HoopsHype rumors

April 12, 2012 | 06:42 PM ET Update

The Mavericks' pursuit would be problematic because they are widely known to have New Jersey's Deron Williams atop their wish list and -- for salary-cap purposes -- would have to amnesty a player (likely center Brendan Haywood) before submitting a competitive offer sheet to Gordon, if he became the backup plan. The Pacers appear intent on re-signing restricted free agents George Hill (a reserve shooting guard) and Roy Hibbert (their starting center), and would likely need to resolve those situations before knowing how aggressively -- and how quickly -- they could go after Gordon (though renouncing the rights to free-agent guard Leandro Barbosa and his $11.4 million cap hold would help). SI.com

As for Phoenix, the future of free-agent-to-be Steve Nash (whose cap hold is a whopping $17.5 million) would have to be resolved before Gordon could be added. If the Suns renounced his rights in order to make a quick move on Gordon, they not only would run the risk of missing out on both players but also lose the ability to go above the salary cap to re-sign Nash in the event that they landed Gordon and the future Hall of Fame point guard wanted to join him. SI.com

New Jersey and Cleveland could be possibilities for Gordon as well. Whichever city he winds up in, Gordon is looking forward to raising his under-the-radar profile. He remains one of the league's most underrated talents, in part because of his injuries but also because he played his first two seasons for the Clippers before Blake Griffin and his eternal spotlight arrived. SI.com

This was about replacing Paul with a younger, supremely talented scorer, a natural shooter who averaged a career-high 22.3 points last season and played a pivotal role for the gold-medal-winning U.S. team at the 2010 FIBA World Championships. And despite the fact that extension negotiations between Gordon's agent, Rob Pelinka, and the NBA-owned Hornets were unsuccessful in January, all indications still point to Gordon's becoming a fixture at New Orleans Arena for years to come. Gordon's restricted status means the Hornets can match any other team's offer. "We want him here for the long term; we're looking forward to signing him this summer," Hornets general manager Dell Demps told SI.com. "We think he is a big-time player who can score, and we're thrilled to have him. He's a big part of our plans for the future." SI.com

Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love has been cleared to return to Minnesota, but it is uncertain when his concussion will allow him to return to the court. Love was injured Wednesday night in Denver when he took an elbow to the head from JaVale McGee. Love remained in a Denver hospital overnight for observation and was cleared to return home Thursday. Love was ruled out of the game Thursday night against the Clippers. The team says he will continue to be evaluated in the coming days to monitor his progress. ESPN.com

The Los Angeles Lakers teamed up with their official airline partner, Delta Air Lines and Heal the Bay to clean up Dockweiler State Beach. Andrew Bynum, Andrew Goudelock and the Laker Girls each captained a team of 20 people in a trash pick-up competition. One hundred and eighty eight pounds of trash was collected overall, and Team Gold, led by Andrew Goudelock, was the winning team, collecting seventy eight pounds of trash. NBA.com

April 12, 2012 | 06:05 PM ET Update

With the Huskies facing a 2013 postseason ban, Drummond decided the time was right for him to depart, a source said. Drummond spoke often of enjoying school and, a source said, was likely to have returned if the Huskies weren't facing the postseason ban. The 6-foot-10, 270-pound Drummond, who shocked everybody by committing to UConn just as school began, becomes the first one-and- done player in UConn history. rep-am.com

Ever since J.J. Hickson stepped on the court as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, he's been a joy to watch considering the type of season Trail Blazer fans have endured. Most didn't know what to expect from Hickson after a subpar half of a season with the Sacramento Kings that eventually resulted in a buyout. Now having resurrected his season in Portland, Hickson says he would like to remain a Trail Blazer, but he won't allow his desire to stay, interfere with his performance out on the court. “I can't get wrapped up in all of that. My agent will handle the business side,” Hickson told CSNNW.com. “I do want to let them know that I want to be here, but I'm just going to continue playing basketball.” CSNNW.com

The Trail Blazers will take a wait-and-see approach with the handling of Hickson. Since sporting the red, black, and white, Hickson has put up numbers of 14.1 points per game, 7.2 rebounds, and shooting 56 percent from the floor. That is night and day compared to 4.7 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, and 37 percent from the floor in which he posted in Sacramento this season. For those discrepancy, the Trail Blazers will assess every single game before saying if they plan on tendering Hickson a qualifying offer. “We still want to evaluate J.J. in these next seven games,” Acting GM Chad Buchanan told CSNNW.com. “We're excited to have him and he's playing some great ball for us. We have time before making a decision.” CSNNW.com

As is the case every season, Freeland is asked about what his plans are. He was an NBA draft pick several years ago by Portland and everyone wonders if his intention is to cross the Atlantic. His aim is to play in America eventually but that time has not arrived. "I just want to be here in Malaga," he said. "I don't want to make specific deadlines. When I'm ready, I'll take that step. (But) I have a lot to learn." FIBA.com

The Bobcats have the option to waive one player and no longer count his salary against their cap or a potential luxury-tax bill. Maggette makes about $10.9 million next season, the last on his contract. So the Bobcats could drop considerably under the cap by using the amnesty clause on Maggette. I should think there are four potential candidates should the Bobcats go the amnesty route: Maggette, Gana Diop (nearly $7.4 million next season), Matt Carroll ($3.5 million next season) or Tyrus Thomas (nearly $26 million over the next three seasons). If they’re reluctant to give up on Thomas, then waiving Maggette would produce the most cap space. Charlotte Observer

Adelaide 36ers player Diamon Simpson has signed a short-term contract with the Houston Rockets. Details are still to be confirmed, but the 6’7″ forward from California last night completed his physical, and be will ready to play as early as tomorrow our time. nbadownunder.com

Mark Berman: Power forward Diamon Simpson signs for rest of season with Rockets. Most recently played in Australia. Has been in camp with Warriors. Twitter

Reports out of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport spot Lamar Odom catching his commercial flight back to Los Angeles today. No Khloe in sight. The Kardashian made her appearance at LAX two days prior. A source aboard the same DFW-LAX flight says the former Dallas Mavericks player was wearing a purple and gold Lakers NBA Championship shirt with an image of the Larry O'Brien trophy on it. His Lakers NBA Championship ring graced his right hand. No word on whether or not he was still wearing his wedding ring. Stay classy, Lamar. buzzfeed.com

KC Johnson: Asked Thibs about his dealings with LeBron in free agency: "Jerry (Reinsdorf) said it best: He earned the right to do what he did." (cont.) Twitter

There haven't been any pranks. No altering the name on a jersey as Arenas did with Blatche's to make it read "Bitch." No putting dog excrement in teammates' shoes in Memphis. Being in Memphis reminds Arenas of a happier time in 2001, when he was a rookie second-round draft pick for the Golden State Warriors. There was no Agent Zero, or Twitter and other social media. USA Today

John Denton: Dwight Howard just ruled himself out of Friday night's game vs. the Hawks. Said he's still experiencing lot of pain. Hopes to return soon. Twitter

The Wolves just issued an update on Kevin Love, who was hit by a JaVale McGee elbow to the head in the first quarter of Wednesday’s game in Denver. The Wolves said the initial diagnosis of a mild concussion and neck strain was confirmed after further tests were completed today on Love, who stayed in a Denver-area hospital overnight. Love was cleared to return to the Twin Cities. “He will not play in tonight’s game vs. the L.A. Clippers,” the Wolves said in the release. “In the upcoming days, Love will be further evaluated by the Timberwolves medical staff, and an update to his status will be provided when warranted.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The Trail Blazers announced that All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge will have arthroscopic surgery to repair a labral tear in his right hip. Aldridge is expected to address the media short at the Blazers' practice facility. "In his most recent MRI, and following further evaluation, it's been determined that LaMarcus has a slight labral tear and will require arthroscopic surgery," acting general manager Chad Buchanan said in a statement. "LaMarcus' priority is that he's 100-percent healthy going into training camp this fall and we all feel this is the best course. He's had an All-Star year and his long-term health is the most important thing to consider." Oregonian

Jamal Crawford: S/o to my bro @LaMarcus Aldridge ...Sad to see his season over with, he was the one constant we knew we could depend on every night..#allstar Twitter

Coming off a tough season in which it missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in eight years, having its top two scorers leave was the last thing Villanova needed. Maalik Wayns made his NBA intentions known last month, and now it seems Dominic Cheek will follow to the draft. “I appreciate all the help I have gotten from my teammates, coaches and friends during my time at Villanova,” Cheek said in a release. “At this point in my life, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family. I am excited to get started with the process of pursuing my dream of playing in the NBA.” CBSSports.com

Which has presented Colangelo with a new problem. On June 1, Colangelo told SI.com, the U.S. will announce a 12-man roster, along with six alternates, from the 20-man pool the team released in January. Unlike year's past, Colangelo and his staff won't have a mini camp to evaluate players before selecting a roster. Unlike years past, no one is backing out. "Call it a high-class problem, if you will," Colangelo said in a telephone interview. "When you set out to turn something around like I did in 2005, the last thing you are thinking about is a circumstance like we have today. It's terrific to see that players see the value in representing their country." SI.com

Earlier this week Heat guard Dwyane Wade suggested that U.S. players should be better compensated for playing in the Olympics. Currently, the U.S. Olympic Committee rewards athletes $25,000 for winning a gold medal, $15,000 for a silver and $10,000 for a bronze. Colangelo suggested that anything more was unlikely to come. "USA basketball has always had difficulties paying its own bills to support all of the programs," Colangelo said. "There is not a big pot of money that is available. Because it is all of the programs. It's the 16-, 17-, 18- and 19-and-under teams, the World University games. We were able to quadruple revenues from 2004-08 but all that did was [help us] break even. But we are a global game and most players are involved with shoe and apparel contracts. Their involvement with USA basketball helps build their brand." SI.com

Asked if he allows himself to ponder his future with the Wizards, Wittman said: “I don’t. Right now, we want to try to end this on a positive note, heading into next year and I don’t think anybody has any idea of what’s going to happen after this. I can’t worry about those things. Whatever happens, happens.” Wittman has held previous head coaching jobs in Cleveland and Minnesota and has compiled a career mark of 112-236 (.322). With a limited track record of success, Wittman has still been able to gain some respect among his players. They have generally responded to his no-nonsense style and consistent disposition. “Coach Witt is a great coach to me,” John Wall said. “From Day One, he’s been straightforward and honest. He told you eye to eye what he thought of you and what he wanted you do to. If you didn’t like it, and didn’t play right, he’ll sit you.” Washington Post

The fate of the New Orleans Hornets, who have been under the stewardship of the NBA since December 2010, could be decided soon as the NBA’s Board of Governors meetings are underway in New York. And that’s making some within the organization a little nervous. That’s because, among the potential buyers for the team are Los Angeles businessman Raj Bhathal, Saints owner Tom Benson (whose brother, Larry, has been connected to Bhathal’s group) and Louisiana shipbuilding magnate Gary Chouest, with Nhathal believed to be the leading candidate. The possibility of Benson and/or Chouest joining Bhathal’s group remains distinct. The problem for those currently running the Hornets, though, is that Bhathal’s group also includes veteran coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy. And that could mean drastic changes. Sporting News

“Mike is going to want his own people in there, he has a reputation as a control freak,” a team source told Sporting News. “It will be good for the team obviously to have an owner in. But I think everybody is a little on edge because of that, because you don't know what is going to happen. Or I guess you do know, you know there are going to be changes coming once there’s a new group in charge. It could be a house cleaning.” Sporting News

Like many fans, the Sacramento business community has had enough of the Maloofs. In a letter to the NBA, 26 local business leaders requested that the Kings owners sell their majority stake in the franchise. “The city, the fans and the NBA deserve and require an ownership group that is fully committed to being a good-faith constructive participant in the arena process,” says part of the letter. ”And we deserve an ownership group that is not only committed to the long-term viability of the franchise in this region but also one that has the wherewithal to make it a thriving, competitive organization.” Cowbell Kingdom

Some of the Pacers walked back to their hotel after shootaround Wednesday because of a bomb threat, which turned out to be nothing, at the Quicken Loans Arena. They weren't dressed to walk back to the hotel because they usually go from the hotel right to inside the area. Luckily for them, though, they were able to walk underground back to their hotel through the mall. Sulia

League sources have confirmed to Blazersedge that Ziegler, who has conducted similar assessments on professional athletes in a number of sports, was contracted by the Blazers in 2008 to provide biomechanical assessments for Oden first and then a number of Blazers. Prior to this work, Ziegler assessed the free throw shooting stroke of then-Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O'Neal on at least one occasion, an encounter documented by a local news station and confirmed by a league source with knowledge of the relationship. Ziegler has also worked with Arizona Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin, as documented in a separate local news feature. Blazers Edge

The Portland Trail Blazers have dealt with an endless series of injuries in recent years and, hand in hand, an endless series of questions from fan and media critics who assert the team's players have not received proper medical attention. But they've never dealt with anyone quite like Larry Wayne "Zig" Ziegler. Who Is Zig Ziegler? Ziegler is not Zig Ziglar, a well-known motivational sales speaker with a similar name. Ziegler is a sports kinesiologist who has run a fitness assessment company called Motion DNA, currently based in Arizona, for more than a decade. Ziegler has worked with athletes at the high school, college and professional levels as well as with amateurs. Blazers Edge

In an email exchange and multiple telephone conversations with Blazersedge -- the first conducted last Thursday, a follow-up conducted on Wednesday -- Ziegler went into further detail about his relationship with the Blazers, he passed along portions of the biomechanical testing results for Oden, Roy and former Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez, and he offered an explanation for why he decided to go public with his account. In Jan. 2012, as noted by Corvid, Ziegler was arrested in Arizona along with two co-defendants on charges of the sale of unregistered securities and financial fraud. Last week, Ziegler retained Ashley Adams of AZWhiteCollarCrime.com. Adams explained the criminal charges to Blazersedge on Wednesday and said that her initial impression of Ziegler is that he came across as a "nice guy." Blazers Edge

Ziegler said on Wednesday that he had no open cases against him at the time of his work with the Blazers in August 2008. On Ziegler's website, AWorldClassAthlete.com, there appears a promotional video for his prospective reality show with the same name. There also appears a logo for Fox Sports Net. Lou D'Ermilio, the Senior Vice President of Communications for Fox Sports, told Blazersedge on Wednesday that the network is not planning to release a television program by that name and that its national and local programming departments do not have a professional relationship with Ziegler. "We have not been in contact with him and we have no plans to broadcast this program on any Fox Sports affiliate," D'Ermilio said. Blazers Edge

Despite that injury history, Ziegler said that Portland made the wrong decision in releasing Oden at the Mar. 15 trade deadline. "If I were the Portland Trail Blazers, I wouldn't have cut him," he said. "I would not have cut him. What I would have done is figured out exactly what his issues are and began to address those issues. Even if it took me another year.... I would have kept him, I would have hired someone to work one-on-one with him. I know we see this in professional sports, where you hire someone to go out with the athlete on the weekends and to stay with them in a social setting. I would have hired someone to make sure that Greg Oden was doing exactly what he needed to do, eight hours a day for a year if I had to. I would get my investment back." Blazers Edge

One model to follow, Ziegler suggested, is the one established by the well-regarded Phoenix Suns staff. "The Phoenix Suns brought in Mike Clark and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. They rocked the boat, they shook things up, they've also kept athletes healthier." After 45 minutes of conversation last week, Ziegler closed his account by acknowledging that he expected the Blazers would respond to his lengthy, detailed statements. "They're going to say we brought the guy in and hopefully they are going to say they paid attention and did everything they could," he predicted. "Hopefully they'll say that. I hate to think of them saying, 'We brought him in and we didn't buy that.' I would hate to hear them say that because everything in [my reports] has come true." Blazers Edge

April 12, 2012 | 07:41 AM ET Update

Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen believe NBA players should be paid for participating in the Olympics. But it's not going to happen anytime soon. At least that's the word from USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo. "It's never been discussed and it's not even feasible in the reality of economics," Colangelo said by phone Wednesday night. FOXSports Florida

"From what I was told by people at USA Basketball, Ray Allen has been consistent with his position ever since he played in 2000, and I am aware of what Dwyane said," said Colangelo, who revealed that USA Basketball plans to announce the 12-man team around June 1. "First of all, everybody's entitled to his opinion, and I respect everybody's opinion, but the reality of what USA Basketball is all about is that the senior men's team (with NBA players) supports all the other programs in USA Basketball." FOXSports Florida

While the free-agent list isn't particularly strong, there are possibilities in the Blazers' biggest areas of needs. "We don't have a starting point guard or center under contract, so those are two primary focuses for us in free agency," Buchanan says. Among the unrestricted free agents at point guard are Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Goran Dragic, Kirk Hinrich, Chauncey Billups and Andre Miller. Williams, who turns 28 in June, is likely to be the most sought-after free agent at any position. With Dragic (26 on May 6) and Kyle Lowry (26) both starter types in Houston, one of them may be available. Then there is Aaron Brooks, the former Oregon standout who spent this season in China. He is still the property of Phoenix as a restricted free agent. Portland Tribune

Interesting that Jamal Crawford is having a big game against the Warriors. I've heard GSW is on his list of desired locations. Crawford is a good fit for the Warriors in the sense he can play two positions. But a guard is not tops on the Warriors' list. Plus, all they have is the mid-level exception to spend. I don't know if GSW is likes him or not (GM Larry Riley acquired him once, and Crawford's issue was with Don Nelson), but it certainly looks as if Crawford is making a case tonight Sulia

Hey Paul, it's definitely been a sad turn-of-events for The Birdman, Chris Andersen, who has seemed down-in-the-dumps since being pushed down the bench. I've always enjoyed being around Bird. He's a guy -- on and off the court -- who thrives off energy and personality. But reality has settled in with the Nuggets. They now have four younger big men who have provided more consistent energy at practices and games -- Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee, Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov. Even Mozzy himself hasn't played much lately -- he seemed to be affected by the McGee acquisition and hasn't had the same tenacity we saw earlier this season. Denver Post

At center, Chris Kaman is the most attractive unrestricted free-agent candidate. Roy Hibbert, Brook Lopez and Javale McGee are among the restricted free-agent post men. Two years ago, the Blazers offered restricted free agent Matthews a five-year, $32.9 million contract. Utah did not match the offer. "If there is somebody on that restricted list we feel strongly about, we'll make an offer," Miller says. "If the team matches, there's not a lot we can do. But we wouldn't take the approach that we shouldn't go after a player just because we think the team might match." Portland Tribune

As of now, if you could choose between staying in Malaga, signing with another top European team or playing in the NBA, what would you choose? Joel Freeland: If I have a good option to stay, I'd stay in Malaga, no doubt. Diario Sur

Joel Freeland: Playing in the NBA is my goal, like with many other players. I've always said that. But I don't think about it, I only want to be here in Malaga. Diario Sur

After scoring a season-high 26 points on 10-for-15 shooting in Wednesday's 98-84 win over the San Antonio Spurs, World Peace told reporters that he was playing through a lumbar disorder in his lower back last season. The back pain, specifically affecting his L4 and L5 vertebrae, was also limiting the range of motion in his legs and feet, severely limiting his jumping ability. "I just thought my body was maybe messed up," World Peace said. "I was like, 'Yeah, 15 years is a lot of years. I got two more years on my contract and I could potentially be done.'" ESPN.com

World Peace was having trouble getting lift, even on wide-open layup attempts. "It controls your foot, the downward motion," World Peace said. "So, if L4 and L5 is not working, or is compressed or inflamed, you might try to jump, but your foot, it's not going to move. It's not going to react." ESPN.com

Charles Barkley says Lamar Odom had a difficult time adjusting to life in Dallas because he was suffering from a divorce. Not a divorce from his reality TV star wife Khloe Kardashian, but a divorce from his former NBA team. During a local radio interview on Wednesday, the NBA on TNT analyst and Hall of Fame player said Odom never reached his potential with the Mavericks because his feelings were still hurt from being traded by the Los Angeles Lakers. "I think he just, like, mentally was like, 'Wow, they don't like me anymore,'" Barkley said on the Galloway and Company show on KESN-FM 103.3 in Dallas. "And I don't think he ever regrouped, or ever recovered." FOXSports SouthWest

"You know I love my man Cubes," Barkley said. "I'm surprised it took that long. The D-League thing was, to me, a red flag. But that didn't wake him up. And I've got to tell you something. I always pull for my players. I always pull for the players. But the fact that they've got to pay him, I think is a joke. I mean, because he didn't earn his salary. He didn't earn it at all. "I like Lamar as a person, but I'm disappointed about everything that happened in Dallas. And it's a shame that the Mavs got to pay him, to be honest with you. He don't deserve to get paid for what he put out there this year. He doesn't deserve it, plain and simple. FOXSports SouthWest

"I think it's a joke that he's gonna get paid for sitting at home for the next few months," Barkley continued. "In the NBA, we get paid every two weeks. So, Lamar's making close to $10 million a year. So, he's probably going to miss two paychecks. He's probably making $300,000 to $400,000 every two weeks. So, to sit at home and make that type of money just really pisses me off, to be honest with you, for the effort he put out there. "He's going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars his next two paychecks that he looks like he's going to miss, and that's not fair to the Mavs, it's not fair to the game of basketball and I'm just disappointed in Lamar." FOXSports SouthWest

Joe Lacob called the Andrew Bogut acquisition a "transcendent move." Jerry West and the rest of the Warriors brain trust nodded with approval. Assuming Bogut finally returns to health, can he really live up to that kind of hype? "He's a top-three center behind Dwight (Howard) and Andrew (Bynum)," one Pacific Division scout said. "As a total package, I think he's better than Bynum," said one Central Division scout. According to the experts, Bogut might just warrant the high expectations coming from the Warriors since the March 13 trade that sent Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh to Milwaukee. He's 7-foot, 245 pounds and known to possess basketball skills useful inside the paint and out. When he suits up for the Warriors, he'll be the first center with All-NBA credentials to start for the franchise since Wilt Chamberlain. Contra Costa Times

Where do you rank? Andrew Bogut: I think Dwight’s No. 1. I think Bynum’s obviously taken over No. 2. For a while, it was me and Bynym, but I think Bynum’s solidified the NO. 2. Feeling the pressure to be the savior? I’ve been in the league long enough tyo know its not one guy or two guys. It’s very rare teams these days are built around one guy. You can name them all on one hand. It just doesn’t happen. Look at Miami. Contra Costa Times

But people see you as an answered prayer for a center. Bogut: There’s some truth to that. Obviously, there hasn’t been a center who can play here for a while. Who’s the last guy? Back in the 70s and 80s? I think that’s definitely a reason for the excitement. There’s pressure there because I’ve got to bring it. But it’s a different situation than in Milwaukee. Basically, in Milwaukee, if I didn’t put up 15 and 10, we’d lose. Here, it’s a little bit different offensively. It will come and go. But I know I’ll strengthen up that defense ten-fold. I’ll help D-Lee out down there. Get some offensive rebounds. Taking charges. Blocking shots. Contra Costa Times

On the sweet side, Ime Udoka is earning a good chunk of change playing professional basketball in Spain in the ACB league -- considered the second-best loop in the world next to the NBA. On the sour side, the Portland native has been away from his girlfriend, actress Nia Long, and their newborn son for nearly three months. Frequent phone calls and Skype have helped, but Udoka is eager for his return to the United States in a few weeks to reunite with Nia and young Kez Monday Udoka. "It has been very hard to be away, especially at first," Udoka says by phone from his apartment in Murcia, a city of about 500,000 in southeastern Spain. "I knew it was going to be only a four-month thing. "Kez is very young and not doing a whole lot, so in some ways, it's the best time to be away. Skype helps, but you want to be there." Portland Tribune

Udoka thought he was going to be with New Jersey this season. He signed a free-agent deal with Nets after a collective-bargaining agreement was reached in December. He was waived with the final cuts, though, in part because an injury to center Brook Lopez necessitated the addition of another big man to the roster. A $100,000 contract with Murcia isn't peanuts, "but it wasn't as much about the money as what was happening in the NBA," Udoka says. "I didn't want to wait around. "This is a short, four-month thing. Spain is a great country. I had a great time (in 2004-05) and wanted to get back over and see how it would be." Portland Tribune

Udoka isn't sure where his basketball career will take him next. The NBA, he says, "is always a goal of mine." "But I have no expectations," he says. "I'm in good shape. I'd like to keep playing. But I have a family now. I'll fly home after our last game (on May 6) and look forward to being a father for a while." Portland Tribune

Questions continue to fly about Randolph’s role coming off the bench, and how long the Grizzlies’ big man will accept it. Hollins praised Randolph’s production and improved conditioning. Randolph looks stronger and more active with every passing day. He was difficult for the Suns to handle in the post, especially down the stretch when the Griz went with a steady diet of Randolph on offense. Hollins said he spoke with Randolph about why playing off the bench helps balance this roster. Hollins likes Randolph paired with O.J. Mayo and Gilbert Arenas for offensive potency and an inside-out presence off the bench. “It’s all about winning,” Randolph said. “As long as we’re winning, that’s all that matters.” Memphis Commercial Appeal

This was the game Lakers fans had been awaiting, hoping their team could turn into something special. Shrug off a season of only mildly inspirational play. Win a big road game. Have someone grab 30 rebounds. Thirty rebounds? Sure. Andrew Bynum became the first Laker to do it in 34 years, pushing and shoving the San Antonio Spurs out of the way as the Lakers stunned them without Kobe Bryant, 98-84, Wednesday at AT&T Center. "They beat us to death," was how Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich described it, and you could suddenly sense the rest of the Western Conference slowly turning toward the Lakers. Los Angeles Times

He was still miffed at his seven-for-20 shooting effort half an hour later. "It's great to have 30 boards, but my shot's not working and I'm kind of a little upset about that. For me, I'll remember me shooting poorly," said Bynum, who had 16 points and joined Wilt Chamberlain, George Mikan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Elgin Baylor in the Lakers' 30-rebound club. Nobody had done it for the Lakers since Abdul-Jabbar took 30 in 1978 against Milwaukee. Bynum's total was the highest in the NBA this season. He's not only tough on himself. He snarled at teammate Devin Ebanks for almost taking a rebound from him. He blocked Kawhi Leonard's shot into the front row. He earned silence from the crowd after dunking an alley-oop pass from Ramon Sessions. "He's only 24 years old," said Metta World Peace, who had a big game of his own. "I don't even know what else to say, you know? He's so young." Los Angeles Times

The media had formed a semi-circle around an exhausted-looking Chris Paul sitting inside the Clippers' locker room, the group waiting for the All-Star guard to explain how he was able to be the ultimate closer again. Paul, with a towel wrapped around his waist, looked up at the gathering and uttered, "Whew! I'm tired." He had just scored nine of the last 11 Clippers points, 31 all total, having carried his team to a 100-98 victory over the host Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. He scored the game-winning shot on a layup with 8.8 seconds left, played 36 minutes 48 seconds, turned the ball over just once, handed out four assists and grabbed six rebounds — good reasons for Paul to be tired. And after all he had done, the Clippers didn't escape until Kevin Durant (22 points) missed a potential game-winning three-pointer and after Blake Griffin (16 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists) tipped the rebound away as time expired. "This was a big game for us, especially after losing in Memphis the way we did," Paul said. "It's one of those games you just can't lose." Los Angeles Times

Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris didn't get a chance to participate in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas last year because it was canceled in the wake of the lockout, but the rookie guards could be headed there when it resumes July 13-22. "We haven't really thought of summer league yet," Brown said. "Naturally, Goudelock and Morris (would be candidates). I don't know about anybody else. Obviously, for the two rookies, it would be great for them." Los Angeles Daily News

Amar’e Stoudemire is looking good, but not for Sunday against the Miami Dream Team. He has pushed back his return a few days and is eyeing the second night of a back-to-back, next Wednesday in Newark against the Nets, if all goes smoothly. Yes, it would have been a dramatic return for him to face Chris Bosh in LeBron James’ lone regular-season trip to the Garden, but Stoudemire will wait. The Knicks, who defeated the Bucks 111-107 Wednesday night to move two games ahead of Milwaukee for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, play Boston on Tuesday before traveling across the Hudson. Stoudemire took an epidural steroid injection 15 days ago and the Knicks gave him a 2-to-4 week timetable. New York Post

Stoudemire, a co-captain and team spokesman, hasn’t spoken to the media since he became injured 18 days ago. Wednesday night, when asked if he would talk after he did back exercises on a large physio ball, Stoudemire replied, “Negative. I’ll let you know when I’m ready.’’ Stoudemire then put on his hoodie sweatshirt to work out on the court. His workout gear is in honor of Trayvon Martin, the teenager who was shot and killed in February in Sanford, Fla. Why Stoudemire is not talking to the media is still unexplained. In the locker room before last night’s game, he was doing back-strengthening exercises by balancing on a ball. Baron Davis, who came back from a herniated disk, came over and helped the drill by lightly pushing him to give Stoudemire an even greater challenge of staying balanced for five minutes. New York Post

Love spent the night in a Denver hospital as a precautionary measure -- physical therapist/assistant athletic trainer Andrew Tai stayed behind with him -- and certainly won't play Thursday against the Clippers at Target Center. The NBA instituted a concussion policy “for the safety and protection of our players” at the start of the season in December after several players, including All Star Chris Paul, sustained such head injuries. It joined the NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball in doing so. A player diagnosed with a concussion will have to complete a series of steps to prove he’s healthy enough to play. Once a player is symptom free, he is tested through increasing stages of exertion – from a stationary bike to jogging, agility work and non-contact team drills – to make sure he remains symptom free. An NBA-hired neurologist is consulted before the player is cleared to play. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Kobe Bryant took a seat at the end of the Lakers' bench for the third consecutive game and was unable to play in Wednesday's 98-84 victory over the San Antonio Spurs because of a painful left shin injury. It remains to be seen if he will be out for a fourth game when the Lakers return to Staples Center to face the Denver Nuggets on Friday, or whether he will be better off sitting out another game in the hope that his shin will heal fully. Bryant has been patient with this injury, suffered when he was kicked during the Lakers' victory March 31 over the New Orleans Hornets. He hasn't badgered Lakers coach Mike Brown to let him back into the starting lineup. "No, no, he's been good," Brown said. "He's been just great. I think he understands if he goes out too early it can cancel out everything we did up to this point. He's being more cautious than anything else." Los Angeles Daily News

Wilson Chandler (hip strain) didn't play Wednesday — and coach George Karl said the forward is doubtful for Friday — meaning Denver will be without Chandler's 10.7 points per game as the team tries desperately to crack the postseason. Karl said that "if and when" Chandler gets back, he will be in a similar situation to that of Al Harrington, who is playing with torn meniscus. "His hip is not going to heal this year," Karl said of Chandler. "But can he play and be effective?" Denver Post

Last night, Pietrus returned and shined eight points, six rebounds and some major defense in the 88-86 overtime victory over Atlanta. “I feel good,” Pietrus said. “I feel extremely good. No more concussion. It’s behind me now, so I look forward right now to just getting to a level where I can help my team in the playoffs. I’m just very happy to be back.” He had known since the morning he was playing, but that news remained a public secret until early last evening. Doc Rivers said Pietrus would play 5-10 minutes, making it an even bigger surprise that he played 28:49. He went 9:22 in his first stretch alone after entering the game late in the opening period. Boston Herald

Well, Rivers majored in political science, not math, at Marquette. “He looked great,” said Doc. “I turned to Eddie (Lacerte, the trainer) and, he said, ‘No. Go. He’s fine.’ When you coach, you actually change your mind sometimes in games. It’s allowed. It’s funny. Danny (Ainge) called me today and said they worked him out, and he said he was tired after two minutes in the workout (Tuesday). So we went in thinking four or five minutes. Really that game was to get him ready for the games coming up. Going into it, that was our plan. Boston Herald

Baron Davis’ health continues to be a major concern. The veteran guard, who injured his neck in Tuesday’s loss to Chicago, played just 19 minutes Wednesday night and had five turnovers. Mike Bibby played nine minutes, and third-string guard Toney Douglas was a DNP as Mike Woodson went most of the second half with J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert in the backcourt. The Knicks, of course, had their point-guard issues solved for 25 games during the height of Linsanity, but with Jeremy Lin out with a knee injury and Davis breaking down, Woodson is experiencing the same problem Mike D’Antoni was forced to deal with in December. Woodson wants to limit Davis to between 25 and 30 minutes but he needs a suitable backup. Lin, who had surgery last week to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, is expected to be out another four to five weeks. Chauncey Billups was targeted to be the starting point guard, but the club waived Billups under the amnesty clause in order to sign Tyson Chandler. New York Daily News

After deliberating for much of his senior year, Shabazz Muhammad’s college choice is now in. Muhammad, Scout.com’s No. 2 prospect in the 2012 class, announced on Wednesday he is headed to UCLA. Ben Howland and the Bruins have been the supposed leader in Muhammad’s recruitment for quite some time, but they had to fend off a strong run by Kentucky and Duke. A 6-foot-6, 210-pound wing, Muhammad is a terrific scorer from the perimeter. Over the past two years he’s developed his ball handling, added a mid-range game and has even extended his shot out to 23-feet. Scout.com

Maybe Miller was in New York interviewing former Knicks president Donnie Walsh, with a second stop in Philadelphia to meet with Larry Brown, who wants to get back into the NBA. I don't know. It's tough to get a read on Miller, who in one breath says he wants to fill the position but in the next breath says too much is being made of the vacancy. "If we decided tomorrow to name Chad the GM, what would change?" he asked. "In essence, the reality is nothing would change other than we would promote Chad into that permanent role. It's not like we have nobody watching the store. That's not the case. We have a really effective person and an effective team who are managing our basketball operations. "So to the fans and to the people who are saying the answer is getting a GM ... we have a GM," Miller said. Oregonian

Allen has expressed an interest in hiring an experienced general manager. At this rate, he may have found that experience in Buchanan, who is preparing for his second draft and third free agency period as the main guy. I know few, if any, in the Blazers' offices would complain. Buchanan is very well-liked, has no ego and carries an unflappable demeanor. I disagree with his decision to trade Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez for Felton, and I question in last year's draft whether Kenneth Faried wouldn't have been a better pick at No.21 than Nolan Smith. But he has created financial flexibility for the team to operate this summer. Oregonian

Sources with the NBA have said the Maloofs will be having that conversation with the other team owners Thursday afternoon, the first day in a two day meeting. Harvey Englander, who is acting as the Maloofs' spokesman, said the Maloofs have three main concerns: the pre-development costs, the Maloofs say they shouldn't be responsible for pre-development expenses since the team will only be a tenant in the arena, the length of the deal stipulating a 30-year lease of the arena, and an uncertainty the city will be able to complete the arena by 2015. The city disputes the Maloofs' concerns. Sources with the NBA said it's unlikely the NBA will resolve the issue before Friday. Sources said a likely concern on the other NBA team owners mind could be how a snag in the Sacramento arena deal could negatively impact the other 29 teams in the league. KCRA.com

The cast of “Grown Ups 2’’ just got a little bigger - and taller. Retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal will costar in the sequel to Adam Sandler’s comedy, “Grown Ups,’’ which was filmed in Essex a few years ago. In addition to the 7-foot-1 Shaq, the new movie, which will be shot in Marblehead this summer, will include original cast members Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade, Salma Hayek, and Maria Bello. This isn’t O’Neal’s first film. His credits include the screen gems “Scary Movie 4,’’ “Kazaam,’’ and “Blue Chips.’’ Boston Globe

The Cavaliers mascot, Moon Dog, had to go to the hospital to get his eye checked out after he was accidentally hit by Pacers forward David West when the two were joking around after the pregame introductions. A Cavaliers spokesman said the mascot was checked out and released. "He jumped at me, so I thought we were playing around and then the next thing I know, he went down," West said. "It was definitely an accident." Indianapolis Star

Pacers President Larry Bird, in New York for the Broadway production of the play "Magic/Bird," appeared Wednesday night with Magic Johnson on "Late Show With David Letterman." It was the first time Bird has appeared on Letterman's show. The play is about the rivalry and friendship of Bird and Johnson during their Hall of Fame careers while playing for the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively. "My thing was when you compete, you're really not friends; you want to keep an edge," Bird said on the show. "I was like that in high school and through college. Ervin is an outgoing guy. He loves everybody; he wants to high five. He's got that big smile. My goal was take home three of them teeth." Indianapolis Star

The hoops-themed Broadway bio “Magic/Bird” doesn’t technically foul out, but it’s not exactly a winner either. Ironically, Eric Simonson’s by-the-numbers and stiffly acted account of the on- and off-court relationship of National Basketball Association superstars Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird makes both great athletes look smaller than life. The show, produced in league with the NBA, is bookended by scenes of Johnson’s stunning 1991 HIV diagnosis. But the focus is the duo’s famous 1980s rivalry. With Bird playing forward for the Boston Celtics and Johnson positioned at point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, they battled for three championships and rescued the sinking NBA. New York Daily News

As a dramatic meal, “M/B” is a slim spread. B-ball handling consists of a couple of layups and passes. Videos from key games and scenes between a Celtics and Lakers fan in a Boston bar pad the production to 85 minutes. Director Thomas Kail enlivens things as he can, including slick graphics to illustrate b-ball plays — the same trick from “Lombardi” but it adds visual zap. Tug Coker, who plays Bird, could use a jolt. The “hick from French Lick,” as Bird was called, was low-key. But Coker is pure cardboard. Kevin Daniels fares a bit better and brings spark that evokes some of Magic’s magnetism. New York Daily News

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.