In the eyes of many, and well before Kobe Bryant was lost to a torn Achilles tendon, the Lakers were going to eventually become Dwight Howard's team. While the center who will be a free agent this summer has continued his noncommittal stance about whether he will sign with the Lakers or head elsewhere, two people close to him said they fully expect him to return. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity out of respect for Howard's decision to wait until the summer to make his final choice. In that silver lining sense for the Lakers and their distraught fans, their playoff push that has come down to the final days of the regular season may simply a preview of the years ahead. (USA TODAY Sports) Comment
Bad news, Chiefs fans looking for a home run at No. 1. Some team personnel men are saying the Kansas City Chiefs are making it clear they are willing to trade out of the top overall spot. They are basically advertising this, I'm told, in neon lights. Like a special at Macy's. One scout called it "begging." The Chiefs aren't giving the pick away but they are letting many people know the pick can be had. The concern in the Kansas City organization is not unfamiliar to many teams that have held the top overall pick. ... By my count [since 1970], approximately 20 of the picks are either flat-out busts or close. That's almost half. That's insane. That almost makes the No. 1 overall pick is basically a flip of the coin. (CBS Sports) Comment
Somewhat predictably and unanimously, the Penguins' players voted for their teammate and star. An informal survey of Sidney Crosby's teammates concluded that if the selection were up to them, which it is not, he could begin clearing space on his mantle for a second Hart Trophy. That award is supposed to go to the player deemed to be most valuable to his team, in voting by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. ... Although Crosby might have been a near-unanimous selection if he hadn't been injured, the reality is that him missing most, if not all, of the final four weeks of the regular season injects at least a little suspense into who will end up with the Hart. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) Comment
Out for the rest of the season with an Achilles tendon tear. Kobe Bryant loomed large over the Lakers before their game against the San Antonio Spurs at the Staples Center on Sunday. The Lakers prevailed without him, 91-88, and kept their playoff hopes alive. (Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Shane O'Donoghue and Jessica Marksbury wrap up the 2013 Masters from Augusta, where Adam Scott defeated Angel Cabrera in a sudden-death playoff to take home his first green jacket.