HoopsHype rumors

March 1, 2012 | 08:17 PM ET Update

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would not comment publicly on the report that the Celtics are actively shopping Rajon Rondo, who turned in his 16th career triple-double last night in the Celtics' 102-96 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. "I do not make comments on trade rumors because it never ends," he told the Globe this afternoon. "Rondo's been our best player." Boston Globe

Alex Kennedy: Teams continue to express interest in Ramon Sessions. Many executives see him as a starting point guard. Cavs are weighing their options. Twitter

Despite being stuck behind budding star Kyrie Irving, Sessions' agent, Knoxville, Tenn.-based Jared Karnes, said Sessions has not asked to be dealt. "He has not demanded formally or informally to be traded," Karnes said. "We have not approached the team about it." News-Herald

Former Sam Houston contract Eric Dawson’s contract wasn’t re-upped by the Spurs when it expired Thursday. But it took only a few hours before Dawson resurfaced with the D-League’s Austin Toros. Dawson will be in the Toros’ lineup later tonight when they visit Frisco. He will fill the roster space of Luke Bonner, who was waived earlier Thursday due to an injury. San Antonio Express-News

The Masked Mamba remained out of sight. Kobe Bryant sat out Thursday's practice to receive treatment, just a day after posting a near triple-double against Minnesota while nursing neck pain and wearing a plastic mask to protect his swollen nose. Coach Mike Brown said he didn't talk with Bryant about his condition. Nor did Bryant speak after practice with reporters. But it's safe to pencil in Bryant to play Friday against Sacramento. It remains to be seen, however, how much more precaution Bryant must take to ensure he remains symptom free from a concussion he suffered Sunday after Miami guard Dwyane Wade delivered a hard foul in the NBA All-Star game. Los Angeles Times

The 10-year agreement in which the players gave back approximately $3 billion combined includes a mutual opt-out after six years that is almost certain to be exercised by one or perhaps both sides, meaning the next round of negotiations will take place in 2017. Some players and agents will shrug at this reality, the fact that their top leader appears safe no matter how low his approval rating goes. Yet others are privately resentful, angered by the idea that he still leads the union, and are determined to keep the target on his back. "You'd have to ask the people who supposedly put it on there, whether or not it's still on there or not," Hunter told SI.com. "I don't even think about that. I do my job. I'm under contract. That's it. I don't take it personally. People have a right to their opinions. SI.com

"I try to be pretty insular. I have friends, people that I confide in, people I trust. And that's what I do. I know a lot of this is motivated by other folks, so I don't let it bother me. I couldn't care less." Now that the long nights in hotel conference rooms are over and NBA commissioner David Stern is again a friend rather than a foe, there is plenty that pleases Hunter. "I'm trying to spend as much time as I can with my grandchildren," he said. "I don't know how much more time I got left on this planet, so I don't think that far ahead. I'm hoping that I can get these four [years] in." SI.com

The Jeremy Lin-led New York Knicks drew their smallest television audience on MSG Network in four games last night, with ratings still more than twice as high as when he took over as the team’s starting point guard. The Knicks’ 120-103 home win against the Cleveland Cavaliers was seen in an average of 6.08 percent of homes in the New York metropolitan area, Brian Fisher, a spokesman for the Madison Square Garden Co. network, said today in an e-mail. Bloomberg

The 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game is not only an occasion to remember the accomplishment, but also the man. What better way to reflect on Chamberlain’s signature moment than through the eyes of his friend and most bitter rival? So I called Bill Russell, the 11-time champion of the Celtics, and asked if he’d be so kind as to share his thoughts about the occasion 50 years ago Friday. I’ll provide his response, followed by the context. The response from Russell: “Not really.” “Is it a bad time, or is it a topic you don’t really want to talk about?” “A little of both,” he said. And that was that. I apologized for the intrusion and wished Russell the best. “No intrusion,” Russell said. “And thank you.” CBSSports.com

March 1, 2012 | 05:55 PM ET Update

The long, strange Lamar Odom saga won't include a trip to New Orleans for Friday's game against the Hornets. A Mavericks spokesman said the team will provide another update on Odom's status before Saturday's home game against the Utah Jazz. Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the Mavs hope to have Odom in uniform in a matter of days. Owner Mark Cuban met with Odom and his agent, Jeff Schwartz, on Wednesday in Dallas while the Mavs were in Memphis to play the Grizzlies. ESPN.com

Do you think Boston and New Jersey would be enticed with this package: Rondo & O’neal to New Jersey, Gasol & Morris to Boston and D-Will to the Lakers? Steve Kyler: Maybe… I am not sure how to read the Deron Williams situation… I can tell you Dwight;s circle was not at all happy with D-Will this weekend and felt he’s looking out for himself… that’s where the Dallas stuff has come from. I know that New Jersey has heard what we’ve heard. The question is do they blink on D-Will and try and trade him before he skips off to Dallas? HoopsWorld

Danny Ainge, despite another wave of Rajon Rondo [stats] trade speculation, said this afternoon that he expects the all-star point guard to still be a Celtic following the March 15 trade deadline. You never say never where Ainge’s willingness to make the right trade is concerned — especially in the case of a valuable asset like Rondo — but he is downplaying that possibility now. “I anticipate him being here for a long time,” the Celtics [team stats] president said when asked about Rondo’s immediate future. Boston Herald

Does Aaron Brooks come back and play for the Suns this year or does he come back as a RFA for the 12/13 season? Steve Kyler: His camp says he’d have no problem sitting out if Phoenix won’t pay him… He can only sign with Phoenix as of today. So either he does a deal with them or waits until July and hits free agency again as a restricted free agent. HoopsWorld

One source tells FOX Sports Ohio that “it’ll be a miracle” if Ramon Sessions is still with Cleveland after the trading deadline. “I don’t know that they’re actively shopping him, but they’re certainly listening,” the source said. “It’s nothing personal. (Sessions and the Cavs) have a strong relationship. The Cavs really respect and admire him. They wouldn’t be against keeping him. But it‘s a tough situation. Kyrie (Irving) is the point guard of the future there, and Ramon could go somewhere else and start.” Sessions has been linked to the L.A. Lakers, who were expected to step up their pursuit of him during All-Star weekend. “But I don’t know if that really ever happened,” one source said. FOXSportsOhio

Stefan Bondy: I erroneously wrote in a recent article about Kris Humphries that he is back with agent Dan Fegan after leaving Marc Cornstein. Humphries currently doesn't have an agent and is leaning to a return with Fegan. Twitter

Michael Jordan's good friend and fellow Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has a theory as to why the Chicago Bulls legend has largely failed as an NBA executive, and it has to do with the people around him, including those in the Charlotte Bobcats' front office. "I think the biggest problem has been I don't know if he has hired enough people around him who he will listen to," Barkley said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "One thing about being famous is the people around you, you pay all their bills so they very rarely disagree with you because they want you to pick up the check. They want to fly around on your private jet so they never disagree with you. I don't think Michael has hired enough people around him who will disagree." ESPN.com

Barkley, who is a TNT analyst, did not mince words when evaluating his friend's performance in the front office. "I love Michael, but he just has not done a good job," Barkley said. "Even though he is one of my great friends, I can't get on here and tell you he's done a great job. He has not done a great job, plain and simple." ESPN.com

When Jordan told him the Bobcats were eyeing Gonzaga star Adam Morrison with the third overall pick of the 2006 draft, Barkley said he questioned his friend on the decision. "I said 'Michael, I think you should take Brandon Roy, and he said 'We like Adam Morrison,' " Barkley said. "I said 'Adam Morrison can't play. I said let me ask you a question, did you say Adam Morrison first and [the Bobcats front office staff] agreed with you or did they say Adam Morrison first? He said 'What do you mean?' I said 'Michael, nobody wants to disagree with you. You are such a powerful personality nobody, especially your flunkies as I call them, the flunkies are never going to disagree with you.' Adam Morrison is a nice kid. He can't play in the NBA." ESPN.com

I’m not a car guy. The best thing I’ve ever driven — aside from my grandma’s Cadillac once — is a used Chevy TrailBlazer which I wrecked while driving to a basketball game my wife was coaching. When it comes to vehicles, the best thing I can offer you is “That looks cool” or “That’s a weird-looking car.” That’s the extent of my car knowledge. But when it comes to Zach Randolph’s cars, I can confidently state, “That looks cool and also very funy.” In a late summer Rides magazine profile of Randolph’s fleet, he goes on and on about his donks. Chromed-out everything, stupid-loud sound systems that give you a headache just looking at them and custom Z-Bo detailing — they’re the perfect Zach Randolph cars. Giant cars for a giant man, all falling somewhere between hilarious and amazing thanks to a number of mind-blowingly expensive upgrades. The Score

Khloe Kardashian-Odom was a guest on Conan O'Brien's television show Wednesday night and discussed her thoughts on going to strip clubs with and without her husband. "I like strip clubs. I don’t mind it. I don’t go like every Tuesday for a lunch, it’s not that," she said. "Lamar and I, we enjoy it. It’s fun." Kardashian-Odom also admitted that Lamar is allowed to go without her. "Recently he went with some of his teammates and he asked, 'Do you mind if I go to a strip club, tonight?' I was like, 'Sure, go.' It’s like male bonding, why do I care," she said. "We have a very trustworthy relationship. Lamar’s a 6-10 man, he knows people are going to notice what he’s doing. He’s on his best behavior." Dallas Morning News

March 1, 2012 | 02:35 PM ET Update

The Dallas Mavericks hope to have Lamar Odom back to active duty in a matter of days, according to sources close to the situation. While the team was in Memphis Wednesday, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban met in Dallas with Odom and his agent, Jeff Schwartz, to work on a timetable that would ease Odom back after his weeklong personal leave, perhaps as soon as this weekend. ESPN.com

Forcefully ruling out growing speculation that Odom was seeking a buyout of his contract, Cuban had insisted Tuesday that he expected Odom to ultimately return to the team, saying Odom is "dealing with issues and like we do with anybody else who's had personal issues, my job is to help him out and not to comment beyond that. He has to clear things out and that's what we're trying to help him do." Two sources with knowledge of Odom's thinking told ESPN.com earlier this week that -- while the 32-year-old admittedly did briefly ponder retirement during the offseason following the death of a younger cousin -- Odom wants to keep playing despite his season-long struggles. ESPN.com

Udoh admits he hears his name mentioned in trade talks from time to time but ultimately ignores most of the reports which surface. “I don’t pay any attention to [trade rumors],” Udoh told HOOPSWORLD. “I just go about my day. At the end of the day it’s a business. The only thing you can control is coming out and playing hard.” Based on the team’s performance to start the season Udoh also understands if the trade winds ship him or one of the squad’s star players away. “We’re united but at the end of the day you have to start winning games,” Udoh said referring to the best way to stop trade rumors from surfacing. HoopsWorld

Kevin Pritchard: Congrats to @JoelPrzybilla for signing with the #Blazers. Happy for him and the team. One of the great kids in nba. Twitter

Tyson Chandler challenged his teammates at halftime, asking them what kind of team do they want to be. "A lot of times teams can get lured into thinking we can turn it on, we can turn it on for the playoffs, we'll find our rhythm," Chandler said. "No, you've got to make your rhythm. You've got to make teams miss. I just let my teammates know if we really want to be true contenders, on nights like this we have to show it. Nothing is going to come easy." Sulia

Before the upcoming game Sunday between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat turned into an overhyped matchup because of the possibility of payback for Dwyane Wade's foul across Kobe Bryant's face in the NBA All-Star Game, Bryant wanted to clear the air. "I've known Dwyane for years now," Bryant said after the Lakers' 104-85 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, a game in which Bryant was cleared to play shortly before tipoff after appearing asymptomatic from the concussion Wade's hit caused. "It's always entertaining to me to hear people talk about our relationship as if they know really what's going on and try to say there's something between them and all this other stuff. It was very simple. It was very simple. He didn't mean to do it. It's just something that just happens. He's not that type of person." ESPN.com

Bryant and Wade have been teammates with USA Basketball since 2006, winning gold together at the FIBA Americas tournament in 2007 and at the 2008 Olympics. "We've been close friends for a long time," Bryant said. "Myself, Melo (Carmelo Anthony) and him. We've been really, really close." When asked if Bryant's respect for Wade was forged through their shared killer instinct on the basketball court, Bryant swerved the opposite direction. "He's a nicer guy than I am, to be honest with you," Bryant said. "He's just not the type of person who would intentionally do something like that." ESPN.com

Steve Novak, the league's new 3-point shooting ace whose trending, said his teammate last season, Dirk Nowitzki, is best big-man outside shooter he's ever seen. "Watching him and watching him work, the mechanics were by far the best for a big guy,'' Novak said. Sulia

Laker fans can take a deep breath. Andrew Bynum has some good news to share about his health. "My knee feels really, really good right now," he said after posting 13 points and 13 rebounds in the Lakers' 104-85 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. Los Angeles Times

Bynum said he felt discomfort in his surgically repaired right knee after it was hit by Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant during last week's loss to the Thunder. That prompted Bynum to "ice the heck out" of his knee to minimize swelling before undergoing a lubricating injection Friday. And he played only six minutes during the All-Star game to help rest the knee. Lakers Coach Mike Brown called Bynum's seventh consecutive double-double Wednesday a "productive night." "The injection really helped," Bynum said. "There's no swelling." Los Angeles Times

And anyone who questions Jones' mettle obviously forgets that he passed up an opportunity to be a top-5 NBA draft pick last summer because he didn't feel he was ready. If it isn't tough to know who you are and turn down millions, what is? Perry Jones is soft, they say? His story suggests he's anything but. Jones begins his tale and then stops. "This is stuff," he says, "that I've never told anyone before." ESPN.com

"I'm sure he feels a lot of pressure," Terri said. "People have told him, 'If you go to the NBA, you can do such-and-such for your mom or your family. You can help their pain, and you won't ever have to worry about money again.'" All indications were that Jones would've been a top-5 pick in the 2011 NBA draft had he chosen to leave Baylor after his freshman season. But when he hinted he was thinking about returning to school, Terri was quick to offer support. "Don't worry about the money," she told him. "We can't miss what we've never had. It's your decision. If you want to stay, I'm behind you 100 percent." ESPN.com

Even more important is the decision regarding the NBA that Jones will face once again. He'd like to come back to school, but Terri's condition has worsened. Some of the country's top physicians that specialize in her condition work at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, Calif. Terri's local doctors have suggested she seek treatment there when possible, but plane flights and hotel rooms are expensive. Jones could certainly help defray the costs with his NBA paycheck. "I don't think he's going to stay at Baylor another year," Terri said. "I think he's more ready than he was a year ago. Last year we never talked about making the transition to the NBA, but this year we've discussed it a couple of times. I still don't think he's made a decision, though." ESPN.com

But no more. Drummond has mostly been underwhelming, unable to take advantage even when he could physically dominate an opponent. The theory that a postseason hot streak starting in the Big East tournament could thrust him back into contention for No. 1 is gone as well. Drummond doesn't have enough time to catch Davis, not when his production hasn't come close to matching his potential. That was part of the impact of Kentucky-Vanderbilt on Saturday. Davis is running up the score. "He can't get hot enough," an executive said of Drummond and the universal agreement that the first selection has been decided. "It's over. It's over. Anthony Davis is the No. 1 pick in the Draft. And it's a gap between one and two." NBA.com

You could be one of the top 5 picks in the NBA draft notwithstanding the ton of talented players in your class. What's your feeling about that? Austin Rivers: That's a good thing to hear, I've heared that by a lot of different people. But I'm just really not able to worry about that right now. You can't worry about that stuff. You have to worry about what you are doing right now, that's just playing basketball for the team Duke University. Right now when I go and play basketball at Duke and cross my chest, that's what I'm working hard for, so I'm just working hard to get better as a player, as a person, and just do everything I can to improve and help this team win. After the season I can talk to coach K and my family, we can make that decision together, but right now it's just kinda keep getting better and everything is gonna take care of itself after the season. basketinside.com

Classic “whoops that not my knee” moment here from Michael Beasley. When you’re team is that squished together it’s easy to accidentally start rubbing someone else’s knee. Maybe he should have noticed that he was rubbing skin instead of the neoprene knee pads he had been wearing all day, but in the heat of the knee-rubbing moment, it’s easy to forget those sort of things. The Score

March 1, 2012 | 09:15 AM ET Update

The Orlando Magic have reached out to the Golden State Warriors about trading for Monta Ellis, according to league sources. No deal is imminent, but Orlando is trying to add Ellis to its roster in hopes of appeasing Dwight Howard. Rather than aggressively pursuing a trade of Howard before the March 15 deadline, the Magic are desperately seeking a move that will convince Howard he can stay in Orlando. ESPN.com

Howard has long mentioned Ellis, who is the seventh leading scorer in the league with a 22.2 points average, as someone he would love to play with. Golden State is willing to listen to the Magic about a potential trade for its shooting guard, but there is little on Orlando's roster that appeals to the Warriors, according to sources. ESPN.com

Golden State's greatest desire is to add a quality big man to its roster. In fact, sources say the Warriors would actually like to trade for Howard, even though he has said he will not sign to play there long-term. In approaching the Magic about a Howard trade earlier this season, the Warriors were willing to send Ellis to Orlando in the trade. ESPN.com

Multiple team sources said Golden State is NOT interested in trading Monta Ellis to Orlando unless the trade would involve Dwight Howard. Sources did confirm Orlando has expressed an interest in trying to acquire Ellis to pair with Howard, as ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported. Ellis was previously listed as someone Howard would like to play with. But the Warriors aren’t interested in any other player the Magic has to offer, especially not in exchange for Ellis. Contra Costa Times

Sources did confirm Orlando has expressed an interest in trying to acquire Ellis to pair with Howard, as ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported. Ellis was previously listed as someone Howard would like to play with. But the Warriors aren’t interested in any other player the Magic has to offer, especially not in exchange for Ellis. Orlando could get a third team involved. But as one source said, “we’re not trading Monta unless we get something really good in return. It would probably have to be an All-Star or that caliber of a player.” The chances of Orlando finding a player from another team good enough for the Warriors to ship Ellis is extremely slim. Contra Costa Times

The willingness for the Warriors to deal Ellis has increased over the past few weeks. While Ellis does not have as much trade value as teammate Stephen Curry, he does represent the franchise’s best opportunity to change the status quo. RealGM

Alex Kennedy: The Monta Ellis to Orlando rumor has legs. We'll see if Golden State is interested. I'm not sure the Magic have the assets to get it done. Twitter

Rajon Rondo’s future in Boston continues to be a story line as a report last night indicated the team is shopping its point guard and an NBA source said the Celtics are “listening’’ to offers. An ESPN.com report said the Celtics have decided to trade Rondo after his attitude and personality have become too burdensome for the organization. An NBA source told the Globe the Celtics aren’t trying to dump Rondo but his name is being mentioned in deals, similar to the way it was when the team made a play for Chris Paul in December. Boston Globe

Miller officially dubbed Aldridge "untouchable." Miller said he doesn't feel added pressure to build a winning team around Aldridge given his starpower and the actions of previous stars (LeBron James, Chris Bosh, etc.) in recent years but says that managing the star/organization relationship is a high priority. Blazers Edge

According to multiple FOX Sports Ohio sources, the Wolves have already spoken with New Jersey, Houston and the L.A. Lakers about Beasley. While both teams are said to still be open to a deal, it appears Beasley’s most likely landing spot, for the time being, is Boston. FOXSportsOhio

Beasley scored 27 of those 72 points off the bench Tuesday and he was in that role yet again Wednesday against the Lakers, even though bench mate Derrick Williams was promoted to starter against the Lakers when Kevin Love fell ill and missed the game while Lakers star Kobe Bryant played on with a plastic mask protecting his broken nose. "It's hard, I've never been in a position like this," Beasley said about a reserve's role he has filled for the past 18 games. "I've always been a starter. Coming off the bench is different. My minutes fluctuate. It's kind of weird. You just have to be professional about it, stay ready and work on my game. We've got so much talent on this team." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

He might not have to worry about such things -- at least not in Minnesota -- if you believe the national rumor mill that has the Wolves trading Beasley to anywhere from the Lakers, Boston, Houston or New Jersey for anything from a trade exception, a draft pick or a veteran player by the March 15 deadline. "It's part of the game," Beasley said. "I've been traded once before. Nobody wants to get traded. I just play basketball, and if it happens, it happens." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Carlisle said he hopes to have an update on Odom's situation Thursday. A source close to the situation said there is a growing feeling in the locker room that Odom might not return at all. Before Tuesday's home loss to the New Jersey Nets, Mavs owner Mark Cuban said he does expect Odom to rejoin the club at some point. Cuban also reiterated that he is not interested in negotiating a buyout. ESPN.com

The Cavaliers will make a decision today whether to sign Manny Harris to another 10-day contact. Entering Wednesday's game, they had just six seconds of playing time to critique. Scott said he's familiar enough with Harris' work from last season to make an informed decision. The coach and General Manager Chris Grant were expected to confer late Tuesday or Wednesday. Because of the All-Star break, the shooting guard dressed for just four games in 10 days. Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Pistons haven't been actively shopping either, but Daye's youth and Bynum's ability to be a sparkplug off the bench can be attractive to many teams. What's more, they're cheap. Bynum makes $3.5 million while Daye makes slightly less than $2 million. Neither has asked out but it doesn't appear they'd be shocked to get that call. "I don't really care, it doesn't matter where (I play)," Bynum said. "Could be Africa, L.A., Orlando, I don't care for the business. "Am I worried? Nah, all I do is control how I work, and I'm waiting for my opportunity." Bynum has bounced around the NBA, while the Pistons are the only NBA team Daye knows. "Not really 'worry,'" said Daye, the Pistons' first-round pick in 2009. "If they want to put me in a different situation, I can't worry about it. The only way you can control it is it you're playing really well, but if you're not …" Detroit News

Frank promised to be upfront with players whenever trade reports start to swirl. "With everything, I've always been very straight-forward with that. ... We've all been through it, and I think the best way is just to be honest," Frank said. "But that's handled by Joe (Dumars) and his group, but when there's times as a coach you just state it as it is. I don't think you ever B.S. anyone about anything." It's doubtful there will be a major shakeup with the Pistons. But they would love to trade one of their underperforming players with a big contract -- Ben Gordon is owed $25 million over the next two seasons and Charlie Villanueva $16 million over the next two -- for a draft pick. Detroit Free Press

Miller has not had much, if any, contact with Roy since the amnesty decision but has extended an open invite for Roy to make a Rose Garden return and/or work for the organization. He is not aware of any hard feelings on Roy's end. Miller admitted a Rose Garden return would be "a little awkward" if Roy is serious about a return. Blazers Edge

Dwight Howard's long-term future remains a mystery, but he entered Wednesday's game against the Washington Wizards a little bit farther from earning a league-imposed suspension for piling up too many technical fouls. For the second time this season, league officials have rescinded one of Howard's techs. The latest tech to be rescinded is the one Howard received Feb. 17 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Previously, league officials had erased the technical Howard incurred Feb. 4 against the Indiana Pacers. The latest decision left Howard with seven technicals as he began the game against the Wizards. Orlando Sentinel

Miller says Chad Buchanan mediated Felton/McMillan after Felton's public comments: "Chad stepped in. Nate talked directly to Raymond. I think they worked it out. I think what he was saying really was that he felt Nate was disappointed in him & had lost confidence in him. I don't necessarily think Nate has lost confidence... I think Nate is trying to figure out how to get Raymond out of whatever it is that's causing him not to play the way we know he can play... Chad & Nate both talked to him." Sulia

DeRozan was the focus of attention from the start after a somewhat intemperate note he sent out via his Twitter feed in the aftermath of Tuesday’s three-point loss in Houston. Either displeased with the fact he sat the entire fourth quarter or with another tough loss (that was Wednesday’s message), the tweet — “straight bull----” — was up for a couple of hours before it disappeared. Casey said he had a word with the third-year swingman about the wisdom of making his frustration known in such a manner. “We’re all frustrated but we have to turn that frustration around into another opportunity (Wednesday),” Casey said before the game. “It’s part of growing up, part of being a professional and, again, it was one of those things out of frustration.” Toronto Star

But Casey suggested it was better that DeRozan lash out rather than accept a bad finish to a close game that he was forced to watch from the bench. “It shows everybody cares,” the coach said. “It shows you care and that’s why I didn’t make a big deal out of it. It was a good thing.” But a public declaration might not be the wisest move. “We handle it internally and that’s the way it is. . . . We want to be a team that’s about discipline, about doing things the right way and we’re going to be,” said the coach. Toronto Star

DeRozan agreed. “This is a tough job,” he said. “When you’re a competitor and you’re losing, it can definitely get to you. It’s human nature. We don’t mean no harm by it, it’s our competitive spirit, you want to go out and win every game you play in.” But that frustration may stay private now. “You live and you learn,” he said. “Probably a couple years from now, when I’m a vet or whatever, I can tell young guys, ‘Don’t do this’ or something like that.” Toronto Star

Indiana’s Paul George thinks he should have won the dunk contest. The second-year Pacer even told the Indianapolis Star, “(Not to) take nothing away from the dunk contest, (but) it was a joke.” But Gordon Hayward believes the rightful winner was crowned. “I think,” the Indiana native said, “there was no question Jeremy had the best dunk of the night — easily, out of all the other dunks.” Deseret News

Hayward admitted controversy is expected when subjectivity is involved in the judging, so he isn’t surprised other competitors believe they should’ve won. Yet … “I think Jeremy’s second dunk was by far the best dunk of the competition,” he reiterated, “so I think he should’ve won.” Deseret News

Coach Byron Scott said the second-year pro is not supplying the requisite energy or effort to merit playing time. On Monday, he met with Samuels and made it clear the reserve center is running out of chances. "What I told him the other day is opportunity is not going to keep coming," Scott said. "Pretty soon that well is going to dry up." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Traffic on the Knicks' two websites, NYKnicks.com and KnicksNow.com, increased by more than 770 percent for the two-week period following Feb. 4, when Lin began playing significant minutes for the team, compared to the two weeks prior. The total number of hits in the two weeks after Linsanity began? A team-record 13.4 million page views, with unique visitors to the website increasing by 531 percent. "The Knicks' recent on-court success has left passionate Knicks fans, sports enthusiasts and even non-sports fans clamoring for up-to-the-minute information and news on the team and Jeremy Lin," said Scott O'Neil, president of MSG Sports. "The incredible demand has led to record numbers for our online platforms, where we have built what we feel is the best combination of digital assets in sports that provide unrivaled content with exclusive insight and behind-the-scenes access to the Knicks like nowhere else." Yahoo! Sports

He suffered a concussion Sunday in the All-Star game but his symptoms two days later were related to neck trauma, not a concussion, said Bryant's neurologist, Vern Williams. Williams held a brief news conference before Wednesday's tip-off to clarify his findings and detail Bryant's sometimes unsteady path after taking a hard foul from Miami guard Dwyane Wade in the third quarter of the All-Star game. Bryant had some concussion symptoms Sunday, Williams said, and still had some issues Tuesday. Los Angeles Times

"His primary symptom was headache, and that headache was associated with some nausea, with some sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound," Williams said. "Those are very frequent and commonly seen symptoms related to concussion. However, the extenuating factor in Kobe's case is that he also had a significant component of neck soreness … whiplash, if you will … and that can also result in the exact same kinds of symptoms in some people. "My opinion was that the overwhelming majority, the significant majority of his symptoms on Tuesday were related to that [neck pain]." Los Angeles Times

Lower back tightness forced Dallas Mavericks leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki out of Wednesday's game at Memphis, but the 7-foot forward said he plans to play Friday at New Orleans. Nowitzki, who left the 95-86 loss to the Grizzlies 51 seconds into the second quarter, said he hurt his back after taking a jump shot during pregame warmups. He tried to play, but was clearly hobbled. He left with one point and four rebounds in less than 10 minutes of action. After retreating to the locker room to stretch and apply a heating pad in an attempt to loosen his back, Nowitzki said he finally decided to shut it down. ESPN.com

"I took a jump shot in warmups with 20 [minutes] on the clock and just the back locked up a little bit, went stiff," Nowitzki said. "I came back, tried to loosen it up, tried to play in the game, but it wasn't really loose enough to really do something. "If I'm out there 50 percent, I'm not really helping much anyway, so [I] decided to take the night off, hopefully get some good treatment [Thursday] and have a big game on Friday. We definitely need to stop the bleeding. ... Hopefully, I'll be 100 percent." ESPN.com

Andray Blatche has targeted Saturday against Cleveland for his return from a strained left calf that has kept him sidelined the past 14 games. Blatche has been out since getting injured in the first half of the Wizards’ 102-99 win in Charlotte last month. “Saturday feels like Christmas for me. You know how when you’re a little kid,” Blatche said with a grin, before the Wizards hosted Orlando on Wednesday. “I think it’s going to be a good game for me. I think it’s going to be a good return. Hopefully, I can get back to being 7-Day ’Dray or something.” Washington Post

The Wizards will have two days to prepare for the Cavaliers and Blatche hopes that it will be enough for him to be ready. Blatche dunked during pregame warmups. “My leg is feeling good,” Blatche said. “Me and the trainer have been working out hard to strengthened and get it healthy and we’re going to test drive it tomorrow, during practice.” Washington Post

Rather than celebrate his loyalty to the Denver market, Ujiri has been put in the awkward position of defending Nene's toughness, citing a similar calf injury suffered by Toronto's Andrea Bargnani, crippling a forward was playing with all-star flair for the Raptors. "I think Nene is working hard to get back," Ujiri said. "I think people are looking at this the wrong way. It's a tough injury." Denver Post

Germany will need to finish in the top two of their group, or as one of the four best third-place teams in the six groups. "I'm thrilled because of this new opportunity,” Pesic said. “For years, Germany put just too much emphasis on (Dirk) Nowitzki, but there is young talent that can create something new, yet - successful like in Dirk's most brilliant seasons.” Does Nowitzki figure into Pesic's plans? "I believe that Nowitzki isn't expecting my call," Pesic said. FIBA.com

"He needs peace, a summer vacation. He has to think about his future. But, of course, we'll discuss his plans. "Germany lived on Dirk's glory for long time. Since the bronze in Indianapolis, silver at the FIBA European Championship in 2005, up to these days. "Because of the magnitude of his personality and basketball qualities, many other players were just - other players. "That wasn't bad, it was normal back in those days as Nowitzki is a true leader on the court, but I think that there is a new wave of players in Germany that can help to build new future." FIBA.com

Two groups have been identified as in bidding for control of the team, a California-based consortium led by swimwear manufacturer Raj Bhathal, in union with Larry Benson, Mike Dunleavy, and potential New Orleans-area minority investors, and former Hornets minority owner Gary Chouest. The Bhathal group, according to sources, is believed to be the one in the lead, as characterized last week by Stern, with Chouest as a backup. Hornets chairman Jac Sperling, the New Orleans native whom Stern appointed to provide stewardship for the franchise, improve its troublesome economics and broker a sale that would provide long-term viability and stability here, has been simultaneously negotiating with buyers and speaking with state officials about the framework of a lease extension that will keep the team in New Orleans through 2024, with no escape clauses. New Orleans Times-Picayune

When the Los Angeles Clippers signed forward Bobby Simmons on Monday, the nine-year veteran who last played for the Clippers in 2005, smiled and said, "I can't wait to see Clipper Darrell." It looks like Simmons won't be seeing him anytime soon. ESPN.com

Darrell Bailey, an 11-year season ticket holder who is better known as "Clipper Darrell," announced on his website Wednesday that the team has asked him to refrain from using the name "Clipper Darrell." "I have been told by Clipper management they no longer want me to be Clipper Darrell, a name that was given to me by the media because of my unwavering support and team spirit," he wrote. "I am devastated!" ESPN.com

Clippers guard Chris Paul wrote, "WE GOT YOU!!!" Clippers forward Blake Griffin tweeted, "Bring back #ClipperDarrell," and Clippers center DeAndre Jordan added, "I love you Clipper Darrell&#ClipperDarrell." "I'm not feeling too good right now," Bailey told ESPNLosAngeles.com by phone Wednesday. "They asked me not to be Clipper Darrell anymore. They don't want me to dance. They don't want me to cheer anymore at the games. I can't be Clipper Darrell. They don't want me in the suit. They don't want me to do anything anymore." ESPN.com

Kobe Bryant always seemed like a cool enough cat to save the world. In this promo from Nike Basketball, we get to see what that might look like, 70's exploitation style. From Nike Italy’s YouTube channel: “Enzo G. Castellari, cult Italian director of 70's exploitation movies, introduces us to a hidden treasure taken from his filmography, Milano Kalibro Kobe. “The short movie, discovered in the basement of the director’s house, tells the story of the epic struggle between the law enforcement and a gang of ruthless thiefs and how the battle between evil and good takes a twist for the better thanks to the intervention of Black Mamba, international man of action and incredible baller.” NBCSports.com

If you buy the old NBA sales pitch that the pro basketball league is “FANtastic” — but you can’t buy Michael Jordan’s Highland Park mansion, which went on the market Wednesday for $29 million — you can take a shot at a less pricey slice of hoops memorabilia right here in the Southland. The Tinley Park mansion of Antoine Walker, the former Boston Celtics and Miami Heat star, will go on the market in about six weeks for a mere $1.79 million. Southtown Star

Originally built by Walker in June 2005 for his mother, it cost the NBA star $4 million. Five years later, when he filed for bankruptcy, Walker owed $70,000 in back taxes and had not paid the mortgage in three months. “You can pick it up for half its construction value,” said Eric Workman, Mack’s vice president of sales and marketing. “He did not cut any corners. It’s extraordinarily well done.” Southtown Star

BS: It’s funny, because I always pictured you in bed pretending you were working but watching League Pass on your iPad — [laughter] — watching some West Coast game — [the] Sacramento Kings or something. Obama: I do have League Pass on my iPad. BS: You do? Obama: Of course. BS: Do you pay for it yourself or do you charge it to the White House? Obama: No, I’ve got to pay for it myself. [Laughter.] Grantland

The girlfriend of Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson entered a plea in court Wednesday to resolve charges that stemmed from her hitting and biting Jefferson during a dispute at their home. Shirley Lewis entered a plea in abeyance Wednesday to a misdemeanor assault charge, and a misdemeanor domestic violence charge was dismissed. Under the plea, the assault charge will be dismissed in one year if Lewis has no new violations. Lewis was arrested Dec. 8 after a dispute that took place in front of her two children at Jefferson's mansion in Cottonwood Heights. ESPN.com

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