Southwest Notes: O’Neal, Howard, Gordon

Veteran center Jermaine O’Neal may be one step closer to making a comeback and playing this season, Tim MacMahon of writes. O’Neal posted pictures on Instagram of himself getting treatment on his knees in Germany, which is a strong indication that he’s planning to return to the NBA this season, MacMahon opines. The Mavs are reportedly the front-runners to ink O’Neal after their acquisition of Rajon Rondo, but O’Neal is also a potential target for the Warriors and Cavaliers as well.

Here’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Rockets big man Dwight Howard doesn’t look like the same player this season, according to Pau Gasol, his former teammate with the Lakers, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. Gasol opined that Howard seems to have a reduced role in Houston’s offense this season, and doesn’t have the aggressiveness he displayed while the two were both playing for Los Angeles. “I haven’t really kept an eye on him,” Gasol said. “I think the team has more weapons now. We’ll see. I watched a couple games of him. He doesn’t seem to be as aggressive in the post or get as many touches as he used to be maybe, but he’s always a big factor in the games. He’s capable of having huge nights.”
  • Pelicans guard Eric Gordon practiced for the first time since tearing his labrum back in November, and he is expected to play in tonight’s contest against the Wizards, reports. Gordon has missed New Orleans’ last 21 games due to his injury.
  • Tyson Chandler marvels at the job that Mark Cuban has done in turning the Mavs from a laughingstock into one of the best organizations in the NBA during the 15 years that he’s owned the team, Dwain Price of The Star-Telegram writes. “To take this business where he’s taken it in 15 years, I think if you start any business and you look up and 15 years you’ve grown and had as much success as this business has, any businessman would be happy with the success,’’ Chandler said. “I think he’s one of the best, if not the best, owner in the league as far as his innovation and what he’s brought to the game. The excitement, the in-arena things that he brings, always keeping the fans engaged. He puts on a helluva show.’’
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