Odds & Ends: LeBron, Lowry, T’Wolves

Fresh off of winning the Associated Press’ 2013 Male Athlete of the Year award, LeBron James spoke in depth about being a role model off the court and having a higher calling outside of basketball in addition to how he’s continued to mature in life. With the possibility of hitting free agency once again since 2010’s “The Decision”, the Heat superstar couldn’t avoid another inquiry about what could happen this summer (Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press). Not surprisingly, LeBron didn’t elaborate on much:

“I’m so zoned in on what my task is here this year that it’s hard to think about anything else…A guy the other day asked me what I’m going to do for New Year’s, and I haven’t even thought about that.”

With that aside, here are more of tonight’s miscellaneous news and notes from around the league:

  • Eric Koreen of the National Post examines the trade/free agent value of Kyle Lowry, especially now that the Raptors appear to be thriving since trading Rudy Gay to Sacramento. Koreen argues that talent-wise, Lowry is worth the price of a first-round pick for teams looking to acquire him. On the other hand, if he finishes the season in Toronto looking to stay, then the asking price could start around at least $8MM annually, similar to what Jeff Teague and Brandon Jennings garnered as restricted free agents last summer.
  • Sitting at 13-15 through 28 games, the Timberwolves are on par with what president of basketball operations Flip Saunders had expected at this point. Saunders explained his stance to Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press“Of the record, when the season started, I thought we’d be right where we’re at, or maybe 14-14, 15-13…I thought that was a very realistic goal. But we haven’t finished games like I thought we would be able to do right now.” Saunders also pointed to the team’s road-heavy schedule early on as well as the fact that many of the core players don’t have much experience with each other as reasons why he’s optimistic about brighter days ahead this year.
  • Prior to this season, Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts compiled an NBA head coaching record of 148-217 over 365 games, with just one playoff appearance and a first-round exit to boot. This year, Stotts is enjoying an .821 winning percentage in Portland in what is currently his most successful season to date thus far. In a special article for ESPN.com, Daniel Nowell discusses Stotts’ long road to becoming an NBA coach.
  • Taj Gibson is repaying the Bulls’ investment in him, writes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (Subscribers only).

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