HoopsHype rumors

May 2, 2012 | 07:45 PM ET Update

The Phoenix Suns will have salary cap "flexibility" in the offseason but won't be out spending money just to spend it. Lon Babby, president of basketball operations, says that there's "a distinct possibility" that the team might hold off with any major spending another year if the right situation doesn't come up this summer. ESPN.com

A little more than a month later, Young is No. 11, Arenas is No. 10 and two of the faces of the Wizards wreckage are suddenly relevant. Young was one of the catalysts in the Clippers' stunning 24-point fourth-quarter rally, knocking down three straight threes in the final three minutes to help bring L.A. back. Arenas, signed by the Grizzlies in March, is a backup to Mike Conley. They have put the woeful ending in Washington in the rear-view mirror, never to be discussed. "No talking about the past," Arenas said. "When we see each other, we stay away from that area." SI.com

After Wednesday's practice at the New York Knicks' training facility, point guard Jeremy Lin participated in a 3-on-3 full- court scrimmage as he continues to make progress after his April knee surgery. Despite Lin taking contact and making some aggressive moves to the basket, Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Lin will not play in Game 3 Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. He's not sure if Lin will play at all in the team's first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat. ESPN.com

Stefan Bondy: Since unveiling the logo, Brooklyn Nets merchandise is the top seller at http://NBA.com and the NBA Store in NYC Twitter

May 2, 2012 | 03:01 PM ET Update

When it comes to forecasting personnel moves, one of the hottest topics fans love to discuss is the future of the Utah Jazz’s assortment of big men – Derrick Favors, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Enes Kanter. The prevailing thought is the Jazz will have to eventually deal one of those guys to eliminate a logjam in the frontcourt. That time, if it ever comes, seems to be a very distant place according to Jazz officials who insist no trades are in the works for Millsap. HoopsWorld

It wasn't tough talk from Harris, who had complimented Parker in the same breath. Jazz center Al Jefferson said the goal was ''not to hurt him or nothing like that,'' but rather to dissuade Parker from barreling into the paint and punishing Utah with either an acrobatic layup or kicking out to a 3-point shooter. ''The playoffs is physical. We just can't let him feel like he can come down in that paint any time he ready,'' Jefferson said. Parker brushed off the warning Tuesday. He's heard worse. ''It's not the first time someone has said that,'' Parker said. ''My answer is always going to be the same: I'm going to keep coming.'' Yahoo! Sports

Finally, Bryant let out a long sigh and insisted, “I wondered how I was ever going to play basketball again.” His arthritic knee had gone bone on bone, making every step an excruciating exercise. Bryant felt like the end was creeping closer. He couldn’t practice and couldn’t move with authority on the floor. “There were a lot of thoughts, a lot of self-evaluating going on, wondering, how can I ever be effective again? How am I going to play despite this knee? I couldn’t move. It was just so painful. There was nothing I could do. “But now I feel brand new, man.” Yahoo! Sports

Rest assured, Bryant has watched one star after another go down in these playoffs, and it leaves him grateful, gratified for the chance to play. “Right now, I have the opportunity to compete again,” he said. “Last year, I felt like I was on one leg.” And it still bothers him because Bryant has to come to understand he’s running out of time – his knee won’t stay strong forever. He closed his eyes in the bowels of the Staples Center late Tuesday and hit the rewind button back to the uncertainty, the unnerving end in Dallas last spring. Something else still stays with him, still bothers him, and probably always will. “I couldn’t give Phil all of me for his last season,” Bryant said. Yahoo! Sports

Although he averaged a career-low 7.7 points per game in his 13th season, World Peace reached double figures in nine of the last 10 games, including his second-quarter ejection on April 22. That offensive outburst came after a stretch from Dec. 29 to Jan. 20 when he failed to score in double figures, scoring two points or fewer eight times. The 149-day lockout was the culprit. "Out of shape early because of lockout. Couldn't get treatment so I took off a flat 3 months. I did nothing," he tweeted with a photo that shows his decline in weight and body fat. USA Today

World Peace shows that he was 268.7 pounds and at 13.3% body fat on Dec. 11. By Jan. 2, he'd dropped to 256.2 and 12.6%. On Feb. 17, he went up 10 pounds, likely muscle, but still dropped 1.6% in body fat. By April 30, World Peace's weight was down to 246.5 and 8.6% body fat – 22.2 pounds lighter and 4.7% fewer in bodyfat. USA Today

Nene arrived in Washington with a reputation for being a skilled big man with the ability to pass, defend and score in the low post. But Nene also showcase a mid-range shooting game that he claims he was unable to display in Denver, where the Nuggets had more offensive weapons. “I just play free here. What they say, ‘I didn’t know you were so good.’ I been working the last four summers. I couldn’t shoot in Denver. Here, I have the green light to shoot it,” he said. “In Denver we had different players who shot a lot the ball. I don’t like to follow the example and shoot a lot. I never see a coach say to the players, ‘shoot the ball, please shoot the ball’. They do that here.” Washington Post

Amare Stoudemire says there's a ``great chance'' he can play in Game 4 of the Knicks' series against Miami on Sunday despite cutting his left hand on a fire extinguisher case. Stoudemire is out of Thursday's Game 3 after a surgeon repaired a muscle in the hand Tuesday. The Knicks are calling him doubtful for Game 4, but Stoudemire says he's ``not totally sure yet.'' NBA.com

"I think the fans are actually thinking I had a closed fist and I punched through a glass door," said Stoudemire, who added he takes full responsibility for the incident. "So I think they've got the wrong perception of what actually happened. Obviously I walked by and I just swung my arm backwards and hit the fire extinguisher door and sliced my hand a little bit by accident. I think they've got the wrong perception of what happened. I can understand their frustrations right now. I'm frustrated myself as well, for not being available for Game 3. ESPN.com

In the wake of serious injuries that have decimated Team USA's roster of Olympic finalists, sources said Kentucky big man and projected No. 1 pick Anthony Davis has been selected as a replacement candidate to compete in the London Games this summer. USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and the coaching staff headed by Mike Krzyzewski will be adding one other player, with both picks expected to be announced later Wednesday. According to sources, players under consideration were Pistons center Greg Monroe, Jazz center Al Jefferson and Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. But Cousins, sources said, has been invited to the Select team -- which will train with Team USA before the Olympics -- and is not the other finalist addition. SI.com

There's a chance that Colangelo could make even more additions, especially if the injuries continue to mount. It was believed that there were five vacancies in all, but it appears there are four after Colangelo told reporters in Las Vegas on Tuesday that Mavericks forward Lamar Odom is still under consideration. Odom, one of the original finalists, was thought to be out of contention after a tumultuous season in which Dallas deactivated him. Still, sources said it's unlikely that Odom will be on the final roster of 12. SI.com

Nevertheless, Bryant performed well under the mask, averaging 29.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, according to Basketball-Reference.com, as the Lakers went 9-2 during the 11-masquerade stretch. When he was cleared to play without it, Bryant said he'd "see if anybody's dumb enough to buy that sweaty mask." Now, thanks to Kobe, his wife Vanessa and eBay, you can be that dummy. Yahoo! Sports

May 2, 2012 | 09:49 AM ET Update

In the wake of an injury crisis, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Tuesday that he's likely to add "one or two players" to the list of finalists for Team USA's Olympic roster. The U.S. announced 20 finalists in January, but has since lost five of those candidates. Starting center Dwight Howard recently had back surgery and point guard Derrick Rose tore a knee ligament Saturday. ESPN.com

After everything that has transpired in Cousins' brief but eventful NBA career, just being included in the Team USA conversation is a coup. Cousins should forget about Kings and Queens and the London Bridge, and concern himself with dominating the training sessions in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. "Statistically, you can easily make the argument that DeMarcus is in the group of the top 20 players already," said John Greig, Cousins' agent. "But it's so easy to pencil him in, saying this is who he is. I do think the (perception) is changing, though." Sacramento Bee

Tyson Chandler has been voted the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year for his impact on the New York Knicks, a person with knowledge of the award said Tuesday. The Knicks went from tied for 27th in the NBA in opponent points per game last season to 11th in their first season with Chandler at center. They trimmed 11 points off the 105.7 they yielded in 2010-11. Chandler's victory was first reported by Yahoo Sports. The person told The Associated Press of the honor on condition of anonymity because the official announcement was to come from the NBA. The award will be announced Wednesday. New York Daily News

Outside of winning championships, there are so precious few ways to transform the labels fastened to the young, immature basketball player. For years, Amar’e Stoudemire maddened everyone with the Phoenix Suns. He was a bewildering blend of talent and moodiness, a prolific scorer forever devoid of desire on defense. His moods were legendary and leadership was a lost cause. Yahoo! Sports

“I think Scottie Pippen’s decision not to go back into that playoff game spoiled his image among the fans, and I wonder if that will be the same case now with Amar’e,” Kerr said. “Ask anyone on the Bulls, and everybody loved Scottie. He was a phenomenal teammate. But he lost his mind for one moment and it cost him his reputation with a lot of people.” Yahoo! Sports

“I keep seeing people say that this was such a selfish act, but it wasn’t selfish at all,” Kerr said. “Selfish is when you know what you’re doing is going to hurt the team. But Amar’e hurt the team by accident, out of his frustration with the game. Hey, he made a poor decision on what to swing at.” Yahoo! Sports

Mike McGraw: Korver on Rose: "He’s a great teammate. He was in here after the game telling us to keep our heads up and we will." Twitter

Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins will be on the court and his usual scowling, fouling self for Game 3. There are no penalties forthcoming against the Thunder big man who got into a dust-up with Dirk Nowitzki , the Mavericks have been told. The incident in question was the first-quarter run-in that started with Serge Ibaka poking Nowitzki in the left eye after he canned a jump shot. He got irritated and after another jumper, he and Perkins got tangled up under the basket. Dallas Morning News

Soon after Lakers center Andrew Bynum dropped a triple-double in the Lakers' 103-88 Game 1 win Sunday over Denver, Nuggets Coach George Karl contended that "he was playing nice illegal defense," that 30 instances went uncalled. The argument sparked amusement from Bynum, Kobe Bryant and Coach Mike Brown, who contended again Tuesday that Karl is "doing what a lot of coaches do." Before Game 2, however, Karl suddenly didn't consider it a big deal. "You guys talked about it much more than I talked about it," he said. "There's a lot of teams playing illegally against us because that's what we do, the best way to stop us is to put someone in the middle of the paint as much as you can. We've conquered it many nights." Los Angeles Times

There might be 16 championship banners hanging from the rafters and Jack Nicholson sitting courtside, but Staples Center is not an intimidating place to play, according to Denver Nuggets coach George Karl. "This is not a hot building. It's kind of a stage. It's a Broadway stage," Karl said before the Nuggets took on the Lakers in Game 2 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series on Tuesday. "It has a history and an energy to it, but it's not one of those where you can't hear or sometimes you're afraid to feel (the opposing crowd). This is more of a stage than an intense building like Oklahoma City (has) or something like that." ESPN.com

But it wasn't the size of the crowd that seemed to be bothering him then. It was his overgrown beard. The Clippers began growing them after they clinched their first playoff berth in six years with a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 16. Griffin swore at the time that it would be fun, that he could indeed grow a full beard. But two weeks into the exercise, all he had was an itchy mess around his neck and jaw that was only going to get worse the more he scratched it. "I don't really like it," he said, rubbing his chin. "But it's a team thing, so I'll go with it." ESPN.com

It's a compliment, though it doesn't feel like it all the time. The place he intends to go is earned, not given. "This year, I'm under the microscope," Griffin says. "I'm really being critiqued in every single area, which is fine." ESPN.com

Bryant's comments on how to respond to the harsh physical treatment should be taken as advice, not criticism. If anything, Bryant was doing him a favor simply by commenting on the issue and confirming that Griffin is being hacked by opponents. The problem is that it's too late now to do anything about it. "Now is not the right time," Griffin said. "We're going into the playoffs. We need everybody on the floor. We can't give up stupid points as far as technicals or flagrants. You've just got to keep your composure and whenever something like that is happening, realize why it's happening." ESPN.com

A source told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard that half of Amare Stoudemire's hand was "hanging off" after he punched the glass casing containing a fire extinguisher after the Knicks' loss to the Heat in Game 2 on Monday. "He didn't haul off and punch the glass; he hit it out of frustration," a person who witnessed the incident told Broussard. "He kind of slapped it, but with a closed fist. He said he thought it was plastic instead of glass. "Half of his hand was just hanging off. It was really bad. Blood was just squirting out. That's why they had the paramedics come in, because they thought he might have punctured an artery because of how much blood was coming out." ESPN.com

Only reason I'm not on killing-of-Stoudemire bandwagon is because I know how hard he worked to get back for playoffs. As I wrote, 10 hours a day of rehab to get back from bulging disk. And we haven't made enough about mental state as brother died on Super Bowl Sunday in tragic car accident. It's a close family. He talked about it last week. His family is just getting over it. He hates Heat, Bosh, who took his spot there. Cared too much. Stupid but won't say hurt character. Sulia

But apparently, Sidney is turning his life and hopefully his basketball career around. NBPA Certified Agent Johnny Foster has informed me that he has signed Sidney to a representation agreement. Furthermore, Foster states that Sidney has made great progress with his game, has lost 15 lbs, and is looking great. As of right now, it appears that Sidney will not be drafted, but if he can turn things around, he may still have the talent to make an NBA team (or D-League affiliate) as a project worth working on. Sports Agent Blog

If the Charlotte Bobcats head down that assistant-ready-to-be-a-head-coach route, here are two names worth considering: Golden State’s Mike Malone and Orlando’s Steve Clifford. Malone is a defensive specialist who is Mark Jackson’s lead assistant with the Warriors. Previously he worked for the New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers. He was a big part of Monty Williams’ improvement of the Hornets’ defense when they went 46-36 two seasons ago. Charlotte Observer

“The thing about Pop is he’s a great example for our profession,” Thibodeau said. “I’m happy for him. He’s had a great season. The way he runs an organization, you can’t say enough about him. The thing I really admire about him is I had an opportunity to meet him 20 years ago and he’s the same guy today that he was then. All the success, the championships, he hasn’t changed one bit.” Chicago Sun-Times

When Paul Westphal knew his tenure as Kings’ head coach was coming to an end, he gave Smart his blessing. After parting ways with the Golden State Warriors following a better than projected 2010-11 season, Smart’s second-wind as an NBA head coach came sooner than he had expected. “I knew he was prepared to be a head coach then,” said soon-to-be free agent guard Jamal Crawford, who spent one season in Golden State while Smart served as an assistant. “It was like preparation. Every situation, he had a lot of patience. “He knew how to challenge guys,” Crawford added. “Sometimes you need to get in a guy’s face to challenge them (and) sometimes you need to back off and do it a different way. He had that back then.” Cowbell Kingdom

This week's graduating class at Barry University is about to get bigger. Retired NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal will graduate Saturday with a doctoral degree in education from the Miami Shores university. His 7-foot-1 frame will don a red-and-black velvet gown as he joins 1,100 graduating students at the commencement ceremonies at the James L. Knight Center in Miami. Known simply as Shaq, he now can call himself Dr. O'Neal. For 4 1/2 years, the former Miami Heat center took 16 courses, completed 54 credit hours and carried a grade point average of 3.813, according to the university. The 40-year-old's exact degree is in Organizational Learning and Leadership, with a specialization in human resource development. South Florida Sun-Sentinel

On Tuesday, he said he is pain-free, taking no medications and feeling healthier than he has since high school. He has a life again, but a different one. "Your life is never the same again," he said. "And that's why I'm here today." "Here" was the Providence Cancer Center in Northeast Portland, a leading facility in cancer prevention, research and treatment. On Wednesday, Walton, joined by Trail Blazers broadcaster Bill Schonely, will speak at the center's annual luncheon at the Oregon Convention Center, a role filled in the event's previous 13 years by such sports luminaries as Cal Ripken Jr., Vivian Stringer and Scott Hamilton. None, though, had the Portland connection of Walton, who led the Blazers to the only NBA title in franchise history in 1977. Oregonian

Lakers power forward Jordan Hill said Tuesday night he was "shocked" to learn he had been charged Monday morning with a felony assault stemming from a Feb. 29 incident with a girlfriend while he was a member of the Houston Rockets. Hill wasn't sure whether he'd have to appear in court in Houston. "Right now, I'm just letting my agent and attorney take care of it and we'll see what's going on," the 24-year-old Hill said before the Lakers faced the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series at Staples Center. "I don't know anything. I just got a phone call and I was definitely shocked, just like everybody else was. Just gotta deal with it." Los Angeles Daily News

Alan Hahn: Levane scouted CBA/USBL circuit in early 90s; led to John Starks and Anthony Mason. And was very friendly, helpful to a young reporter. Twitter

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