Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times: The Lakers already have $79.6 million committed to eight players for the 2013-14 season. Assuming they re-sign Howard next summer to a maximum contract that calls for him to make $20.5 million in the first year, that bumps the Lakers payroll over $100 million. If their final payroll was $105 million, that would put them $32 million over the league's projected tax threshold of $73 million, triggering a tax of $94.5 million and putting the team on the hook for a staggering total of $199.5 million — a 55.9% increase over the total for this season with essentially the same group of core players. "The prohibitive luxury tax makes it so only the super-rich are going to be able to continue to spend at their current levels," said Larry Coon, an independent expert on the collective bargaining agreement who is also an IT director at UC Irvine, "so you're going to end up with a couple of haves and a lot of have-nots." Mitigating the Lakers' financial outlay to some extent will be the team's 25-year, $5-billion deal with Time Warner Cable that is set to pay the team roughly $120 million in the first year of the broadcasting rights deal, which starts in the 2012-13 season. That is the type of deal smaller-market teams can't match.
Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel: Marquis Daniels, who played a reserve role with the Boston Celtics last season, was among a group of players working out at the Bucks training facility in St. Francis on Monday. The 31-year-old Daniels played in 138 regular-season games for the Celtics over the past three seasons. The 6-foot-6 guard-forward has averaged 8.2 points in a nine-year NBA career with Dallas, Indiana and Boston. Other unsigned players working out Monday at the Cousins Center included forward Rasual Butler and swingman Rodney Carney. ... The Bucks have one open roster spot as time ticks down to the start of training camp on Oct. 2. A number of Bucks players are working out informally in preparation for camp. Guard Monta Ellis is expected to arrive later this week.
Joe Freeman of The Oregonian: Six years after “Draft the Stache," Adam Morrison finally will be given the chance to play for the Trail Blazers. Morrison will attend the Blazers’ training camp as a nonroster invite, according to an NBA source, and will be given the chanceto fight for a regular season roster spot with the team. The one-time college star and No. 3 overall pick of the 2006 NBA draft will highlight an unannounced list of nonroster invites when camp opens Oct. 2. Morrison, 28, has not played in an NBA game since appearing in the playoffs with the Los Angeles Lakers on April 27, 2010. He was drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats with much fanfare out of Gonzaga, but his collegiate success never transferred to the NBA, in part because he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee. In an effort to resurrect his NBA career, Morrison has played internationally the past two seasons in Serbia and Turkey and in the Las Vegas Summer League. At summer league in July, Morrison averaged 20.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Los Angeles Clippers. Only seven players — including Blazers rookie point guard Damian Lillard (26.5 ppg) — averaged more points than Morrison in the event.
Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: A Greek basketball journalist today reported that Greek team Panathinaikos is targeting free-agent forward Anthony Tolliver, who continues to talk with the Timberwolves and a handful of other NBA teams about a contract for this coming season. Tolliver said by text message today that he doesn't plan on playing in Greece this season, but added that it remains an option while his agent continues to seek an NBA team that will pay him more than the veteran's minimum. That's all the Wolves have left to pay, unless they make a trade to clear some salary space. Tolliver and agent Larry Fox also have been talking with Atlanta, Chicago, Indiana and Washington about employment this summer. ... The Wolves have just one roster spot left if former D League point guard Will Conroy indeed makes the final roster. They're looking for a big, either Tolliver or free agents such as Hassan Whiteside, Sean Williams or perhaps just released Atlanta center Jordan Williams. Other free-agent forwards out there looking for more than the minimum: Mehmet Okur, Kenyon Martin, Chris Andersen.
Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald: The Miami Heat signed former Knicks center Josh Harrellson on Monday, giving the team another developmental center to compete for a roster spot. Harrellson, 6-10 and 275 pounds, impressed the Heat in a week of workouts recently. Harrellson averaged 4.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 14.6 minutes in 37 games for the Knicks last season, including four starts. Harrellson, whose season was interrupted by wrist surgery, made 20 of 59 three-pointers. ... The Heat opted to sign Harrellson over several other available veteran centers, including Darko Milicic, Chris Anderson, Mehmet Okur and Eddy Curry, who spent last season with the Heat. ... Mickell Gladness and Harrellson likely will compete for one roster spot, though Dexter Pittman could be at risk if Gladness and Harrellson both excel in camp.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: A year ago, relatively few in Houston would have recognized Parsons as a player or local celebrity. After taking over at small forward, Parsons started more games than any Rockets player other than Luis Scola, and after one lockout-shortened season, he has started more games with the team than any Rockets player other than Kevin Martin. Only Parsons and third-year forward Patrick Patterson will go from the Rockets’ rotation at the end of last season to training camp this season. “Me and Pat talk about this every day,” Parsons said. “We’re vets now. This is our team. When the rookies are asking questions or doing something (in the preseason workouts), we’re the leaders out there. We’re the ones leading drills. It’s crazy to think of that because I’ve only been in the league for one lockout season. It’s definitely all happened so fast with the whole way I got here. It was not normal, going second round, going to play overseas, having the unsure feeling about whether I would get a contract, coming back over, not getting clearance from France, having to wait and sit there watching my team in training camp.”
Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: The Pacers have finalized their training camp roster barring any last-minute changes before their first practice on Oct. 2. Media day is Oct. 1. Center Luke Nevill, who played at Utah, and guard Ben Hansbrough, the little brother of Tyler Hansbrough, will round out the training camp roster. The Pacers added Sam Young, Blake Ahearn and Sundiata Gaines to the roster earlier this month. Those five players bring the roster up to 18 players. Teams can carry a maximum of 15 players. The Pacers are high on Young’s toughness. He didn’t get to show it much last season because he spent most of the time on the bench in Memphis and Philly.
Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Hawks requested waivers on Jordan Williams Monday. Williams, a 6-foot-10 forward, was obtained from Brooklyn as part of the July 11th trade for Joe Johnson. Last season with the Nets he averaged 4.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 14.8 minutes in 43 games. The Nets selected Williams in the second round of the 2011 draft out of Maryland. There was a buyout component to the roster move. The Hawks now have 13 guaranteed contracts, including Ivan Johnson and Mike Scott. The Hawks are allowed 15 guaranteed contracts so there remains some roster flexibility. They could use the flexibility to add a player now or wait should a need or a trade arise during the season.
Tim Bontemps of the New York Post: With two weeks to go until the start of training camp, the Nets signed three players yesterday to fill out their roster. The Nets signed guard Stephen Dennis and forwards Carleton Scott and James Mays, pushing their training-camp roster to 18 players. All three are long shots to make the Nets’ 15-man regular-season roster, however, as the Nets are expected to keep forwards Josh Childress and Andray Blatche — whom they signed last week to one-year, non-guaranteed deals — with their last two open spots below the 15-man threshold.
Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: Big-city basketball is twice as nice again in the NBA. Nearly as predictable as a Los Angeles Lakers ascension this season, the NBA is about to enjoy its two-city metropolises' finest season in two decades. The Lakers, Clippers, Knicks and Nets have not made the playoffs in the same season since 1993. That is almost a certainty this time. The Los Angeles teams have risen to be potential home-court playoff teams in the West while New York and -- still getting used to this -- Brooklyn are competitive second-tier playoff teams in the East. Good teams in the largest markets are ideal for the NBA, although the league's allure has been just fine. A Western Conference finals series between teams in the 36th (San Antonio) and 44th (Oklahoma City) markets drew 16 percent more fans than Dallas-Oklahoma City did for the 2011 conference finals. Summer personnel shifting pulled the Lakers in front of the Clippers, who resent such assumptions, and might have vaulted the Nets past the Knicks to the tune of "Hello Brooklyn."
Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: In some ways, Dahntay Jones is the Mavericks’ new mystery man. Arriving with Darren Collison in the deal that sent Ian Mahinmi to Indiana, Jones is a defensive specialist who doesn’t get a lot of attention on the offensive end of the court. Not that he’s bankrupt on offense. But if he gets substantial playing time for the Mavericks this season, it will be because of his defense. In that regard, Jones said he has an appreciation for one of the Mavericks’ established starters, Shawn Marion. He doesn’t have the offensive abilities that Marion does, but he embraces the tough defensive assignments the same way the Matrix does. “My game starts with defense,’’ Jones said. “I have a lot of respect for Shawn Marion because I’ve been used the same way he’s used right now – guarding anybody from point guard to small forward and sometimes power forward." ... With that, the Mavericks expect to play a lot of full-court pressure and that could mean the chance for more playing time for a diverse defender like Jones.
John Reid of The Times-Picayune: The New Orleans Hornets announced Monday they have surpassed an average of 12,000 tickets sold per game this upcoming season, which includes partial and full-season season ticket packages, group sales and suites sold at the New Orleans Arena, according to team spokesman Harold Kaufman. It is the highest tickets sold per game average prior to the season starting since the Hornets relocated from Charlotte, N.C., in 2002. Under new owner Tom Benson, the Hornets have made a push this offseason to either match or exceed last season's 10,000 season ticket total. The Hornets are expected to be one of the young emerging teams to watch because of No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis and rookie guard Austin Rivers.