For the first time in nearly 13 years, a U.S. roster of NBA players played an international game — and lost. Patty Mills scored 30 points, and Australia rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half to stun the Americans 98-94 and snap a 78-game U.S. winning streak that started with the bronze-medal game at the 2006 world championships.
After completing a contract buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies, Dwight Howard will sign a non-guaranteed contract with the Los Angeles Lakers that comes with a clear message, league sources told ESPN: Disrupt this team — and you’ll be gone.
In meetings with Lakers management, coaches and teammates — including Anthony Davis — late this week, Howard sold himself as an eight-time All-Star who had hit “rock bottom,” in the words of one team source, and promised that he’d humbly accept the responsibility to rebound and block shots for the Lakers.
When fate and circumstance intervene, the results can be quite interesting. For the LA Lakers and Dwight Howard to reconnect, the word interesting is probably an understatement. Howard reached an agreement on a contract buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday and will sign a one-year, non-guaranteed $2.6 million deal with the Lakers once he clears waivers, league sources told The Athletic.
After the Lakers and Briscoe were given permission to seek the opportunity by the Grizzlies, Howard and Kidd were able to connect in person, league sources told The Athletic. They discussed life, their playing days together, the possibility of Howard joining the Lakers. Howard’s message to Kidd and the Lakers was the same one he delivered to The Athletic in July from NBA summer league: He’s learned from the past several seasons, learned that, at age 33, he is simply one of the guys now. Howard believes he can contribute at a high level for any NBA team, but the eight-time All-Star also understands he has to focus on rebounding, defense, blocking shots, finishing around the rim and simply playing whenever he is asked. He has accepted it — as much as those in the basketball community have doubted his words.
The Lakers then began setting workouts for free agents, and Howard traveled from Atlanta to Los Angeles on Wednesday. His meeting and workout with the Lakers was set for Thursday, but Howard went to the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo, Calif., on Wednesday afternoon for his own training session. The Lakers were surprised to see him, sources said, and many key decision makers were in attendance.
The impromptu workout led to some informal dialogue among Howard and several Lakers officials, league sources said. “Dwight didn’t need to be here the day before the actual workout,” one source said, “but he was.” When Thursday arrived, Howard had a workout in which the Lakers believed he looked healthy and fit. “Amazing,” said a source present in the gym.