HoopsHype rumors

April 26, 2012 | 09:01 PM ET Update

Evan Dunlap: Citing sources, @HowardtheDunk says Jameer Nelson will opt out of his contract. Twitter

Don't be surprised if GSW is interested in Antawn Jamison. New GM Bob Myers and Antawn are really close. Myers represented Jamison back in the day. The two broke into the NBA together. A veteran stretch PF, if Jamison is willing to come off the bench, he might be a good fit. All the Warriors have to offer is MLE, which other teams such as Miami and LA will also be able to offer. But maybe Myers' friendship with Antawn gives the Warriors an advantage Sulia

In a story that appeared in the Delaware County Daily Times, Chicago native and Sixers’ guard Evan Turner thinks the Sixers would rather play the Bulls because, “It means we’re dodging the tougher team. That’s what I think." The better team, of course, being the Heat? “We will be able to compete well against Chicago and have an opportunity to win the series,” he said. CSNPhilly.com

Former Kansas University basketball forward Thomas Robinson will be represented by Rival Sports Group of Beverly Hills, Calif., the organization announced Wednesday. Agent Tony Dutt, who also represents former KU players Marcus and Markieff Morris, will be handling Robinson's NBA contract. Dallas Morning News

Pacers president Larry Bird wants owner Herb Simon to plan for his departure after the season and has told several friends in the NBA that he's decided to leave, two people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com Thursday. Bird, 55, had an agreement with Simon to remain team president through the end of the season and decide his future then. The Hall of Famer has been clear in conversations with friends that Simon does not need to wait any longer before formally considering candidates to replace him, one of the sources said. CBSSports.com

Bird is said to be "100 percent" certain he's leaving after the most successful season of the Pacers' post-Palace brawl rebuilding, one of the sources said, but has been extremely guarded publicly about his intentions. The Pacers (42-24) have been one of the surprise teams of the lockout-shortened season, securing the No. 3 seed in the East and hosting the Magic in the first round beginning Saturday. CBSSports.com

April 26, 2012 | 04:23 PM ET Update

Part of the reason the free agent-to-be is feeling good apparently stems from a visit he made to Brooklyn Tuesday with teammate Jordan Farmar and Nets general manager Billy King. The three visited the still-under-construction Barclays Center, where the Nets will play next season and Williams admitted he was impressed with what he saw. "It was great, it was great,'' Williams said of the new arena. "It’s definitely taking shape. It was looking nice, it’s going to be a special arena.'' Williams said seeing the arena -- he tweeted pictures of the inside of it -- helped put him in a better mood and helped the Nets' case to re-sign him this summer. "I’ve got some big decisions to make,'' he said. "I think going to Brooklyn helped me see the vision again, so we’ll see what happens.'' Newark Star-Ledger

J. Michael: Nash isn't coming back to #Suns. They need to get younger and truly rebuild. And he wants to play for a contender #nba Twitter

Alex Kennedy: Steve Nash is likely playing his final minutes as a member of the Phoenix Suns. He'll likely join a contender this summer. Twitter

But Nelson has a player option for the 2012-13 season. He can either opt in for the upcoming season and earn about $7.8 million, or he can opt out and test the free-agent market. He will have to make a decision and declare his intentions within a week of the Magic’s final postseason game. “My thing is, I definitely want to be here next year and for the rest of my career,” Nelson said. “I’m just focusing on winning games and helping my team win and lead the team. But definitely it’s something in the back of my mind. But, like I said, I can’t focus on it as much as I would like to. I’ll sit down with my team and my family at the end of the season and discuss what’s going on and what are the possibilities.” Orlando Sentinel

Matt Bonner joined Sid Seixeiro on The Fan 590 in Toronto to discuss the Spurs’ superb, abbreviated regular season, while looking ahead to the playoffs. He also weighed in on Metta World Peace’s controversial elbow from the weekend and submitted his pick for the favorite out of the Eastern Conference. On his expectations going into the shortened season: “You know what? It was a lot of uncertainty. I wasn’t really sure how we would fare if it was one week of training camp, one or two preseason games and then right into the season. We got off to a little bit of a slow start — we were 12-9 at one point — but since then we left for our rodeo month-long road trip and we’ve been rolling ever since. And a big part of that is obviously the young guys that have stepped in — guys like Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, and Tiago Splitter, in his second year, has really come into his own. And we made some good pickups with Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Patty Mills, which has given us a lot of depth with this condensed schedule, let us manage minutes, and everybody’s contributing.” Sports Radio Interviews

On the Spurs exceeding expectations: “I think we’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations. Not that we don’t expect to go out and win every game, but it has been a great regular season. Luckily, we know all too well from last year that doesn’t translate into automatically advancing in the playoffs, so we understand that and if anything, going out in the first round last year is motivating us to be extra focused coming into this year. And we’re ready to go — we’re in rhythm, we’re healthy, we’re deep and we just wanna keep that going these last two games going into the first round.” Sports Radio Interviews

Williams said he thinks Howard is definitely out for the Summer Olympics in London, and admitted there is concern about how Howard will recover from his operation. "Back surgery’s always tough, depending on what it is,'' Williams said. "I’m not too familiar with what he’s had. D-Steve (DeShawn Stevenson) had back surgery and he talked about it, you know he didn’t really jump the same after that. "Dwight’s a little different specimen, though.'' Newark Star-Ledger

The Bobcats will have the best odds (1 in 4 chance) to get the No. 1 pick at the May 30 Lottery. The Wizards will have the second-best odds. After that, things are still in the air, with three teams currently with 21 wins, two with 22, one with 23, and another with 24. All those teams play tonight, with two of them – New Jersey and Toronto — going head-to-head. If Lottery teams are tied at the end of the season, the combinations for those Lottery positions are split evenly. But a drawing is held on Friday to determine which team gets the extra combination (if it’s an odd total) and which team is gets the higher pick should neither team move up into the top three. NBA.com

Derrick Rose soon will be losing his year-long reign as the NBA's most valuable player. But that doesn't mean the Chicago Bulls guard has lost his popularity. The NBA on Thursday announced that Rose's jersey is the most popular, based on sales at the temporary NBA Store on Fifth Avenue and on NBAStore.com from April 2011 to present. Chicago Tribune

April 26, 2012 | 08:04 AM ET Update

Antawn Jamison said he will not return to #Cavs next season: "For me, it's time to move on. I don't know what the future holds, but I definitely have a great feeling that this is my last home game and tomorrow will be my last game as a Cav." Sulia

Nash said he has "no clue" about his future and remains flexible on contract length even though he wants to play three more years. To stay, he would want to see the Suns improve their roster. "I think the team could use more playmakers," Nash said. "It depends on your strategy. You could go for bigs. You could go for consistent 20-a-game scorer. Or you could go for a few more playmakers at different positions. The team and the club need to really analyze what their philosphy is moving forward and put a contingency plan together to build the best team. It'll be an interesting period." Arizona Republic

On his emotions entering Wednesday night's finale: “First, I must admit that I’m not the most sentimental person in the world. It’s something I shy away from more than try to soak it up and get emotional. To be honest, I really didn’t get a chance to think about it. If this were to be my last game, it would be a night I’ll remember. It’ll be an important night for me. I didn’t get a lot of moments to put that in perspective because we were playing for our lives last night and coming back in the middle of the night and getting the kids from school and stuff like that, it’s not like you have a lot of time to sit around and put your career in perspective. I just wanted to play hard and go out on a good note for this season.” Arizona Republic

Nicolas Batum (restricted free agent) Did you think about this being your last practice as a Blazer? “Yeah, my last game, my last practice. I don't know what's going to happen July 1. I maybe back I may not. I don't know yet. Free agency is crazy. If they match (another teams offer), I'm going to stay here next year...I don't know yet, we'll see.” CSNNW.com

J.J. Hickson (restricted free agent) Did you think about this being your last practice as a Blazer? “No it hasn't. If I'm here next year that's not up to me. It's up to the powers that be. I'm just looking to get a good practice in like I just did and get ready for Utah tomorrow." Do you want to remain in Portland? “Of course. This organization thinks highly of me and vice versa. It's a type of mutual thing. It's a win-win for me and the organization. So, why not?" CSNNW.com

What's the situation with your left foot and your playing status past this season? Joel Przybilla: “I might have to have a minor surgery when the season is over. I'll be out a couple of weeks, nothing serious. But I definitely want to probably play next year...I definitely want to play. I really enjoyed it this year and I think next year if I did decide to come back, I'll be more prepared because this season had so many games crammed together.” CSNNW.com

For the Wolves, the game could mark the final one in a Minnesota jersey for a few players. Among those with an uncertain future is forward Michael Beasley. "I'd be lying to you if I said it didn't cross my mind," said Beasley, who will become an unrestricted free agent if the Wolves don't offer him a tender of nearly $8.2 million. "But, at the same time, I'm hopeful. I'm not putting too much thought or energy into it, because it's one of those things I can't control. I'm going to approach my summer as if I'm coming back next season." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Somehow, someway, the Wolves must come away from this summer considerably improved, whether it's by developing Williams and Johnson, dealing a young player(s) and draft picks for a veteran player or signing a veteran free agent. Any of the three ways can change the complexion of a team that veteran J.J. Barea the other night said has too few players who care enough about winning. "We have to be aggressive in all those areas," Adelman said. "We still have a really nice core group. We've got to get them healthy and we've got to add to those people." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

That core group consists of Love, Rubio and Pekovic -- two of the three acquired by McHale when he was the team's top basketball executive -- and are complemented by guards Luke Ridnour and Barea, both of whom Kahn signed to free-agent contracts. After that? "I don't know," Adelman said. "But I've seen situations where you add two, three guys and suddenly you've really got something." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The San Antonio Spurs today announced they have signed Derrick Byars from the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League for the remainder of the 2011-12 season. Per club policy details of the contract were not released. A 6-7, 220-pound guard/forward, Byars appeared in 25 games (22 starts) for the Jam this season, averaging 15.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.00 steals in 32.2 minutes. He helped lead Bakersfield to the D-League playoffs where he appeared in four games, averaging 13.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.50 steals in 31.0 minutes NBA.com

You’re going to win the title? Kobe Bryant: “Yes. I expect to win it, absolutely… I think the thing that’s our biggest strength is our versatility and our size. Sessions has added another dimension to our team in terms of speed and point guard that can score the ball. Our bench has been playing extremely well. We’ve been shooting the ball extremely well, and our biggest key is our perimeter shooting, limiting our turnovers, and keeping the game at our pace. If we can do those things in the postseason, I like our chances.” ESPN.com

Metta World Peace didn't expect a seven-game suspension from the NBA and will not contact James Harden because it's important to "stay competitive," the Lakers forward said Wednesday. World Peace has been in the eye of the sports world since elbowing Harden in the head Sunday in the Lakers' 114-106 victory in double overtime over Oklahoma City. He said his "main concern" was Harden's recovery but acknowledged he hadn't contacted him directly. "I see James in the summertime sometimes, playing basketball. Through a third party I got wind that he was OK," World Peace said at the Lakers' training facility in his first comments to reporters in three days. "We're probably going to see each other in the playoffs potentially, so I really didn't want to do any direct calls. Stay competitive. But through a friend, they said he was doing OK." Los Angeles Times

A reporter asked if World Peace "lost it" on the play. "I didn't lose it. It was bad timing for me. Physically, it was bad timing for Mr. Harden," he said. "Who could write up a left-handed dunk and then all of a sudden somebody's right behind you. It's hard to draw that up and to plan something like that. "It was just the worst timing for me. The way I'm feeling right now, back to that elite level. It's funny because a lot of guys that were able to guard me early, they have no chance now. They can't guard me. It's just the worst timing for me right now. But I'm happy that James is OK." Los Angeles Times

When the Mavs signed the 6-foot-3 guard for the league minimum Dec. 12, initially to back up Jason Kidd, they could be confident only in what they knew of the player: fierce competitor, intense defender, crafty mid-range shooter. As for the person, they could only go on what they were told: bipolar, intensely loyal to family, deeply caring, a convicted felon, a survivor. The unknown part that West would arrive flat broke and sleep in the Mavs' locker room would be dumbfounding. His teammates would soon come to understand why it was not. "He's a great person, a very caring person," Kidd said of West, who as a youngster on the playgrounds in Maryland and Washington, D.C., was called "Little Kidd" for his light skin and emulation of Kidd's game. "He's a competitor and he can play. He's a big part of our success here. Being around him this season has been great and I've learned a lot about him. He'll give you his last dollar if you need it." ESPN.com

West thinks about his older brother, Dmitri Jr., and his brother's wife and four children, who live in the house West bought them not far from his mother's home. The brothers talk on the phone every day. Dmitri was the first one West called after the unfortunate ear poke in Utah, the "West willy" that drew a $25,000 league fine, a stern lecture from coach Rick Carlisle and a string of easy pop-shots at West's character. "He didn't take the situation light. He was real upset with himself," his brother said. "He was disappointed in himself after he did that. I said, 'Bro, what you doing, man?' He said, 'I know, my bad.' He apologized to me because, believe it or not, sometimes it's out of his control because you know that he's dealing sometimes with the medical issue. Sometimes you're like, 'Did he go off again? What are you doing?'" ESPN.com

In the shifting environments of West's childhood, from home to home and school to school, aunts and great aunts became extended mothers, uncles were de facto fathers, and cousins -- even close friends who would move in -- became brothers and sisters. Asked how many siblings he has, West looked up as if it were a question he needed time to ponder and said, "Twenty? More." West said he was raised by a village. Dmitri Jr. calls his family and all its tentacles a clan. "At the end of the day, when the world beats you up and you got nobody to turn to, your family is always going to be there," West said. "I was raised in that system. I was raised with a village. My family is like that because cousins, close friends lived with us or we lived with them for years at a time. Their families were down and out or my parents. Four or five of us slept in one bed at the time same time. We just made it work and that's how it is. When my family had nothing, all my uncles and aunts made sure we were taken care of." ESPN.com

He acknowledges frivolous purchases in the early days, buying things just because he could. Just because when he was 13 on Christmas Eve, he was on a neighbor's rooftop making repairs to earn money for Christmas presents. Just because when other high school kids from his area with his talent were traveling to Las Vegas and California on the AAU circuit, he was pounding the asphalt at the park, practicing alone. "Every single time I talked to him, and I'm not exaggerating," St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said, "so if I talked to him once every other day in the summer, he was always going to the park to shoot or he had just come back from the park to shoot. So he was a kid that was playing outdoors when kids weren't playing outdoors, and he was always practicing alone when no one was practicing." ESPN.com

West was swerving wildly on the highway. The medication caused him to doze in and out until he realized he had passed his exit. A police car tailed him and, West says, he flagged them down. He pulled over, told the police he was medicated and out of sorts and carrying weapons. "I was already in two years with a contract with Cleveland," said West, who was looking forward to a lucrative extension on a team with LeBron James that was favored to win the championship. "Then I got into the incident and no teams wanted to even deal with me. I got written off as some crazy, gun-toting terrorist or something of that sort. From there, it had nothing to do with what I do on the basketball court." ESPN.com

KD evaluating his season: "I think this was probably my best year as an individual. More efficient, from the 3, from the field. Free throws were a little down. I passed the ball better, I had turnovers, but I passed the ball better. I rebounded. I think this is one of my better years, probably my best one. If I don't win any awards that's cool with me. I just want to grow as a player. Hopefully they start to come later in my career." Sulia

Wall is 3 of 42 from beyond the arc this season for a microscopic percentage of 7.1. He vows this summer when he trains in Los Angeles to improve his 3-pointer and his outside shooting in general. "I just know this summer I need to work on my 3-point spot-ups because that's a lot of shots I get," Wall said. "I just got to be able to knock them down. . . . Any point guard is going to want to make them pay (when defenses play off a mediocre outside shooter). But you got to keep making them (to keep defenses honest). It's something I got to work on to get better in this league." FOXSports Florida

Zach Lowe: Multiple coaches/scouts have told me Novak is a decent defender. Grizz will happily see and believe after that deflection. Twitter

Colangelo told ESPN.com on Wednesday night that the 12 players picked to represent the United States in London starting July 27 will come from the 16 names still available from the 20-man preliminary roster announced in January. Colangelo initially had left open the possibility last week that a replacement or two could be added in response to the recent losses of big men Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Lamar Odom. "We're not going to add anyone," Colangelo said Wednesday. "Even with the losses, we still feel like we're pretty well covered." ESPN.com

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that the Sacramento Kings have been quietly pushing for second-year center DeMarcus Cousins to be added to the preliminary roster and made eligible for the roster spot originally set aside for Howard. However, the sources said Cousins is only being considered for the select squad that will train in Las Vegas concurrently with the Olympic squad from July 6-11 and scrimmage against Krzyzewski's team before Team USA's five exhibition games leading up to the Olympics. ESPN.com

In the meantime, Wall is determined to work hard this summer and come back next season "an even better player." After all, he has lofty goals. One is to eventually play with Team USA in future World Championships and Olympics. "That's one of my goals, and, hopefully, I can reach that one day," said Wall, who said he could have interest in being one of the young players USA Basketball might select to work out this summer against the Olympic team. FOXSports Florida

Newly minted Knicks executive VP and GM Glen Grunwald praised the job Woodson has done. But when asked if Woodson would be back, Grunwald said, "We’re not talking about any staffing questions today. It’s one reason why I don’t speak a whole lot. We need to stay focused on the moment. We’re in the playoffs right now. We need to try and get a couple of wins this week and do as well as we can. We need to stay focused." Sulia

Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson and Isiah Thomas met for dinner Tuesday night in Westchester, hours after Glen Grunwald got promoted as the permanent executive VP/GM, according to sources. Woodson, Thomas and Grunwald were all teammates on the Indiana University basketball club for three seasons. Thomas, fired by Florida International earlier this month, is seeking employment and has lobbied hard with owner James Dolan to try to get back to the Knicks in some capacity. New York Post

Calipari has already said publicly that he will remain at Kentucky, but people close to him say the former Nets coach is eager to prove he can be successful in the NBA. The fact that Calipari is represented by CAA, the same agency that represents Anthony, has fueled speculation that he is a strong candidate. As for Jackson, there is a feeling in the organization that his heart isn’t in coaching anymore. There is also a fear that if Jackson came aboard, he would want complete control, which is something Dolan is not prepared to surrender. New York Daily News

LB says Jordan’s people didn’t have a “clue’’ and made him “sick’’ and were “spies.’’ Here’s what I saw: Rod Higgins (who I’ve had more than a few battles with) put up graciously with hundreds of hours of all the garbage that comes with being Larry’s personnel guy. Ask Billy King. Ask Donnie Walsh. You think I haven’t? Larry is a magnificent maniac. He has a savant quality when it comes to basketball, but he’s loopy; overreacts to whatever he last saw. Like a crab in the sand, searching for the next feed. Charlotte Observer

It used to be that “Good Larry’’ dynamic lasted five seasons (Indiana, Philly). Lately (New York, Charlotte) the exasperation exceeds the genius way too quickly. Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson were true believers, and then the day before the start of training camp two years ago Larry told them the front office had sold everyone out and they’d be terrible. That’s probably not the best message to send to your two key players entering a season. Whatever purpose LB intended, Wallace and Jackson saw this as renouncement. Imagine your parents telling you, “You’ll be nothing….uh, sorry.’’ Charlotte Observer

With Sacto arena situation still in limbo, source says members of Maloof family that owns the Kings will meet with Mayor Kevin Johnson & in Sacramento on Thursday. George Maloof has been leading his family's talks. According to The Bee, minority owner John Kehriotis & senior VP of biz ops John Rhinehart will likely attend. The sides have been talking again after their PR war, but the time has come for substantive discussions. This meeting will say a lot about which direction this is headed. Sulia

On his way out of Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, Paul stopped to address a gathering storm far more ominous than any basketball game, no matter where it's played. Paul, the only All-Star on the nine-member executive committee of the National Basketball Players Association, briefly addressed the internal power struggle between executive director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher. "I don't have any perspective on it right now," Paul told CBSSports.com. "I'm so locked in on the playoffs. ... I havent been able to talk to anybody or know really too much what's going on." CBSSports.com

Fellow committee members have mentioned Paul as a possible replacement for Fisher, who has two years left on his term as president and vowed in a memo to the players and a public statement last week that he would not step aside. "I'm honored," Paul said Wednesday night, "but I don't even think about that." As for what he'd like to see happen next in the battle for control of the NBPA, Paul said, "Not a clue. I just feel like it's messy right now." CBSSports.com

That doesn’t mean that everyone’s happy with the way this season went down. The compressed schedule raised serious concerns among coaches right from the start, and before the year, former coach Jeff Van Gundy called the 66-game slate a “money grab” by players and owners. Asked whether the schedule has worked out better or worse than he anticipated, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said, “Worse. I just think a lot of teams have not been able to work on a lot of stuff, especially, I look at some of our young guys who might have been able to help us in an 82-game season, they’ve had zero practices. On the days that we do practice, it’s not as competitive as it would have been, and I think those guys have been robbed of a year in a lot of ways, the young guys. ... Execution, it has taken all year. I mean, we’re still working on it. It’s been hard that way. I didn’t anticipate it being this difficult.” Sporting News

Still, Richardson says some of the quality-of-play concerns have been overblown, and points out that if this season indeed was a money-grab, it was a successful one. “The quality of basketball has not been that bad,” Richardson said. “Consider not having a summer, not having a training camp, not having practice time. All around, I think it was still a pretty good season, I think it was entertaining, I think financially, the league did well. The Hornets just sold for $325 million, so, obviously, the league is still making a lot of money. That’s supposed to be one of the teams that was losing a lot of money. So, obviously, the business of basketball is still doing great.” Sporting News

The Phoenix Suns' gorilla mascot was punched in the nose by a Miami Heat fan in an altercation that apparently all started when the primate was left hanging. The gorilla mascot, played by Robert Woolf, was at a promotional event at Tempe Marketplace in Arizona on Tuesday night when he said he tried to high five a customer, myFOXphoenix.com reported Wednesday. But that customer, Timothy Austin, refused, saying he was a Miami Heat fan. FOXSports.com

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