Friday August 9th, 2013

• An elderly woman gets low on the dance floor with Rockets center Dwight Howard, who is donning neon sunglasses. I believe the word is "breathtaking." Via Dwight Howard's Instagram. There's a "Sexual Healing" sequel if you're interested.

• Amin Elhassan of Insider ranks the Thunder as the team with the most under-25 talent in the NBA. No. 2? The Pelicans.

Remember when I said the collection of young talent is not necessarily a predictor of future success? The Pelicans fit the bill here (no pun intended) as a team with a whole that is probably less than the sum of its parts. That said, they really have some pieces in their inventory, starting with 2012 No. 1 overall pick Davis. I saw him at USA Basketball training camp in Las Vegas, and he looks like he added some weight and improved the consistency of his midrange jumper. Davis has the potential to be a face-of-the-franchise talent if he continues to add strength. It's hard to believe draft-day acquisition Holiday is only 23 years old as he enters his fifth year as a pro; he provides the perfect pairing for Davis as an upper-echelon point guard who can grow with him.

It gets murkier from here, as Evans and Gordon are both talents I highly value (they were both on my next 10 list last January), though I'm not certain they can both co-exist with each other, or with Holiday, for that matter. Still, this list is about asset accumulation, and while I question the salaries paid to these players, they are good talents in their own right with the potential to get better.

LeBron James told a crowd of basketball fans in the Philippines earlier this summer that -- even after four MVPs in five years -- he will be back in 2013-14 as an improved player. Video via YouTube user NBA.

"I don't want to be the same player I was this past season. I want to come in this season a new, improved, better LeBron James. We'll see what happens once the fall comes around, but I will be a better player."

• James was called for jury duty on Thursday but his service was not needed, according to the Associated Press.

James arrived at the Summit County Courthouse around 8:20 a.m., according to the Akron Beacon Journal. But he was sent home along with the rest of the jury pool about 9:30 after two potential criminal trials did not take place.

Michael Beasley's latest marijuana arrest isn't going over very well in Arizona. John Gambadoro of ArizonaSports just tees off...

The sad part about it, and trust me, I don't feel sorry for that bum Beasley, but the Suns organization went above and beyond to help him get his life and career on track. They hired him a life coach last season, got him mentoring and counseling. They put a tremendous amount of time and effort into helping him, and Beasley just basically spat in their face.

It's not surprising, though. Beasley is among the lowest character athletes Phoenix has ever had.

The Miami Herald reports that Dwyane Wade's very public divorce could wind up costing him eight figures.

• NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver -- set to step into the top job next year -- is already pushing for a harder salary cap in the next round of collective bargaining agreement negotiations, according to the New York Post.

“I would say it’s no secret that we went into collective bargaining seeking a hard cap,” NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver — one of the main architects of the current CBA and who will replace David Stern as commissioner when Stern steps down Feb. 1 — told The Post Wednesday after speaking at the league’s Rookie Transition Program in Florham Park. “So, for the long-term health of the league, we would rather do more to level the playing field among our teams, so the teams that have disparate resources are all competing with roughly the same number of chips so to speak.”

• New Nets forward Paul Pierce discusses his departure from the Celtics with Adam Figman of SlamOnline.

SLAM: Some members of the media have been saying they believe Doc Rivers quit on the Celtics. How do you feel about all that?

PP: Well, I know the insides with everything that’s going on. A lot of stuff got blown out of proportion because of the media, but Doc has always said he didn’t want to be a part of a rebuilding situation. I’ve always stated that the past four or five years. After the season, the owners decided they wanted to go in that direction. It made Doc look like he was quitting but at the same time it was mutual—everything was mutual at the end. The trade, Doc leaving. I didn’t want to be a part of rebuilding; Kevin didn’t want to be a part of rebuilding; Doc didn’t want to be part of rebuilding. I think it was all mutual. We’ve done so much for the franchise that they wanted to help on our end. So Doc went to L.A., and they sent us to Brooklyn for a chance to win a Championship. That’s pretty much the way it was. Nothing more, nothing less.

Lakers executive Jeanie Buss hints in a 710 AM radio interview -- transcribed by the Los Angeles Times -- that Phil Jackson might return to coaching, even though he's said repeatedly that won't happen.

"It has to be the right situation," Buss said Thursday during a live radio segment on ESPN Los Angeles (710 AM).

Buss, who is engaged to Jackson, said the former Lakers coach still has "that need where he's got to coach something."

• Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones with an extended Larry Bird passing highlight video. • The newly signed Mo Williams says he will be a "sixth starter" for the Blazers.

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