Posted Sep 2 2010 10:33PM
• Important days for the Clippers. Eric Gordon has a prominent role as the U.S. team went undefeated in pool play at the FIBA world championships. That is an especially encouraging sign for L.A.'s playoff hopes after good guy Gordon tired of the bad locker-room chemistry last season and didn't fit well with backcourt mate Baron Davis.
Gordon, thought not lacking in confidence, now has a running start into a 2010-11 that will also bring Blake Griffin's ability to command double teams and stretch the court for the shooting guard. Gordon has too often been overlooked because he plays the same position in the same building as Kobe Bryant, but late-August and early-September in Turkey may change that.
• Can't believe Sunday marked five years since Hurricane Katrina -- five years that offered some of the worst and best of mankind and continues to remind that New Orleans remains a city of a special spirit. It is impossible to overlook the storm's impact on the NBA as well, especially among those of us who believe Katrina had an unimaginable role in shaping what would later become one of the major stories of the league. Jim Eichenhofer of Hornets.com has done an excellent job of capturing what the five years have been like for the organization itself.
• Watch for New Orleans to try and land another All-Star weekend, by the way. The 2008 event was a great success amid fears the city could not handle the extravaganza and became one of David Stern's most-gratifying moments as commissioner. The next opening is 2013, after it goes to the Staples Center in February and the Amway Center, Orlando's new arena, next season.
• Chances are good Kevin Love would have made the U.S. roster even if David Lee had not been hurt and Amar'e Stoudemire had been able to get insurance coverage. So, it's no surprise that Love is having this much of an impact. From his big-man passing skills to his shooting to his intelligence -- he's such a perfect fit for the international game.
• The e-mail/Twitter response was definitive. Yes, the Lakers should one day retire No. 34 to honor Shaquille O'Neal, in spite of it all. Some readers contend O'Neal hurt his chances by turning himself over to the enemy this summer and signing with the Celtics, but Shaq and people close to him know the only real issue is the classless treatment of owner Jerry Buss as part of the breakup. It's not about the relationship with Kobe Bryant or Phil Jackson at this point. It's with Buss. But the previous stance holds. The jersey should be and will be retired.
• There was the Tweet feedback that took the debate in a different direction: "At this point Shaq needs to retire his number." Quit, in other words.
• The Warriors and Rodney Carney appear headed to a free-agent deal. The No. 16 pick of Philly in 2006, still looking for a breakthrough season, played in 68 games last season in Philadelphia (his second stint there), but only got 12.6 minutes per game. The lack of depth in Golden State gives him a chance for a bigger role, but Carney needs to hit shots. The swingman has made 40.1, 41.6 and 40.3 percent of his shots the last three seasons.
• When Amar'e Stoudemire returned to Phoenix, he really returned. Stopping by US Airways Center on Wednesday to use the training center, a courtesy most teams extend to players, he unexpectedly found a pickup game with some former teammates. But, as Paul Coro noted in the Arizona Republic, Amar'e did not have any basketball shorts. So he wore a pair of Suns shorts. Can't make that stuff up.
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