Dwight Howard poses with fans in Taiwan while on tour with Adidas. (Adidas Basketball)
• Earlier Wednesday, we noted that Rockets guard Jeremy Lin was in Taiwan delivering an emotional speech about his up-and-down 2012-13 season in Houston. Turns out, new Rockets center Dwight Howard was also recently in Taipei with Adidas. It looks like he's having a good time.
The Lakers will wear short-sleeve jerseys next season in "several" games, according to a team source. The jerseys will be white, the same color as the alternative uniforms the Lakers introduced for the 2002-03 season and traditionally wear on Sundays.
The Lakers will also be adding a black jersey to their uniform rotation next season, according to a league source. The alternative uniform will be part of the league's city pride series, joining the Detroit Pistons' upcoming "Motor City" uniforms and the Portland Trail Blazers' "Rip City" set, but unlike the others, it will still say "Lakers" across the chest. The lettering and numerals will appear in purple with gold outlines and the rest of the jersey material will be primarily black, with some gold accents, the source said.
• Justin Kubatko, formerly of Basketball-Reference.com, examines the NBA MVP award winners over the years at his new site, Statitudes.com. Included are some interesting notes, such as...
Michael Jordan, 2,868 (1987-88)
Jordan’s point total in 1987-88 ranks sixth on the NBA’s all-time list. Oddly enough, Wilt Chamberlain has four of the top five single season NBA point totals, but he won his four MVP awards in other seasons.
Most First Place Votes, Career
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 762
Abdul-Jabbar is followed by Michael Jordan (530.5), LeBron James (451), Wilt Chamberlain (348), and Bill Russell (289).
• Jason Quick of The Oregonian spent 13 years covering the Blazers but is now set to cover college football. Why did he leave?
"I think it had become stale to me a little bit in a way. I think I just lost faith in a lot of the NBA. I've seen a lot of bull----. From putting your heart and soul into a player and believing him when he talks about kissing his kids at night and all that, then you write that, and the next road trip you see him with somebody that's not his wife, basically getting it on. That's disheartening to me. There's a lot of times where you hear a bunch of bull---- from these guys, it's hard to believe anything."
• In an interview with NBA.com's Lang Whitaker, Knicks guard Raymond Felton gives his thoughts on how tough, really, next season will be for former teammate Jason Kidd, who is now set to coach the crosstown Nets.
"I think he’ll be a great coach, but at the end of the day, he’s not going to have to do too much coaching. He can do like Phil Jackson did — he might have drawn something up out of the timeouts, he might have talked about a couple of things during halftime, but Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, those guys ran the team, they made the game. You’ve got Deron Williams, one of the best point guards in the league, you’ve got Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez, those guys understand the game and they’re veterans, so there’s not too much coaching you can do. But he’s going to be great for Deron."
• Howard Beck of The New York Times reports that there is but one candidate to fill the National Basketball Players Association's open presidency.
Roger Mason Jr., a 32-year-old guard, is the lone announced candidate for the job, and it appears likely he will run unopposed. Mason, who has served four years as a vice president, said he had the full endorsement of his fellow executive committee members.
“The task at hand is pretty great,” Mason said in a telephone interview. “And I can appreciate how much time and energy needs to go into this type of commitment, just from my involvement. There may be other guys that understand that and that want to run, and that’s their right.”
• Tom Ziller of SB Nation reacts to Mason's candidacy.
Roger Mason, who is not currently an NBA player, is apparently running unopposed for the presidency of the National Basketball Players Association. This is a problem. I'm not willing to say that it perpetuates the existing problems the players' union has had because those problems seem to basically revolve around Billy Hunter being sketch, but this is a problem insomuch as in this time of great need, in a total void of leadership, not one current NBA player is stepping up to take the mantle of even a figurehead position. Instead, the membership is apparently willing to let a devoted union rep who may not sign a deal for the 2013-14 season and certainly won't be in the NBA in 2016 or 2017 take the job. The total void of leadership? Yeah, this only exacerbates that.
I don't think the players' union needs a star like LeBron James to be its president, but I do think it needs a current and future NBA player in that job. The executive board needs to reflect the diversity of the league with young players, veterans, stars and journeymen. Being full of bit players at or near retirement is not helpful in the central mission of the union (and any union): representing the interests of the membership.
• Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie notes that LeBron James has named his top three NBA players of all time: Michael Jordan, Julius Erving and Larry Bird. Oof.
The writing was on the wall for Blair as he logged less than 18 minutes of game action in the seven-game series against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
“I don’t think we would’ve come up short if I would have played,” Blair said. “It’s just a lot of motivation to see everything. Going through those two weeks (of the Finals), it was the best two weeks of my life. I definitely want to get back, and I think we’ve got the team to do it.”
• Brett Koremenos of Grantland.com explores how the new-look Pelicans could make things work offensively.
• Matt Moore looks at the tasks facing Celtics guard Rajon Rondo once he returns from injury.