Newly signed Houston Rockets player Dwight Howard during news conference in Houston

Warriors’ owner says team was ‘a lot closer than people realize’ to landing Dwight Howard in free agency


Before ultimately deciding to sign with the Rockets, Dwight Howard met with four other teams in free agency — the Lakers, the Mavericks, the Hawks, and the Warriors.

No one on the outside truly believed that Howard would end up anywhere but Houston or Los Angeles, and Golden State especially appeared to be a long shot considering that they would need to clear salary cap space in order to sign Howard to the maximum contract he would require.

But Warriors owner Joe Lacob says the Warriors were truly in the mix, and were much closer to landing Howard than most realize.

From Sean Deveney of Sporting News:

“I don’t like to focus on those who aren’t here,” Lacob told SN as part of an exclusive conversation this week. “Good luck in Houston, Mr. Howard. And I am sure he will help that team, they will be better. But we would not have gone after him if we didn’t think we had a chance or that it made sense. … We were a lot closer than people realize to perhaps that actually happening, (Howard) coming here. I think that is a testament to what is happening here. He was affected by the presentation that he saw by our ownership and our management.”

Believe what you want, and obviously Lacob was in the room with Howard and we weren’t. It just doesn’t seem like the Warriors could have pulled it off, even if Howard had indeed decided that he wanted to spend the next five years in the Bay area.

But the fact that we’re even talking about it speaks volumes as to where the franchise is now, and in that sense Lacob is absolutely right.

Chris Paul, after breaking finger, intends to play in Clippers preseason game tomorrow

Chris Paul
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Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.

The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.

Here’s confirmation.

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:

Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.

Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.

Report: David Lee, Tyler Zeller in line to start for Celtics; Jared Sullinger, Jonas Jerebko out of rotation

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 08: David Lee of Boston Celtics attacks during the friendlies of the NBA Global Games 2015 basketball match between Real Madrid and Boston Celtics at Barclaycard Center on October 8, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.

It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.

That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.

Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.

Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.

I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.

This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.