Court Vision: Lakers' Jim Buss tries not to panic
By Ben Golliver
• The Los Angeles Times has the latest from Lakers vice president Jim Buss, who tries to project confidence and steadiness with his team sitting at 15-20, the 11th best record in the West. Quotes via a 710 ESPN radio interview.
"I like D'Antoni a lot. I still believe in him 100%. I have no questions about him," Buss said. "We just don't have enough information to analyze anything. It's just not enough data to put your finger on a problem."
"How can you not believe in this team? This team is built to win and it's a very, very solid team," Buss said. "In my mind, we would not consider a temporary fix or blow it up. Why blow up something that we have a future with?"
"To panic?" asked Buss. "No, we're not going to panic."
• Here's our SI roundtable examining the current state of the Lakers.
“No one will ever be able to compare what we went through,” James said. “Even though they’re not winning and they’re losing a lot of games, it’s still nowhere near what we went through.
“Yeah, right. That level of magnitude was nowhere near where ours was two years ago. Nothing. Nothing compares to it.”
• The big news of the week: the Maloofs are reportedly close to selling the Kings to a Seattle-based group with eyes on relocation. After some back-and-forth on the status of the negotiations, CSN Bay Area reported Friday that the sale is a "done deal."
I've heard from reliable source that the Kings' sale to Hansen-Ballmer in Seattle is done deal. Source said price of the sale is $525 million. The source said further that the Maloofs will have no stake or decision-making with Seattle team and are out.
• Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Mark Mastrov is interested in buying the Kings and keeping them in Sacramento.
Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24-Hour Fitness who finished second to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber in bidding for the Warriors, told CBSSports.com Friday he has interest in buying the Kings and keeping the franchise in Sacramento.
"Definitely, there've been conversations," Mastrov said from his northern California office. "Definitely there's interest in acquiring the team and keeping it in Sacramento."
Mastrov met with the Maloofs recently, and two league sources speaking on condition of anonymity said he has made a formal offer.
Q:So where were you at mentally coming into camp?
A:A lot better. I'd had grief counseling, had been able to talk a lot of things that I went through out. I wasn't in basketball shape, but basketball was something I had to put aside to be Lamar. I'd been trying to do it by myself since I was 12 years old. And starting at 12, and even before that, basketball was a release. But then it got to a point where after 20-something years of that it, 30 years of that, I wasn't doing the same thing. It was time to deal with some of the issues, and I was able to do that. My head is a lot clearer. I'm getting my body back. A tough game or a hard game (doesn't rattle him), because adversity is something I'm able to deal with on any level.
Q:When did you do the counseling?
A:I would say springtime, but I really got serious in the summertime because I was overwhelmed. I wasn't myself. Whatever it may be, just my personality, the interaction, with the people that you love. I wasn't myself. I'm lucky. I have a good wife, a good family, and that's what they're there for – to shelter you, protect you. We're always somebody's baby, no matter how old we are.
• Brett Koremenos of Grantland has a very detailed breakdown of Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard's passing skills.
• Reports on Thursday indicated that Greg Oden was considering a possible comeback and the Heat were interested. On Friday, Oden's agent told the Miami Herald that the Heat have not contacted him. Meanwhile, ESPNDallas.com reports that the Mavericks are interested in Oden, who hasn't played since 2009.
• Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones notes that La La Vasquez is sidestepping -- and looking for ways to profit from -- some rumored trash talk between her husband, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Garnett. Anthony was suspended one game this week for pursuing a post-game confrontation with Garnett.
Brooklyn Nets backup center Andray Blatche says he's "not worried at all" about his involvement in an alleged sexual assault that occurred in his Philadelphia hotel suite early Tuesday morning.
Blatche was questioned by Philadelphia police, but not charged, according to Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey. An investigation remains ongoing.
"I'm not worried at all, because when the truth comes out, then everybody will realize what happened," Blatche told reporters Thursday. "You all are going to hear the truth sooner or later. It's just a bad situation. ... When the time comes and I can talk about it, everybody will realize it's not what you think."
• Jonathan Abrams delivers must-read after must-read at Grantland. The latest: Sheed and Stack.
Rasheed Wallace was called for one technical foul in high school. Just one. Bill Ellerbee, Wallace's coach at Philadelphia's Simon Gratz High School, borrowed some thinking from General George S. Patton in his coaching philosophy: "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle." He later conducted coaching clinics in which others asked how he dealt with talented players. "It's not what you do," Ellerbee would respond. "It's what you don't do. And what you don't do is kiss their ass."• The Wizards announced on Twitter that point guard John Wall has been officially cleared to make his season debut on Saturday as expected. Wall has been sidelined with a knee injury.