HoopsHype rumors

April 9, 2012 | 08:29 PM ET Update

Jim Calhoun could make an announcement on his future, and the indecisive duo of Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb will likely make their respective decisions, as well. Everyone expects Lamb to go pro, but sources indicate Drummond is on-the-fence. Connecticut News

Calhoun said he, Jeremy Lamb, and Lamb's father, Rolando, spoke on Friday about Lamb's decision regarding the NBA draft. "They're about ready to make a decision," Calhoun said. Insiders believe it's only a matter of time before Lamb declares he is leaving. Calhoun has also spoken often with center Andre Drummond, also a potential NBA lottery pick, and envisions a decision sometime next week. Drummond, who just finished his freshman season, has said he is "weighing out his options." Players must declare by Tuesday if they are staying in school, but can opt to enter the draft as late as April 29. Hartford Courant

Perry Jones III has decided that he will forgo his final year of college and declare for the 2012 NBA draft. In his junior year, he averaged 13.5 points per game and 7.6 rebounds while leading the Baylor Bears to their second Elite Eight appearance in his career. "I want to thank Baylor Nation for an unbelievable two years," Jones III said in a press release. "Baylor will always be a second home to me and I look forward to spending a lot of time in Waco and working towards finishing my degree." Dallas Morning News

Former Station Camp High School and current Vanderbilt University standout basketball player John Jenkins announced Monday he will forego his senior season with the Commodores and enter June’s National Basketball Association draft. "This was a very difficult decision for my family and I to make, but I am ready to dedicate myself fully to achieving my dream of playing in the NBA," said Jenkins, in a statement released on Vanderbilt University’s official web site. "The last three years have been the time of my life, and I will always cherish my time at Vanderbilt and the relationships I have made along the way." The Tennessean

Texas A&M junior Khris Middleton has declared for the NBA draft. Middleton missed 12 games last season with a knee injury. He averaged 13.2 points and five rebounds in a disappointing 14-18 season for the Aggies which broke a streak of six straight NCAA tournament appearances. The Aggies were preseason favorites to contend with Kansas for the Big 12 title, but a number of injuries, including the one to Middleton contributed to a 4-14 Big 12 record. The Score

The Jazz are expected to sign veteran sharpshooter Blake Ahearn, The Salt Lake Tribune learned on Monday afternoon. Ahearn's expected signing was first reported by television station KDSA in St. Louis, which is Ahearn's hometown. Salt Lake Tribune

Brian T. Smith: D-League coach on Blake Ahearn: "He's tough. Good pick up by Jazz." Twitter

Orlando Magic senior vice president Pat Williams would like to see star center Dwight Howard and coach Stan Van Gundy both remain with the franchise long-term. Williams said Monday that restoring the team's health and a deep playoff run would do a lot to help the team move forward. Williams spoke with The Associated Press before addressing a function at Michigan State Univers SI.com

At one point, Felton lashed out in the media at McMillan, saying it was hard to play for a coach who didn’t show confidence in him. After McMillan was shown the door, though, Felton made it clear he wasn’t blaming the coach for his inability to perform. “I’ve known Coach Nate for years,” Felton says. “It was nothing personal between me and him. I have a lot of love for Coach Nate. “I will say I was more uptight (under McMillan). You have a hard-nosed coach trying to get used to the point guard, and a point guard who is trying to get used to the coach. That’s all it was. Me and Coach Nate needed more time with each other. Everybody was rushing through the season trying to play games without much practice time.” Portland Tribune

Truth be told, Felton has been more sensitive than insensitive to the thumb’s-down reviews. “I want the fans and the media to know I am who I am,” he says. “I’m going to play hard every night. I’m going to give my all every night. That’s me. “I’m not perfect. I admit I wasn’t in the shape I wanted to be when I came in. ... but I wasn’t the only one. Everybody got thrown off with this tight schedule. “The fans get upset with me every now and then. But I also have a lot of fans come up to me and say, ‘We believe in you, we love you no matter what other people say.’ That’s enough for me. If one person says that to me out of 25,000, that’s enough to keep my spirits up and working hard every day.” Portland Tribune

"Ridiculous," Del Negro told USA TODAY Sports of reports that he'd lost his locker room. "Everyone goes through rough patches," he continued. "Teams are losing games. The Western Conference is very difficult. You're dealing with a lot of things with this season, a whole new team. People that (coach) understand how difficult it is. If you haven't gone through it, you don't know." USA Today

In support of this proposition, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce has issued an "economic impact" study showing that the Bradley Center - among the oldest venue in the National Basketball Association - generates millions of dollars of economic activity for Milwaukee, most of it due to the Bucks franchise. The economic impact study, however, does not help determine if financing a new basketball arena is the best use of our tax dollars. A rational decision requires a serious cost-benefit analysis that recognizes the "opportunity cost" of taxpayer money - i.e., the best of the alternative ways of spending this money, which may well be the option of leaving the dollars in taxpayers' pockets (which does run the risk of the team leaving town). Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

April 9, 2012 | 06:42 PM ET Update

From Cuban on down, the Mavs kept hoping that would change, wishing that a man with a dozen-year track record of being a good NBA player could actually muster enough pride to play hard for the defending NBA champions. They kept on coddling until they finally came to the obvious conclusion that they couldn't count on Odom while fighting for their playoff lives. "It's like going to war with wet gunpowder," Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. ESPN.com

Khloe Kardashian took to Twitter to defend her husband -- Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom. After the Mavs and Odom mutally agreed to part ways Monday, Kardashian tweeted: "U deserve so much better. Know ur worth and know ur skills that have been proven and earned! U showed ur strength. I love u.'' Kardashain also tweeted: "Never a dull moment.'' Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who won five of his six NBA titles with the Showtime Lakers, worked with Bynum as the Lakers' special assistant coach from 2005 to 2011. But he hardly knows what to make of Bynum's recent transgressions. "There's a lot of talk about it, but I really don't know what's happening with him personally," Abdul-Jabbar told The Times in an interview that centered on his appearance Tuesday on Fox's "New Girl." "I can't comment because I'm coming from a place where I'm totally in the dark." Los Angeles Times

Kobe Bryant will get as long as he needs to get his sore left shin right, even if it means the Lakers slip a place or two in the Western Conference standings, coach Mike Brown said Monday morning. Bryant wasn't fit to play in Monday night's game against the New Orleans Hornets. His streak of consecutive games ended at 138 when he sat out the Lakers' 20-point loss Saturday to the Phoenix Suns. Los Angeles Daily News

Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham announced Monday that he has declared for the 2012 NBA draft. A 6-foot-4, 194-pound junior from Oakland, Calif., Cunningham averaged 17.9 points 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals last season for the Beavers, who finished 21-15. He was named first-team all-Pac-12 and was on the conference’s all-defensive team. Salem Statesman Journal

Forward Tony Mitchell, a first-team All-Sun Belt selection, will be returning for his sophomore season at North Texas. Mitchell, who had been projected as a fringe first-round NBA draft pick by ESPN.com's Chad Ford, averaged 14.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game as a freshman with the Mean Green. ESPN.com

April 9, 2012 | 03:48 PM ET Update

Baylor sophomore Perry Jones III will head to the NBA. Bears coach Scott Drew told CBSSports.com that the talented 6-foot-10 Texas native has decided to leave school. Jones averaged 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, but NBA executives question his toughness and intensity. However, it's unlikely that Jones isn't taken in the NBA lottery. CBSSports.com

Tomorrow’s NCAA-mandated date to decide whether or not to enter the NBA early will be just another Tuesday for Duke’s Mason Plumlee. The junior center, who has been told he projects as a mid-to-late first-round draft pick, could take up until April 29, the NBA’s deadline for players to enter the draft. Perky Plumlee, Mason’s father, said Monday morning that his son is “agonizing” over whether or not to leave Duke with one season of eligibility remaining. “Maybe for some kids it’s so clear cut it’s easy,” Perky Plumlee said. “But it’s not an easy decision for Mason. For some kids who don’t want to go to school or don’t do well in school or don’t like school, they would think about it for about two seconds. He’s getting favorable input. He’s well regarded by NBA scouts. He actually is at a point where he would have a bright future either direction.” The Herald Sun

Trey Burke has decided to return to Michigan for his sophomore season, the school announced Monday. "Over the past few weeks, I have spent a lot of time thinking and praying about my future -- not just about next year but many years down the road," said Burke. "After gathering information, I am excited to be continuing my education at Michigan as we look to accomplish even more in our 2012-13 season. RealGM

As expected, the the short-handed Cavaliers signed guard Lester Hudson to a second 10-day contract, Cavs general manager Chris Grant announced Monday. Although they could have signed him for the rest of the season _ and eventually may do that _ the Cavs opted for a second 10-day to remain flexible in case any of their injured players are able to return. Cleveland Plain Dealer

Chris Dempsey: On another note, #Nuggets G/F Rudy Fernandez (back) will leave the team tomorrow & rehab in Spain. He had surgery on Mar. 29. Twitter

April 9, 2012 | 01:52 PM ET Update

With Jack unavailable the rest of the way, Greivis Vasquez will start again at point guard. New Orleans does not have another point guard on the roster. Monty Williams said the Hornets will try to sign a backup point guard who can be ready to play eight hours from now against the Lakers. “We need to find someone who can do for us what Greivis did off the bench (when Jack was starting),” Williams said. “We may have to go point guard-by-committee a little bit.” Hornets.com

Love has been acknowledged as one of the best players in the game. But what he's become, how he's gotten there and the precedent he's setting hasn't received nearly enough appreciation. "People have asked me, even this year, 'Where do you see yourself in the league as far as top players go?'" Love said. "I feel like I'm right at the top. Love is averaging almost as many points as LeBron (26.5) and almost as many rebounds as D12 (13.5). "They ask me the same question at my position. I say every time that I take the floor, I feel like I have the upper hand. My set of skills, and what I bring to the table, I think is better than anybody at my position. So I feel like I'm definitely one of the best players in the world." ESPN.com

Lehigh junior guard C.J. McCollum is returning for his senior season. The Canton, Ohio native released a statement Monday regarding his decision after declaring himself for the NBA Draft late last month. Morning Call

Jordan Taylor will play in the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational that begins Wednesday. The invitational, in its 60th year, features 64 of the nation's top seniors competing in a four-day, 12-game tournament. NBA scouts attend the invitational and assess the talent. Taylor helped lead the Badgers to an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance this season. CBSSports.com

Stan Van Gundy today reiterated what he told the Orlando Sentinel on Saturday: He wants to return as the Orlando Magic’s coach next season. Asked about the Sentinel’s report, Van Gundy responded, “I don’t know too many people that don’t want to keep their jobs. “Yeah, look, I want to coach, and I don’t want to coach anywhere else,” he continued. “I’ve read some of that [speculative] stuff about go here and go there. First of all, I love my family, and I’m not sure they’d be willing to move with me. They love it here. They really do. They love Central Florida. They love where we’re living. We want to stay right here. I don’t know that that matters or that that’s even relevant at this point, but, yes, I want to be here.” Orlando Sentinel

Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph was involved in a car accident this morning and did not participate in the team’s shootaround. Asked via text if he is OK, Randolph replied: “Yes. My back is just a little sore.” A preliminary Memphis Police Department report stated that Randolph was driving his 2011 Dodge Charger westbound on the 385 exit ramp toward 240 when his vehicle was struck in the rear by a 2000 Honda CRV. There were no visible injuries on the scene and no one was transported in an ambulance. The driver of the Honda received a citation for Failure to Maintain a Safe Lookout. Memphis Commercial Appeal

April 9, 2012 | 09:59 AM ET Update

Lamar Odom's brief and bumpy ride with the Dallas Mavericks has come to an abrupt end. The Mavericks and Odom spent Easter Sunday working out a parting, according to sources close to the situation, that frees the struggling Odom to leave the team immediately without actually being released. ESPN.com

"The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it's in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team," Odom said in a statement to ESPN.com. "I'm sorry that things didn't work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs' organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship." ESPN.com

Sources said Monday that Odom's departure will be immediate and that the Mavericks intend to simply list him as inactive for the rest of the season instead of outright releasing him, leaving open the possibility that they could still trade him after the season in conjunction with the draft. Any team that has Odom on its roster as of June 29 must buy him out by that date for $2.4 million or otherwise accept responsibility for the full $8.2 million that Odom is scheduled to earn in 2012-13. Even if either side had pushed for a formal release, there is little upside to taking that step now with Odom ineligible to play in the playoffs with another team because he wasn't waived before the March 23 deadline. One source close to the 32-year-old told ESPN.com that the decision sets Odom up to "clear his head and start getting ready for next season" after his career-low numbers and minutes continued to dip as the season wore on. ESPN.com

Odom will not be at practice Monday, sources said, after he earned just four first-quarter minutes of playing time Saturday night in Memphis, accounting for the low point of a consistently rocky season in Dallas following Odom's trade in December from the Los Angeles Lakers. Odom's representatives pushed for the trade to Dallas after it became known that the Lakers had agreed to trade Odom to the league-owned New Orleans Hornets as part of a Chris Paul blockbuster that was ultimately vetoed by NBA comissioner David Stern in his role as the Hornets' lead decision-maker. ESPN.com

Unlike a leave Odom was granted just before the All-Star break, there are no plans to bring him back to the team this time, sources said. ESPN.com

Jason Lloyd: To the surprise of no one, Byron Scott said he expects #Cavs to re-sign Lester Hudson tomorrow. His 10-day deal expires tonight. Twitter

Boyer Reed: No decision on whether to sign Lester Hudson to another 10-day deal has been made, but BScott told GM he though Lester "was doing great." Twitter

Carmelo Anthony on the last shots in regulation and in overtime said he didn't want to drive and get "bumped" and have "to take a messed up shot." So he pulled up an launched threes. On the game-winner that beat Chicago, Melo said, "I didn’t want to just go to the hole and throw something crazy. At that point I felt my best shot was to pull up for the three. They were playing me to drive, playing me close. My best shot was to pull up." Sulia

But even at the start yesterday, there was a sense of urgency to the proceedings. The Knicks raced to a 21-point lead after 8 1/2 minutes, and the joint felt on the verge of implosion. The Bulls outscored them by 31 points — 31 points! — across the next 35 1/2 minutes, and the reality of what still lies before them — Sixers in front, Bucks behind — seemed so present, and so ominous. And then ... Tyson Chandler: “It was incredible. Incredible. The Garden was pumping.” Iman Shumpert: “It was like when you got stops or made big shots, you felt everybody jump. It was weird to see, just everybody jump at the same time. I’ve never been in a building like that.” And Melo, after making the second 3, with Luol Deng’s hand tickling his face as he released it: “This is my house.” New York Post

The question posed to Blake Griffin was direct. How does he rate himself as a defender? "I don't think I'm as bad of a defender as some people try to peg me as," Griffin said. But? "But I know I have a lot of work to do," Griffin acknowledged. "The effort is there. I think our coaching staff knows the effort is there. I've got a lot of room to improve, like I've said."The Clippers' All-Star power forward paused. "But at the same time, I don't think I'm as bad as people say," Griffin said. "People try to say I play zero defense, which I personally think is not true. For me, a lot times I'm the hardest critic on myself." Los Angeles Times

This was a Western Conference scout's report on Griffin: Opponents shoot a high percentage against him. He likes to follow the flight of the basketball and struggles with boxing out. He looks to block shots. He uses his athleticism to overcome weakness as a defender. But because he's such a great athlete, you would think he could be a very good defender if he wanted to. "Sometimes there are mental lapses," Griffin said. "We've talked about how there are so many people in your ear telling you so many different things when we're going through defense that sometimes I just need to trust my instincts and just play hard to make up for any mistakes." Los Angeles Times

Raptors center Jamaal Magloire looked at the Thunder bench and made a throat-slashing gesture as he walked to his bench. Though Magloire and Perkins stood side-by-side during free-throw attempts immediately after the timeout, there were no further incidents. "Hit them back, and hit them first," Magloire said of his physical style. "For me, as a player, I have been around for a very long time and I know all the guys I am playing against. I know their tendencies and I know their habits. I'm one not to back down. As a result, what I find is it often happens to them and they back down. I just try to pass that on to my teammates." Oklahoman

Brooks has never subscribed to sitting players. He has likened the strategy to “cheating the game” and the fans. And on Sunday, he confessed that his team's youth plays a part as well. “If we had a bunch of veteran guys in their 30s, there's no question things would be different,” Brooks said. “But our guys, if you take out some of the guys, they'll think I'm benching them twice a game. They want to play every minute. They love to play and they want to keep playing. It's like pulling teeth to get five or six minutes out of them per half.” Oklahoman

The news on Amar’e Stoudemire was much more encouraging on Sunday. He went through a series of drills before Sunday’s game that included him cutting to the basket and even dunking. Stoudemire, who has not addressed the media since going out of the lineup with a back injury, has been sidelined for two weeks. The Knicks have said his timetable is two to four weeks. New York Daily News

The Cavs briefly flirted with the idea of bringing Irving out for part of the road trip that ended Sunday, but ultimately decided the best place for him was to remain in Cleveland so he could continue receiving treatment on his injured shoulder. “We feel our place is one of the best in the world, so why leave if you don’t have to?” Scott said. “We knew he wasn’t going to have a chance to play or practice. There’s no need for him to be with us if he can get the best care at the Cleveland Clinic.” Akron Beacon Journal

New York guard Jeremy Lin said Sunday he feels “pretty good” after knee surgery but doesn’t think he will be available for the first round of the NBA playoffs. “I think unless something goes really well, I wouldn’t get there,” Lin said before the Knicks played the Bulls. Lin had surgery last Monday to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. The Knicks have said the expected recovery time is about six weeks. The playoffs begin April 28. CBSSports.com

Kansas University junior basketball forward Thomas Robinson will announce his intentions to enter the NBA Draft at an 11:30 a.m. news conference today in Allen Fieldhouse. KU coach Bill Self confirmed to the Journal-World on Sunday that Robinson would be turning pro. Self indicated he would say no more until the news conference. The news of the 6-foot-10 Robinson’s leaving, of course, comes as no shock. It has long been believed Robinson would be entering his name in the 2012 NBA Draft following this, his junior season. Lawrence Journal-World

NBPA Certified Agent Johnny Foster has signed Darryl “Truck” Bryant of West Virginia and Julian Mavunga of Miami Ohio. Bryant, a senior guard, averaged 16.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 37.3 minutes played per game this season with the Mountaineers. However, while Bryant put up a good amount of points per game, one concern will be that he shot below 40% from the floor and 31% from the three-point line. Sports Agent Blog

Jordan Theodore, who has been invited to and will play in the annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, has recently selected his agent. Going forward, he will be represented by Jeffrey Dobin and Ryan Scarpa of Athlete Advocates. Athletes Advocates does not currently represent any NBA players and is hoping that Theodore will be the company’s first. Sports Agent Blog

The decision was probably for the best: Given his National Team selection, and now his historic performance in Portland, those expectations are only going to increase. Though he’s practically a no-shot to make the final 12-man roster for this summer’s London Olympics, his inclusion in the Senior National Team setup indicates that the CBA feels he’ll be a big part of China’s basketball future. And in the days after Portland, he may be a big part of China’s future in the NBA. Arguably more than any other prospect, he helped his NBA Draft stock the most. Even before the game, he was turning heads during practices due to his good frame and nice touch around the rim. NiuBBall.com

Jeff Van Gundy admits he has a horse in the race. That's the expression he uses and he's smart not to obfuscate and avoid the issue. About an hour before calling the Knicks' thrilling overtime win over the Bulls on Sunday afternoon, the ESPN/ABC announcer spoke to SI.com about the fractured relationship between his brother Stan, the coach of the Orlando Magic, and star center Dwight Howard. "People have in their own mind how I should answer that question which is, 'I'm unbiased and I'll just call it straight down the middle," said Jeff. "That's not true, and it would be disingenuous. I have a horse in the race and I think when you do, you say this is where I am coming from." SI.com

"I don't feel the need to defend Stan's record," said Jeff. "That's speaks for itself. Howard's actions and his play speak for themselves. And their time together speaks for itself. The fault to me lies in the burying your head in the sand, not [Orlando GM] Otis Smith, but those above him thinking that the problem will just resolve itself. I think certainly it should have been taking care of it at the trade deadline one way or another." SI.com

The game’s greatest player has become one of its most curious owners, a fanatical competitor who can’t field a competitive team. At 49, he is the most recognizable part of the franchise, but the basketball world questions how active he wants to be as an executive, much as it did during his time with the Wizards in Washington. “The work he put in to be a great player and the work you put in to be a great executive, those are different things,” said Sam Vincent, whom Jordan hired as his head coach in 2007 less than a year after he became minority owner. “That additional time you spend on jump shots, running, dunking, I don’t know if he puts in that same amount of time as an executive or if he even cares to.” Washington Post

“They wanted to know, how committed is Michael to the community? Has he bought a house here? That kind of stuff,” Vincent said. “It appeared to me that the relationship Michael had started off good, but somewhere it just really soured. I felt a big part of the reason why we could never get the support back then – and still today – there was so much damage from the relationship fans had with the previous ownership.” Washington Post

LJ, in his first basketball job since retirement, will work in player development, community relations and marketing for the Knicks. Stoudemire, who has a bulging disk that could require offseason surgery, is out indefinitely. “What I would like to do is I’d like to talk to Amar’e and hear his symptoms,’’ Johnson said. “No question, everybody knows my back was the main reason I retired. Amar’e is a little different than me. His body is different than mine. “I had to keep the weight off. I was a country boy from Texas and I love eating. I had to keep the weight off and that really gets your back, but Amare is a big, tall guy. I’d love to sit and talk to him, hear his symptoms and see what he’s going through.’’ New York Post

A few hours after the buzzer sounded, a "Build Marbury a Statue" campaign was launched at HoopCHINA.com, the largest sports website in China. Uneased by the Final MVP situation, fans started talking about giving Marbury a prize he deserves. In less than a week, 1.02 million fans at HoopCHINA have voted for the idea of building Marbury a life-size bronze statue. It was also decided by voters that the statue should capture the moment he grabbed the CBA championship trophy. Hupu.com

Marbury has tweeted: "I can't begin to thank you for making the gesture of making a statue of me. Words can not explain how I felt when I heard this ... " He has more than 353 thousands followers in SINA Weibo (twitter in China). Hupu.com

Why one man made it and the other didn't is the fascinating question explored in the one-hour documentary "The Town Game: Two Lives, Two Paths," which premieres Monday night on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Narrated by Black Panthers co-founder Bobby Seale, it also doubles as a love letter to Oakland basketball history; Jason Kidd, Brian Shaw, Antonio Davis, Greg Foster and Marshawn Lynch are just some of the Oaklanders who participate in the documentary. Comcast SportsNet producer Matt Abrams conceived of the idea with the station's NBA reporter Matt Steinmetz, initially as a celebration of Oakland basketball. But then, "Everything I read, the name Demetrius 'Hook' Mitchell kept coming up," Abrams said. "I went back to Matt - 'Who is this Hook Mitchell guy?' It became clear during interviews that Demetrius and Leon were two symbolic figures for this community." Mitchell called it "therapeutic" to have his troubles be a focus of a documentary. "It's the cards we're dealt with, and you have to roll with the punches sometimes." Mitchell said. "I accept the bad decisions and bad choices I made. It's my current reality." San Francisco Chronicle

Powe, who is working to get back in the NBA after recovering from a series of knee problems, said he faced a situation similar to Mitchell's. Powe's father left the family when he was 2, and the family's house burned down when he was 7. His mother, brothers and sisters were homeless, constantly on the move. "We were struggling the whole time," Powe said by phone from Los Angeles, where the Cal alum is trying to get ready for the next NBA season. "We stayed in a lot of different rough areas: Acorn, East Oakland. We used to live around drug houses - guns, violence - and the police would raid our house every couple of weeks. We didn't know when they (were) coming to kick down the door. San Francisco Chronicle

"I could have (gone) either way. My family was struggling. The (drug dealers) came to me and told me, 'We got a million-dollar plan for you, to help your mother out.' I was like 'OK, cool, what do I gotta do?' That's what I told the older (dealer). And he said all I gotta do is sell some drugs, do some runs for him. 'It's no big deal. You can make a lot of money.' They gave me a day to think about it. ... "My mom said to do the right thing and treat people the way you want to be treated, no matter how hard the struggle is. 'We'll make it through, just don't do the wrong thing.' " Did the dealers accept no for an answer? "They didn't force me, but you had to be careful how you tell them no. You had to be real careful. I knew that." San Francisco Chronicle

A local basketball phenomenon, once poised to become an NBA great before losing it all in a cocaine-fueled whirlwind of excess and squandered talent, has come back to his hometown. Drug-free for more than a decade, Chris Washburn is back in Hickory. And he’s easy to find – he spends just about every day behind the counter at his new restaurant: Washburn’s Wings and More. Charlotte Observer

Washburn, 45, and his partner, Monique Richardson, 36, own the business. It’s located on a hill overlooking U.S. 70 Southwest at 104 11th Ave. S.W. It’s in the building locals remember as Tasty Fried Chicken. They’ve been open since Jan. 30. “Business is good,” Washburn said. “This is something I never thought about doing.” Charlotte Observer

Former NBA star Mark Blount belongs behind bars ... for missing ONE measly child support payment -- this according to the guy's baby mama. It's pretty strange ... considering most pro athlete child support actions are over tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid support -- Dennis Rodman, anyone? -- but Blount's ex says he merely owes $2,619. The ex -- a woman named Sifika Mayfield -- filed a motion for contempt and enforcement, claiming Blount dropped the ball on a recent child support payment for their two sons, Mark and Mark (no joke). TMZ.com

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