However, the talk didn't bother the 27-year-old at all, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. "I've seen a lot of trades go down within my own NBA circle with my team, whether I was in Detroit or Denver," Afflalo said. "It's part of the game. It's part of the business. At the end of the day, I'm very, very blessed to play this game no matter where I'm playing, and I'm proud of that. "You just have to be professional with those things. As long as you're wearing this Magic uniform, you give it your best." Here's more out of the Pacific Division..
- Sean Deveney of the Sporting News wonders if Kobe Bryant will take a paycut for the Lakers' benefit. There is room for middle ground between Kobe asking for another deal with a $30MM salary and a bargain basement deal. A deal paying Bryant about $20MM wouldn't allow the Lakers to sign two max players in the 2014 offseason, but it would give them enough breathing room to get one max player plus someone else in the $10MM range.
- Suns center Marcin Gortat will have to fight to keep his job thanks to the additions of No. 5 overall pick Alex Len and Miles Plumlee, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Len's ankle issues could be an issue, but coach Jeff Hornacek says he's doing great. “Alex has done a great job of pushing through this,” Hornacek said. “For a ‘big’ that size and as much as we want to run, that gets tough. He’s winded quite a bit and that affects some of his shots when he does get the ball inside but he’s had some nice moves. He’s working every day to get better. I think he’s improved, obviously with conditioning, over these four days but also with being able to pick up the offense.”
- Are the aging Lakers better than the new-look Warriors? Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times pits them against each other. The verdict: the Warriors will probably win 50 games with a shot at 55 while the Lakers look like a team in the 40-50 range with a lot depending on the health of Kobe Bryant.