HoopsHype rumors

July 22, 2011 | 06:26 PM ET Update

Scola prefers Yao Ming's land as a destination if the NBA season does not start because of the lockout. "It's a more open market, it has so much potential and the country is appealing to me," he told Ole. Ole

In his last visit to China, Luis Scola was asked which Chinese team would he play with. "I see myself playing with the Shanghai Sharks because Yao is the owner of the team." Ole

SB – With lockout installed, still no one is quite sure what will happen.There is the possibility of athletes returning to work in teams of Europe, or resume play in their countries or on other teams? The players know about this subject? Tiago Splitter: we really do not know on what date the NBA and players association will enter into an agreement, it does not exist. Actually there is tremendous uncertainty around it and everything is very loose. Of course, the possibility exists that you go play in Europe, or you come to play in Brazil, China or wherever. But my mindset at the moment is to continue at the San Antonio Spurs. I think they waited enough for me after the Draft and I respect that, I want to go there. I’ll work after the selection, until the individual returns to be ready and be in good condition for next season. Air Alamo

The NBA sent out a press release late Friday that included the 2010-11 season audit of all Basketball Related Income (BRI) and player compensation. Results: Holy mother of money. The league says: BRI increased by 4.8 percent from $3.643 billion in 2009-10 to $3.817 billion in 2010-11. Total player compensation also increased by 4.8 percent from $2.076 billion in 2009-10 to $2.176 billion in 2010-11. This marks the sixth consecutive season that player compensation increased under the expired CBA. Total player compensation equaled 57 percent of BRI. The average player salary for the 2010-11 season was $5.15 million. Over the six-year term of the expired CBA, the average player salary increased by a total of 16 percent. CBSSports.com

Nick Arison has been named chief executive officer of the Miami Heat and will oversee the day-to-day operations of the team. Arison, the third generation to hold a leadership role with the franchise will report to his father, Micky Arison, who will remain managing general partner and governor at the NBA's Board of Governor's meetings, the team announced Friday. "This is something Nick has been working towards his whole life. He's more prepared for this job than I was at his age when I became CEO of Carnival," Micky Arison said. "I have the utmost confidence that Nick will continue to lead the HEAT as a model NBA franchise for many years to come." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Free agent combo guard Delonte West released two songs — “It’s Bout 2 Go Down” featuring KayeM and “Mr. Magnificent” featuring Rudy — from his upcoming mixtape, appropriately dubbed “Lockout.” Of course, you’ll probably remember Delonte’s rap about Kentucky Fried Chicken, which has more than 655,000 views on YouTube. WEEI.com

Today computer hacker Daniel Goncalves was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing the domain name P2P.com from Internet entrepreneur Marc Ostrofsky and selling it on eBay.com for $121,000 to former NBA basketball player Mark Madsen. Goncalves is the first domain thief in history to be criminally prosecuted in the United States. Ostrofsky and his partners Albert and Lesli Angel worked to track down Goncalves with the New Jersey Cyber Crimes unit. Goncalves was sentenced before Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim in Union County, N.J. following a guilty plea to multiple criminal counts. Cision Wire

July 22, 2011 | 04:10 PM ET Update

The Timberwolves' coaching search just got very interesting. According to league sources, former Houston coach Rick Adelman will be the fourth candidate to interview with the Wolves when he comes to town tomorrow to see David Kahn and owner Glen Taylor. Adelman all along has looked like the dream hire who'd solve a lot of the Wolves' problems, if he's interested. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Despite the lack of contact with players, he's kept busy working various camps. He just recently returned from a coaching clinic in Orlando. "Doing what we can, working every day," Spoelstra said. "There's certainly enough projects to work on this summer." The lockout did provide him opportunity to catch his favorite group, U2, when they performed at Sun Life Stadium last month in Sunrise. Although superstar LeBron James received a personal shout out from the band during the performance and posed for pictures backstage, Spoelstra was content to just enjoying the show in anonymity. "I'm fine in the stands," Spoelstra said. "To enjoy the music, that's good enough for me. I don't need to be in the mosh pit." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

MT: How did your relationship with Mike Brown start to the point where you’re now on his staff with the Lakers? Quin Snyder: The year I left Missouri and started in the D-League (2006), I went to Johannesburg (South Africa) for the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program, and I was actually Mike’s assistant on our team. I started to get to know him then, and then Danny Ferry and (Brown) are very close from Cleveland (Ferry was the GM while Brown was there. So when we’d play Cleveland’s D-League team, I’d get to spend some time with Danny and Mike and establish enough familiarity that he was willing to look at me and give me a chance for this opportunity. NBA.com

Howard was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team that traveled to Macau and Shanghai en route to the Beijing Olympics, where the American players were astounded by the level of popularity enjoyed by teammate Kobe Bryant (who also is being wooed by the Turks). "I can't imagine that there's not going to be at least few," Boone said when asked how many American players might end up in China if the lockout drags on. "Especially guys that are not under contract right now, they could be essentially leaving money on the table if they didn't. ESPN.com

"Personally, I would love the chance to get to play against Dwight Howard in China. And if someone like him went over, someone that had the big name, he'd be treated like a king, essentially. They would absolutely love him in China," said Boone, who averaged 16.8 points and 10.6 rebounds last season after failing to stick in the NBA. "For somebody like him to go over, I think he could possibly be a trendsetter. If someone with the stature that Dwight has decided to go over, I think that would kind of pave the way for several other guys who are possibly on the brink. I think that would make some people's decisions easier," Boone said. ESPN.com

His advice for NBA players considering signing in China: "Probably two things. One, definitely be in shape when you get over there because you're already a couple months behind going in, and it makes the transition so much easier if you're in shape. The other thing is just have an open mind about it. Don't go over with a closed mindset that you're only going to experience what you want to experience, and you're only going to be over there a certain amount of time. Go over there and enjoy the experience." ESPN.com

It’s still a small, but growing, list of NBA players who are preparing to find employment overseas as the league’s lockout heads toward the one-month mark. Put Houston Rockets swing man Chase Budinger on that list. According to Budinger’s agent, Kevin Bradbury of BDA Sports, he has spoken with teams from Spain and Italy on behalf of Budinger, but the most serious discussions so far have come from teams in the Russian and French leagues. Bradbury declined to identify the teams, though. Sporting News

Benetton Treviso made official the arrival of Vlad Moldoveanu. The big man born in Romania in 1988 finished his college career with American University Eagles averaging, as senior, 20.4ppg and 6.4rpg. Sportando

Renardo Sidney will not travel with Mississippi State's basketball team on its five-game European exhibition trip, opting to return to Houston and work out with former NBA player John Lucas. Sidney, a 6-foot-10 forward, is expected to return to campus by mid-August to rejoin the Bulldogs for preseason workouts, according to a statement released by coach Rick Stansbury. FOXSports.com

The German Basketball Federation announced on Friday that both he and fellow NBA big man Chris Kaman will play for the national team at the EuroBasket in Lithuania. Should Nowitzki and Co reach the Final, they will book a place in the London Games. If they come in third, fourth, fifth or sixth, Dirk Bauermann's team will be invited to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. FIBA.com

Nowitzki has been on a high since leading the Dallas Mavericks to their first NBA title, a championship that was secured on June 12 when the Mavs beat Miami to clinch a 4-2 series victory in the Finals. "The break was very short, but I would like to help the German team be successful at the EuroBasket,” Nowitzki said to basketball-bund.de. "I will try now to do everything to get top fitness and am looking forward to the time with my teammates." Both Nowitzki and Kaman are expected to join the team at the BEKO-Supercup (August 19-21) in Bamberg. FIBA.com

With the burden of insuring players on the national basketball federations due to the shutdown in NBA league operations, and worries that the costs would be too great for some to meet, France announced this week that all of their NBA stars would compete at the EuroBasket. Russia coach David Blatt has also confirmed to FIBA.com that NBA forward and EuroBasket 2007 MVP Andrei Kirilenko will be in Lithuania competing for the national team. "He'll be with us 100% when we go to our first training camp outside Russia,” Blatt said, with Kirilenko having not featured for Russia since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. “In less than a week he'll be joining us. "The insurance issue is something that I do not handle but our federation is completely on top of it and has taken care of that. “In Andrei's case, I believe it's already done.” FIBA.com

Despite the labor rift between National Basketball Association owners and players, Indiana Pacers President Jim Morris has promised not to lay off any of the organization’s 170 employees—at least for now. “We’ve worked in a steady way over a number of years to get the [operational] team in exact order,” Morris said. “We don’t anticipate any changes to that at this time.” Morris said despite the lockout that threatens to cancel a good portion, if not the entire, upcoming season, there is plenty of work to keep staffers busy. “As we look forward, we host 525 events,” Morris said. Indianapolis Business Journal

UNICEF Brazzaville will host National Basketball Association star and Oklahoma City Thunder Forward Serge Ibaka, in a visit to the Republic of the Congo from July 22 to 24. During the visit, Ibaka will train with the national team and work with UNICEF to promote children’s rights to education, health and protection. “UNICEF is pleased to meet and work with Ibaka because he shares our commitment to improve the lives of children in Congo and elsewhere,” said Marianne Flach, UNICEF Representative. She said Ibaka’s visit is intended to highlight the daily challenges facing Congolese children including focusing attention on children’s education and protection. Look to the Stars

July 22, 2011 | 10:40 AM ET Update

Brandon Jennings, who played one season in Italy straight out of high school, said he's not currently pursuing an opportunity overseas, though he didn't rule it out completely. "Right now, I'm just grinding and staying in the weight room,'' he said in a text. "I wouldn't mind going back overseas if it's the right situation. And I would have to get paid everything up front.'' ESPN.com

While household names such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade have publicly expressed their desire to compete internationally if the NBA work stoppage doesn't get settled soon, Griffin isn't ready to cross the water just yet. “I haven't really looked into going over there and playing for a team,” Griffin said in a phone interview with The Oklahoman. “But you never say never. I don't know what kind of situations are out there. We'll see how the end of this offseason shapes up, and I'll probably make a decision from there.” Oklahoman

Griffin said he would only have interest in playing overseas under the right circumstances. “If the opportunity is right and everything fell into place,” Griffin said. “If it's a good situation I wouldn't be opposed to it. But a lot of things would have to happen and I'd have to be completely comfortable. It's hard to say, ‘Yeah, I would definitely do it.' But at the same time, I'm not going to say I would never consider it.” Oklahoman

However, the chance to play overseas has a lot to do with the player, for guys like Carl Landry who are free agents there are high risks to heading across the pond. "It's tough, It is tough especially for the guys that having been saving their money. It's something that I have been preparing for the last two years. A lot of guys are going over seas right now, unfortunately I'm a free agent and taking the risk of going over seas and possibly getting hurt and trying to come back when the lockout lifts is not a risk that I want to take. It's definitely tough, not only for me but everybody that is apart of the National Basketball Association," said Carl Landry. WLFI.com

Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson will play in either China or Italy during the NBA lockout, according to his agent. “We’re working on a couple things and we’ve narrowed it down to Italy and China for now,” Alberto Ebanks told SNY.tv by phone. “He’s excited about just getting a run going while the lockout is in place. I think it’s important to stay in basketball shape so he’s about to bust a move.” ZagsBlog.com

One key element of the deal would be a clause allowing Stephenson, the former Lincoln High School star who played sparingly as a rookie with the Pacers, to return to the NBA as soon as the lockout ends. “It could happen shortly, it could happen in the next month,” Ebanks said. ZagsBlog.com

Aminu, a rookie last season, is one of four clients of agent Raymond Brothers who spread their 2010-11 NBA salaries over 18 or 24 months to continue receiving paychecks if the league-imposed lockout forces the cancellation of games. Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler and Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon, all Brothers clients, have similar setups. If games in 2011-12 are lost, "They will not know financially that they're in a lockout," Brothers said. "If there is a lockout, you'll able to pay your bills. And you're already used to a certain way of living because your paychecks will be consistent." USA Today

As reported by Catch and Shoot, Cholet is eyeing Chandler Parsons. The forward spent his college career with Florida Gators averaging 11.3ppg and 7.8rpg as senior. Parsons was selected by Houston Rockets in 2011 NBA draft with the 38th overall and might start his pro career in Europe considering the lockout in NBA. Sportando

According to krepsinis.net, the San Antonio Spurs, along with the Los Angeles Lakers, were interested in former NBA player D.J. Strawberry but the NBA lockout all but put an end to Strawberry possibly returning to the NBA and joining San Antonio. Although he would have been another guard, the Spurs' interest in him was probably due to the fact he is a decent defender. And this focus on defense is good to see coming from San Antonio as they retool for next season. If there is a next season. ProjectSpurs.com

Krasnye Krylia Samara agreed to terms with former Nets Jarvis Hayes for next season without NBA out. The small forward, who signed a one-year deal, spent the last two seasons in the NBA with New Jersey Nets averaging, in 2009-10 (his last year in US), 7.8ppg and 2.4rpg in 45 games (19 in the lineup). Former Georgia product has played 427 games in the NBA with Washington, Detroit and New Jersey (115 in the starting five) averaging 8.3ppg, 3.1rpg and 1.1apg. Sportando

Khimki's GM Sergey Bychkov stressed his team's need for a center after the departure of both Savrasenko and Papadopoulos at the end of last season: "I have repeatedly stated that we would not be signing NBA players just for a few months, but Mozgov was a particular case, given him importance to both our club and our fans." Mozgov commented on his return: "I wanted to return to Europe during lockout, and to be honest I wanted to return to Khimki [...] I have many friends here and Khimki is my second home. We agreed in no time." TalkBasket

I spoke with several agents on Thursday about the possibility of their players going overseas and heard varying opinions. One prominent agent who represents one of league's top players was completely sold on the idea of players competing for teams in Europe or Asia during the lockout. He said 80 percent of the players in the league are pursuing, considering, or open to the idea of playing overseas. He said agents aren't being forthright publicly about their clients' desires to play overseas because there are only a limited number of opportunities available and they want to keep their negotiations secret. ESPN.com

For former UNO and Warren Easton High School swingman Kyndall Dykes, however, the credentials burnished last season in the Romanian league — Dykes was Eurobasket.com’s Romanian League Player of the Year — provide a sense of job security, no matter who might end up on the roster next season. Dykes, who was also the Romanian League’s Import Player of the Year as he led U-Mobitelco Cluj Napoca to the Division A championship, finished with a 20.2-points-per-game average and shot 63 percent. He said this week he’s unconcerned with the NBA exodus that appears to be growing. At this point,” Dykes said, “for this season, it’s not a concern because I know where I’m going. But as far as if the lockout continues and a lot of guys come overseas, it could be a concern in the future, maybe next season, because a lot of guys might try to stay. And that could cut down on some jobs for people.” New Orleans Times-Picayune

Do Bartelstein and other agents continue to make overseas deals for NBA players at the possible expense of players they already represent in Europe? Bartelstein this week said it’s not an issue. “There’s a lot of teams in Europe, so many teams, that there are a lot of jobs open over there,” he said. “Our job is to find the best opportunity for all of our players over there. That’s what we’re doing. We don’t really find it to be a conflict. There’s more players on the market, there’s no question about that. “There are guys looking to go overseas who normally wouldn’t look to overseas. But we don’t look at it as a conflict or anything like that. Most of the NBA guys who are going over there, it’s really high-level teams. I know what you’re getting at. But I don’t really think it’s going to be a problem. There are enough jobs to go around for everybody. It really hasn’t been a problem yet.” New Orleans Times-Picayune

Although the daily headlines announce another looming NBA defection, Dykes says there’s room for everyone. “A lot of guys are going to come,” he said. “But I don’t think it’ll be a long-term issue with the NBA guys. The lockout is going to end, and they’re going back. As far as this season, it may be a problem for guys who might take pay cuts and have to get side jobs to stay on overseas. “But long-term, I don’t think it’ll be a problem. Those guys just want to play basketball. When the NBA comes back, those guys are going to go back.” New Orleans Times-Picayune

A number of NBA player agents will meet with union executive director Billy Hunter today to discuss topics that include decertification, two people familiar with the situation told Bloomberg News. Among the agents scheduled to attend the meeting at NBA Players Association headquarters in New York are Mark Bartelstein and Arn Tellem, whose agency’s clients include league Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose. The people were granted anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the meeting publicly. Tellem was traveling and unavailable to comment. Bartelstein and union spokesman Dan Wasserman declined to comment in telephone interviews. Boston Globe

The Players Association and NBA will stage a downsized generic meeting today to discuss broader issues involving the league's financial problems in the first gathering since the June 30 pow-wow that bled into the lockout, a person briefed on the lockout told The Post. That person emphasized that today's is not a negotiating session and the sides "will not discuss the key economic issues" that forced the lockout. Instead, it will focus on the "system" of the NBA's business model. New York Post

One owner has told some business associates that he doesn't think there will be an All-Star Game this season. That could mean one of two things: a 50-game season or no season at all. Neither option is what fans want to hear. One big-time agent told me he believes it's all or nothing for the players and the owners: that there will either be a full 82-game season or no season at all. ESPN.com

A few weeks before that, Bynum ended the postseason with a disgraceful clothesline cheap shot of Dallas' Jose Barea, knocking the guard to the court in a heap. Bynum was ejected from the game, but not before he tore off his shirt in a crude gesture of retribution, stalking away half-dressed while appearing half-crazy. The Lakers had a meeting with him after that incident. They reportedly had another meeting with him earlier in the year about other questionable community behavior. Los Angeles Times

The only thing that Bynum seemingly understands less than respect is remorse. It took him two days to apologize for the nationally criticized clobbering of Barea, and it will take at least that long for him to apologize for this handicapped-parking incident. I gave him a chance Thursday, but his agent David Lee said Bynum could not be reached for comment. In fact, the only sounds we've heard from Bynum since this disclosure was the slamming of his car door on an NBC4 reporter who ambushed him earlier this week. Los Angeles Times

The Lakers' front office could not address the issue because they cannot talk about any players during the lockout, so I spoke to another guy who wears a similar jersey. His name is Alvin Malave, one of the captains of the Fast Breakin' Lakers wheelchair basketball team. Yes, the Lakers actually sponsor a wheelchair basketball team, providing them with Lakers uniforms and everything. I'm guessing Bynum didn't know, or maybe he would have been warned about the handicapped parking spaces from rugged shooting guard Malave, 31, a Woodland Hills man who was paralyzed from the waist down a decade ago when he was hit by a car. "Not a lot of stuff bothers me, but this is a big, big deal," Malave said. "For someone like Bynum to not take it seriously, he has no understanding of our situation." Los Angeles Times

Great news for German fans, as their basketball federation announced that both Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman will play in Eurobasket 2011, in Lithuania. The recently crowned NBA champions, with the Dallas Mavericks, Nowitzki had earlier promised to play for Germany after getting some rest and being healthy. And he kept his word. Chris Kaman on the other hand was waiting for Dirk's decision to decide accordingly, and after the German star answered positively, he followed. TalkBasket

Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff is scheduled on Friday to become the third candidate to interview for the Timberwolves' head coaching job. President of basketball operations David Kahn and owner Glen Taylor interviewed former Timberwolves guard Terry Porter on Monday and former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson on Tuesday. They are expected to interview Don Nelson and perhaps one or two other candidates this weekend or early next week. Bickerstaff, 67, owns a .445 winning percentage (415-517) in 13 seasons as head coach with Seattle, Denver, Washington and Charlotte. He last was a head coach for the Bobcats in 2007, when his team went 33-49. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The Pistons have selected Frank over former Detroit assistant Mike Woodson, with sources telling ESPN.com that the decision signals the growing influence in the organization of former New York Knicks executive Dave Checketts. Yahoo! Sports first reported that Frank's hiring is imminent. The Associated Press reported that Frank will have a formal contract offer from Detroit within the next two days. ESPN.com

Former NBA guard Reggie Geary, known for his feisty defense as a collegiate and pro player, has been named the first coach in Yokohama B-Corsairs history. The bj-league team made the announcement on Wednesday. The B-Corsairs, an expansion team, will play their inaugural season in 2011-12. Yokohama's regular-season opener is Oct. 8 against the two-time defending champion Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix. Japan Times

Chesapeake Energy Arena will be the new name of Oklahoma City's downtown arena formerly known as the Ford Center under a new naming rights agreement jointly announced Thursday by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chesapeake Energy Corp. Under the 12-year naming rights agreement, Chesapeake will pay the Thunder $3 million the first year, with a 3 percent annual escalation clause for each year, thereafter. The agreement includes Chesapeake branding throughout the building including on the basketball court, prominent premium placement on the high-definition scoreboard and new state-of-the-art interior and exterior digital signage. Oklahoman

The tipping point seems to have come during the NBA draft. ESPN televises the draft, but Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski swooped in and must have announced at least two dozen picks on twitter before David Stern began his walk to the podium. This clearly chapped the ass of ESPN (probably because it had a small army covering the draft). I emailed Wojnarowski to get his thoughts on ESPN using his tweets in the future. “I guess I get it on some level, but it still seems a little chickenshit to me,” he said. The Big Lead

Mississippi native and former NBA star Jonathan Bender is encouraging people to show compassion for those struggling in these tough economic times. According to the Labor Department, applications for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 last week which officials say is a sign that layoffs are rising and the job market is weak. Bender and Feed the Children wanted to help South Mississippi families by holding a food giveaway. Volunteers loaded boxes into car after car. Behind every wheel was a story of a family facing hard times. Carolyn Warren said, "The economy. It's hard. It's hard out here. It's hard for everybody and I know it's hard for everybody. It's hard for me that's why I'm out here." "I'm just the type of person that try to make it day to day. Disability. Disabled," said Alex McAfee. WLOX-TV and WLOX.com

Hall-of-Fame basketball player turned businessman Earvin "Magic" Johnson said Thursday joining a Detroit venture capital company that includes Quicken Loans founder and chairman Dan Gilbert is "the right opportunity" to invest in the largest city of his home state. The ex-NBA star and Lansing native will be a general partner in Detroit Venture Partners, an early stage venture capital firm launched by Gilbert and two others last year that targets technology startups and growing them in Detroit. Johnson said he's "writing a big check" to the firm worth millions, but declined to say exactly how much. Traverse City Record-Eagle

Owumi first grew concerned about the situation in February, when small demonstrations started to get bigger and bigger. On February 17, real havoc began. As he was preparing to go to practice, Owumi received instructions from his club not to leave his apartment. Anti-government protesters were marching next to his building and military men were coming at them. “I had access to the roof of my building and there were three or four tanks driving into a crowd of people,” Owumi said. “I went back to my apartment for water and as soon as I went back up, I saw 30 or 40 military men shooting at the crowd of people. There was nobody with megaphones telling people to disperse. I just saw them shooting. Not to the air or the ground. Just shooting at people. Bodies were dropping. It was happening a block away from my street.” HoopsHype

When he returned to the apartment, shocked, Owumi had no access to Internet and the cell phone wasn’t working for international calls. He called the president of his team, Ahmed Elturki, asking for a way out. “He told me, ‘Don’t leave the building, don’t even leave the apartment’. I told him I wanted to go to the airport and leave and he told me the people in Libya had burned the airport down. I was in the middle of everything. I was like stuck in a box. “I went two weeks without phone or Internet to talk to my family.” HoopsHype

In the last two weeks of February, the rebels took control of the city and pro-Gadaffi major Huda Ben Amer had to flee to Tripoli, the capital of the country, 400 miles to the west. Many civilians got access to weaponry of all kinds at that point. “When I looked outside, I saw 10-year-old kids with machetes. They ambushed the police station, so the locals in my area went into the police station and got weapons. You saw regular people in the street driving around in jeeps, shooting AK-47s up in the air. That’s when I realized this was no Egypt. It was war zone. It was like a movie. There was people driving tanks. It was people running loose. “These people were not going to back down. I’ve never seen people willing to give their lives for their country like that. They were walking into bullets.” HoopsHype

The bullets did not come just from Libyan military, according to Owumi, but also from foreign mercenaries hired from Chad, Sudan, Senegal, Nigeria and Eastern Europe. He was able to see the burned bodies of some of them in a visit to the hospital once he was able to get out of the house on March 1. “There was a room with 30 or 40 body bags and they were still open. You could see the dead bodies. I asked who those people were and one person told me they were mercenaries from other countries. ‘They shot them and burned these people alive’, he told me. The hospital was crazy. There was people with no arms, babies crying… It was the saddest thing I had seen in my life.” HoopsHype

Sharing nationality with some of the mercenaries doing part of the killing in Libyian territory meant additional danger for Owumi on his way to Salum. What would have typically been a six-hour drive ended up being a 10-hour trip, according to Owumi, who carried a knife taped to his body all along the ride, which took place on March 4. His car was stopped on several occasions and the issue of Owumi’s Nigerian citizenship made the rebels antsy every time. “I was a Nigerian joined by a Senegalese teammate (Moustapha Niang) trying to escape a country where Nigerian and Senegalese men were hired to kill Libyans. Fifteen minutes into the ride, we had our first checkpoint. Three or four locals with AK-47s knocking on the window. The driver didn’t speak a lick of English. I get my passport out and all I can understand when they start speaking in Arab is ‘Nigeria’ and ‘Senegal’. They ask me to get out of the car and I said no and took out my American passport. They said ‘Good, good’. I was OK to go, but they said my Senegalese teammate could not. We showed them the playing cards from our team and said the name of our team. They took all his bags and dumped them on the side of the road. They weren’t looking at anything. We were finally able to go, but the same thing happened at every checkpoint.” HoopsHype

Early in a phone conversation with Bill Fitch, the former Cavs coach said, "You know, Joni died." He meant JoAnne Nelson-Fitch, his wife. She died of ovarian cancer at age 65. "It was exactly a month ago," he said. "I'm sitting here talking to you with the dogs at my feet." That's an Australian shepherd named Sugar Bear and a poodle named Boomerang. "We got them about five years ago, right after Joni got cancer," Fitch said. "When we'd come from the hospital, those dogs would run right past me to Joni. They knew she was the best." Cleveland Plain Dealer

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