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2-time All-Star will sign with Lakers, but ...

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2-time All-Star will sign with Lakers, but ...

From Comcast SportsNet
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Antawn Jamison is joining up with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash to chase a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. Jamison will sign a one-year deal with the Lakers, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Lakers hadn't announced the move. The 36-year-old forward will sign for the veteran's minimum salary, likely bolstering the Lakers' woeful bench with scoring and veteran leadership while pursuing the first championship ring in a career largely spent as the best player on bad teams. He won't have that problem with the Lakers, who will have Bryant and newcomer Nash in their backcourt flanked by two elite 7-footers -- although their identities will depend on whether Los Angeles' apparent efforts to land Dwight Howard are successful. Jamison also will be reunited with coach Mike Brown, who was in charge of the Cavaliers when Jamison was traded to Cleveland during the 2009-10 season. Jamison had several suitors for his services, including his hometown Charlotte Bobcats, the Brooklyn Nets and the Golden State Warriors, his employer for his first five NBA seasons. For a player who has never advanced past the second round of the playoffs in 14 NBA seasons, the Lakers' chance to contend apparently was too enticing to Jamison. The Lakers are the fifth NBA team for Jamison, who averaged 17.2 points and 6.3 rebounds for an awful Cavs team last season despite shooting a career-low 40.3 percent. He is averaging an impressive 19.5 points per game in his career, never scoring fewer than 14.8 points per game since his rookie season with Golden State in 1999. Jamison could be a huge upgrade to the Lakers' bench, which repeatedly struggled to hold leads last season when the starters sat down. Matt Barnes was the Lakers' top-scoring reserve with just 7.8 points per game, and Los Angeles had the NBA's lowest-scoring bench with just 20.5 points per game. Jamison has been a reserve just once in his career, but he was good at it: During his only season with the Dallas Mavericks in 2003-04, he was selected the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year while playing alongside Nash. Metta World Peace is likely to be the Lakers' starting small forward, although Brown brought World Peace off the bench early last year. Jamison could back up World Peace and Pau Gasol in a job that would resemble Lamar Odom's responsibilities for the Lakers' last championship team in 2010. Jamison generates his steady scoring from an arsenal of herky-jerky, off-balance shots, including an impressive ability to shoot underhanded. He's also a remarkably consistent 3-point shooter -- hitting between 34 and 35 percent of his attempts in each of the past five seasons -- joining a team that needs perimeter scoring. Bryant knows all about Jamison's unique skills: They were Pacific Division rivals early in their careers, and they engaged in one of the most scintillating scoring duels in NBA history on Dec. 6, 2000, in Oakland. Jamison and Bryant scored 51 points apiece -- Bryant's career high at the time -- as Golden State beat the Lakers in overtime. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak hasn't commented on the club's interest level in Howard, speaking instead about his interest in supplementing his addition of Nash with a handful of veteran bench players. The Lakers will be well over the luxury-tax threshold, forcing Kupchak to seek out new additions willing to put team success ahead of financial rewards.

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Kelly Oubre, Jr. may take on larger role due to injuries, and rebounding could be key

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Kelly Oubre, Jr. may take on larger role due to injuries, and rebounding could be key

The Wizards have two players sidelined at the moment and both happen to play the same position. Markieff Morris was already out following the sports hernia surgery he had in September, then Jason Smith sprained his right shoulder defending a dunk attempt by Joel Embiid in the regular season opener on Wednesday night.

This has put head coach Scott Brooks in a tough predicament. He's trying to acclimate new players into his rotation, but now has no choice but to get creative. Smith is considered questionable for Friday night and is likely going to be limited, regardless when he returns.

If Smith misses time or is not 100 percent, the onus will fall mostly on third-year forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. with Mike Scott behind him. Oubre is not a power forward, but is versatile enough to co-exist with Otto Porter alongside John Wall, Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat. The Wizards utilized that lineup last season at times and relied on it heavily once Smith departed Wednesday night's game. Porter could be looked as the four in that group, but he and Oubre are essentially interchangable on defense.

Oubre, 21, came through with 14 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals against the Sixers. He knocked down three three-pointers and shot 5-of-10 from the field overall.

"I'm ready. I've worked for this moment. The season is here, so it's time to put the work to the test," Oubre said. "I feel very confident. I feel very relaxed. This is Year 3, so I'm excited for all the opportunities that may come."

[RELATED: OUBRE THREW DOWN A CRAZY DUNK VS. SIXERS]

Those eight rebounds stand out, in particular. Oubre averaged 3.3 rebounds last season, his second year in the NBA, in 20.3 minutes. Oubre had 14 in one of their preseason games and has clearly put extra focus on that part of his game.

One reporter (me) asked Oubre about his 'seven' rebounds in the opener and Oubre issued a quick correction, showing exactly how much attention he's paying to the stat.

"I had eight in the opener, but yeah," he said. "It's a big emphasis because that's what we need. We need guys to go in there and rebound, push the break and keep up the pace. That's the style of play that we're looking for, to play fast and play tough. Crashing the boards is something that I need to do to help the team."

Brooks sees a lot of potential in Oubre's ability on the glass. 

"I look at rebounding as a stat that Kelly can really be consistent with. He has the size, the strength, the length and the athleticism and the toughness to get in there and get some rebounds. I think you should be able to see [eight] every night. It's one of the things we talked about to improve defensively. We have to be a better defensive team," Brooks said.

The Wizards miss a lot more than rebounding if Morris and Smith aren't in the picture, of course. But Oubre's development in that area could be important in the Wizards' effort to compensate for two key injuries at the same position.

[RELATED: GORTAT PLAYED WITH A HEAVY HEART VS. SIXERS]

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John Wall's new motto Wolf Season has reached a new level

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John Wall's new motto Wolf Season has reached a new level

It started as an offseason hashtag. After Wednesday night's win over the Sixers, it was legitimized with a postgame quote.

John Wall wants everyone to know that it's Wolf Season and, according to another favorite hashtag of his, nobody is safe.

Wall brought it up himself on Wednesday when asked about dunking all over the Sixers. When asked what Wolf Season means, he replied: "Just keep watching."

Wall used the hashtag #wolfseason all summer long in photos on Instagram. He also used the phrase #wolfwall:

It's reminiscent of the Wolf of Wall St. He also referenced "Michael Jackson Thrilla Mode" on Instragram and the music video for 'Thriller' very famously had Jackson turn into a wolf:

Michael Jackson Thrilla Mode spilling sauce everywhere I go !! #WallWay #5Deep #BYB #WolfWall

A post shared by johnwall (@johnwall) on

Whatever Wall means by it, the rest of the NBA might want to take notice.

[RELATED: PODCAST - MCCULLOUGH EXPLAINS HIS NICKNAME]