HoopsHype rumors

April 13, 2012 | 05:33 PM ET Update

Interesting footnote that emerged from the Lamar Odom saga earlier this week in Dallas: Sources close to the situation say that Odom would likely have landed with the New Jersey Nets had the Los Angeles Lakers' trade for Chris Paul gone through in December. ESPN.com

A basketball official close to the situation but unauthorized to speak publicly said afterward the Kings' owners' "focus is still on Anaheim," and a future relocation to the Honda Center perhaps as soon as the 2013-14 season. Friday's development is significant to Anaheim's cause because Stern has previously strongly pushed to keep the owners in Sacramento. Los Angeles Times

The NBA Board of Governors on Friday made official the Nets move to Brooklyn from New Jersey for next season. The unanimous vote by the NBA teams was held in Manhattan. The team will be moving into the new Barclays Center. New York Post

You and your son attended the Miami rally for Trayvon Martin. Why was it important for you to be there? Alonzo Mourning: I have a 15-year-old son. He is 6-8 and a half and he wears a size 16 shoe. If you saw him from a distance, he looks like a grown man. And he loves wearing hoodies. I can’t tell you how many hoodie sweatshirts he has in his closet. So when I saw the situation evolve with the Martin family, I thought about my son. It could have been him. And I’m very blessed to have the lifestyle I have and creating a great atmosphere for my family. But when you think about that situation and the injustice. You think about an innocent young man on his way home who posed no threat to anyone—it’s an unfortunate loss. But at the same time, this was an opportunity for individuals to voice their opinion about violence around the country. Not just with young black men—I’m talking about all different races. Teenage violence, violence in the schools, things of that nature. It’s important for us to continue to magnify the importance of brining attention to stopping situations like that from evolving. I’m a strong believer that in order to see change, you have to become that change you want to see. That’s something that I want changed in my community. I’m sure I speak for millions of parents out there: they want to see that change in their community. We’re tired of seeing young people die to the hands of violence. Not enough is being done about it. This gave me an opportunity and a platform to speak my mind in support of this particular initiative. Because I feel like it is very important for us to stop this ongoing trend of violence in the lives of our young people across the country. SLAM

April 13, 2012 | 04:04 PM ET Update

Benson, who initially bid to purchase the team in January but was put off by the league's asking price, said Friday he was worried that other absentee ownership groups might attempt to move the team out of the city, despite a new lease agreement that will bind the Hornets to New Orleans Arena through the 2024 season. One of the bidding groups, headed by California swimwear manufacturer Raj Bhathal, included Benson's youngest brother, Larry, a San Antonio automobile dealer. New Orleans Times-Picayune

One of the bidding groups, headed by California swimwear manufacturer Raj Bhathal, included Benson's youngest brother, Larry, a San Antonio automobile dealer. I told Larry I was a little bit concerned, even though he said he wasn't going to do it, the first downturn he'd be looking to go to California or some place," Benson said in his suite at the St. Regis Hotel where the meeting took place. "That wasn't very good. "We really never stopped talking to them (the NBA). With out of state owners. . . . I called David (Stern, NBA commissioner) and said, 'Look I'm the only guy you can count on who's really going to stay here. Let's work this thing out.' " New Orleans Times-Picayune

Benson said he is also trying to change the name of the NBA team to better fit the ambience, culture and charm of New Orleans. "We need to find a name like (Jazz)," Benson said, referring to New Orleans first NBA team that relocated to Salt Lake City in 1979. "Whether we can get that or let us use that, you've got to know we're working on it. We'd like to change it tomorrow. We have not gotten that approved, but we're not letting up on it, either. Because we've got a good relationship with the commissioner and his people and we're going to be on them daily to do something." New Orleans Times-Picayune

On Friday, the Sacramento Kings leadership group, headed by George Maloof, held a press conference in New York City to address a number of issues related to the progress of Sacramento's proposed arena. Among the various points discussed were the term sheet provided to the Kings by the city of Sacramento, the economic viability of Sacramento to build the arena, and the ability by the Kings to achieve revenue targets. news10.net

Nene was in warm-ups and going through light drills with his teammates during Friday’s morning shootaround, but Coach Randy Wittman ruled out having him – or Trevor Booker – play against the New York Knicks. Nene has missed the past seven games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but he has been angling for a return before the season ends. “He’s getting closer. He did a little bit yesterday, but not a whole lot. That’s a positive,” Wittman said.. “Obviously we’re headed in the right direction right now. It looks like we might [have him back soon]. Probably not today or tomorrow. Maybe some time next week. We’ll see.” Washington Post

Dwyane Wade said on Wednesday that players should be 'compensated' for playing in the Olympics. He then backed off of those comments on Thursday, issuing a statement that said, "I do not want to be paid to go to the Olympics." Fellow Olympian Carmelo Anthony disagrees with Wade's first take on Olympic compensation. He doesn't need to be paid to play for Team USA. "I've been dealing with the USA team since I was 16, and I haven't gotten paid yet. And it's been good to me," said Anthony, who hadn't heard Wade's comments until they were relayed by a reporter and clearly meant no disrespect to the Miami Heat guard. "Everybody has their own opinion about it. It don't matter to me if I get a check or not. I'm still going to go play." ESPN.com

April 13, 2012 | 02:32 PM ET Update

Benson will own 100 percent of the team. The purchase price has not been announced, but it is expected to be in the neighborhood of $340 million. New Orleans Times-Picayune

The NBA’s days as an owner of the New Orleans Hornets are drawing to a close. The league reached a tentative agreement early Friday morning with New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson to buy the team for $338 million, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions. NBA.com

The NBA Board of Governors is poised to approve the sale of the New Orleans Hornets to Saints owner Tom Benson for $338 million, sources familiar with the transaction said Friday. The league's owners and their representatives were meeting at the St. Regis Hotel and still have to vote in the affirmative for Benson to assume control of the franchise, but at this point there isn't expected to be any roadblocks standing in the way of a positive vote. New Orleans Times-Picayune

The Hawks have sent forward Ivan Johnson back to Atlanta for conduct detrimental to the team. He will miss tonight’s game against the Magic. Johnson is expected to re-join the team Saturday for a scheduled practice. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Magic center Dwight Howard has gone to Los Angeles to get a second opinion on his ailing back and won't play Friday night against the Hawks, the team announced. Howard sat out Orlando's victory Monday over Detroit and Tuesday's loss to Washington because of back spasms. Howard was accompanied to L.A. by Magic physical therapist Ed Manalo. ESPN.com

Andre Drummond will declare for the NBA draft, making the highly touted freshman the program's first one-and-done player. The school made an official announcement Friday. Drummond, the highest-rated recruit in team history, is seen as a potential No. 5 pick in June's draft, according to ESPN Insider Chad Ford's mock draft. UConn's postseason ban in 2013 was a factor in Drummond's decision, a source told the Connecticut Post. ESPN.com

Alabama’s JaMychal Green’s best game this season was arguably his effort against the Florida Gators in early March when he went for 22 points and 10 rebounds. Well, the 6-foot-8 senior who averaged 14 points and 7 rebounds this season picked a heck of a time to play an even more dominant game as he shot 14-for-18 from the field in front of a packed gym of NBA scouts last night at Day 2 of the Portsmouth Invitational. Green showed tremendous gallop in transition and had an array of mid-range makes that led to his game-high 29 points. What may be more impressive was that he only made one free throw and took zero 3-pointers. It was just a matter of getting the ball in the right spots and finishing. Green can thank Seton Hall’s Jordan Theodore who, despite taking 15 shots (making 6) found Green early and often. SheridanHoops

One prominent agent said the Wizards job would be highly sought after if it became available and that there is “no way” Leonsis can bring back Grunfeld. “Look, it’s a tough job,” the agent said. “But he’s had his shot.” Despite the rumblings, Grunfeld remains confident about the direction of the organization and has not let the speculation about his future affect him. “I’ve been in this business a long time,” said Grunfeld, whose current team will face his former team Friday at Madison Square Garden. “This has been a challenge, and we knew it was going to be a challenge when we got into it. I’m just working as hard as I can, to do the best job that I can. “Those things will take care of themselves in the future as we move along.” Washington Post

One longtime NBA executive, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not at liberty to make public comments, said the Nene trade was “a step in the right direction” but felt that change was needed at the top. “Nothing against Ernie, but he’s worked there for nine years and if you work for AT&T for nine years and the stock is dropping every day and you’re losing, guess what? The board of directors is getting rid of you. That’s the reality. “The stock is falling in Washington.” Washington Post

Retired NBA star Jayson Williams has been released from Rikers Island jail after serving eight months of his one-year sentence for drunken driving. A Rikers spokeswoman says Williams was freed Friday. The former New Jersey Nets player drove his SUV into a tree in lower Manhattan in 2010. That happened a week after he accepted a plea deal stemming from the 2002 shotgun death of a limo driver in his New Jersey mansion. ESPN.com

April 13, 2012 | 09:43 AM ET Update

As the Timberwolves wonder if Kevin Love will play in the team's final six games, Michael Beasley made it clear he wants to play with the all-star forward next season. Beasley is a restricted free agent after the season, and the Wolves have yet to decide if they will offer him an extension or pick up the $8.172 million he is due in the final year of his contract, in 2012-13. "I would love to come back and be a Timberwolf," Beasley said Thursday night, April 12, before a 95-82 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at Target Center. "I love it here. I can genuinely say that from the bottom of my heart....From my teammates, to the city, the coaches, the staff. Everybody is so welcoming here. I'm just going to let the situation play out." St. Paul Pioneer Press

There's also way more than has been reported about the link between Odom and Golden State, and those details have many thinking the disgruntled forward is much more than "on the radar" or a "long shot" for the 2012-13 Warriors. Here's the key: Warriors assistant coach Jerry DeGregorio is as close as anyone to Odom. DeGregorio coached Odom in high school, college and the pros and has been like a father to him since Odom was a 16-year-old prospect from South Jamaica, Queens, N.Y. DeGregorio was the best man in Odom's September 2009 wedding to Khloe Kardashian. In his best-man speech, DeGregorio asked Kardashian to make the same vow that Odom's grandmother asked of DeGregorio before she died. Since Odom has no brothers or sisters and his mother died when he was 12, his grandmother asked DeGregorio to promise to watch over her baby. San Francisco Chronicle

Singleton, in turn, has noticed the change in the Wizards under Wittman. "He installs more confidence in the guys," Singleton said. "No matter what's going on, he lets the guys know that he has their back, and he just wants to keep fighting. He keeps telling them play with confidence. That's his key thing. The team slogan since I've been here has been 'together' and 'family.' I didn't hear that before." The future for both coach and player remains uncertain, but it hasn't swayed either one's determination. "I think I've already proved myself," Singleton said. "I've got a good rep with the NBA. I'm always known as a guy that works hard and a guy that just goes out and does whatever the team needs. I don't think I really have to audition anymore or keep auditioning. Either they know or they don't know." Washington Examiner

That there won’t be a lot of stories – or any stories – out of training camp next fall on the pluckiness of Justin Dentmon or Ben Uzoh and their fight to make the team off solid showings under 10-day deals this spring. Now, both of ‘em seem to be good kids who are just trying to make a buck and an impression and while they are earning money, they aren’t doing anything to guarantee further Toronto employment. Sometimes you get 10-day guys who can make a mark, sometimes you get guys who are placeholders. Which is what they got. Nothing against either of them but we’re finding out just how big the chasm between the minors and the majors is. Toronto Star

You could see it on LeBron James' face. He was fighting back his emotions, pausing to collect himself before speaking, after Friday night's 96-86 loss the Bulls at United Center. “I hurts,” James said. “As a team, we felt like we played well. We gave ourselves a chance to win...but they pretty much dominated the overtime.” The Bulls outscored the Heat 12-2 in the extra period. James said the Heat was spent emotionally after C.J. Watson drained a difficult three-pointer to tie the game with 2.2 seconds left. It appeared that either LeBron or Shane Battier left Watson alone. Both players were helping triple-team Kyle Korver, who was 5 of 6 from three-point range for the game. The Heat's Big 3 scored 71 points (30 from James; 21 from Wade; 20 from Bosh) but Miami didn't have the depth to contend for the Bulls' bench. Chicago's reserves outscored the Heat's 47-7. Miami Herald

No-nonsense Thunder center Kendrick Perkins said he didn't like the body language of teammates during the closing minutes of Wednesday night's 100-98 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. “They took the lead and we act like the game was over with six minutes to play in the game,” Perkins said Thursday morning at the team's practice facility. “It was like a one- (or) three-point game. We were at home, and I didn't feel like we had the right fight or the right mindset to keep going. We're not going to blow everybody out or win by 10 points every night. Some nights, you've got to go get games, and I felt like that was one of those nights that we had to dig deep and go get it." Oklahoman

The nine-year veteran doesn’t jog just to count calories; he never obsesses over time. Tinsley just runs. Pushing his body until it’s working best. Pushing his mind until it’s working better. Heart pumping, lungs breathing, feet moving. All in the name of mental toughness. Tinsley escapes for 45 minutes, an hour — whatever he feels and whatever it takes. When the former NBA outcast casually ripped through seven miles Wednesday afternoon before he scored seven points, dished out four assists and played 28 minutes while guiding home Utah’s 103-91 victory against the Houston Rockets, it was just another daily workout for the basketball lifer. "You’re blocking everything out and just going out there and trying to achieve something," said Tinsley, 34. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native hated running as a kid. To the point that when Tinsley tried out for his first basketball team and his coach barked out the standard "go run laps" command, Tinsley walked out the door. Salt Lake Tribune

Al Jefferson sat on the side of a Houston gym before Thursday's practice and thought about somebody not in attendance. On his mind: Paul Millsap. Big Al's buddy and frontcourt partner in crime — victimizing opponents — was elsewhere getting his right wrist evaluated by a Houston doctor. "Paul is the type of guy who tolerate pain," Jefferson said. "For him to be in pain and complaining the way he was, I know it's got to be up there. I'm just praying and hoping everything will be OK." Deseret News

There was a little bit of a strange sight on the Oracle Arena floor some three hours before game-time. Warriors center Andrew Bogut was shooting around … without his walking boot. Bogut, acquired from Milwaukee on March 13 in a trade that involved Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh, has missed all but 12 games this season after fracturing his left ankle. CSNBayArea.com

It was as if Mo Williams had never been out, as if he hadn't missed the last 11 games because of a sprained left big toe. Williams scored 14 points off the bench on six-for-11 shooting, two for four on three-pointers Thursday night in the 95-82 victory over Minnesota. He also had five assists. He had not played a game in three weeks, but Williams was the same player he has been for the Clippers all season. Williams said credit for that goes to Clippers trainer Jasen Powell and his staff. "Those guys have been tremendous in my recovery," Williams said. "They've been on it every day, twice a day, keeping my cardio there. It was three or four different guys, starting at the top with Jasen. I've been working with them diligently every day, just trying to get back to this point." Williams last played March 22 at New Orleans. Los Angeles Times

Cheek announced Thursday that he has made himself eligible for the NBA Draft. There is no turning back. He has hired an agent, Happy Walters, the same man who represents former Wildcat Corey Stokes. Even if he had not hired an agent, Cheek’s college career would be over. The deadline for underclassmen to withdraw their name from consideration was Tuesday. Cheek did not come to his decision easily. He mulled it over for nearly two weeks before he decided to give up his senior year to pursue his dream of playing professionally. “It was a tough decision,” Cheek said. “That’s why I took my time with it. I wanted to make sure.” Delaware County Daily Times

With only a handful of days removed from the NCAA tournament, Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor have their eyes on the NBA. While signing autographs for fans, the two discussed what their plans for the upcoming NBA Draft that’ll take place in June. After an up and down four years at the University, Taylor is projected to be a late-first or early-second round pick, which varies among different mock drafts. Chad Ford, of ESPN Insider, has Taylor ranked as the 33rd overall prospect in this year’s draft. When asked about Ford’s projected outcome for him, Taylor laughed and said, “Thirty-three? Really?” In order to improve on that draft grade, Taylor acknowledges he there areparts of his game that he needs to elevate. “I’m just have to keep working hard, work on my jump shot and work on things they say I can’t do well,” Taylor said. “Can’t worry about what the mock drafts say and just continue to get better.” Kansan.com

Both players have different things to offer whichever teams decide to take the Jayhawks’ star players. Taylor and Robinson said they are both willing to do whatever they have to for their respective teams to succeed. Each has an ideal team in mind, when considering the draft. Taylor simply said, “The Lakers, let’s go Lakers.” Robinson, when asked the same question, laughed and smiled, and then said “New Jersey. I want to go to Jersey.” Kansan.com

Representing USA Basketball in the Olympics should be all the compensation necessary, according to Nets coach Avery Johnson, despite Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen stating that players have been shortchanged. Johnson, who never played in the Olympics, said Thursday that “(money) would not be one of the things that crossed my mind.” “I think this country has given us a whole lot,” Johnson said. “And fans and NBA basketball has given us a whole lot. When Magic (Johnson) and all those guys, and (Michael) Jordan and David Robinson and all those guys and (Charles) Barkley were on the Dream Team, I never heard that come up.” New York Daily News

Nets assistant PJ Carlesimo, however, says about paying Olympic players: "I think it's a good thing. ...“There’s pure rest for their bodies. There’s time away from their family and all the commitment they make. I can see where the argument would be." Carlesimo was an assistant coach on '92 Dream Team. “I remember vividly, in ’92, when we had professional athletes for the first time, I remember everyone saying, ‘Well you’re the only guys that didn’t have professional athletes in the first place.’ Sulia

“(Wade) has an opinion. That doesn’t make him a bad guy,” Johnson said. “I understand his point from a marketing standpoint. But I just think the first thought is that when you have a chance to represent your country, it’s different than playing for an NBA team.” Nets assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo, however, sided with Wade and Allen. In addition to the sacrifice of an offseason — which is magnified this season by the lockout-condensed schedule that will extend until late June for NBA finalists — Carlesimo noted that other countries pay their basketball players. New York Daily News

Howard made his denial today in a one-on-one interview with ESPN’s Hannah Storm. Clearly, the Magic and Howard hope that the interview will start to repair some of the damage to his reputation. Additional portions of the interview will appear on May 25 on an ESPN2 special called “Face to Face.” Here is a transcript of a segment ESPN released today: Storm: Tell me about that day when Stan Van Gundy told the media that you had gone to upper management and asked for him to get fired — from the moment you walked into the room unaware of what had taken place. Howard: Totally unaware; you know, I didn’t know what was going on. To be honest, the day before I saw some stuff come out where it was said, from sources, that I demanded that Stan get out of there. And I was like, ‘That’s crazy’. I never even said anything about it. Storm: So you never asked for him to be fired? Howard: No, no. So when it was said, I was just like, in shock, I was in shock. Orlando Sentinel

Storm: How does something like that happen? If you never made the request, then who told him that the request had been made? Howard: I have no idea. I have no idea. You know, but . . . Storm: Did that bother you? Howard: Did that bother me? You know, it did, it did. I got a lot of negative press out of the whole situation. You know, ‘Coach killer, this or that.’ And it was just bizarre how the whole thing happened. You know, but, I haven’t said anything this season — to anybody in management about, you know, you need to do this with Stan, or vice versa; they never said we’ll do this for you. Orlando Sentinel

Howard: I think me and Stan, we both have just strong, strong personalities. And at the end of the day we both want the same thing; we’ve sat in the office, we’ve had talks, and our goal is to win a championship. Storm: What did he say to you? Howard: Um, well he felt like what he did was out of line. And like I told him, after everything that went down, whatever was said was said. That’s over and done with; from this day forward let’s try to be on the same page so we can lead our team. Storm: If you could look back over the last year and do anything differently, would you? Howard: The only thing I could probably say that I could have done better is probably just keep my mouth shut more. Orlando Sentinel

Now that the Knicks are probable playoff entrants after their big victory in Milwaukee on Wednesday, now that he has Anthony in his corner and has J.R. Smith’s back, now that he has the Knicks playing Red Holzman-style defense, bringing back Woodson for next season increasingly looks like a “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it’’ move. Under Woodson, opponents are shooting 42.4 percent, averaging just 90 points. “Woodson is old-school 1980’s basketball,’’ said a person connected to the coaching staff. “Players respect that.’’ New York Post

Calipari, who some NBA executives believe will become a viable candidate, does not have that cache with NBA players. Calipari could stand as a risk, considering his NBA flop with the Nets and theatrical coaching style that his former Kentucky player, Knicks rookie Josh Harrellson, admitted might be too much for the league. Calipari probably would adjust, but why take a $7 million-per-year gamble that his college methods will work instantaneously in the NBA’s. There are indications he is not high on the Knicks’ list. New York Post

Keeping a tag team of Woodson and general manager Glen Grunwald would keep stability and avoid any potential GM-coach feud. Grunwald has his “interim’’ title attached and has made a series of jackpot moves since December. Obtaining waiver-wire cuts Lin and Steve Novak has been blissful and the daring maneuver to add defensive-player of the year candidate Tyson Chandler and sacrificing out-for-the-year Chauncey Billups became genius. “Woodson and Glen are on the same page — in a big way,’’ a person connected to the coaching staff said. New York Post

Before anyone could ask, Nets coach Avery Johnson explained the reason the Nets were practicing in the Philadelphia 76ers’ practice site yesterday afternoon, rather than their own. The coach, you see, had an appointment yesterday morning with a very important person: his boss, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. So instead of holding a normal morning practice at their own facility before going on the road, the Nets adjusted their schedule to accommodate the man who calls the shots. “I can share that we had a great meeting and we’re all on the same page about the vision of the ball club, the commitment that we’re all making and will continue to make,’’ Johnson said of his two-hour pow-wow with the Russian billionaire. “He’s excited about Brooklyn. He’s seen a change in the upgrade of our roster at some positions. So without sharing any more, we had a good meeting.’’ Newark Star-Ledger

Despite the rumblings, Grunfeld remains confident about the direction of the organization and has not let the speculation about his future affect him. “I’ve been in this business a long time,” said Grunfeld, whose current team will face his former team Friday at Madison Square Garden. “This has been a challenge, and we knew it was going to be a challenge when we got into it. I’m just working as hard as I can, to do best job that I can. Those things will take care of themselves in the future as we move along.” Washington Post

Portland Trail Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan has issued the following statement regarding comments made by sports kinesiolgist Zig Ziegler through a team press release on Wednesday afternoon. "It's unfortunate that Mr. Ziegler would feel compelled to make such false claims and absurd statements. It is also unacceptable that anyone who claims to be concerned with the health and well-being of our athletes would disclose their personal information. Our medical and training staff is one of the longest tenured and most highly respected in the league. Mr. Ziegler's comments appear to be motivated by his own desire for personal gain, which is not only irresponsible but also unprofessional." Blazers Edge

By the time NBA Commissioner David Stern closes the second day of the league’s Board of Governors meeting at New York’s St. Regis Hotel on Friday, the New Orleans Hornets could have a new owner. It appears the league might be ready to choose between an offer from a group headed by California swimwear manufacturer Raj Bhathal that will include former Hornets minority owner Gary Chouest, and a bid from New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson. New Orleans Times-Picayune

The Board of Governors could be asked to approve the ownership transfer for the Hornets before the meeting adjourns Friday afternoon. The NBA declined to comment and the other parties couldn’t be reached for comment. Sources close to the Bhathal group, which also included Larry Benson, Tom Benson’s youngest brother and represented in ongoing negotiations by former NBA player, coach and executive Mike Dunleavy, said Bhathal and Chouest met in New York on Monday with league officials, and possibly with Stern, while Benson reportedly also spoke with the NBA on Monday but was not in New York. All parties involved in the negotiations to purchase the league-owned Hornets have signed a confidentiality agreement, though in the past two months the Bhathal group has been publicly identified, as has Chouest’s ongoing interest in becoming a minority partner in that consortium. New Orleans Times-Picayune

Sources close to Bhathal’s group said Thursday that it has been Bhathal’s focus from the beginning to keep the team in New Orleans and that Bhathal has the financial wherewithal to consummate a purchase. Chouest, the source said, did not want to be a majority owner of the Hornets, but wanted to be involved on a basis similar to his previous minority ownership with founding owner George Shinn. Chouest initially purchased a 25 percent stake in the Hornets and absorbed an additional 10 percent through a series of financial contributions over the years. New Orleans Times-Picayune

For the second year in a row, Mayor Kevin Johnson will parachute into New York in an 11th-hour attempt to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Johnson will meet with Kings owners and NBA officials today for what appears to be an attempt at peacemaking following weeks of rancor that threaten to kill a tentative plan for a new downtown arena. Johnson's trip was announced Thursday afternoon by Maloof representatives – minutes after the Maloof family, flanked by attorneys and economists, finished briefing fellow NBA owners behind closed doors on the reasons they are refusing to sign on to a proposed Sacramento arena financing plan. Sacramento Bee

Johnson declined to comment about the trip. The mayor's staff, however, released an open letter from the mayor to the Maloof family late Thursday night laying out Johnson's parameters for today's meeting. In the letter, Johnson reiterated the city's stance that the Maloofs had agreed to a deal more than a month ago and said "under no circumstances will the city make material adjustments to the current terms of the deal." "Put simply, we have done our part. And there should be no expectation in (today's) conversation that this deal is subject to further negotiation." Sacramento Bee

The Sacramento Kings Maloof owners are in the midst of deep negotiations to try and perhaps get the NBA to reconsider whether it's a good idea to proceed with the current plan. More anxiety awaits for Kings fans everywhere. As if you needed any further reason to be terrified about this whole situation, Sarah Palin has weighed in, and she's 100% behind the Kings. I'm deathly afraid now. Hold me. SB Nation

Today Stern will hold a news conference after the board of governors meeting wraps up. And in an undisclosed location, at an unknown time, Sacramento's mayor will meet with the Kings owners to discuss topics that neither side will divulge. Earlier Thursday, a group of 26 Sacramento businessmen held a news conference saying they were faxing a letter to Stern calling for a change of ownership for the Kings. "We believe it is time for the Maloofs to sell their ownership of the franchise, for the good of the city and in the interest of advancing Sacramento's effort to build a downtown arena," the group wrote. The Maloofs fired back with an open letter saying the family was "saddened and disappointed" by criticism from people "not fully informed on the true details of the complex dealings in this arena process." Sacramento Bee

The Brooklyn Nets will be official by the weekend. NBA owners will vote to approve both the move to Brooklyn and the nickname, Brooklyn Nets, in the Board of Governors meetings on Thursday and Friday. The approval — a foregone conclusion considering there’s a $1 billion arena sprouting in Brooklyn — will be followed in the coming weeks by announcements revealing the logo and the uniform. New York Daily News

When Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks face the Heat at the Garden on Sunday at 1 p.m. on ABC, there is sure to be drama. But Anthony will be involved in another drama that night. At 9p.m. on Showtime,Anthony will haveaguest role in the second episode of the fourth season of “Nurse Jackie.” The showrevolves around actress Edie Falco, who formerly played Carmela Soprano on the hit “The Sopranos.” In this show, Falco plays Jackie Peyton, a nurse ataNew York City Hospital. In Sunday’s episode titled “Disneyland [Stinks],” Anthony has a small role appearing early in the episode at a rehab clinic. New York Post

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