• Dwight Howard never wanted to go to Los Angeles. When he was nearing the trade deadline last year, Magic officials told him if he didn’t waive his early termination option, they were trading him to the Lakers.
Howard closed his eyes and dropped his head, said one league source with direct knowledge of the meeting. Howard never wanted to follow Shaquille O’Neal to Los Angeles and never wanted to play with Kobe Bryant, the source said. Now Howard is playing with a shoulder injury, the Lakers are a mess and on the verge of missing the playoffs and his father is blasting Bryant and Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“I don’t think he realized some of the things he was being blessed with in Orlando,” Dwight Howard Sr. told the paper, adding that he received some bad advice last year and that the L.A. situation has worn on him. “L.A. has been humble pie for him. When you go from being the man in one city [Orlando] to second or third tier, it takes a toll on you mentally.”
• Mo Williams is just as thin-skinned and sensitive as he was when he played here. Grantland.com’s Bill Simmons wrote last week that the Utah Jazz need a point guard, and Williams took offense to it, posting on his Twitter account “What the hell Bill Simmons talking about the Jazz need a point guard,” Williams wrote. “What the hell position have I been playing all yr?”
Williams has missed the past month following thumb surgery and isn’t expected back anytime soon.
• Promising Detroit Pistons rookie center Andre Drummond could miss up to six weeks with a stress fracture in his lower back. Drummond was averaging 7.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 19.7 minutes. He led all rookies in rebounds, was second in blocks and eighth in scoring.
• Phil Johnson, the former top assistant to Jerry Sloan with the Utah Jazz, told the Associated Press he thinks Sloan will coach again. Sloan still lives in Salt Lake City and attends many of the Jazz home games. “I think he’d like to coach again,” Johnson said. “I think he’ll get some jobs offered.”
• With the trade deadline a little less than two weeks away, names are being shot out in trade rumors like a machine gun. Among the most prominent rumors is a Ben Gordon for Kris Humprhies swap between the Charlotte Bobcats and Brooklyn Nets, J.J. Redick continues to be shopped in Orlando and the Atlanta Hawks are taking calls on Josh Smith.
• Despite injuries to Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger, the Boston Celtics aren’t expected to move veterans Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett. The Celtics have won six in a row despite the injuries and have moved into the seventh seed in the East, one game behind the Hawks.
• Kyrie Irving is third in the online gambling site Bovada.com’s odds to win the 3-point shootout over All-Star weekend. Stephen Curry is the favorite at 2-1 odds, followed by the New York Knicks’ Steve Novak at 5-2, Irving at 3-1, the San Antonio Spurs’ Matt Bonner at 9-2, the New Orleans Hornets’ Ryan Anderson at 9-2 and the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George at 15-2.
The Knicks’ James White is the favorite to win the slam-dunk contest at 5-4 and the Pacers’ Gerald Green is second at 5-2, followed by the Toronto Raptors’ Terrence Ross (7-2), defending champion Jeremy Evans (5-1), the Los Angeles Clippers’ Eric Bledsoe (15-2) and the Denver Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried (15-2).