HoopsHype rumors

April 6, 2012 | 04:01 PM ET Update

Donnie Walsh, who rebuilt the Knicks' roster and battered image before stepping aside as team president last June, has received permission from the organization to speak with other teams about an executive position, his agent told CBSSports.com Friday. Walsh, 71, has a contract with the Knicks in his role as consultant that expires June 30. The widely respected executive wants to work again and is expected to begin exploring opportunities immediately. "Donnie's very interested in continuing to work on a full-time basis," Walsh's agent, Steve Kauffman, told CBSSports.com. CBSSports.com

The Knicks simply don't have the means to sign both Lin and Nash in the offseason. But one source close to the situation told ESPN.com that the Knicks are routinely besieged with offers (lucrative offers, naturally) from potential sponsors that want to be involved with Lin. Package those opportunities with Lin's size, athleticism and untapped potential -- along with an unmistakable fearlessness in the big moment that resonates as much as anything he showed us in those 57 days -- and the widespread pessimism about signing him away from the Knicks is understandable. ESPN.com

Sources briefed on the Magic's thinking say team officials, improbable as it might seem to outsiders, believe that the team can continue to play amid this tension, since it has coped with it (albeit with varying degrees of success) all season. The only apparent certainty, at this point, is that Van Gundy will not be back in Orlando next season. No one can envision a scenario where Van Gundy returns for 2012-13 ... or a scenario where Stan even wants to. ESPN.com

Kentucky's Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones are expected to declare for the draft soon, according to sources. Kansas' Thomas Robinson is a lock to declare. Florida's Bradley Beal and UConn's Jeremy Lamb are also leaning strongly in that direction. ESPN.com

Florida International has fired men’s basketball coach Isiah Thomas, after the former Knicks coach and president went 26-65 in three seasons. Thomas took over at FIU in a surprising move in 2009, one that gave the Hall of Fame guard a chance to restore the reputation he tarnished through a series of embarrassments in New York. Under Thomas, FIU never won more than 11 games in a season. New York Post

April 6, 2012 | 01:35 PM ET Update

"I'm trying to play with my head and not my athleticism," Green said. "This league has a lot of athletes. I know I need to be more than that. I'm a lot smarter. Defensively, I've learned rotations better. I had to develop somewhere. My high school is closed down. I couldn't get tips from my college coaches because I didn't go to one. I've been trying to learn as much as I can but I have always been on the move, learning from four or five different teams." SI.com

Amar'e Stoudemire did some back- strengthening exercises while the Knicks shot around Thursday. But Stoudemire remained in "silent mode" about his return and how he's feeling. Stoudemire hasn't spoken to the media about his health since leaving the Knicks' March 24 victory over the Pistons with what was diagnosed as a bulging disc in his back. He was asked the best-case scenario for his return. "I'll keep you posted as I go along," Stoudemire said. Stoudemire had an epidural shot in his back a week ago Thursday. The timetable for his return is two to four weeks from when he received the injection. Newsday

Kyle Lowry returned to practice the floor Thursday morning for the first time since coming down with a bacterial infection that has forced him to miss the Rockets past 14 games. Lowry was a limited participant in Thursday's practice, primarily taking part in half-court drills with the club. And while there remains no definite timetable for his return to game action, his ability to participate in on-court activities with his teammates was clearly a positive benchmark on his road to recovery. "Kyle looked pretty good," said Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale. "He moved OK. He did some of our up-and-down stuff, we didn't do a ton of up-and-down today; we did more yesterday. So that's probably what he needs more. Half-court is one thing, it's tough to get your wind back, but he looked pretty good. We'll see where it goes." NBA.com

The Florida Gators got some good news Thursday when junior guard Kenny Boynton Tweeted that he will return to campus. “To confirm the questions being ask lately I have reached a decision and I am returning to Gainesville for my senior season #go gators,” Boynton tweeted. ZagsBlog.com

Rambis travels to ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters every two weeks or so, where he watches highlights and critiques games from the comfort of a warm room. He says it's been fulfilling to see the Timberwolves' improvement ("I like to think I helped some of the guys," he says), and fascinating to watch Jeremy Lin's odd journey. "The great part of my job is that I'm invested without being invested," he says. "I go home at night and I'm not emotionally drained." And yet ... Rambis says, "I miss being emotionally drained." SI.com

After retiring from the NBA last year, Ming has enrolled in a Shanghai university, purchased his old Chinese basketball team (the Shanghai Sharks), joined a Shanghai political advisory body and maintained a strong connection to his charitable foundation helping children affected by earthquakes in western China. He also has been working on his wine venture, with the release of the Yao Ming 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($280) and the Yao Ming Napa Valley Family Reserve label ($790) last year. Ming is hoping that he can play a role in the continuing growth of China’s wine market. “Wine represents a culture,” Yao said in an interview in Shanghai. “We drink a lot. But maybe we just have a different drinking culture here. My favorite thing is to have a glass of wine with a book in hand, maybe some music, sitting on the couch on a weekend,” he said. “In China in the last few years, everybody has gotten so busy. Especially in Shanghai and the big cities. Wine,” he said, “can slow you down. It can bring peace.” Haute Living Magazine

April 6, 2012 | 09:24 AM ET Update

When Nets brass called it a day March 14, the eve of the NBA trading deadline, they did so believing they had a deal with the Magic for Dwight Howard in place. Yes, Howard almost became a Net. But he also was on the verge of becoming a Laker if the Magic hierarchy had gone through with its threat of playing hardball with the indecisive superstar center. According to league sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Orlando brass got fed up with Howard’s yes-no-maybe posturing and threatened to trade him to the Lakers, not his desired location, if he did not sign an agreement to waive the opt-out clause for the final season of his contract. Howard eventually signed the papers, but only after he was told “he would be a Laker by the end of the day,” according to one source. New York Post

The Nets have been and continue to be Howard’s most faithful and ardent suitors. They were eager to make a reasonably fair deal for him before the season and at a moment’s notice right up until the deadline. And they’ll be amply equipped with players, draft picks and salary space ($23,457,307) to compensate the Magic sufficiently, as well as relieve them of some toxic waste, when the new cap figures kick in the second week of July. New York Post

While both sides proclaimed loyalty as a factor in Howard’s decision to stay in Orlando, the contentious nature of the process gives the Nets ample hope they still may open in Brooklyn next season with Howard on their side. “[The Magic] do not want to go through it all again,” said one source who claimed Orlando wants a commitment from Howard on an extension before training camp to avoid his bolting as a free agent in 2013. “[The Magic] are determined to avoid another year of that.” New York Post

By opting in for the final year at $18,091,770, Howard is bound to Orlando only through next season. Now come renewed reports Howard wants Stan Van Gundy out as coach for there to be any chance he will remain in Orlando, and Van Gundy said Thursday Howard wants him fired. Howard, whose camp had permission to talk to the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers, really only had one destination. “He was adamant: New Jersey, New Jersey, New Jersey,” a source claimed. New York Post

Orlando played its trump card. Sources for months maintained Howard wanted no part of the Lakers, that he did not want to follow the legacy of Shaquille O’Neal. Orlando leaders had one other reason for the threat: They favored the Lakers’ package of Andrew Bynum, Devin Ebanks and Steve Blake over the Nets’ offer. Howard, of course, signed and everyone spoke of loyalty, which would have been better served had he signed long term. So the Magic have the game’s most dominant center locked up — until the nonsense starts again. New York Post

I believe that’s what’s going to be the deal, no matter how much Mavericks owner Mark Cuban romances Howard and Deron Williams. I believe both will be on billions of billboards throughout Brooklyn when the Nets open up there next season. I believed the moment Howard made that chintzy one-year obligation to the Magic … long before some shadowy management figure conveniently clued in Van Gundy and he dropped a dime on Dwight … before the loonies playing in the Magic’s bin and running it began to plot against one another. Now I’m convinced! Particularly after learning Howard is eligible for a two-year extension. Given what’s going down in Orlando, If I were Nets coach Avery Johnson, I’d ask for the same security. New York Post

Ersan Ilyasova is in line for a lucrative payday next summer, when he will be an unrestricted free agent. Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond has said the team wants to re-sign the 6-foot-10 power forward, who has made major strides in the final year of a three-year, $7 million contract he signed in the summer of 2009. But there could be plenty of competition for Ilyasova's services, both inside and outside the National Basketball Association. Ilyasova played for Anadolu Efes in his native Turkey during the lockout last summer, and he played two seasons for Regal FC Barcelona after leaving the Bucks following the 2006-'07 season. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Wherever he goes, Ilyasova said Thursday that winning is of the utmost importance. It's clear that Ilyasova puts a priority on the Bucks' playoff push and is eager to get into the postseason. "I'm not really concerned about it (a new contract) and I don't really want to think about it," Ilyasova said after the Bucks' practice session at the Cousins Center. "I don't want it to be something that affects my game. "All I care about now is to win games and be in the playoffs. When the season is over, we'll see what the options are and discuss with my manager." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"I really like to win," Ilyasova said when asked what would play into his decision or if he would consider a return to Europe. "I don't really care about a whole lot except winning. Some nights you may not be performing well, but if the team is winning, it's always good. "Even overseas, I've always played for winning teams. We've been in the final four (with Barcelona). This season right now we started really bad, but now we're picking up. We're very close to .500 now. "Things are working well for us right now and we have to stick with it, just push a little bit more. We have 12 games and we have to win as many games as we possibly can and see what happens." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Having gone through five major knee operations, Conley says Oden's spirits are high and he's looking forward to getting back on the court and proving that he can still be a force in this league. Which means, he's not thinking about calling it quits. “No he's not retiring. The only way that would happen is if he was forced to and I don't see that happening,” Conley said. “He's dedicated to making sure he's back on the court as soon as possible.” CSNNW.com

Before Oden was waived by the Trail Blazers, CSNNW.com had learned in Indiana that Oden was putting his condo up for sale. Conley spoke on that matter. “I don't know for sure but it makes sense,” Conley said. “His place in Portland is on the tenth floor and he would have go up two flights up stairs to get there. That just wasn't conducive to the condition he's in on two crutches. It just was a better situation for him to be home.” CSNNW.com

When asked if Oden would consider resigning with the Trail Blazers if an offer was presented, Conley said, “There's a possibility. Obviously, that decision is up to the Blazers, but my job as his agent is to find him the best offer out there on the market. Absolutely, no way in the world is the answer no.” CSNNW.com

The Bulls signed guard Mike James for the remainder of the season. It's James' fourth stint and would have happened even if Rose and C.J. Watson were fully healthy, sources said. "We liked what he brought to our team before," Thibodeau said. "He gives us the flexibility to play two point guards. He has size, veteran experience. He knows what we're doing, is good insurance." Chicago Tribune

After sitting out the majority of the 2011-12 season, Arenas signed a one-year deal with the Grizzlies last month. Rumored possible suitors for Arenas included the Los Angeles Lakers, but in the end Arenas chose Memphis because he believes he has the backing of the entire organization. “I felt that everybody was on the same page,” Arenas told HOOPSWORLD. “From the general manager to the coaches to the players and that’s all I wanted. I didn’t want to come into a situation where half the group wanted me and the other half didn’t because it doesn’t work like that. Since I got amnestied, I was just going to make sure that I was in a place that I wanted to be.” HoopsWorld

Key contributors on the team like Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay had no problem anointing Arenas as a leader of the squad already – less than a month after signing with the team. “Agent Zero, he’s been great for us,” Randolph told HOOPSWORLD. “He’s a leader on this team. He’s been through the trenches, been in the playoffs. He’s got a lot of experience and he’s been great. “[Arenas is] definitely a leader,” Randolph elaborated when asked how Arenas could garner that role after such a short amount of time with the team. “He don’t talk a lot, but he’s just a leader with his presence and the stuff he’s been through.” HoopsWorld

After his teammates were busy heaping praise on the type of guy Arenas is in the locker room, the newest Grizzlies’ player told me he believes his 10+ years of experience have played the biggest role. “My basketball past is helping me through,” Arenas told HOOPSWORLD. “Everyone from guards [to the rest of the team] look up to me because they know what I’ve done and my work ethic. Players don’t talk about the locker room thing, that’s what you media guys do to make your stories. Most of the players know what goes on and what happens. “When you’re a new guy coming in, you have to make sure you don’t step on any toes – make sure who’s who and just always give positive reinforcement.” HoopsWorld

Battling foul trouble, Cousins was limited to just 18 minutes of action in yesterday’s loss to the Clippers. The Kings big man committed his last three personals on Griffin, eventually fouling out of the game. “I guess the wind from my hand hit him in the eye,” said Cousins sarcastically to reporters when asked about his fifth foul in which he apparently poked Griffin in the eye. “And I guess he got fouled by the wind. I’m not sure.” Cowbell Kingdom

"I had to use two timeouts in the first half to remind us that we actually had an NBA game to play and that we needed to play," a ruffled Rivers told reporters in Chicago. "I thought that was the worst loss for us this year, with the way we approached the game. Then in the second half, I just thought Chicago, they were too tough for us. Their toughness made us let go of the ropes. You could see it, we wanted to use all the excuses all night. I just thought Chicago was too tough for us tonight. ESPN.com

"I think this team has shown great resolve, but right now, that's twice now [the Celtics have struggled in Chicago]. They get into it, they get frustrated, and our guys let go of the ropes. Bottom line, we’re not going to go a lot of places playing with that type of mental toughness. Chicago’s tougher than us right now.” ESPN.com

Detroit Pistons veteran Ben Wallace’s looming retirement is the only thing that will cease his adventures at the free-throw line. Moments after Wallace played the final 18 minutes of a 99-94 win Thursday over the Washington Wizards – and made five of his six free-throw attempts in the final 2:18 -- he received a message on that very subject from his wife, Chanda. “I got a text from my wife saying she really hates when teams go to that hack-a-Ben, or bump-a-Ben, but she’s very proud of the fact that I can go up there and knock those shots down,” Wallace said. “As a player, you’ve got to accept those challenges and go up there and knock the shots down, help your team out.” Booth Newspapers

Hudson qualified academically for his junior year and played well, but he had already failed a grade once before. He was 19 and no longer eligible to play high school basketball. When that was taken away, so was the desire to excel academically. Hudson eventually dropped out of school, believing his basketball career was over. He fell in with the wrong crowds, although he insists he never joined a gang and never took or sold drugs. “If I wanted to, I could,” he said. “But I never thought about selling drugs.” Akron Beacon Journal

He is an undersized shooting guard by NBA standards, but he has totaled 21 points in the Cavs’ past two games. He’s not a natural point guard, although Scott has tried him there in each of the past three games. He isn’t as polished at the point as fellow recent signee Donald Sloan, but Scott has seen enough out of Hudson to know he wants to see more. “He hasn’t been here that long,” Scott said. “Everything he’s learning is on the fly. He makes a couple of mistakes out there when we run certain plays. He’ll run the wrong way, and then all of a sudden he’ll get it and go back the other way.” That’s only natural. Hudson has been running the wrong way, only to later correct himself, all his life. Akron Beacon Journal

The Derrick Rose injury watch is nearing its conclusion. Barring an unexpected setback, Rose said he will return Sunday against the Knicks from the groin injury that sidelined him for the 12th straight time Thursday night. "I'm dying to play, but we're being smart," Rose said. "I guess a couple of more days rest will be good for me." Rose again participated fully in Thursday's morning shootaround and worked out before Thursday's game. He admitted to still feeling a little discomfort, saying he's "not able to run at full speed." When he does return, that will change. "I'm not going to hold back at all," Rose said. "My game is to be aggressive and try to get people going." Chicago Tribune

A source familiar with the situation said Amar’e Stoudemire won’t be ready for the big showdown in Milwaukee on Wednesday. That would be the two-week mark of the 2-to-4 week timetable for his return from a bulging disk. Indications are Stoudemire is eyeing the Miami game April 15. Stoudemire broke his promise and didn’t speak to the media Thursday morning after doing his back exercises. New York Post

He seemed in a less jovial mood than in Indiana on Tuesday, which was the indication he doesn’t seem that close. Stoudemire received his epidural steroid injection shot for his bulging disk last Thursday. “I’ll keep you posted,’’ said Stoudemire, who hasn’t spoken since the night he injured his back 12 days ago. New York Post

Bucks center Drew Gooden reported some improvement with his sore lower back, after he sat out Milwaukee’s 107-98 victory over Cleveland on Wednesday night. “We thought the best thing was to get a couple days’ rest and see if it calms down,” Gooden said. “I’ve got to be smart in this situation. “It feels a whole lot better today and we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Anthony Davis stopped by the Jimmy Kimmel show last night to talk about Kentucky’s national championship among other things. After numerous cracks about his unibrow, the subject of the NBA came up. Davis is, by all accounts, the prohibitive favorite to be the #1 pick in this year’s draft. He seems ready to go although there’s been no official announcement (he’s still attending classes at UK). His dad’s on board knowing full well chances like this rarely come up. His mother, however, well, she wants him to stay in school. “She doesn’t care about basketball, she cares about education”, he told Kimmel. Commendable mom, really. But you know, he can always go back after he’s made a gazillion dollars with a guaranteed contract. Guyism.com

Quincy Roberts is one step closer toward realizing his dream of playing in the NBA. At a Thursday press conference in Harrisburg High School's Kimber Gymnasium, the 2008 Cougar alum made public what had a been something of an open secret in recent weeks – that he was declaring for the NBA Draft. Coming off a year at Grambling State where he finished fourth in the nation in scoring, Roberts figured it was time to take the next step. "Basically I had a pretty successful season and just decided I was ready to go pro," Roberts said. "My coach (Bobby Washington) got fired at Grambling and I'm ready to graduate in May, so I'm ready to move on." PennLive.com

Van Gundy told reporters that he expects to finish the season in Orlando and said that he would be on the team flight to Philadelphia tomorrow. Van Gundy and Howard met with Magic general manager Otis Smith on Thursday afternoon and discussed the drama. “He and I met with Otis,” Van Gundy said. “Look, we’ve been together all this year. We’ve been together for five years. We know each other very well. Dwight will go out there and play and I’ll go out there and coach. That’s the understanding. We know that.” HoopsWorld

Interviewed during the second quarter of his team's game against the New York Knicks, Smith said on the TNT broadcast that he had "no reaction, really," to the morning's events. "Coaches and players have been doing this for years, you just happened to see this play out in the public," Smith said. "To the organization's credit, Stan Van Gundy is still our coach and Dwight Howard is still our player and we're still trying to win basketball games." CBSSports.com

Stan Van Gundy said Thursday night that he expects to finish the season as the Orlando Magic's head coach and that he, Dwight Howard and General Manager Otis Smith met after Van Gundy claimed Howard asked for him to be fired earlier in the day. "Look, we've been together all year this year," Van Gundy said. "We've been together for five years. So we know each other very well, and Dwight will go out and play, and I'll coach, and that's the understanding. We know that." Orlando Sentinel

Smith confirmed that he had spoken with both Van Gundy and Howard following the comments to the press. "We had a nice conversastion," is all Smith would say. "I talked to them both, they both listened." CBSSports.com

The lockeroom is split — some players on Stan's side, some on Dwight's. Hedo Turkoglu said he wants to be coached by Van Gundy "forever," and Ryan Anderson said, "I love Stan. I think he's a great coach." Anderson also said, "I won't lie. It's frustrating ... after all that stuff (Howard's earlier trade demand)." It's not right or fair, but Van Gundy will ultimately lose this showdown. After the most extraordinary shootaround media session in team history, Stan broke out in reddish blotches all over his neck and torso. He had to be treated by the team trainer. Hmmm. The Howard hives? You can't make this stuff up. "Gave me some Benadryl," Van Gundy told me. Minutes earlier, Van Gundy had just found a remedy for what really has been ailing him for about a month: The truth. It sets you free, as they say. Or it gets you fired. Orlando Sentinel

The only question was when the Magic would do what it had to do and replace Van Gundy. Assistant coach Brendan Malone, a former NBA head coach, was the logical candidate, given that the Magic will be in the playoffs. Howard has had it in for Van Gundy for a while now. His lack of respect for his coach has been evident in the way he quits in games, avoids team huddles and generally acts like a goofball. New York Daily News

Charles Barkley: "Let me take this one from here. I want to go right for the jugular on this one. We don't know what's true it's all conjecture. I don't think Stan Van Gundy should have broke that out right now and I don't think Dwight Howard should have asked to have his coach fired. But I have a serious problem with somebody in management. If they had a private conversation with Dwight Howard, it should have stayed private. They should not have shared it with coach Van Gundy. I like coach Van Gundy, I don't think that was the appropriate time to drop that bombshell, especially on game day. But like I say, Dwight Howard should not try to get his coach fired. But whoever the scumbag is, if it's true, who had a private conversation with Dwight Howard to leak that to coach Van Gundy, that's just a punk [expletive] move in my opinion." Orlando Sentinel

Kenny Smith: "I get what you're saying about the private conversation. But it was always private until Van Gundy says it to the media. He didn't have to say it. So now if he doesn't have to address it at all, why does he address it? That's Otis Smith's job to address that. Is this coach being fired? He's the only one who fires and hires is the general manager. That's Otis Smith's job...I don't understand, Shaq, the relevance of him bringing it out. What is he accomplishing by saying it to the media? Orlando Sentinel

Shaquille O'Neal: First of all, private conversations should never be brought public. I think it was a bush league move by Stan Van Gundy, really, personally. First of all, he's lost his team forever now. That right there can never be repaired. You threw your main guy under the bus. Even if you guys did have a terrible relationship now it's even worse. It cannot be repaired. Even if they did have that conversation, I think it was the right conversation to have. Let me tell you why, players respect guys with proven resumes. You know Stan's been there a while, he's a good coach. But as you know in this league, good is not good enough. It's all about winning championships and I think sometimes they don't respect his decision making. Orlando Sentinel

“You catch players at different times,” he said before tonight’s game against the Bulls. “But that’s a tough one – a tough situation. I hope it’s not true. It has to be that bad to come to that. I’ve never been in that situation, but it’s a hard situation.” “We all work,” he said. “You guys have people at your papers you have to work with – you’re not going to to get along with everybody. I’ve had great relationships with most of my players. I’ve had poor relationships with some of them. I never think they’re bad people, I’ll say that. “I think sometimes you and the player don’t bind and I tell them that,” said Rivers. “I have relationships with some of the guys I didn’t get alogn with coaching, and you see them off the court later and you mend that fence and find out you’re not all that different.” Boston Herald

"Pat Riley was smart enough because he's been there before to know that the team that was playing was not responding and would only respond to a person with the proper resume," O'Neal said of Riley coming out of the Heat front office to replace Van Gundy and win his fifth NBA title as a coach. "We knew that Pat Riley could take us there, and that's exactly what he did. When he came in there, we started playing hard and (for) the playoffs took the No. 1 spot and we won the championship. That never would have happened if Stan was there. Ever. I'm telling you it wouldn't have (happened)." FOXSports Florida

Jazz CEO Greg Miller and Hall of Fame power forward Karl Malone are back on good terms, after all. They both attended Wednesday's Jazz-Suns game and shared a moment of laughter together in the arena prior to tipoff. "Yeah, Karl and I, we got it worked out," Miller told the Associated Press. "Everything's good." Malone, who had many run-ins with the late Larry H. Miller, railed on Jazz management on a local sports radio show co-hosted by Deseret News columnist Brad Rock. Malone was upset about how he deemed Jerry Sloan was treated and claimed he was forced to buy his own tickets to attend the first game after Sloan's resignation in 2011. Deseret News

The Lin doc is being directed by Evan Jackson Leong, Lin’s friend and a filmmaker in his own right. A former assistant to “Fast and Furious” franchise director Justin Lin (no relation), Leong previously directed a documentary about Christianity in Asia titled "1040" and also has been shooting Lin for years. (A message left at Leong's production company was not returned Wednesday afternoon.) The film will be produced by 408 Films and Endgame Entertainment, which previously produced the Oscar favorite "An Education" and the documentary "Every Little Step;" it's currently working on a documentary series about American sports for HBO. Los Angeles Times

The Bucks defensive stopper Luc Richard Mbah a Moute helped a guy out with a marriage proposal before a recent Bucks game at the Bradley Center. It appears she said yes, and I’m sure they celebrated with an extreme loaded dog and overpriced domestic beer, then watched the Cavaliers roll over for the Bucks. Isn’t that every girl’s dream? NBCSports.com

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