HoopsHype rumors

November 21, 2011 | 09:05 PM ET Update

Blatche has given away turkeys through his charity foundation in the past, but he rarely had the opportunity to connect with people since he was busy playing for the Wizards. But already this year, Blatche has given turkeys to single-parent mothers, breast cancer survivors and battered woman in his hometown of Syracuse, in South Carolina and Florida. “I’m at a point in my life where I’m straight,” Blatche said in a recent telephone interview. “I’m just doing what me and my family believe in, which is giving back and always count your blessings. That’s why I’m out here doing as much stuff as possible. Even though it’s not the season, I’m still continuing to do what I’ve been doing.” Washington Post

Blatche was optimistic that the players and owners would reach an agreement by now, but the delay has allowed his strained right shoulder to heal. He played in Josh Howard’s charity game in Dallas earlier this month and had no complications, as he scored 22 points. He also got to hang out with Howard, Wall, Ndiaye, Trevor Booker and Nick Young, whose Afro has become more unruly through the lockout. “Aw man, it looks terrible in person,” Blatche said with a laugh about Young’s hair. Washington Post

For all the shots Shaquille O’Neal has taken in print and in promotion at Pat Riley’s expense when it has come to his new autobiography, “Shaq Uncut: My Story,” one somewhat leaps off the page. That would be Page 180, when he talks about Riley’s “Gestapo conditioning.” Monday, at a Miami Heat Thanksgiving event at the Miami Rescue Mission, Riley took a moment from assisting to address some of what recently has come his way from his former star center. “He’s marketing. He’s a marketer. He’s just marketing right now,” Riley told the Sun Sentinel with a dismissive laugh. “That’s all he’s doing.” South Florida Sun-Sentinel

November 21, 2011 | 06:52 PM ET Update

A 30 percent decline seems to be the magic number, even for Henry, who runs an escort service in New York that he says charges between $400 and $4,000 an hour, depending on the woman. Henry says he takes between 65 and 80 percent of the total cut to match the players and other high-profile fans, who are with the client an average of four hours. "There are replacements but they aren't as consistent and not nearly as high paying," Henry said. CNBC

Media members, many of whom for their networks on a freelance basis, are also suffering. We withheld their names to avoid potential backlash by the league. One team announcer told CNBC he's losing $1,000 a game. "What’s made the lockout even more challenging is that without having a real clear idea of what was going to happen I wasn’t able to pursue other on air work and people were reluctant to even entertain hiring knowing that there was a chance I would have to go back my NBA job," he said. "It was very much a 'Catch 22' situation." CNBC

November 21, 2011 | 06:32 PM ET Update

Jeff Zillgitt: David Boies: "They've made pretty clear they have no interest in talking to us. … I thought this was a case we ought to try and resolve." Twitter

On Monday, the players voluntarily withdrew their case in Northern California and will amend their case in Minnesota. Over the weekend, we had passed along a report that there had been some recent “back channel” negotiations going on between the league and the players association. NBCSports.com

That talk is “nothing significant” PBT was told. Instead the battle remains on the antitrust legal front. The players’ attorneys are pushing for summary judgment (not an injunction, as the NFL tried and failed to get). Still, summary judgment hearings would not happen until the spring (April or May), which means by then the 2011-12 NBA season would be lost. NBCSports.com

Hope of a partial season springs from the fact in the next few weeks we can expect a judge to order more mediated negotiations between the two sides, PBT was told. Mandated mediation is commonly part of anti-trust lawsuits, essentially a chance for the judge to make sure the two sides really want to go down this path. To give the sides one more chance to settle their differences without a judge involved. (It is possible one side picks up the phone and calls the other to ask for a negotiating session, but that is the less likely scenario. Neither side seems inclined to call.) A judge likely will order mediated negotiations by the middle of December if not before, according to the source. Talks would start soon after. This would be similar to the talks when federal mediator George Cohen sat down with the sides last month. NBCSports.com

Sunday afternoon the hardwood was down at the Wells Fargo Center for friends of 76ers owner Joshua Harris to enjoy. Harris had a gathering at the sports arena following his running of the Philadelphia Marathon. It was the third time Harris has embarked on the 26.2 mile trek, but his first in the City of Brotherly Love. Harris completed the run in a new personal best time of 3 hours, 48 minutes. “The time is probably too important to me,” the 46-year old explained. “I ran my first marathon in 4 hours, 20 minutes, my second in 3:53 and my third in 3:48. So yes, it is important to me; it means a lot.” It meant a lot, too, that Harris could run a marathon in the city he once called home. “I decided once I made the investment in the Sixers that I love running and so I chose the Philly marathon because it would be a nice way to connect with the city,” Harris said. “Or reacquaint myself with all the areas and people.” CSNPhilly.com

Dr. J's sneakers will stay grounded on this trip to Philadelphia. The Philadelphia 76ers are bringing some of Julius Erving's memorabilia back home -- and they are hopeful Dr. J will come along for the ride. The team bought 10 lots containing 18 items from the Erving auction that ended over the weekend, Sixers CEO Adam Aron said. Aron also said he has reached out to Erving, one of the franchise's greatest players, about joining the organization in some sort of capacity. ESPN.com

Cedric Ceballos, former NBA player and part owner of the Arizona Scorpions ABA basketball team, suffered what was described in a press release as a series of small heart attacks on Sunday. He has been hospitalized and released the following statement: "I feel blessed and very fortunate to be here today and to have made the decision to go to the hospital and get my symptoms checked out late last night. I ask everyone to keep me in your prayers as I make my journey back to good health. Thank everyone who has called and is concerned. While I want to respond and speak to everyone, I cannot right now, but will be in touch very soon. God bless you." SB Nation

November 21, 2011 | 03:36 PM ET Update

While Regal Barcelona has Rubio's rights, he questions whether there is a role for him any longer and plans to discuss the matter with team officials. "They have like 12 players ... so it's hard right now," Rubio said. "I want to talk to them about their opinion and what they're expecting. I don't know what they want to do." SI.com

Was James taken aback by the ferocious criticism of his screening of "The Decision"? "Um, yeah. I was surprised by it because I was making a decision for myself. I was doing something that I believed was going to make me happy and freshen me up. But looking back I can understand why a lot of people were upset. That definitely wasn't my intention: to upset people." The Guardian

Walker hasn't reported to the Stampede yet this season, however, and it doesn't seem like he will until after the court thing is taken care of -- considering he's planning on hosting two-day parties in Chicago (see flyer at right) when he is supposed to be visiting Bismarck, N.D., for a two-game series against the Dakota Wizards. If the former All-Star is trying to prove he's rededicated himself to basketball, skipping the first four games of the season while he hosts parties and deals with legal matters probably isn't the best way of going about it. Considering the NBA lockout doesn't seem like it is ending anytime soon, however, maybe he's banking on NBA decision makers to just forget about it. Ridiculous Upside

After the Memphis/Shelby County Sports Authority reported to the city council last week that the city was sitting on $36 million in unexpected funds this year, the council decided to table the idea of filing a lawsuit against the NBA and the team to try and recoup lost revenues during the lockout. The city was anticipating losing $4.5 million -- it makes $1.15 per seat in taxes at FedEx Forum -- in revenues if the lockout wipes out the season, not counting the sales tax revenues for the businesses in the surrounding downtown area. But the Sports Authority, while meeting with the council's Economic Development and Tourism Committee last Tuesday, revealed the city still had $23 million in bonds which helped finance the construction of FedEx Forum, along with a "senior surplus reserve" of $13 million, from which the city can absorb the $4.5 million potential loss. The county also raised revenue through a hotel tax. NBA.com

"We have sufficient funds and reserves for the loss of the season," the council's chair, Myron Lowery, said by telephone Friday. "As a result, the council has decided it may be premature to take any action, because we don't know how long this is going to last. As a result of what the league has done to the players, it could wipe out this season and we'll see how strong everybody is ... we're not going to move on this next week. There's no reason to. But we're going to reserve our right to recoup any funds that might be lost. Like every other NBA city, we'll keep an eye on it and hope for the best." NBA.com

This June, in a Miami team featuring two other free-agent All-Stars in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, James fell at the final hurdle – losing 4-2 to the Dallas Mavericks. James might be dismissed by many for his corporate sensibility but defeat hurt him badly. When did he get over the loss? "A couple of days ago," he says, laughing wryly. "It stayed with me a couple of months. It was definitely heart-breaking. [But] I really believe it's made me a better player. And I'm a better person as well for it – just in terms of focusing harder, zeroing in even more. It's made me critique my game and work out who I am as a person. We faced a great team in Dallas and I don't think enough people gave them the credit they deserve. They were so excited to write and talk about us they often forgot about the Dallas Mavericks. But they have two Hall of Famers in Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd." The Guardian

Google+ is sponsoring and live streaming a four-game NBA exhibition tour starring LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and other big stars next month. NBA players have been staging these quasi-pickup games all summer because of the lockout. The Google+ "Homecoming Tour" looks to be the biggest barnstorming tour yet. businessinsider.com

So she shot the alley-oop passes to DeMar DeRozan; the handful of long-range jumpers over Eric Gordon that lent credence to Rubio's claim that his well-known shooting woes had improved; and the crafty passes he pulled off and the ones he didn't that resulted in meaningless turnovers. His team lost in a rout and there was no final statistical line to be had unless you kept track on a napkin. "It's like a little step before going to the NBA, like a practice for that," Rubio said afterward. "I enjoyed a lot with those guys. ... I want to play, to do what I love to do." SI.com

"Playing with those guys is like a dream come true," Rubio said. "They're the best players in the world and you are part of them. You can talk to them, pass to them. I'm feeling good over there. "I've been playing with confidence, because for four years I've been getting pressure from the fans, the media. But there, nobody has an opinion. You just play and nobody has an opinion. You play free, can make mistakes and nobody is going to say nothing. I could gain some confidence from that." It's invaluable experience, but it has its shelf life too. While Rubio has enjoyed working on his game and getting his body fully healthy, he is growing restless. SI.com

Although he was in Pop's "doghouse," to Blair's credit he did drop some weight prior to the 2011 NBA playoffs but saw limited time on the court. And now with the extra time off due to the NBA lockout, it seems Blair is not gorging on burgers and has been shedding some pounds. Blair made an appearance at a Pittsburgh high school football game and apparently he has slimmed down. Blair looked good. Actually, looked in great shape. He must be working out a lot during the NBA lockout. "I'm not fat any more," he joked. ProjectSpurs.com

If he declines to confirm the exact size of his small stake in Liverpool, James warms to the idea that, like him, the club is in passionate pursuit of a long-lost championship. It has been over 20 years since Liverpool won their last league title; while James is still chasing his first NBA championship ring after eight seasons. "It definitely gives me another incentive to be part of that team. They're striving to be a champion and I'm striving to do the same. It would be great if we could do it in the same year." The Guardian

November 21, 2011 | 10:06 AM ET Update

Marc Stein: Indiana Pacers free-agent guard T.J. Ford tells ESPN com he's headed to Croatia to join KK Zagreb. Deal has out to return when lockout ends Twitter

In fact, one source with intimate knowledge of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies' inner workings speculated that small-market-related economic hardships could force Jazz ownership to place a "For Sale" sign on the franchise. The source told the Deseret News that the Jazz were expected to report losses in the $17 million range for the 2010-11 season. Deseret News

"Greg has consistently stated that as long as owning the Jazz makes financial sense, the Millers will own the team," the source said. "However, under the current system, it doesn't make financial sense." Deseret News

But the team, the source said, has lost money almost every year since moving to Utah from New Orleans in 1979. Last year, Greg Miller admitted to ESPN that, "some years we make money, and some years we lose money." Deseret News

From his vantage point, RSL owner and pro sports mogul Dave Checketts can't envision the Miller family selling the Jazz. He doesn't view their commitment as conditional. "I think the Jazz have a tremendous, tremendous fan following. I think teams like that will always exist in the markets they're in," said Checketts, whose resume includes time spent as the Jazz's president and general manager. "I don't think the Jazz are an endangered species." Deseret News

Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose also attended, though he sat out the game. Rose has been working out in Los Angeles with other players during the lockout, and said he's not looking to play overseas. "I'm not going anywhere, I'm good," Rose said. "I'm just trying to stay in a nice place where you never know what will happen, or what can happen, what will happen. Now, I'm trying to keep myself in nice shape, and stay positive. Hopefully, we'll have a season Oklahoman

With Mills joining Chinese club Xinjiang Flying Tigers on a $1 million deal, the Tigers have the maximum 10 points available for a replacement player and will investigate the chances of Bogut suiting up for the rest of the NBL season. While insurance issues blocked Bogut signing with the Sydney Kings during the NBA lockout, the Tigers are eager to speak to Bogut to see if there is at least a chance of getting him into a red jersey. "We'll start with Bogut," Tigers majority owner Seamus McPeake said. "We will research every Australian player and that includes Bogut. We're keen to get the best possible player and we probably need someone like Bogut to fill the hole we have." Melbourne Herald-Sun

Scola has been working with his Argentine national team and a club team in his home country. He was hoping the lockout would've ended by now, but may start considering playing overseas as well. "It's very hard to make a plan, because you really don't know what's going to happen," he said. "I've been saying that I don't want to go to a place for a week or two for three or four months. If I would've gone, it would've been more than two weeks, it would've been two or three months. "At some point, I have to just go play," he said. "I don't know when is going to be that point." Oklahoman

With the NBA lockout still in full bloom, Hill was in town to play point guard for the Texas Fuel. “I know San Antonio misses some basketball,” said Hill, one of the Spurs' most popular players in his three seasons with the team. “I wanted to give the fans something to do during the lockout.” Haven't heard of the Texas Fuel? You're likely not alone. The Fuel is the name given to the American Basketball Association team that plays at the Alamo Convocation Center. San Antonio Express-News

Hill hooked on with the Fuel as a favor to a friend, Marlon Minifee, one of the team's co-owners. It gave him something to do during the lockout, which next week will enter its fifth month. To pass the time, Hill has been working out in S.A. and Indianapolis. He shared the South Texas portion of his workouts with a slew of former Spurs teammates, including All-Stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. San Antonio Express-News

The NBA lockout is entering its 144th day and, as has happened throughout the process, more players are considering overseas options. On Sunday, SN learned that another NBA regular is heading to Europe—Rockets shooting guard Chase Budinger. Over the course of the last few months, Budinger has entertained offers from teams in France and Russia, but is now close to a contract with Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia. “Chase, obviously, wants to focus on the Rockets and fitting in with his teammates and the new coach, Kevin McHale,” said Kevin Bradbury, Budinger’s agent. “But everyone is aware of where things stand with the union and the league in negations so far. Working with the Rockets might take some time. So, a good contract in Europe is in his best interests.” Sporting News

Bennet Cantù is interested in Nolan Smith. Former Duke guard has been selected by Portland Trail Blazers in 2011 NBA draft with the 21st overall pick. Sportando

Emiliano Carchia: Da'Sean Butler agreed to terms to play in Europe during lockout. The player will land in Latvia. Still dont know which team Twitter

Rockets rookie Chandler Parsons finally played in Houston for the first time, but seemed closer to returning to Europe than Toyota Center. Parsons said he enjoyed his time playing in France and would go back overseas if the lockout continues but only with an out to return to play in the NBA if the lockout ends. "I had a great experience," he said. "I was over there two months. I rolled my ankle. Had to come back and get some rehab. My agent is keeping options open. If this lockout is still on, I want to keep competing and playing. If I have to go over there, I will. "It's a tough situation. You always dream about getting in the NBA and getting drafted. And then there's the lockout. It's part of life. "We want to play." Houston Chronicle

More than a month's worth of games has already been canceled with more sure to come in the coming weeks if no deal is close. It also brought other questions as to whether players are fully informed on the issues. There has been speculation that players would vote in favor of the deal if given the chance if not for biased information provided to players. "I think everyone now is very well informed," Hawes said. "And we're united. We're onboard and everyone knows what we're fighting for." Sacramento Bee

For all the moments bending rims or nailing jumpers, there was no hiding that they played knowing there was someplace they'd rather be, and with little hope they would return there soon. "Optimism is gone," Luis Scola said. "We should be playing a real NBA game right now and I'm not. Even if we go back to play, it's not good. It's just the best we can get out of the situation. We should be playing a whole season." Houston Chronicle

He lobbied in vain via Twitter for the union membership as a whole to vote on the owners' proposal. "Nobody listens to me," he said with a laugh. "I know there's a lot of players and it is impossible to keep them posted," he said. "I don't think I have enough information to create an opinion. I'm not blaming anybody, but it is frustrating. "I think everybody should be heard before the season is canceled for good." Houston Chronicle

Ron Artest: Are the overseas players helping the American players in the lockout? The top overseas players seem not to care!! We need them but easiest way to divide the players Take away their numbers Make the system hard for dysfunctional players who need help in Smarten up man! Twitter

LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony are going home — and bringing friends with them. With no end to the NBA lockout in sight, the All-Star group is set to lead a four-game "Homecoming Tour," starting with a matchup in James' hometown of Akron, Ohio on Dec. 1, followed by a Dec. 4 game in New Orleans, a Dec. 7 game in Chicago and culminating with a Dec. 10 contest in East Rutherford, N.J. Houston Chronicle

"It'll be very neat," Wade told The Associated Press. "First of all, this is something we talked about doing a long time ago as players. To have an opportunity to go to these different cities that we're from, to bring basketball to them at a high level and also have a charitable component in each city and to be with the guys, it'll be cool. It's something we're looking forward to." Houston Chronicle

Ricky Rubio played Sunday night in a charity game organized by Bucks forward Drew Gooden, marking the first time the Spanish guard had tested some NBA competition during the lockout. The former Barcelona guard hit the first three-pointer he attempted in the Make-a-Wish Charity Game held at the Cow Palace in Daly City, Calif. Rubio signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves but his NBA debut has been on hold due to the lockout which has canceled league games through Dec. 15. "I'm going to stay here for a while to see if we'll play," Rubio said in an Associated Press report on the game. "I can always go back to Spain. So I know I will be playing basketball somewhere this season." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

While explaining the lessons that Rubio has learned while training the past few months in Los Angeles, Yahoo NBA columnist Adrain Wojnarowski described an exchange a few weeks ago between Crawford and Garnett that included Crawford getting restrained by Paul Pierce and Garnett eventually slapping Crawford in the head. When asked about the incident, Crawford wrote back in a text message that nothing happened and added, “Stop believing everything you read.” Washington Post

A person who was at the gym in Reseda, Calif., that afternoon also played down the incident, explaining that neither side really wanted to fight but added that Crawford refused to back down to Garnett. The person said Crawford started yapping because his team was winning handily. Garnett got upset and two players shoved each other before Pierce held back Crawford. When Pierce let go, Crawford squared up with Garnett, then turned and walked away. Garnett tapped Crawford in the back of the head and Crawford went back at Garnett before cooler heads prevailed. “Jordan gained a lot of respect from people that were there,” the person said. Washington Post

In his book, Amaechi was highly critical of coach Jerry Sloan, castigating him for his old-school and often profane motivational techniques. "Jerry raged against players whom he thought didn't play hard enough, claiming they were undermining coaches across the league," Amaechi wrote. "If we lost two or three in a row, he would stride into practice yelling, 'You (expletives) are trying to get me fired. I'm not losing my job because you guys aren't hustling.' "During one of these job-insecurity diatribes, Karl (Malone) looked at me and smirked, 'If only we were so lucky.' Then he went back to the posture he'd long ago adopted: working diligently on his game while pretending Jerry didn't exist." Standard-Examiner

The following was provided to media outlets including CBSSports.com on Sunday, November 20th by the Executive Director of the NBA Coaches Association. An Urgent Call to the NBA, the NBPA and its Players for a Truce and Return to Talks, from a Veteran of the Business of Professional Basketball, by Michael H. Goldberg, Executive Director NBA Coaches Association. “Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got ‘til it's gone…” Joni Mitchell (Big Yellow Taxi) CBSSports.com

There is no time to waste. History has proven that all sports labor conflicts are ultimately solved. No doubt all sides are concerned about their financial well-being and rightly so. But everyone involved must now think beyond their own interests, check out the daily financial headlines, and work towards a negotiated solution now. Short of this all parties will risk killing the goose that lays so many golden eggs for so many connected with it. Let’s not commit a “Flagrant 2” to a business that can ill afford it. CBSSports.com

No sponsor has pulled its funding from the team so far during a lockout that has lasted 144 days. But as the NBA owners and players continue their stalemate, the Blazers and their sponsors are feeling the pinch of lost games, lost exposure and the negative backlash that comes from the ongoing bickering. "We're really proud of our longtime relationship with the Trail Blazers and our sponsorship is a big part of our connection with the Portland community," Alaska Airlines spokesperson Marianne Lindsey said. "We're not planning on making any changes with our commitment and we're looking forward to the end of the lockout." Oregonian

Most sponsors are lingering in a kind of a holding pattern, waiting to see how -- and if -- the lockout ends. "We meet monthly and we probably talk on the phone every week, week and a half," said Kyle Dean, chief financial officer of Burgerville, which is in the second year of a multiyear deal with the Blazers. "And, frankly, we follow the sports pages and stay up to date (on lockout news). As the commissioner steps in and cancels a certain amount of games, we go from there. The situation is fluid. "It's kind of like halftime adjustments in basketball. We come in at halftime -- every four-to-six weeks -- and say, 'How do we adjust our game plan here?'" Oregonian

Congratulations to Miami Heat star Chris Bosh and wife, Adrienne, who are expecting their first child, a boy. Friends say the couple are “over the moon” about their “Baby Bosh.” He already has his first pair of Nikes picked out and a full wardrobe for the next NBA season (whenever that is). Adrienne and friend Larsa Pippen, wife of Scottie Pippen, were spotted shopping at Bellini in Coral Gables for baby goods. The Boshes were married in July in Miami. New York Post

Late last week, casting agency Telsey & Company played host to auditions for the lead roles in "Magic/Bird," an upcoming Broadway play based on the relationship between basketball superstars Larry Bird and Earvin 'Magic' Johnson. The agency's Midtown office was like a convention for the vertically blessed. "We definitely have some tall people here," said Fran Kirmser, who's producing the show with her partner, Tony Ponturo. Kirmser and Ponturo also were responsible for "Lombardi," the bio-play about legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. That show was warmly received, and its eight-month run at the Circle in the Square Theater—the longest run of any play that opened last fall—ended in May. Wall Street Journal

The show, which will feature six actors, including the two in the title roles, will consist of 20 rapid-fire scenes over 90 intermission-free minutes. The idea is to give the production the uptempo feel of a basketball game while covering plenty of material—from the pair's first meeting in the 1979 NCAA championship game, to their decade-long rivalry, to Johnson's announcement that he was HIV positive, to Bird's struggles with late-career injuries. Through those experiences, which culminated in their time together on the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team, the two forged a friendship. "Here are the biggest competitors who have the greatest respect for one another," Kirmser said. "Where else do we see that anywhere anymore? Look at business, look at the news—it's depressing." Wall Street Journal

SCP Auctions says more than 140 items from Julius Erving’s personal collection sold for a record $3.5 million. The auction ran from October until Sunday. Among the highlights: His 1974 New Jersey Nets ABA championship ring sold for $460,471; 1983 Philadelphia 76ers championship rings sold for $244,240; 1983 All-Star game MVP trophy ($115,242); final game worn jersey from May 3, 1987 ($88,826); and 1974-75 ABA MVP trophy ($173,10). HoopsWorld

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