HoopsHype rumors

April 11, 2012 | 09:10 PM ET Update

Sources with knowledge of the Mavericks' thinking likewise indicate that management is determined to find a way to re-sign the former Cal star in free agency even amid the roster clearout that Dallas has planned to create the requisite salary-cap space to pursue Dallas-area native Deron Williams in free agency this summer. Kidd's most recent three-year contract expires at season's end, but he long has been regarded as one of the Mavs' point men for recruiting free agents since returning to Dallas in 2008. ESPN.com

Yet Kidd insisted Wednesday, on the eve of the Mavericks' second and final visit of the season to Golden State, that Thursday night's nationally televised showdown on TNT won't be his last game on Oakland hardwood. "I want to play another year," Kidd told ESPN.com. ESPN.com

Then-Wizards center JaVale McGee had beaten Crittenton out of $1,100 in a card game. Wizards guard Earl Boykins loaned McGee $200. McGee didn't immediately pay back Boykins as he won the money and an argument blossomed. Arenas says he wasn't involved in the actual bet. "'Pay the man his (expletive) money. You've got all my money,'" Arenas says Crittenton shouted at McGee. "So I jumped in, 'Why you talking to your teammates like this? We family.' "That's when (Crittenton) started coming at me, '(Expletive, racial slur), just because you got all money, this and this and this.' That's when we started going back and forth. I didn't owe him anything. It was over a $1,100 pot he just lost." USA Today

Rebuilding himself also meant getting over the death of his estranged mother, Mary Francis Robinson, who abandoned Arenas when he was 3. She passed away before sentencing for the gun charge. He had only met her once but paid her funeral expenses. " All of this just happened at one time. It was too much," Arenas said. "As many jokes I was telling to show I have it together and this hasn't phased me. … I just wanted to be out. I said (to Stern), 'Don't worry. I'm not going to fight you (on the suspension).' USA Today

He has gone from Agent Zero— a three-time All-Star in six-plus seasons sporting No. 0 with the Washington Wizards— to the Invisible Man with the Memphis Grizzlies, a role player. He says he much prefers the shadows to the spotlight. "No one knows me for throwing my jerseys or averaging 29 points (in 2005-06). All they know is I pulled a gun on my teammate. So I don't want to be noticed," Arenas tells USA TODAY Sports. "When people say, 'Aren't you the basketball player?' "'No.' "'Aren't you Agent Zero?' "'Not at all. It's not me.' "I don't want to remember." USA Today

Once his playing career ends, Udoka has a very good idea of what he will do. “Coaching, for sure,” he said. “Probably the NBA - strictly basketball. “There are a lot of different avenues. “The part about it that really got me thinking about it was that all of the coaches I played for mentioned that they want me to coach with them when I'm done. So coach (Gregg) Popovich (San Antonio), Nate McMillan (former Portland coach), Isaiah Thomas (former New York coach) was the first to say it. FIBA.com

April 11, 2012 | 06:19 PM ET Update

Donnie Walsh: The Knicks' former president and current advisor has a contract that expires June 30, but has received permission from Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan to speak with other teams about executive positions. Walsh, 71, brought the Knicks back to respectability and has conquered several health challenges over the past few years. He's nowhere near wanting to remain in a permanent state of retirement. With Bird believed to be on the way out in Indiana, owner Herb Simon could keep the structure mostly intact by keeping GM David Morway, making Kevin Pritchard's role more permanent and bringing Walsh back to oversee the front office. There also are indications that the Magic could be interested, which would be a coup for an organization looking to create an atmosphere of respect and accountability to calm the Dwight Howard drama, which has not been extinguished but only delayed. Unless Howard is completely out to lunch, he'd have to recognize that putting Walsh in charge -- with a proven day-to-day GM like former Hornets executive Jeff Bower -- would put the Magic on solid footing. CBSSports.com

Chad Buchanan, Trail Blazers' interim GM: Speaking of Portland, it appears that Buchanan will be passed over yet again for the top job. But if the Trail Blazers won't give him a shot, somebody else will. Buchanan is a strong personnel man and has impressed rival executives with his staying power in one of the most dysfunctional environments in the league. Buchanan has endured some really topsy-turvy stuff, and he's the guy who's lasted. His people skills and talent for diplomacy have served him well in the hottest GM seat in the league under fickle owner Paul Allen. Buchanan took over for Pritchard under bizarre circumstances when Pritchard was told hours before the 2010 draft that he was being fired, and then took over on an interim basis again when Allen fired Rich Cho about a month before the 2011 draft. Through it all, Buchanan held the front office together under extreme duress. CBSSports.com

Steve Kerr: The former Suns executive is a shrewd personnel man and has the people skills to navigate the agent minefield as well as connect with his rival GMs and work through trades. The Shaquille O'Neal gamble lingers as a blemish on his resume with the Suns, but Kerr isn't afraid to take risks. The problem is this: Kerr is really good on TV, and while that job doesn't produce the adrenaline rush of competing on the NBA front-office hamster wheel, it also comes with a lot less pressure. Why put your career in the hands of a fickle and possibly incompetent NBA owner when you can thrive as a TV analyst and still have time to live in San Diego and work on your short game? CBSSports.com

Travis Schlenk, Warriors' assistant GM: Schlenk has risen through the ranks from video guy to a trusted voice on all trades and personnel decisions. In what can often be a challenging environment with an abundance of agendas, Schlenk has just put his head down and outworked everyone. He's invaluable when it comes to evaluating college talent, scouting pro personnel and working out complicated trade mechanics. In other words, he wears all the hats well. As much as the Warriors value him, sources say the team wouldn't stand in the way if Schlenk got an opportunity for a promotion with another organization. CBSSports.com

This isn’t what Crawford expected when he signed with the Blazers four months ago. This summer, he’s expected to opt-out and become an unrestricted free agent, according to sources close to the situation. “If I opt-out, I think it’ll be really cool to have a traditional free agency,” Crawford said. “Last year, everything was so rushed. A lot of people didn’t even think we’d have a season and then, all of sudden, everything was thrown together. It happened so fast. If I choose to opt-out, this year will be much different and more traditional.” HoopsWorld

At the trade deadline, Crawford thought he was going to be dealt. He was mentioned in many different trade rumors and was shocked when the Blazers didn’t move him. “I was surprised,” Crawford said. “It was weird, seeing my name in so many trade rumors. I was thinking, ‘Okay, I’m sure I’ll be traded.’ My name was just out there too much. I was talking to my agent and there were so many rumors. Then, I talked to our general manager, Chad Buchanan, when the deadline approached. He said, ‘You’re not going anywhere. We really like you. It was never a personal thing.’ My name was out there in discussions, but a lot of it had to do with the opt-out. If I opt-out, I could walk away and they wouldn’t get anything in return. That had a lot to do with the rumors.” HoopsWorld

Despite his age, Miller doesn’t see himself retiring anytime soon. He’s still putting up solid numbers, averaging 10.1 points and 6.4 assists off the bench in Denver, and he wants to continue playing for as long as physically possible. “I want to keep playing until my legs don’t work anymore,” Miller said with a laugh. “I’m not thinking about life after basketball. I haven’t given that any thought yet.” HoopsWorld

This summer, Miller will be an unrestricted free agent. After Deron Williams and Steve Nash, he’ll be one of the best point guards available and he’ll likely attract interest from a number of teams that need a distributor. Miller doesn’t know what to expect from free agency, but he’ll weigh his options this offseason. “I have no idea what’s going to happen right now,” Miller said. “I’m just going to play this season out and then see what happens this summer.” HoopsWorld

Dragic is playing so well, he's likely playing his way out of Houston, as one reporter who covers the team believes. While Dragic enjoys playing for the Rockets, he said anything is possible in the offseason. A source, who is familiar with Dragic's situation, said that the point guard would listen to the Knicks, if there was interest, because "every player in the league is dying to play for this organization." "All the doors are open," Dragic said. "We're going to see what is going to happen this summer. I feel great in Houston. Hopefully, I'm going to stay in Houston. I want to be a starter." ESPN.com

LeBron James was asked importance of Thursday game vs Chicago to get No. 1 seed: “We want to play well. We want to play good. Honestly personally I don’t get involved in the seeding too much. I don’t get involved in it. I was No. 1 seed for two years straight and I keep you telling you guys that we didn’t win. And when we were the No. 2 seed last year and we got to the Finals... I don’t really care about seeding too much I just want to play well going into the playoffs. That’s my only concern'' Sulia

Portland Trail Blazers' forward LaMarcus Aldridge flew to Vail, Colo., yesterday with team trainer Jay Jensen to evaluate Aldridge's sore right hip that has been bothering him of late. Acting GM Chad Buchanan addressed the media at shootaround today and said the doctors in Colorado found something that will keep him out of tonight's game versus the Golden State Warriors. “Doctors saw an abnormality,” Buchanan said. “That's why we're gonna list him as day-to-day right now and there's gong to be further consultations and exams before any decisions are made.” CSNNW.com

Dwyane Wade agrees with what Ray Allen told me. That Olympic players should be paid. Said Wade: "“I do so. I just believe that. First of all, it’s an honor to play in the Olympics but there are a lot of things you do for the Olympics. A lot of jerseys you sell. There are a lot a of things you do. We play the whole summer. I do think we should be compensated just like I think college players should be compensated.'' Sulia

April 11, 2012 | 02:37 PM ET Update

After an informal phone interview last week, Steve Kerr has told the Trail Blazers that he is not interested in filling their opening at general manager. Kerr, the accomplished NBA guard and former general manager of the Phoenix Suns, said he is happy with his life as a broadcaster for TNT, which allows him to spend more time with his family. It is the same reason he gave the Trail Blazers last May when team president Larry Miller first approached him as a candidate to fill the vacancy left by the firing of Rich Cho. Oregonian

“He likes Larry, and certainly isn’t closing any doors, but right now he loves his life at TNT,’’ said Mark Bartelstein, Kerr’s agent. “He will come back to the NBA in the future, whether it’s as a coach or in the front office, but that’s a few years down the road.’’ Oregonian

But after talking with Bartelstein on Thursday, then again on Wednesday, Kerr decided he likes his current life too much. Kerr, who spent one of his 15 years in the NBA in Portland, lives in San Diego and said that he wanted to spend more time with his family after he left the Suns in 2010 after a three-year run that included an appearance in the Western Conference Finals. Two of his kids are college athletes - son Nick a basketball player at University of San Diego and daughter Maddy a volleyball player at Cal - and another is still in high school. “He has the opportunity to watch his kids play in college, and that’s important to him,’’ Bartelstein said. “He’s just in a really happy place. Life if pretty good.’’ Oregonian

Former general manager of the New Orleans Hornets, Jeff Bower, is “very intrigued” by the Portland Trail Blazers' GM vacancy, according to a source familiar with his thinking. The source also says Bower “would definitely be interested in interviewing for the position” if the Trail Blazers made a call. CSNNW.com

The Mavs can explore possibilities to use Odom’s contract – which has a $2.4 million buyout due by June 29 – as bait for an immediate upgrade. However, it’s much more likely that the Mavs basically pay a team to execute Odom’s buyout. For example, the Mavs could send Odom’s contract, $3 million and maybe a second-round pick to a team with significant salary-cap space, such as the Kings or Raptors. It makes sense for the Mavs because it would keep the $2.4 million off their cap next season. It would make sense for the other team because it’d make a $600,000 profit and possibly get a pick just for doing some paperwork. Another potential benefit for Dallas in such a deal: The Mavs would get an $8.2 million trade exception, which would be good for a year. ESPN.com

"Spencer was not happy at shootaround," Collins said. "[Assistant coach] Jeff Capel told Spencer, 'Go back to your [hotel] room, act like a little child, tear up your room, give me the bill and be ready to play.' " It was a figure of speech, but Hawes got the message. He had help from Young, who lost his job as a starter a season and a half ago, and has since thrived as a reserve. "It's just the nature of the business," Young said. "You've got to take it and go, and that's pretty much what he did. I told him, 'Just play, and everything will work itself out.'" Delaware News Journal

Basketball agent Terrance Doyle graduated high school in 2002, which means he is likely still in his 20s. But you would not be able to tell based on the client list he is amassing. Doyle and his company Veritas Venture Group represent Orlando Magic guard Von Wafer, along with quite a few D-League and international players. They have also picked up a couple of recent student-athletes, including Syracuse’s Scoop Jardine and most recently Mississippi State Junior forward Arnett Moultrie. Sports Agent Blog

Kendall Marshall has taken care of the next step in preparation for the NBA Draft. After declaring his intentions March 29 to leave the University of North Carolina early, the Dumfries resident has now signed with an agent. On Monday, McLean-based Octagon added Marshall to their client list after he officially signed with the sports agency. Marshall and his family considered seven sports representatives before narrowing the list down to five. Marshall’s parents Dennis and Kim then met with each of the five agencies. Insidenova Network

At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, Reebok will exclusively drop its limited edition John Wall “Beyond the Gold” Zig Encore shoes at Packer Shoes in Teaneck, NJ. The mega-brand will conduct a limited, 12-pair release that will coincide with JWall’s first game of the season at Madison Square Garden, as one briefcase will contain tickets to the Knicks-Wizards game this Friday, April 13. SLAM

I once did an interview with former DC United soccer player Charlie Davies while we got pedicures, so when Wizards team podiatrist Dr. Howard Osterman went on record saying that a “handful of his team’s players” get regular pedicures, it wasn’t surprising. But then I started thinking about which Wizards would go on record themselves about it. “My toes are so ugly that I wouldn’t dare,” said Mo Evans when I asked if he was one of the ones with sweet feet. “I tried to go one time, a long, long time ago and I was embarrassed when the lady started trying to shave stuff.” Trevor Booker admitted that he goes about once a month. “It makes my feet softer,” he explained. “I usually go to the Pentagon Mall. They always put on gloves when I come in.” It’s one thing for big athletes to admit to getting pampered, but is it okay for regular men to get them? “Yeah, that’s cool,” Booker said. Washington Post

The fact that Andray Blatche gets pedicures isn’t surprising. Also not surprising is who he gets them with. “I usually go with my mom,” he told me. “It’s good to take care of your feet. I don’t get manicures, just the feet.” But Blatche admits that there is some vanity involved, too. “I like to wear open-toed sandals in the summer and let my feet breathe,” he explained. “My toes can’t be looking busted.” Washington Post

Deontae Shuler peered up from his mobile hospital bed into the eyes of Orlando Magic superstar center Dwight Howard, rarely even blinking so not to miss a moment of what was happening. Ten-year-old Deontae is paralyzed from the neck down after his bicycle was struck by a car near Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando on the afternoon of Feb. 8. But for one night at least, the pain and depression that had set in since the accident faded as Deontae not only got to meet Howard, but also got to share an intimate conversation with his hero. My FOX Orlando

Howard, the Magic’s franchise center and a six-time All-Star, had sent a signed picture to Deontae’s hospital last week upon hearing about the youngster’s difficult plight. But on Monday night, Howard took several minutes out of his pregame routine to share stories and jokes with Deontae on a personal level. Howard pulled a wristband off his arm and slid it over Deontae’s tiny left wrist. Howard’s massive hands engulfed those of Deontae’s as he squeezed his hands and talked about the power of prayer and laughter. Deontae’s eyes lit up as if they were running off electricity and joy filled his blushed cheeks. My FOX Orlando

According to physicians and nurses caring for Deontae, depression has been a huge issue following his accident and paralysis. But two topics that usually bring a smile to the 10-year-old’s face are Magic basketball and Howard. “He is a huge Dwight Howard fan and he loves the Orlando Magic. He loved basketball and always played it lots before the accident,” Marcus Shuler said. “He was so happy when I told him we were coming to the (Magic-Pistons) game. The whole week he’s been smiling and happy. The two nurses came in and asked him if he knew what he was doing and he said, `Yeah, I’m going to the Magic game to see Dwight.’” My FOX Orlando

April 11, 2012 | 09:12 AM ET Update

It’s a long shot. He would probably have to take less money and turn down a chance to be on a contender. But the Warriors have an eye for Lamar Odom to fill out their starting lineup next season. File it under the would-be-nice list (Not exactly on the what-are-you-smoking list that was once topped by Dwight Howard hopes). The Warriors have four spots in their starting lineup, on paper, set for next season. Stephen Curry is the point guard. Klay Thompson is the shooting guard. David Lee is the power forward and Andrew Bogut is the center. It would take something major for those four not to be starters next season. That leaves the small forward position as the only place in the starting lineup semi-available for upgrading. Lamar Odom would be an upgrade of the current quartet of Dorell Wright, Dominic McGuire, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush. Mostly because Odom provides what they don’t. Even with this atrocious season he’s had, Odom’s career averages are 14.6 points on 46.5 percent shooting with 8.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Contra Costa Times

Odom is set to make $8.2 million next year. But Dallas has a team option. If they cut him, only $2.4 million of that is guaranteed. Golden State wouldn’t have money to outbid anyone. They’d have the mid-level exception (about $5.6 million this season) to offer Odom and hope he just wants to play with the Warriors. (Of course, a contender may want to offer Odom the mid-level as well. Or a team with cap space could through $8 -10 million at him.) Of course, with stories like these out there, he may wind up happy with a full mid-level offer. The other option is a trade. But then, Golden State would have to come up with a package Dallas would want. Fortunately, Dallas won’t have to decide on Odom until after the draft, meaning he can be moved in a draft-day trade. Contra Costa Times

Williams and General Manager Dell Demps will use the final two weeks of the regular season to determine who’s in and who’s out, who will be a part of their future and who won’t. And despite Gordon’s limited body of work, if Demps and Williams have their way, Gordon will be in New Orleans next season and for years beyond. The club is expected to try to sign the explosive shooting guard to a long-term contract this summer. New Orleans Times-Picayune

Now, Gordon won’t be the cornerstone of the Hornets’ rebuilding program, but he’ll be a key building block. Players who can score 20 points per game are difficult to find in the NBA. Gordon’s ability to get his shot or get to the foul line could have added as many as 10 more wins to the Hornets’ ledger this season. Despite his limited playing time, he still leads the team at 19.6 points per game. There’s a reason the Hornets are 3-2 in games he has played. He knows how to make shots in the clutch. It certainly was missing in Monday night’s late collapse against the Lakers, as the Hornets’ eight-point lead disintegrate under an avalanche of errant jumpers, ill-advised decisions and empty possessions. “Eric is about as explosive as anybody in the NBA,” Williams said. “He and (Oklahoma City’s James) Harden are the guys that are pushing Kobe (Bryant) as the best twos (shooting guards) in the West, maybe in the league.” New Orleans Times-Picayune

In the middle of the season when the shots weren't falling and he was struggling on the court, Devin Harris was the subject of some trade rumors. But not from the Utah Jazz. "Not by us, not by us," Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin insisted Tuesday. Right now, the Jazz couldn't be happier with Harris, who has been one of the team's most consistent players since the All-Star break. He has almost single-handedly willed the Jazz to a couple of victories, including Monday night's come-from-behind win over San Antonio. Deseret News

Cuban confirmed Tuesday evening the crux of the heated halftime confrontation was Cuban questioning Odom's commitment. Odom, who had played only four minutes in the first half, reacted angrily to the question, shouting "stop playing games" several times. Odom did not take his seat on the bench until after the third quarter began. "Well, yeah," Cuban said when asked whether that exchange was the final straw. "Just his response to it. Everybody goes through ups and downs. Every player does. We tried to put him in a position to succeed. You guys saw it, saw what we did. It didn't work. ESPN.com

Cuban said he tried to turn the situation into a positive "the first 17 times," but, with the defending NBA champions fighting for a playoff berth, the organization finally lost patience with Odom. "We hope it's addition by subtraction," Cuban said. "Just put him in the Tariq Abdul-Wahad category and move on." ESPN.com

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. "Did I get my money's worth? No," Cuban said. "I don't know that the word's 'cheated.' But did I get my money's worth? No." ESPN.com

Brian Schmitz: Asked about Ish Smith taking over his back-up PG role, Duhon said, “I talked to Stan.. He’s giving me time to keep my head straight.” Twitter

“I was told I was going undrafted,” Shumpert said during shootaround Tuesday before the Knicks played the Chicago Bulls. “That’s what I was told by everybody. I guess I wasn’t good enough in everybody else’s eyes. I was called fool’s gold. That’s what I was called in the draft combine. That’s how I remember it. I took it personal.” Respect and recognition eluded Shumpert throughout much of his amateur career, but that’s changing in his first season as a professional. The Knicks drafted Shumpert with the 17th pick in the 2011 NBA draft on the strength of his defense. It was a surprise choice, but Shumpert has proven to be a pleasant surprise for the Knicks, starting 25 games and averaging 9.8 points, 2.7 assists and 3.2 steals in 28.7 minutes. He ranks fifth in the NBA steals. ESPN.com

On the team bus in Phoenix, Dorell Wright told Tyler not to think of the assignment as a demotion, but rather as a chance to show his abilities. Tyler took the advice and averaged 15.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots in five D-League games before being recalled to the Warriors on March 6. "It was hard, because I was practicing and working every day, but it wasn't my time to get (NBA) minutes," Tyler said. "I just tried to stay ready and had confidence that my work wasn't going unnoticed. I think that confidence shows in my game, but I'm starting to understand the importance of taking a step back sometimes, just sitting, watching and learning." San Francisco Chronicle

Derrick Rose briefly ditched the walking boot protecting his sprained right ankle on Tuesday morning to don gym shoes and walk over, with only a slight limp, to chat idly about him supposedly being done talking about injuries. "Shoot, I thought I was too," Rose said. Instead, Rose sat for the 23rd time in Tuesday night's 98-86 victory over the Knicks at the United Center. He rolled his ankle during the second quarter against these same Knicks on Sunday in New York, his first game back after missing the previous 12 with a groin injury. "You know how I am: If it's a close game or one I want to get, I'm going to continue to play," Rose said. "I ended up making it worse. It's just an ankle sprain. Hopefully, I'll be over it in a couple of days." Chicago Tribune

Amar'e Stoudemire's rehab took another positive step as he took part in some of Tuesday's shootaround. Before Sunday's game, Stoudemire was jumping and dunking. But he remains quiet about how he's feeling and when he may return from a bulging disc in his back. Interim coach Mike Woodson ruled Stoudemire out for Wednesday night's game against the Bucks. He said it will be up to Stoudemire and the Knicks' medical staff as to when he comes back. When he does, Stoudemire will start and Carmelo Anthony, who has flourished playing power forward in the Knicks' small lineup, will return to playing small forward. "He's still working out, taking it a day at a time," Woodson said. "He looks pretty good. I think it's going to be up to Amar'e and the doctors when he decides to make his move. "When they tell me he's ready to go, he'll be right back in the starting lineup, playing the way I expect him to play." Newsday

Of all the good to come out of the Nuggets' lopsided victory over Golden State Monday night, one thing stung. Al Harrington's knee injury. "Of all of the injuries," coach George Karl said Tuesday after practice. "That one hurt." Harrington told The Denver Post he has a torn meniscus. The Nuggets injury report Tuesday called Harrington's injury a knee sprain, a more generic term that doesn't reveal what ligament is injured, nor to what degree. Still, Harrington could be staring at a reduced role or sitting out altogether depending on how serious the injury is. Either way it's a big blow to a team battling for one of the last playoff spots with nine games to go. The Nuggets host Northwest Division foe Minnesota on Wednesday night. Denver Post

He made no promises when asked about being back in time for the start of training camp. "I don’t if it will be training camp, don’t know when I’ll come back," he said. "The most important thing is to make sure when I come back it's 100 percent. I don’t know if it's training camp, I don’t know if it's first week, second week (of regular season). I don’t want to put a date. It depends how my knee feels." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

When asked if he's worried about being the same player when he comes back, he said, "Of course, you always think in my mind what can happen, especially the first couple days after surgery when you can't move your knee. You just think about it, think about if you can come back. You just have to be strong and do your best to come back even harder. I love basketball. I love playing basketball. I'm going to do my best. "You always have to think about everything. You just have to keep the right one. If not, I think, `I got hurt, I'll be out 6-9 months, maybe I won't be the the player I was before.' It's not the right thing. I mean, it can be. It can be that you are better than you were." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Mickael Pietrus watched his team’s April 1 win over the Heat with a towel draped over his head and shades covering his eyes. And he had to watch the game on television because the crowd noise would have been too much to endure after the Grade 3 concussion he sustained March 23 against the 76ers. Since then, Pietrus has made swift progress, passing his first concussion test, and Rivers said he may return before the season ends. “He’s been running with no effects, which I think is even more important,’’ Rivers said. “That’s a great sign for us. He sounds like sooner than later, but that’s from Pietrus, so we have to temper all of that. “Listen, we get him at all, it’s a blessing, because it didn’t look like we would. That would be a huge boost for our team. That would be great for us - it would give us the ability, if we wanted to, to use that different lineup . . . It makes us a better basketball team.’’ Boston Globe

"I'm not focusing at all on the Olympics. At all. At all," Rondo said before handing out 15 assists in Boston's 115-107 win over Miami, his 18th straight game with 10 or more, the NBA's longest streak in 20 years. FOXSports Florida

Rondo believes he would have made the team that eventually won gold had he decided not to bolt when the Americans were in Greece before going to the event in Turkey. "I decided to leave," said Rondo, whose departure was described by USA Basketball as one for family reasons. "I was homesick." FOXSports Florida

"You talk about the patriotism that guys should want to play for, but you (need to) find a way to entice the guys," Allen said. "It's not the easiest thing in the world if you play deep in the playoffs and then you get two, three weeks off and then you start training again to play more basketball where it requires you to be away from home and in another country. It's fun, but your body does need a break. "Everybody says, 'Play for your country.' But (NBA players are) commodities, your businesses. You think about it, you do camps in the summer, you have various opportunities to make money. When you go overseas and play basketball, you lose those opportunties, what you may make… If I'm an accountant and I get outsourced by my firm, I'm going to make some money somewhere else." FOXSports Florida

A few hours after UConn sophomore forward Jeremy Lamb announced he was going to the NBA, freshman teammate Andre Drummond said he was still not close to making a decision his future. Hartford Courant

Just a day after teammate Perry Jones declared his intentions for the NBA draft, Baylor F Quincy Miller announced during a press conference Tuesday that he would return to school for his sophomore season. Miller, ranked as the seventh best prospect in the 2011 class by Rivals.com, averaged 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game as a freshman. He was also named the Big 12's freshman of the year. Dallas Morning News

Indiana freshman Cody Zeller and junior Christian Watford formally announced early Tuesday that they will pass on the 2012 NBA Draft and instead remain in college. The development should make IU a consensus preseason top-five team, perhaps No. 1 depending on what happens with Kentucky's roster. CBSSports.com

While he doesn't have to decide until April 29, sources close to the situation think Cheek is leaning in that direction and could even make his intentions known by the end of this week. Neither Cheek nor coach Jay Wright could be reached for comment. Whether Cheek would even project as a second-round pick at this point is debatable. But sources speculate that his family's financial situation could play a part in the decision. A McDonald's All-American from Jersey City, N.J., he played for Hall of Famer Bob Hurley Sr. at storied St. Anthony's High. Philadelphia Inquirer

Collins acknowledged that his reputation precedes him, that he was known in previous gigs as a fire-breather who could turn a team around but would quickly wear out players’ patience. But coaching in the NBA is different now, and should the Sixers go from a 20-9 start to missing the postseason altogether, Collins might wonder whether if he’s better off stepping aside. Sporting News

Anthony said that Woodson’s record “speaks for itself” when asked if the Knicks’ interim coach is making a compelling case to drop that tag. “He’s doing a great job of ... due to circumstances of what happened with the coaching change,” Anthony said. “He’s responded well. I think at this point all he’s really concerned about is winning basketball games and he’s been doing that so that kinda speaks for itself.” The Knicks are 11-4 since Woodson replaced D’Antoni. When D’Antoni stepped down, Garden chairman James Dolan said the club would re-evaluate its coaching options after the season. Woodson has put himself in position to return and could enhance his odds by winning one or two playoff games. New York Daily News

Vogel, whose team was third in the Eastern Conference heading into tonight's game at Cleveland, should get serious consideration for the award. Chicago's Tom Thibodeau, whose team knocked Vogel's Pacers out of the playoffs last season, is the likely front-runner. "I'd go with Thibs or (San Antonio coach Gregg) Popovich," Vogel said. Indianapolis Star

In a meeting with five season ticket holders and NetsDaily, Mikhail Prokhorov reiterated his promise of a championship by 2015. He even said the franchise's move to Brooklyn opens new opportunities that could turn the Nets into a dynasty with multiple championships. The meeting took place in his suite at the Prudential Center just before the Nets lost to the Sixers and were eliminated from playoff contention. "I dream about a dynasty not a single championship," said Prokhorov, arguing that Brooklyn with its global brand and marketing opportunities will change players' perceptions of the Nets. "Brooklyn helps us think globally ... gives us a competitive advantage." Among the global initiatives he plans for the Nets are more games overseas, including in Moscow as early as next season. NetsDaily

To some Russian people, oligarchs are robber barons who stole their raw materials — notably during the great privatization movement of the 1990s, when Prokhorov bought Norilsk Nickel for $250 million and turned it into a $60 billion behemoth. That, of course, was another lifetime. He sold that company just before the crash, and has since put much of his fortune into gold and aluminum, and is reportedly worth somewhere in the rich neighborhood of $13 billion. He offered to give up almost all of it if he won the election, by the way — a move that was widely interpreted as a desperate pander. He ended up with 8 percent of the vote, and is thinking of running again, because he found consolation in a recent survey. “This election was for me a great testimony,” he said. “Twenty percent of Russian population are looking for changes, severe changes to the economy ... (and ultimately) the majority of Russia will fight for the changes. That is why I am optimistic.” Newark Star-Ledger

There’ll be no drunken fans at the new Nets arena if activists have their way. More than a 100 people showed up at a Brooklyn community board meeting last night to demand Prohibition-style limits on booze at the Nets’ new Barclays Center, which opens in September. Many neighbors fear that up to 18,000 boozed-up patrons will wreak havoc as they spill out of the arena after games. Some demanded that alcohol sales end at halftime — although every other NBA arena lets fans buy drinks until the start of the fourth quarter. New York Post

Kings owners the Maloofs and the NBA will be at that meeting, but not Sacramento city leaders or the mayor. They'll be discussing who should pay for pre-development costs for a new entertainment and sports complex in Sacramento. Sources said the dispute over who pays $3.2 million in pre-development fees will need to be sorted out by the NBA and Board of Governors. news10.net

The Trail Blazers will hold a press conference this morning to unveil the Corix Living Wall, which team officials say is an education tool to give Rose Garden visitors a better understanding of EcoDistricts and their impact on the community. The event coincides with the Blazers' fifth annual Green Awareness Game, in conjunction with NBA Green Week, where the league and its teams generate awareness for protecting the environment. Throughout NBA Green Week, the players will wear 100 percent organic cotton NBA Green shooting shirts as well as NBA Green headbands and wristbands made from 45 percent organic cotton. The "Living Wall," was developed with Corix Group of Companies, a business partner with the Blazers. Corix specializes in developing utility-management systems. Oregonian

The NBA announced the Las Vegas Summer League would be held July 13-22 after it was canceled last summer because of the lockout. Asked which of his players he wanted to see in Las Vegas, Smart joked, "All of them are going except for (veterans) John (Salmons), Chuck (Hayes) and Francisco Garcia." Smart said he wants to see all his players continue their development over the summer and is encouraging them to bond with the newcomers from June's draft. Sacramento Bee

The Beardman era is over. Baron Davis and Li-Ning have split up. CounterKicks can confirm that Li-Ning initiated an early termination of Baron’s endorsement deal, which was originally signed in 2008 and not due to expire until later in 2013. counterkicks.com

Bayless' ESPN co-host Jalen Rose, after a bit of research of his own, took on Skip after Bayless claimed that he started as a shot-happy point guard for a high school team that made the state finals in Oklahoma. Bayless didn't start for his high school squad, it turns out, and didn't even play for the varsity until his senior season, when he averaged 1.4 points per game. Here's the video of Rose calling a clearly uncomfortable Bayless out. Yahoo! Sports

Jalen didn't exactly do the digging himself. No, that was left to the fine folks at The Last Ogle, who found out that Bayless played only 15 of his teams 22 games during his senior year, and that no player on his squad scored fewer points than Bayless. Doesn't exactly sound like a shot-happy point guard that learned his lesson the hard way, as Bayless claimed. Even in trying to make himself look like a cautionary tale, he still lied to his half a million Twitter followers just to make a silly point to feed the daily gasbag that is his needless talk show. Yahoo! Sports

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