Jeff Caplan of The Star-Telegram: “The video comes on the heels of an arrest in North Carolina for driving 94 mph, his admission that he smokes marijuana in the off-season and his late-night birthday bash during last season’s playoffs. However embarrassed by Howard’s decision-making, the Mavs have consistently stuck by Howard, who is due about $10 million next season and whom they have refused to trade. “Josh and I are talking a lot more these days,” owner Mark Cuban said. “It would be different if Josh wasn’t a good guy with a good heart, but he is. I consider him a friend and I don’t throw friends under the bus. I help them and that is exactly what I am doing with Josh.””
Jennifer Floyd Engel of The Star-Telegram: “And multiple viewings of this have left me thinking: Remember when JHo was likable? What happened to that guy? He played like an All-Star and was a perfect complement to Dirk Nowitzki, with his slashing, nasty style. Fans loved him in part because he seemed like a good dude. Lately, he just seems angry and a repeat offender of stupid, which happens to coincide with his game cratering. And while we tolerate a problem-child athlete when he plays like a beast and a spare when he’s a good guy, nobody likes the jerk who can’t ball.”
Hardwood Paroxysm: “Josh Howard said something on a camera held by someone he knows during a charity flag football event. He didn’t go on Dateline. He didn’t go on ESPN. He didn’t elaborate on his feelings, beliefs, or perception of reality. He just said something on tape. Is there probably some truth in regards to how he feels about this country in that ten second clip? Yes. Is it enough to weigh his opinion in the court of public values and determine his understanding of patriotic sacrifice or the beneficial freedoms that America has provided him and his family, despite the hardships he’s encountered? No. He popped off on videotape. “I’m black” isn’t an answer to the question “Why do you have an issue with the national anthem?” It’s just a guy popping off because he doesn’t think the entire world is going to hear him say it.”
Sam Amick of The Sacramento Bee: Artest weighs in on the Howard controversy
Keith Langlois of Pistons.com: “Dave Cowens raised my eyebrows a little on the Grand Rapids leg of our statewide media tour when he spoke to a group of Pistons corporate partners and fans after a luncheon at DeVos Place. Cowens got up and told listeners that there was one guy who was going to make the most difference between this year’s team and last year’s. Give up? Kwame Brown. Cowens said he’s been around the NBA since 1970 and he has seen very few guys as big as Brown who move as fast and under as much control. He said Brown, at roughly 275 and with very little body fat, moves his feet extremely well and will be a major factor defensively and as a rebounder.”
Chris McCosky of The Detroit News: “”I said we would look to make changes but we wouldn’t do a bad deal,” he said. “The deals that were presented were not good deals for us. You don’t make deals so you can walk in here on a day like today and say, ‘Hey, we made a deal.’ You want to resist that, and I did and I make no qualms about it.” Nor did he worry much about salving any bruised egos of his veteran players who were put on the chopping block. “There’s nothing to patch up,” Dumars said. “I’m the one who was upset, so who do I need to patch things up with? It’s been good. Guys understand that six straight years of making the conference finals and going to the NBA Finals only twice isn’t enough and I am not going to rest on that. What you do is keep pushing, keep moving forward.”"
Dime: Who was better in their prime, Grant Hill or Penny Hardaway? [Video]
Mike McGraw of The Daily Herald: “The Bulls and Blackhawks unveiled a new option Wednesday. The new Harris Club, located on the 200 level, features a lounge-style atmosphere with couches, flat-screen televisions, pool tables and video games. The experience includes buffet-style dining with all beverages included and access to three bars located within the club. There are also two meeting rooms, with a view of the court and ice, that are also available on nonevent days. Membership to the club for the 2008-09 season costs $15,750 per seat and includes admission to every Bulls and Blackhawks home game, along with the opportunity to purchase tickets for concerts or college events.”
John Jackson of The Chicago Sun-Times: “After more than two months of negotiations — and more than a month after Luol Deng was re-signed — it doesn’t seem the Bulls are any closer to reaching a deal with restricted free agent Ben Gordon than they were in July. General manager John Paxson didn’t comment on the Gordon talks, but chairman Jerry Reinsdorf addressed the matter. ”It has to be resolved,” Reinsdorf said Wednesday. ”You know, we have a business disagreement relating to the money, but he’s still a Chicago Bull, and I expect him to play for the Bulls. I expect him to play hard, and I’d be surprised if it’s anything other than that.””
Dave D’Alessandro of The Star-Ledger: Interviews Jason Kidd about the Nets and Mavericks’ prospects for next season
Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: “But KJ has always changed directions nimbly. The Heat Index’s usual proprietor, Bob Young, remembers how Johnson the Suns star always denied that he would enter politics. The California political science major had “no political aspirations.” He said he would welcome being away from the spotlight. He did lobby for a tax hike aiding Arizona schools after retirement and heard overtures about running for governor, but he quickly moved on. He dedicated his time to St. HOPE, his non-profit corporation that aims to revive his old Sacramento neighborhood’s economy and schools. “I had always thought that being an elected official was not something I would do,” said Johnson, who remains single. “I thought I could do more outside the political arena. For 19 years, St. HOPE has been doing work outside it. I’m 42 and I was in a transition in my life. Sacramento is a city I want to raise my family and have kids in. I just think Sacramento can become so much more. Playing in the NBA, you travel around to all these cool cities, and Sacramento is not one of them.”"
Charley Rosen of FOXSports: Ranks the top forwards in the NBA and answers a mailbag question from yours truly
Chris Mannix of CNNSI.com: “By now, Arenas’s extreme workouts have been well chronicled. He sprints up stairs, shoots thousands of jump shots and requires a key to most gyms so he can let himself in late at night. But rehabilitation isn’t about how hard you work. Not exactly, anyway. It’s the nature of your workout. Rehabbing athletes aren’t supposed to thunder up stairs. They are supposed to lie flat on their back with a stability ball. Sprinting and shooting? How about some quad strengthening exercises and stretching. The word out of Washington has been that as good as Arenas’s has been at coming into camp in shape throughout his career and the leaps and bounds by which he has improved since being drafted in the second round in 2001, rehab just isn’t his bag. The minutia, the painstaking details that go into properly healing a complex body part like the knee just doesn’t appeal to him.”
Ivan Carter of The Washington Post: “He is aiming for December but team president Ernie Grunfeld repeatedly stated today that the team has no timetable in mind and he made it clear that Arenas will not take the court again until the knee is “healthy.” That was telling. I’ve going on my fourth season covering this team and I’ve learned that while Grunfeld is often guarded in his answers about his team, it is possible to read between the lines of what he does and does not say. I took Wednesday’s responses to mean that the team is prepared for Arenas to be out for a good while. Whether Grunfeld has December or January or February or any month in mind is a mystery, but on ESPN, former Bullet beat man Ric Bucher cited a team source saying that Arenas’ December target date is optimistic. That makes sense.”
Mike Wise of The Washington Post: On crutches again, about to spend more time in physical therapy than he will in a gym, Gilbert Arenas actually doesn’t comprehend the fuss and worry. “Why’s everybody tripping out?” he said from his cellphone yesterday, less than five hours after debris was removed from his surgically repaired left knee — the same knee that’s now been opened three times in 18 months. “Big picture, if I start rehabbing now and get through the pain that prevented me from running or jumping this summer, I’ll be back on the court sooner,” he said. “How’s that a bad thing?”"