A full transcription of Kobe Bryant's quotes today from Inside the Lakers, including this: "I think there was a lot of speculation about whether I was going to show up for camp or whatever, but we wanted to keep things behind closed doors and amongst ourselves going forward. Management knew. There was never a doubt and never a doubt in my mind." And this about his boss, Jerry Buss: "Well, what I understand about Jerry, from the stuff people have been telling me, is that he's kind of been out of the loop for the last two years, for just to see how the organization would run, or what have you. My understanding is that he's kind of going to be back in the mix now."
Dikembe Mutombo re-signs in Houston. Daryl Morey deserves a lot of credit for making the Rockets better than ever. But what happens with this roster? Rafer Alston, Shane Battier, Aaron Brooks, Jackie Butler, Steve Francis, Mike Harris, Chuck Hayes, Luther Head, Mike James, Carl Landry, John Lucas III, Tracy McGrady, Dikembe Mutombo, Brad Newley, Steve Novak, Justin Reed, Luis Scola, Kirk Snyder, Bob Sura, Jake Tsakalidis (FA), Bonzi Wells, and Yao Ming. That's 22 players, right? They have to get down to 15. And they paid a bunch of money for the pick that became the unsigned Landry. (UPDATE: Whoops, turns out Landry is signed.) If he doesn't make the team that was pure folly. So maybe Sura and Lucas are not going to make it. Butler? Is he out? Newley I guess will head overseas. There's a lot of cutting to be done.
Dirk Nowitzki isn't exactly grabbing that leadership position by the throat. The blog of the Dallas Morning News quotes him as saying today: "We'll see if we find a good way for me to lead, as we tried to do the last couple years."
Jarrett Jack and Steve Blake are in a close contest to see who will start at point guard for the Portland Trail Blazers. Jack admits that. But he does not admit that they are in a close contest to see who dresses better. Jack wins that one, he claims, by a long shot.
One of the big jokes of the off-season was that if you spent a bunch of money on tickets to see Kevin Garnett this year, you'd end up also seeing a lot of ... [insert name of the many lesser-known Celtics who are a big drop-off in star value]. Perhaps the easiest name to insert into that sentence is the 32nd pick in this year's draft, Gabe Pruitt. But now Pruitt has hurt himself and is day-to-day. So maybe you won't even see him.
Pruitt is being missed already. Check out Glen "Big Baby" Davis's blog entry from Rome: "I got out a little Sunday night, and we got to see some things. The Spanish Steps were nice. It was a whole bunch of us. It was fine until I had my first rookie duty. Gabe (Pruitt) wasn't there, so I had to do it alone. I had to eat a whole plate of octopus. I think that's one of the toughest things I ever did in my life. I ate raw octopus. Everybody was like, 'Eat it. Eat it. You'd better eat it.' So I ate it. You know, team spirit."
Tony Massenburg has a deal with the Wizards, and if he makes it into a game this year he will have played for his 13th NBA team, a record. the 40-year-old was out of the League last year, recovering from a car accident.
Getting to know the people who know Yi Jianlian.