A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : ESPN.com . A fantastic read from Brian Windhorst on LeBron James' remarkable memory — the one that Shane Battier once called "quasi-photographic" and referred to as "a little like 'A Beautiful Mind'" — and the good things and bad things it can do to him over the course of a game, a series and a season. PF : RealGM . Jonathan Tjarks on a possible silver lining surrounding the dark cloud that has been the Houston Rockets' disappointing summer — more opportunities for Terrence Jones. SF : Forum Blue and Gold . Daniel Rapaport runs down how, in a little over three years, the Los Angeles Lakers went from championship contender to coachless also-ran. SG : Grantland . Zach Lowe tries to figure out what exactly the Sacramento Kings are doing. Good luck, Zach. PG : Cowbell Kingdom and Sactown Royalty . The answer, for the moment: They're winning (Summer League) championships, baby. 6th : NBA.com . The great David Aldridge's always-information-packed Morning Tip column leads off with Derek Fisher getting his arms around teaching the Triangle offense as the head coach of the New York Knicks' Las Vegas Summer League team, and the challenges he'll face as he tries to get established pros like recently re-upped star Carmelo Anthony on-board. 7th : Regressing . In which science proves that big men have benefitted more from the institution of the 3-point arc than guards have. (It's all about spacing, y'all.) 8th : PistonPowered . In which Brady Fredericksen makes the case for "Josh Smith: Super-Sub," an idea that seems to me to have a very-close-to-zero chance of ever actually happening, but is fun to think about as Stan Van Gundy looks for ways to jumpstart the moribund Detroit Pistons. 9th : Awful Announcing and The National Post . Of course Canadian athletes don't have less motivation than other athletes, Jason Whitlock. Get out of here. 10th : USA TODAY Sports . Jason Wolf goes long on Sam Hinkie, a man who takes great pains to avoid the spotlight, which has made him persona non grata to those media members and fans who want answers for the Philadelphia 76ers' determined race to the bottom of the NBA. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
The list of available players in the free agent class of 2014 continues to dwindle down, with teams tending toward focusing on the ends of their benches while aiming to maintain future flexibility and set their sights on the future ... in part, perhaps, because they'd rather not think too hard about the present. With that in mind, let's run through some recent smaller deals agreed upon by players and teams, starting out in Los Angeles. *** • The Los Angeles Lakers continued rounding out their roster by bringing back three members of last year's dismal 27-55 squad — swingman Xavier Henry, forward Wesley Johnson and prospective stretch four Ryan Kelly. (Start planning the parade.) Henry received a one-year, $1 million deal, according to Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski . So did Johnson, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard . (They may well both be receiving the $981,084 minimum salary for four-year players , with the reports just rounding the salaries up.) Kelly — who was a restricted free agent, unlike Henry and Johnson, and whose agreement was first reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times — got a two-year deal worth just under $3.4 million, according to ESPN's Marc Stein , suggesting that his salary comes out of the Lakers' last remaining cap exception, the "room mid-level exception," which is worth $2.732 million for the coming season. Johnson made 79 appearances, including 62 starts, for Mike D'Antoni last season, sopping up the lion's share of L.A.'s minutes at the small forward spot and turning in the most productive season of his NBA career in the most wide-open opportunity since joining the Minnesota Timberwolves as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2010 draft. That, however, isn't saying much — he chipped in 9.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 28.4 minutes per game, shooting just 42.5 percent from the floor and getting roundly outproduced at multiple positions, according to 82games.com's charting . There were some sunny spots. The former Syracuse star shot a career-best 36.9 percent from long distance, including a 41.2 percent mark on spot-up opportunities, according to Synergy Sports Technology 's game-charting. He used his long arms and athleticism to contribute a neat 2.1 combined steals and blocks per game, and to beat the Portland Trail Blazers on an alley-oop off an inbounds pass . At this stage, though, the 27-year-old's most commendable virtue seems to be keeping the Lakers from starting $21.5 million teammate Nick Young at the three spot. (Which is, to be fair, pretty important.)
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : Truth About It . Kyle Weidie tries to get his arms around the apparently concluded (for now, at least) NBA career of Jan Vesely, whom the Washington Wizards selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft — ahead of Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Vucevic, Kenneth Faried, Nikola Mirotic, Reggie Jackson, Jimmy Butler, Chandler Parsons and Isaiah Thomas, among others — and who "sure did mean well," but "was not an NBA man," as it turned out. PF : The Triangle and Eye on Basketball . Danny Chau and James Herbert preach the gospel of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who seems capable of being basically anything. SF : Posting and Toasting . Phil Jackson has said that he thinks the New York Knicks' roster is a little heavy at the shooting guard spot, which could lead the team to trade one of its wings for another frontcourt body. Joe Flynn thinks this would represent a failure to learn from the lessons of Mike Woodson's final year-plus in Manhattan, and he makes a pretty compelling case for it. SG : Valley of the Suns . Heading into this summer, the odds seemed good that Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe would receive a really rich, and perhaps even max-level, restricted free-agent offer sheet from some team looking for a backcourt upgrade this summer. Instead, three weeks into July, there's precious little chatter surrounding the Kentucky product. What gives? What do we know? Kevin Zimmerman brings us up to speed. PG : The Hook . Friend of the program Tom Ziller on how Basketball Internet people on both sides of the aisle talk about Daryl Morey, what they're saying and not saying about the Houston Rockets' general manager, and the issues with it all: "The problem with Daryl Morey isn't that he's a bad GM -- he's objectively not . The problem is that he's been mythologized before he's done anything worth heralding." 6th : Denver Stiffs . Jeffrey Morton considers whether Morey's position at or near the forefront of the movement to treat players as "assets" rather than people might have contributed to the Rockets' swing-and-a-miss summer: "How long before your reputation as that kind of organization, catches up to you? Can dehumanization lower your ceiling as a team?" 7th : SecretRival . Speaking of Morey's particular flavor of general managing, Mark Porcaro takes a quick look at how former Morey lieutenant-turned-Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie has gone about rebooting a middling Sixers roster by burning it down and (slowly) rebuilding it. 8th : Welcome to Loud City . A sharp piece from Kevin Yeung on what the Oklahoma City Thunder trying, and failing, to land Pau Gasol might mean in the overall context of their roster-building strategy, and the possibility that GM Sam Presti might feel a need to swing for the fences with the Thunder "nearing a significant and potentially pivotal point in their current era." 9th : The Oklahoman and Upside and Motor . Darnell Mayberry reports on the chances that the Thunder might look to make 2014 first-round pick Josh Huestis the first U.S./D-League "draft-and-stash" player, and Seth Partnow thinks that's a pretty abhorrent idea that the NBA should prevent from coming to fruition. 10th : SLC Dunk . Intrepid Utah Jazz blogger Amar and equally intrepid San Antonio Spurs blogger Jolly Roger Wilco discuss the links between the two franchises, from the front office (Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey was an assistant GM in San Antonio for a handful of seasons) to the coaching staff (new Jazz head coach Quin Snyder spent three years coaching the Spurs' D-League affiliate) and, Jazz fans hope, eventually to roster-building strategy, on-court tactics and overall results. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.