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Baxter Holmes ESPN Staff Writer 

The Lakers' practices have featured fun competitions under new head coach Luke Walton, including a 3-point shoot-out, one-on-one battles and a home-run pass challenge. " I definitely wasn't expecting that," says point guard D'Angelo Russell. "It feels like you're going back to your roots, going back to high school days and stuff like that, where you're just competing and laughing about it at the same time."

Darren Rovell ESPN Senior Writer 

Early leader in the clubhouse for the best NBA promotion: on 2/26, the Bucks are giving away a Miles Plumlee bobblehead toothbrush holder

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

Here's Joakim Noah on a lesson learned from Kevin Garnett, who greeted him with a curse word when Noah told Garnett he was his favorite player. "I'll never tell anybody that they're my favorite player in the league ever again," he said.

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

Joakim Noah told Kevin Garnett he was his favorite player the first time they played. Garnett greeted him with a phrase unfit for print. "For my whole career he's kind of been motivation to get in the gym in the summer," Noah said. "Playing against the Celtics, those were always games you circled on the calendar."

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

Joakim Noah on why he decided to skip the Knicks' dinner at West Point: "It's hard for me a little bit. I have a lot of respect for the kids who are out here fighting. But it's hard for me to understand why we have to go to war, why kids have to kill kids around the world. So I have mixed feelings about being here. I'm very proud of this country. I love America but I just don't understand kids killing kids around the world." More of his thoughts are quoted in a story on

Dave McMenamin ESPN Staff Writer 

Kevin Love on people speculating about his fit or lack thereof on the Cavs: "I don't think it will ever leave but frankly, I don't give a s---."

Dave McMenamin ESPN Staff Writer 

LeBron getting up shots with Mike Dunleavy. Told him he feels like Moses playing with guys like Dunleavy, Ray Allen, Mike Miller, James Jones, J.R. Smith because the defense parts like the Red Sea to guard the perimeter and lets him drive.


Jason Sobel ESPN Senior Writer 

Among the sporting luminaries at the Ryder Cup today: Michael Phelps, Adrian Peterson and this guy -- Michael Jordan, who has served as a de facto vice captain for the U.S. team in previous years.

Nick Friedell ESPN Staff Writer 

Gibson said coaches haven't had to do as much talking early in camp because Dwyane Wade stops practice and curses guys out to get them back on track.

Nick Friedell ESPN Staff Writer 

Taj Gibson, on the differences he sees in Fred Hoiberg as the young coach heads into his second season: "He's more talkative," Gibson said after Friday's practice. "He understands the game a lot more from an NBA coach's standpoint. He understands where he went wrong last year and this year already he's been going at guys. Right away -- he's been cursing a lot more [at] the early group, in early parts of practice than last year. But it's great. He really hasn't needed to say much because everything's been so smooth and everybody's been doing the right things. This year it's a great start to training camp, but we've still got ways to go."

Tim MacMahon ESPN Staff Writer 

Mavs C Salah Mejri, who had offseason knee surgery, has yet to be cleared for full practice participation. "We don't want any setbacks or yo-yos," Rick Carlisle said. "We want him to get healthy and stay healthy."


Calvin Watkins ESPN Staff Writer 

Rockets guard James Harden said Friday the team hasn't talked about any potential protest during the national anthem for Sunday's scheduled preseason opener against the Shanghai Sharks. Players in the NFL, WNBA, women's soccer, college and high school football games have either taken a knee, raised their fist or worn T-shirts protesting police brutality against African-Americans. "Each and every guy has their own voice and own opinion on that subject," Harden said. "They will act accordingly." The league has a rule that every player must stand during the national anthem.

Calvin Watkins ESPN Staff Writer 

Trevor Ariza said the work the Rockets have put in on defense during a training camp practices has been strong. "That's something we put an emphasis on," Ariza said Friday. "We work on that every day, we drill it every day (and) when you do something every day, it becomes a habit and that's what we're on our way to." The Rockets hired Jeff Bzdelik as the defensive coordinator in a sense to improve a group that struggled last season in that area. "I think every coach approaches things differently, there's no one right way," "Ariza said. "He's done a lot of research a lot of studying and what he studies worked and you can't argue with that. That's what we're here to do is get better."

Justin Verrier ESPN Staff Writer 

Pelicans rookie Buddy Hield, a noted workaholic, said he's trying to keep the long view in mind as he prepares for his first NBA season. "I've got that Kobe Bryant mentality, man. I'm always working, man," he said Friday, a day before his first preseason game. "You never settle for less, ‘cause you never know if this is gonna be the last game you can play. So I always prepare myself to be the best I can be and make sure I'm ready. I'm always putting in work. I understand when they say ‘Take care of your body' and everything, ‘Get your rest.' But I'm doing that, getting massages, stretching, cold tub and all that stuff. It's the best my body's felt in a little while. But I'm always playing like tomorrow's my last game. I'm always in the gym when I can be in the gym."

Nick Friedell ESPN Staff Writer 

Hoiberg says there is no clear-cut leader at the 4-spot yet. He said earlier this week that Mirotic, Gibson and Portis were all getting some run with the starting group.