Opening on Team USA?

Dwight Howard said he might not play for USA Basketball at the world championships.

It was the first time he has publicly wavered about playing in the games in Turkey scheduled from Aug. 28 to Sept. 12. He'd stayed firm on his commitment even as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and other stars expressed doubts. Howard said he would let USA Basketball know his intentions "soon."

Hair-raising action

You may have noticed that Orlando forward Mickael Pietrus was wearing his hair long, and he had good reason. According to Yahoo Sports, a $17,000 wager was made in training camp as to whether Pietrus could last an entire season without a haircut. The losing bettors were Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, and Howard.

"Easy money," Pietrus said. And the deal was even sweeter. After not having long hair for 20 years, Pietrus realized he likes having a 'fro.

Barnes to go free

Forward Matt Barnes says he will opt out of the final year of his contract with the Magic to become a free agent. Barnes had said for months he would likely make the move, hoping to get a long-term deal to return to Orlando. The stopper is hoping he impressed the Magic enough for them to "give me something decent."

- Inquirer Wire Services