Dwight Howard has been egged on so much in the last year we could see a mean streak like never before from him, and that’s saying something. We’re not dismissing the fact almost ALL of this has been self-inflicted damage on his part, but he’s seen hate like few others in NBA history. The latest chapter should inspire him to get healthy and get into a Laker game uniform faster than ever — and we think we know the target of his rage already. Shaq has been sparring with Howard at a distance ever since their silly “No, I’m Superman” tiff a few years back. O’Neal came out today and said he prefers Brook Lopez and Andrew Bynum over Howard as a premier post player in the league. O’Neal is one of the most loquacious players the NBA has ever seen, but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about with this. Even if you’re out to undercut Howard at every chance you can, like Shaq has been for a year, it weakens your own argument when your points make absolutely zero sense. Howard has a mean streak that’s underrated because of his sometimes childish mood. But Bynum makes questionable decisions and still has trouble passing out of double teams, whereas Howard keeps his eyes up for cutters and engages his defenders underneath instead of trying to go around them. Lopez has far inferior footwork to Howard and is not even close as an inside defensive presence. It doesn’t make sense to have Shaq take those guys over Howard, even if he’s injured. Meanwhile, it makes a ton of sense for Howard to double down in his games against Philly and Brooklyn and tear up Bynum and Lopez. Blame it on Shaq, guys. … Allen Iverson and Jason Williams were two of the most entertaining guards in the past 20 seasons, almost forcing you to tune in in case they threw a pass off the elbow or dropped 40 while playing with a bruised rib. They’re two of Dime‘s favorite players of all time. So how great is it that they’ll be back together playing for the Professional Basketball Alumni Association’s all-star team in China, when the team matches up with the Beijing Ducks? The game will be in Beijing and have Nate “Tiny” Archibald as its coach. Joining the Americans are Damon Jones, Charoy Bentley, Shane Burrell, Zendon Hamilton, J.R. Inman, J.R. Reid (!) and dunk specialist Guy “Easy J” Dupuy. Some might think this would be a bad idea in case these two’s games have fallen apart to the point where it’s embarrassing, but we think it’s great. The two headliners were natural entertainers in their heyday, and even if their jumpers have fallen off considerably, they’re still going to bring the excitement. Their playing styles were like All-Star Games anyway, so this should be great. We’re not so sure AI can play a full 48 minutes anymore but let him try. … Hit the jump to see which Memphis legend is back to being a big player in the city’s hoops. …
One of the most interesting offseason moves you probably haven’t heard about is new Grizzlies owner to-be Robert Pera and the team he’s assembling as minority owners. He’s clearly going after the high-profile model that the Nets used with Jay-Z, by signing Peyton Manning and Penny Hardaway to be minority owners. That goes with the news in the summer that Justin Timberlake wil be involved in ownership, too. We’ll put that ownership group up against any other in an SNL hosting face-off. … If you didn’t hear about Charles Barkley‘s comments about LeBron James on Thursday, he talked about how LeBron can absolutely be better than Michael Jordan. He said it on NBA TV’s six-part series “Open Court,” and if the soundbites and discussion live up to that, it will be entertaining to watch. Shaq, Steve Kerr, Ernie Johnson, Chuck, Reggie Miller and Chris Webber are a few of the analysts who will make appearances. It premieres Oct. 9 at 11 p.m. Eastern. … We loved Royce White’s game whenever we could catch any part of an Iowa State game last season. He was a man among boys and could take over the glass, but his backstory has been an interesting angle to follow because of his anxiety problems that keep reoccurring. Before he had to ride buses instead of planes at times, but now it’s much more serious: he can’t even get to Rockets camp. He said he’s joining the team within a week. … Good news out of Chapel Hill is that the tumor Roy Williams was found to have isn’t cancerous. … Lastly, in huge recruiting news Thursday, Andrew and Aaron Harrison chose Kentucky over Maryland and SMU. Andrew is ESPN’s best point guard in the 2013 class and its No. 2 overall player, while Aaron is the fourth-best player regardless of position, while being the best shooting guard. They said John Calipari didn’t guarantee them anything and they appreciated his honestly. One thing he probably did guarantee them is the chance to hang out in a sweet dorm. … We’re out like AI in China.
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