HoopsHype rumors

May 3, 2012 | 08:05 PM ET Update

Team officials and Howard's primary surgeon, Robert Watkins Sr., have said that Howard has been advised not to travel, but Howard's absence has fueled speculation that he is estranged from the franchise. Both Smith and Magic CEO Alex Martins said Howard has not asked for a trade. Orlando Sentinel

Not only is he healing physically after back surgery, perhaps he is in a good place mentally as far as the Magic are concerned. We’ll have to take the word of CEO Alex Martins and GM Otis Smith, who both say that Howard has not asked to be traded again. Then again, it’s early May and who knows how the offseason will shake out? Owner Rich DeVos repeated a familiar mantra before Game 3, telling me, “We have to keep the big man.” Orlando Sentinel

The Warriors really thought they could bring Stephen Jackson back to Oracle Arena until he asked Larry Riley for a contract extension immediately following the Monta Ellis-Andrew Bogut trade. Riley was surprised to find three suitors for Jackson and worked out the deal with San Antonio for Richard Jefferson and a first-round pick while Jackson was at the Minneapolis Airport and scheduled to fly to Oakland. Sulia

However, Jerry Colangelo said Odom reached out to USA Basketball and told them how much he wanted to be on the Olympics. So he remains in the mix and will be invited to camp. However, it still remains unlikely Odom will make the final roster. Sulia

May 3, 2012 | 06:14 PM ET Update

Sam Amick: As @Jeff Zillgitt reported earlier today, sources confirm that OKC's James Harden will also be added as a Team USA roster finalist. Twitter

Rajon Rondo has tested the patience of Celtics president Danny Ainge over the past few years, most recently with his second suspension of the season involving an NBA referee, but like the rest of his teammates, Ainge came to the defense of the team's star point guard. "I think Rajon is learning all the time," Ainge said Thursday on the Big Show. "I think he's a smart kid. He didn't want this to happen. He's just an emotional kid." WEEI.com

How to explain Bryant’s patience with Andrew Bynum’s immaturity issues, Metta World Peace arriving to training camp out of shape and Bryant's willingness to be a coach on the sideline during his recent shin injury? He has a former head coach to thank. "It's part of being around Phil [Jackson] so much," Bryant said. "A lot of it has rubbed off on me. I try to communicate that around the guys as best as I can." Los Angeles Times

May 3, 2012 | 03:17 PM ET Update

With injuries to prospective players for Team USA basketball at the Summer Games in London, an intriguing name has emerged for strong consideration as a late addition to the preliminary roster: Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden. It is not official, but Harden likely will be added, possibly as soon as today, USA TODAY Sports learned from a person with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. USA Today

John Wall has been invited to participate with the Team USA select team that will scrimmage with the Olympic team this summer, USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo confirmed on Thursday. Wall has long stated that one of his goals is representing this country in international competition and being a part of the select team is an important step in being part of the U.S. men’s national team pool. A few months after the Wizards made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, Wall said he would like to like to have a chance, “hopefully soon .” He added that it was “going to take time .” Washington Post

Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving will have a busy July representing team and country in Las Vegas. The presumptive NBA Rookie of the Year not only will lead the Cavs’ summer league squad, but also help prepare the U.S. Olympic basketball club as it readies for the Summer Olympics in London. USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo confirmed that Irving will receive an invite to participate on the U.S. Select Team, which acts as a sparring partner for the Olympic team and serves as a pool of talent from which future international sides will be drawn. The select squad, comprised of 10 to 14 players, will scrimmage against the Olympic team from July 5-11, a Team USA spokesman said. Cleveland Plain Dealer

In a text message, Colangelo wrote a youngster like Irving “needs to pay his dues” the way Westbrook, Rose, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love did as US Select members in 2008. “I think the key word today is flexibility,” Colangelo said in a Tuesday conference call. “Flexibility on time, flexibility with names and roster sizes, etc. I think we have concluded to some degree, although we're not finished with our meetings, that we will probably add one or two players to that pool and that’s because of circumstances. "We're also excited about some of the young players that we feel can really be part of this and the future of USA Basketball and that’s a consideration for us as we select the Select Team.” Cleveland Plain Dealer

FIBA: You will turn 35 in July. Are the 2012 Olympics going to be your last international competition? Ginobili: I don’t know yet. I’m quite sure it will be my last Olympics because of my age, but I still haven’t decided if I’ll play again with the national team after this summer. I’ll play this competition as if it were the last one, but we never know. If I’m healthy after the Olympics, there’s a possibility for me to keep playing for Argentina. I’ll decide at the end of the summer. FIBA.com

FIBA: Do you think Argentina has a chance to win a medal in London? Ginobili: Yes I think so. Our team is talented and we have a group of players who know perfectly how to play together. It will be difficult to reach the gold because teams like the USA and Spain look superior to the others, but I’m sure that we can fight for a medal. FIBA.com

When asked if he felt like he let the team down, Rondo responded with a sharp “No. Do you think I let the team down?” The 26-year-old was even more defensive when asked if he had anything to prove come Friday night. “I don’t have anything to prove. Why would I have anything to prove? I just want to win, that’s it,” he said. “I’m confused about why you guys think I have anything to prove. This is a game I’ve been playing my entire life. The world knows what I can do. I’m just going to go out there and play, do what I do best; try to be the best point guard in the NBA.” CBS Local

Jason Kidd, who has a personal foundation dedicated to youth education efforts, has been voted the NBA Sportsmanship Award by his peers. He will be given the Joe Dumars trophy for his efforts. The NBA will make a $10,000 donation to The Jason Kidd Foundation, which is “dedicated to improving education among the youth, by ensuring that kids of all ages have the tools needed through mentoring, tutoring and technology programs.” NBCSports.com

It won't be Linsanity to the rescue after all. Jeremy Lin, one month removed from knee surgery, has ruled himself out of Game 4 of the Knicks-Heat first round playoff series. "Yeah, I don't think the timing (is good)," Lin said on Thursday. "I'll probably get one more day of contact maybe between now and the next game and I haven't been able to load it or jump or explode or drive by somebody the way I want to so it's going to be longer than that." New York Daily News

Lin said he hoped to play in this series against the Heat, perhaps in Game 4 Sunday or Game 5 next week, if the Knicks can extend it. But coach Mike Woodson said all of it will depend on how his knee feels after this workout. "The test is going to come in if he can cut and guard people and be able to handle the ball and make plays and take it off the dribble," Woodson said. "I don't know if there's enough time to really determine that. I'll sit down with him [Thursday] along with the doctors and see how he feels after running up and down." Newsday

After blowing a 27-point lead at home to the Los Angeles Clippers in Sunday night's stunning Game 1 loss, the Memphis Grizzlies had to face some restless natives. Point guard Mike Conley told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that he heard about the loss "everywhere ... Restaurants, the gas station, the dry cleaner." It must have been a tough few days; few things are worse than feeling like your support system's lost faith in you. The fans at the Grindhouse do have these Grizzlies' backs, though, as we learned during Memphis' series-leveling 105-98 win on Wednesday night. And sometimes, as center Marc Gasol learned after hitting the deck to save a loose ball on the sideline in the first quarter, they have a funny way of showing it. Yahoo! Sports

Chris Bosh of the Heat hurried back to Miami overnight to get to the hospital in time to watch his wife give birth to their first baby together. Cool! It must have been an exhausting day for Bosh – he arrived in NYC at 6:30 Wednesday, but then got a call to head home for the birth, and he arrived in Miami around 2 am Thursday. Now, Bosh is on a plane back to New York so he can play in game three for the Heat tonight, according to David Aldridge of TNT. The Big Lead

May 3, 2012 | 09:42 AM ET Update

After Wednesday’s meeting with the media, Babby’s comments reflected that Nash and the Suns are communicating and on the same plane of thought. Babby said he spoke with Nash after the lockout was lifted, and it was at that when point both parties made the agreement to hold steady for an entire season. “I made a commitment to him that we weren’t going to trade him if he wanted to stay,” Babby said. “He was the ideal partner all season long.” Now, Nash finally has a decision to make, but Babby said the Suns will be “full participants in that process” of reaching a final verdict. Valley of the Suns

"You'd be taking a tremendous risk with Amare," the executive said, "and the feeling around the league is he's living on borrowed time with his knees. I just don't think anyone would take him." ESPN.com

A report by Aroundthheworldbasketball.com Wednesday said that the Nets are nearing a verbal agreement on a three-year deal with the 6-foot-10 small forward, who had spent ten years playing for Utah before heading back to Russia for this past season. However, multiple sources said that while the Nets have monitored Kirilenko's play this season for CSKA Moscow, the report saying the two sides are nearing a verbal agreement is inaccurate. New York Post

The Suns already made one decision on a free agent. Babby said that it is "quite likely, if not certain, that we're going to match" any offer sheet on restricted free agent Robin Lopez, a four-year Suns center. "He gave us a lot down the stretch this year," Babby said. "We need rim protection, and he gives that." The team's other restricted free agent, Aaron Brooks, was called an "important asset," although he can't be used in a sign-and-trade because he was not on the roster. Arizona Republic

Pistons veteran small forward Tayshaun Prince dropped by the NBATV studio in Atlanta this week to provide analysis for the NBA playoffs. But first he had to answer the No. 1 question for national analysts when it comes to the Pistons: Was this the final season for his longtime teammate Ben Wallace? Prince didn't break any news but provided some insight. "I think it is a situation where he is still thinking about it," Prince said. "One side is telling him it is time to spend time with the family and relax a little bit, and then the other side is saying I still have more left in the tank." Detroit Free Press

With somewhere between $12 million and $20 million in salary-cap room this summer, the Trail Blazers hope to sign either one maximum-salary free agent, or two at lesser amounts, interim general manager Chad Buchanan says. Portland is targeting the point guard and center positions. Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Goran Dragic, Jameer Nelson, Andre Miller and Chauncey Billups are among the point guards available; Chris Kaman, Roy Hibbert, Brook Lopez and Javale McGee are among the centers, though the latter three are restricted. Portland Tribune

Like you, the three-time scoring champ sees his shooting percentages in this opening round series with Dallas and believes he's due. “I do,” Durant said, “because I come in and I put in the work. It's not like I'm just sitting around and waiting for it to come to me. I try to force it a little bit with my work. So if it comes to me, I'll know that's because I worked hard. If it doesn't, then I know I got to keep working hard. It's just a matter of being mentally tough. I want to make shots. I want to be efficient. But I'm not right now. But I've got faith in myself and I'm positive that it'll turn around.” Durant has made just 15-of-44 shots entering Thursday's Game 3 inside American Airlines Center. He's made only 3-of-12 3-pointers and has looked totally mystified thanks to the Mavs. Oklahoman

Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he will continue to run the offense through Durant. “He's getting good looks,” Brooks said. “(Shawn) Marion's doing a great job, but he's also getting great looks. It seems like he's missing the open ones and making some of the contested ones. Hopefully he can make the open ones. But he's fine. Kevin's a terrific player that works hard, that works on his game … That's the only way you can make shots, by keep doing what you've done to make them in the first place.” Oklahoman

In Game 2, when Durant made just 5-of-17 shots, the ratio was much worse. Amazingly, 16 of his shot attempts were jumpers. And unlike in Game 1, only four were open. “I think coach has been drawing up some good plays, it's just a matter of me finishing,” Durant said. Most of Durant's misses can be attributed to Marion. In head-to-head situations, Durant is just 4-of-16 against Marion. And only four of those attempts were open as Marion continually contested shots with his length and quick closeouts.“I don't think it's just Marion,” Durant countered. “They're playing zone. Marion's a good defender, but it's not like he's guarding me the whole game.” Oklahoman

If the Knicks fail to beat Miami in Game 3 at the Garden, it would be the franchise’s 13th straight playoff loss, which would set an NBA record. The Knicks are currently tied with the Grizzlies, who lost 12 straight from 2004 through 2006. The last time the Knicks won a playoff game, VCRs were common household devices, iPods had not been invented and Lindsay Lohan was starring in Disney television movies. On the court, Latrell Sprewell, Allan Houston, Glen Rice and Marcus Camby took a 2-1 lead with a 97-89 win at the Garden in their first-round series on April 29, 2001, but dropped the next two to Vince Carter, Charles Oakley and the Raptors. The Knicks were then swept by the Nets (2004) and Celtics (2011) and are down 0-2 to the Heat this year. Baron Davis, who has won playoff games with the Hornets and Warriors, shrugged. “You’re the first person to tell me about (the streak),” he said. “I didn’t know.” New York Daily News

LeBron James on Wednesday declined to fire back after Reggie Miller questioned him for reaching out to Hall of Fame players last summer, including Hakeem Olajuwon (who helped James with his post game), Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas. “This is one of the most physically gifted guys in our league,” Miller said on TNT. “He left Cleveland, and he had every right to join one of the top five players in the league in Dwyane Wade along with Chris Bosh. “Now he’s reaching out to Hall of Famers to see what it takes to win? Enough is enough. Go out and actually do it on your own. What do you need more help for?” Miami Herald

James said he wasn’t aware of Miller’s comment, but that “it’s good to have perspective from someone else’s point of view” about the playoffs, “their championship runs, their playing days in general.” Asked if he’s “good” with Miller — who will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September — James said, “I’m good with my family and teammates. That’s all that matters to me.” Miami Herald

Millsap was flabbergasted after a complete team no-show, which included some pretty ugly stats: a 20-0 first-half run by the Spurs, 23.4 percent shooting by Utah in the first half, an 11-point second quarter, two players leading the team in scoring with just 10 points apiece. "I can't explain it. I especially can't explain it tonight. They just came out and just whooped us," Millsap said. "It could be the worst ever (playoff loss) for us. I never witnessed something like that." Deseret News

Austin Croshere, who is a former Pacer and now works on their broadcasts, tweeted this photo along with, "The Pacers training staff is taking injury prevention to a whole new level!" CBSSports.com

Dwight Howard is 10 to 15 pounds lighter and has a slight belly these days. That's the report from Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith , who traveled to Los Angeles on Tuesday and spent some time with the All-NBA center as he recuperates from surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. "He seems to be good," Smith said. "He's a little perturbed that he can't be around. He's a little perturbed that he can't play at this time of the year especially." Orlando Sentinel

Team officials and Howard's primary surgeon, Robert Watkins Sr., have said that Howard has been advised not to travel, but Howard's absence has fueled speculation that he is estranged from the franchise. Both Smith and Magic CEO Alex Martins said Howard has not asked for a trade. Smith said Howard is watching all the team's playoff games and that he and Howard exchanged texts during Orlando's Game 2 loss Tuesday. "He thinks we're good enough to win," Smith said. "I tell him we actually have to play pretty close to a perfect game without him back there." Orlando Sentinel

Heat forward Chris Bosh may miss Game 3 of Miami's Eastern Conference first-round series in New York on Thursday after being summoned home because his wife was preparing to give birth. The Heat were told late Wednesday that Bosh had to return home. Bosh left from New York on a private plane, and his wife, Adrienne, posted a photo on a social media account saying "hurry home." ESPN.com

Amar’e Stoudemire has always been a cocky player across his career and yesterday he could have been more bold in saying he wanted to try to play with a bandaged left hand in Game 4 Sunday. Though the Knicks still list him as doubtful, Stoudemire, yesterday wearing a cast after surgery, also tried to minimize the incident, saying fans have “the wrong perception’’ of what occurred. New York Post

After he injured his back March 24 against Detroit, Stoudemire also said he was fine and would play the next game. Stoudemire then missed 13 straight games. “I think it’s a great chance, but I’m not totally sure yet,’’ Stoudemire said about playing Sunday. New York Post

"I just walked by and hit the fire extinguisher," said Stoudemire, is averaging 13.5 points per game in the series. "The door is made of 85 percent metal and 2 percent glass, just a little strip of glass. I didn't try to hit the glass at all. I just walked by, swung my hand at the wall, hit the fire extinguisher and cut my hand. "I was more frustrated by the fact that we were down 0-2. It wasn't as if I was really trying to take out the fire extinguisher door. I wanted to make some noise and let out some frustration. Unfortunately I cut my hand by accident. I'll be back soon." Newsday

With the Hawks already missing injured big men Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia, the team eagerly (and fearfully) awaited word Wednesday on the prognosis for power forward Josh Smith’s left knee, injured in Game 2. Officially, Smith’s MRI revealed a strained tendon in his left knee and he is day to day, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Smith has patellar tendinitis with inflammation in the area, making him doubtful for Game 3 in Boston Friday. Smith limped off the court with four minutes left in the Game 2 loss. Hawks coach Larry Drew cited Smith’s absence as a major reason the team couldn’t finish the game out. Boston Globe

“I’m always concerned in these type of situations,’’ Drew said Wednesday, before results of the MRI were revealed. “I know Josh is a guy that if it’s just hurting, he’s going to play. He has that kind of toughness. “But if it’s a situation where he absolutely, positively can’t play, then he won’t be out there. He’s just been so good for us. And certainly he’s a key component in order for us to have success.’’ Boston Globe

The diagnosis said Butler would be out four to six weeks with the injury, meaning the earliest he could return would be the end of May. Butler, who was replaced in the starting lineup for Game 2 Wednesday night by Bobby Simmons, was injured in the third quarter of Sunday's night's game when his hand got caught in Rudy Gay's jersey. "I haven't done anything with a basketball yet, but I do know that I injured it early in the third quarter and I still was able to play and be effective," Butler said. "I just knew something was wrong and I knew something wasn't feeling right. I'll go see the specialist tomorrow and see what they come up with." Los Angeles Times

Jeremy Lin participated in a 3-on-3 scrimmage yesterday and will sit down with coach Mike Woodson today to see if he feels ready to join the series Sunday. Lin hasn’t played since tearing the meniscus in his left knee March 24 and having surgery days later. If he plays Sunday, he would beat the six-week timetable. Conditioning and quickness on defense are issues to Woodson. “This the first time he’s been able to run up and down,’’ Woodson said. “He’s gone through a lot of drills. ... The rest will come if he can cut and guard people and be able to handle the ball and make plays off the dribble. New York Post

The final details have not been worked out, but when the list of teams is released for the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas this summer, expect the Wizards to be on it, according to two league sources with knowledge of the situation. The event will be held from July 13 to 22 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus. The Wizards were among the participants in the inaugural Las Vegas summer league in 2004 and made the trip every year until the NBA canceled the summer league last year because of the lockout. Washington Post

The Blazers should. If an audit should prove favorable to the medical staffers, it would clear them of any blame for the higher-than-average number of injuries to their players. That could be important not only to the fan base but also to prospective free agents, who might wonder about the team’s track record of late. “I agree with that,” Miller responds. “But if you look at serious injuries, you’re talking about Brandon (Roy), who had knee issues coming in, and Greg (Oden). I don’t know if there’s anything we could have done differently. The others have all been things that happened through the course of an NBA season. That has happened with a number of teams. Portland Tribune

The Higgins Group, formerly led by Mike Higgins and Derrick Powell has been acquired by Excel Sports Management. Excel Sports is a strong, growing agency that represents numerous NBA, MLB and PGA standouts. Adding Higgins and Powell to the team brings in a host of new clients and a new office in Washington D.C. Sports Agent Blog

Fuzzy Levane, former Knicks coach and longtime scout, died this week. He was 92. Levane, a former St. Louis teammate and close friend of Red Holzman, coached the Knicks from 1958-60, compiling a 48-51 record. But was best known as an assistant coach of Holzman’s and a scout until 2004. Levane, who played for James Madison High and St. John’s, was a basketball savant and one of the most engaging front-office personalities in Knicks history. “No one could hold court or work a room better,’’ wrote Knicks team historian Dennis D’Agostino in a tribute on the club website yesterday. “Wherever Fuzzy went, laughter and good times followed.’’ New York Post

Greg Jackson, a former professional basketball player who turned a Brooklyn recreation center into a hive of productive activity in one of New York’s most troubled neighborhoods, died on Tuesday in Brooklyn. He was 60. Mr. Jackson, the longtime manager of the Brownsville Recreation Center, apparently had a heart attack during a parks department meeting in the borough and died at New York Methodist Hospital, the department said. Mr. Jackson, whom friends called Jocko, grew up in Brownsville, a mostly poor and often crime-riddled segment of eastern Brooklyn dominated by public housing developments. He was a local basketball star who played briefly in the National Basketball Association before returning to his home turf, where he became known as a tireless community advocate and, unofficially, the mayor of Brownsville. New York Times

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