HoopsHype rumors

October 4, 2012 | 06:47 PM ET Update

Applauding the Rockets for their efforts to make his transition into the NBA as healthy as possible, rookie forward Royce White said he and the team have an agreement in place, that when approved by the league, will allow him to bus to selected games. White suffers from an anxiety disorder and his fear of flying is one of the issues connected to his illness. He has yet to report to the Rockets training camp while the two sides finalize the details and get approval from the NBA and the players union, which is standard for anything added to an NBA contract. FOX 26 Sports

Houston Rockets first-round draft pick Royce White has not reported to training camp and said he and the team are working on a plan to address his fear of flying. The 6-foot-8 White was the 16th overall pick after one season at Iowa State. White suffers from anxiety and fear of flying. He says on Twitter that he's working with the team on an "innovative plan" to balance treatment with the NBA schedule. White said he has an agreement with the team to take a bus to select games, pending league approval. The Rockets would not comment beyond a statement that said they "are committed to Royce's long-term success and we will continue to support him now and going forward." ESPN.com

White said he is hopeful of rejoining the team within a week. "Let's see if it helps to be able to bus when you can," White said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. "I think that was a great step taken by the Rockets to be able to meet me on this one, and it was a great step in terms of mental illness being taken seriously in the workplace. I just think it's a very positive thing that happened all the way around. "They've been stellar and what they pretty much are saying is that they don't care how I get to the games as long as I get to the games. "They knew when they drafted me there was a fear of flying. That is a very real aspect of my life. There's no reason why it has to keep me from being successful on the court. There's definitely no reason why it should be allowed to keep me from being healthy and I think that that's the main point." FOX 26 Sports

White said his agreement with the Rockets covers more than just his fear of flying. "It's going to be very innovative," White said. "The plan is very unique and individual-based as is mental illness. "The plan wasn't just about the fear of flying. That was kind of the meat and potatoes of it. "The other things were very minuscule. There are things about diet in there. The number one thing is that we want to build a plan that promotes as much consistency as possible given the nature of the NBA schedule and the NBA life really. "I think we came to a good place and we're ready to move forward. It's just now technicalities and things like that. "It's very subject to change, but it meant a lot to me that the Rockets are willing to take a stand and say that they support people with mental illness being able to make it in the league." FOX 26 Sports

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived guard Vance Cooksey. Cooksey, a rookie from the University of Pikeville, played with the Rio Grande Vipers and Texas Legends of the NBA Development League during the 2011-12 season. He signed with Chicago as a free agent on Oct. 1, 2012. NBA.com

``It was just one of those things from (Howard) that I never did understand and I guess some things just aren’t meant for you to understand,’’ Nelson said. ``I just took the approach to play basketball wherever I was. I knew that I was still in Orlando last year for a reason and that the organization still wanted me here. Really, that helped me kind of get over all of the nonsense that was going around.’’ With Howard gone, with Stan Van Gundy having been fired and Otis Smith stepping down, in some ways it’s as if Nelson is one of the Magic’s lone links to the past. Heading into his ninth season, he is the longest-tenured Magic player on the roster. And even though his closest friend on the team (Howard), the coach who developed him into an all-star (Van Gundy) and the GM who pushed him to be a better leader (Smith) are all gone, Nelson would have it no other way than to remain in Orlando. NBA.com

He’s not completely disagreeing with that, by the way. And it’s why he’s very much opposed to the new rule from the NBA that is going to start penalizing players who flop to try to get a referee to blow his whistle. “I never looked at myself as a big flopper,’’ Nowitzki said Thursday after the Mavericks arrived in Germany for their preseason opener on Saturday. “If you play me physical then, obviously, I got to sell the call and get to the (free-throw) line. That’s just part of the game. We’ll have to see how they enforce that. “I think it’s a bunch of crap to be honest with you. Are they going to come back after a game and fine you for flopping? That’s tough to do to me.’’ Dallas Morning News

Funeral services were announced for Grizzlies Vice President of Basketball Operations and Team Programs Dana Davis. Davis, 56, was found passed away in his home on Wednesday, Oct. 3. The Memphis Grizzlies are inviting Davis’ friends across the world of sports and entertainment to a viewing from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6 at Mount Olive Cathedral CME Church (538 Linden Ave., Memphis 38126). Funeral services will be held at Mount Olive Cathedral from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7. Please send all flowers to Mount Olive Cathedral. In lieu of flowers, all donations should go to the National Civil Rights Museum (450 Mulberry St., Memphis 38103). NBA.com

October 4, 2012 | 05:22 PM ET Update

It has been a rough three seasons physically and mentally for Howard, but he said rehab in the spring and workouts in the summer have strengthened his knee and given him a positive outlook. "I'm able to cut the way that I'm used to," Howard said. "Over the years, that was a big part of my game, cutting and getting to the basket and being able to stop on a dime. I've been able to show that ability again. "With an ACL tear, it's tough coming back from that. For me to work my way back from that has given me the confidence that I needed. Basketball is like riding a bike. I've been playing it so long, I knew it would come back to me, but getting that mental confidence has been helpful." USA Today

Flynn said his approach to trying to break through the Pistons' wall of guaranteed contracts is to "put my hard hat on and go to work." "I've seen crazier things happen and I'm just going to leave it at that," he said, then laughed heartily. Booth Newspapers

Even before the Lakers could step on the court, Kobe Bryant made one thing perfectly clear. "It's my team," Bryant declared at Lakers' Media Day. And what exactly does it mean? Bryant smiled. "Not anything whatsoever," he said. Steve Nash caught an early glimpse on the manufactured soap opera surrounding the Lakers. "It doesn't mean anything. That's all media talk." Pau Gasol seemed rather stoic. "Kobe has been here for so long and has been the staple of the team for so long. He deserves that title. I'm not going to question that at all." Los Angeles Times

Of course not. Make no mistake. Even with the Lakers acquiring Dwight Howard and Nash this off-season, a changing of the guard didn't suddenly take place. "It's mine," Bryant said. "I got five rings. What do you want me to do?" And that's the pressing question. Bryant insisted his immediately proclaiming the title that he never lost as "just putting you guys in order." He recalled endless debate on whether LeBron James or Dwyane Wade ran the Heat when they teamed up two years ago and immediately wanted, in his words, "[to] put that to bed." Los Angeles Times

Entering his 12th season, Chandler said he's seen a plethora of floppers, and added there could be a lot of guys in today's game who'll get fined. “I love that. There’s going to be a lot of guys who’ll be in trouble in this league," said Chandler, then joking even some on his own team will be fined. "I don’t want to name names but mostly the guards and Europeans, so we’ll have to talk to [Argentinian import] Pablo [Prigioni] about that." Commissioner David Stern has long tried to clean up the act of flopping, which over the past 15-20 years has taken on the shape of international soccer, where a player acts like he was just clipped by a sniper after the slightest of touch. Newark Star-Ledger

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, an often vocal critic of NBA officiating over the years, believes the league's new plan to fine repeated floppers could have "unintended consequences." The plan calls for players to get a warning the first time the league determines they flop in an attempt to influence a foul call, then be fined $5,000 for a second violation. The fines increase to $10,000 for a third offense, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 for the fifth. Six or more could lead to a suspension. ESPN.com

Cuban is uncertain whether the fine system will improve the on-court product. "It depends on whether or not it changes how flopping in game is called," Cuban replied in an email from Berlin, where the Mavericks are playing an exhibition game this weekend. "If it just causes the refs to give floppers the benefit of the doubt knowing the league can deal with it after the fact, it could have some unintended consequences. "A big question is going to be how much depth of explanation is going to be given when a fine is [assessed] and whether or not the league will enforce teams paying the fines for the players who get caught flopping." ESPN.com

"We sit around watching these games sometimes and go, 'These dudes go down like somebody shot them,'" Barkley says. Which reminds Van Gundy of another idea. "Sometimes in these games, you do get a meeting of the offensive flopper and the defensive flopper, and it becomes who can flop the best," Van Gundy says. "It's so bad, I think they should go head to head by themselves and there should be a halftime feature: Battle of the Floppers." What? First guy to three floor burns wins? "You know, they're lucky I'm not a referee," Van Gundy continued, "because if I were a referee and somebody intentionally got away with making me look stupid by flopping, why, I'd …" I know … "… hammer them," Van Gundy said. ESPN.com

Francisco Garcia spent his offseason with fellow countrymen of the Dominican Republic, competing for a spot in the 2012 London Olympics. The Sacramento Kings swingman and his team fell just short of qualifying, losing to Nigeria 88-73 in the final game of the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Though they didn’t reach their goal, Garcia still attended the festivities in London and appreciates the experience spent with his Dominican teammates this summer. “We grew together as a team, as a country,” said Garcia. “Next year we’re gonna do it again, try to qualify for the world games. That was a great experience for me myself, individually. (It was) a different type of game, a little more physical. And it was great representing my country. It was a great experience.” Cowbell Kingdom

When Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters found out that Jeanie Buss didn’t have Time Warner Cable SportsNet (the new TV home of the Lakers), we’ll have to admit we were a little surprised. Then we took a sigh of relief when Jeanie explained that she watches over at Phil Jackson’s house! Speaking of Phil, we had to ask Jeanie whether she thought Phil missed coaching, especially when witnessing the overwhelming excitement and potential of this particular Lakers team. “Any coach in the entire world would volunteer to coach this team. I do think he misses coaching.” As far as being the female face of a male organization? “I do kind of feel like the matriarch…I feel like all these guys are like my kids.” Lakers Nation

New Orleans Hornets General Manager Dell Demps said during an NBA-TV interview at Thursday's morning practice at the Alario Center that they plan to move into a new practice facility by next season at the Saints' complex in Metairie. The team has confirmed that plans are in the works to build the facility. Demps said the practice facility will one of the biggest in the league. ``This will be the last year that we're be here (Alario Center),'' Demps said. ``We're in the process of building a new facility that if it's not the biggest, it will be the second biggest practice facility in the league. We're in the process of working on that right now. ``We expect to be there next year and our players are pretty fired up about.'' New Orleans Times-Picayune

Deron Williams‘ status as arguably the league’s best point guard obviously sparks interest in focusing the show on the Nets, but the return of pro sports to what could be the nation’s fourth-biggest city (if it weren’t a borough) will play a big role, at least early. Soon enough the Brooklyn storyline will get tired, but it’s an angle that, even for a little bit, no other NBA city can match. The trailer takes pains to let you know where you are at the entire time. Same too, with the intra-city snipping between the Knicks and Nets, a show of public disdain that not even the co-tenant Clippers and Lakers can match. Dime

One night after being immortalized with a statue outside Staples Center, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be made fun of in a hotel ballroom. Voluntarily, of course. Hosted by comedian George Lopez, the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Celebrity Roast will take place Nov. 17 at a downtown Los Angeles hotel, featuring appearances by many of Abdul-Jabbar's former teammates with the Showtime Lakers, including Magic Johnson. The event also marks the beginning of the "Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Experience," a multi-city tour featuring memorabilia from throughout his life and career. ESPN.com

October 4, 2012 | 02:07 PM ET Update

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning isn't allowed to own a piece of a football team per NFL rules, but that doesn't mean he can't own a piece of another team in another sport. Sources have confirmed to ESPN.com that Manning is part of the proposed ownership group led by Robert Pera, who agreed to buy the Memphis Grizzlies from Michael Heisley for about $350 million this summer. ESPN.com

Late last night, after the evening practice, I was talking with a source about the small forward competition. This source, who I trust and has seen every second of practice, said rookie Harrison Barnes has been special the first two practices. He went as far as saying “it’s Harrison Barnes’ job to lose.” Coming from him, it says something. Trust me. Now, I’ve been considering Barnes a long shot of sorts in favor of easing him along, not putting too much pressure on him. We don’t get much practice, but allowing Barnes to develop methodically is a good plan. But it sounds like Barnes is having the kind of camp so far that makes him a serious contender to start. Admittedly, I was a bit surprised by the strong endorsement. Barnes has been flying under-the-radar lately and coach Mark Jackson has seemed pretty hesitant to tout him too hard. (Maybe that is a hint.) He praises him, but he usually quickly follows by pointing out it’s early or he hasn’t done it in games yet or he has a lot of room to grow. Contra Costa Times

So we are not going to guarantee playoffs this year? Are we? Mark Jackson: “No we are not. We are going to guarantee great energy, passion — a team that is going to compete and leave it on the floor. We are going to have a lot of fun.” Sports Radio Interviews

Wondering how Dwight Howard's back is coming along? See for yourself. More front-row video from @Lakers practice... Kudos to the Lakers PR staff - and by extension, GM Mitch Kupchak and coach Mike Brown - for offering the sort of media access to practice that isn't typical. We have been seeing the last half hour, roughly, which is more than enough to get a sense of the work that's being done Sulia

October 4, 2012 | 11:18 AM ET Update

What's more, Howard -- the free-agent-to-be who so desperately wanted to usher in the new Nets era in Brooklyn before being dealt to L.A. -- is embracing this fortuitous twist of fate. Like the rest of the basketball universe, sources close to him say they'd be shocked if Howard -- who can get a fifth year and an annual 7.5 percent raise with the Lakers as opposed to a four-year deal with 4.5 percent raises with any other team next summer -- doesn't sign a long-term deal with the Lakers in July. The drama, in other words, is over for now. And the dominance, most likely, is about to begin. SI.com

According to a source close to free agent Josh Howard, the Knicks are still interested in the 32-year-old swingman and have had recent conversations with his representatives. The Knicks first inquired about Howard last month, but if they're serious about adding him now, they'll have to cut one of their players with a non-guaranteed contract, which applies to training camp only. Currently, the Knicks have 20 training camp invites (including Wallace), which is the maximum amount allowed per team. ESPN.com

Howard spent the offseason recovering from season-ending left knee surgery in March, and the source said "he's now feeling very good and ready to go." After training at P3's Santa Barbara facility, which specializes in unique science-based programs to optimize performance and limit injury risk, he played pickup games at his alma mater, Wake Forest. These days, he's been in Dallas working out at Southern Methodist University with Erick Land, the same personal trainer for the Nets' Deron Williams. The source said the Knicks are in "wait-and-see mode" before bringing on anyone else. They first want to evaluate their talent pool to see if a player like Howard would make sense -- and perhaps if they really want to get older. ESPN.com

Today, according to Ye Xiangyu, the GM of Zhejiang Guangsha, Tracy McGrady's agent already expressed the willingness of his client to play in China, even before his negotiations with Qingdao. There are rumors about T-Mac wanting a $2-million contract. hupu.com

The Chicago Bulls want to extend fourth-year power forward Taj Gibson. By letting Omer Asik sign with the Houston Rockets this past summer, they all but indicated that when given the choice between one or the other, Gibson was the one they’d rather hold onto. For what it’s worth, Gibson’s preference is to stay in Chicago, too. “I would like to play my whole career here. That’s a given,” Gibson told HOOPSWORLD at the start of training camp. “This is a great city, great organization, great people, and it would be a dream come true (to stay).” HoopsWorld

Asked by Blazersedge whether he remembered that particular conversation with Stotts, Aldridge chuckled, shook his head and said, "No, there have been so many." He then went on to confirm Stotts' characterization of the conversation. "I'm fine with it," Aldridge said of the rebuilding cycle. "We have some guys who are really, really good. They're young. Give them one or two years and we should be good to go." Blazers Edge

Marco Belinelli signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bulls over the offseason, but he anticipates sharing the backcourt with Derrick Rose for seasons to come. When Belinelli heard Rose declare him the most impressive newcomer, he was ecstatic, giving him assurance that the duo has the potential to sustain a successful backcourt not only this season, but for the foreseeable future. “I’m here because I want to stay here long,” Belinelli told RealGM after Wednesday evening’s practice. “I want to win and I want to improve my game. And it’s amazing to hear [Rose’s compliment]. For me, to hear something like that from the MVP of the team and one of the best players in the league, it’s unbelievable.” RealGM

Here is a brief interview I did with veteran guard DeShawn Stevenson who came over from the Nets in the Joe Johnson trade. He was part of the Mavericks’ NBA championship team in 2011. . What were your thoughts about being traded to the Hawks? A. I thought it was a good situation. I play better on playoff teams. I think this is a great playoff-caliber team. We’ve got great pieces. Me coming here, I was very excited. I think we have a lot of talent on this team and can do something good. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Q. When the trade happened, did you immediately start breaking down the roster to see where you would fit in? A. Not really because I’m a veteran. It’s 82 games. You can be hot, you cannot be hot and at the end of the season be hot again. It’s all about being physically and mentally ready. I know this team. I’ve been in the league for 13 years. It’s always been a talented team and they need guy to go out there and be a defensive presence. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Griffin, though, wasn’t confident that the rule would decrease flopping. “It’s a good way for the NBA to get more money,” he said. Under a new league rule, the NBA will issue warnings, fines and even suspensions to players who flop excessively. “Flops have no place in our game – they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call,” said Stu Jackson, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations. Orange County Register

Though many players across the league were outspoken Wednesday in their support of the NBA’s anti-flopping attempts, the National Basketball Players Association announced its intention to file a grievance arguing any new economic forms of discipline must be collectively bargained. “Obviously, flopping isn’t a good thing for the game,” Bonner said. “The question is, how do you police it? Fining seems a bit extreme, to say the least.” Bonner is a proponent of the system employed by FIBA, international basketball’s ruling body, which allows game officials to assess a technical foul to a player suspected of flopping. “”You look at what they do in Europe, with the technical, that seems more in line,” Bonner said. “It’s enough of a deterrent to keep guys from flopping. Fining guys, I don’t think is necessary.” San Antonio Express-News

Big Nikola Pekovic simply shrugged when told the league wants to warn a player once during the regular season and then fine him $5,000 for a first offense to as much as $30,000 for a fifth offense if he reacts too theatrically in an attempt to draw a favorable foul call. "I never flop," Pekovic said. "No, I'm fine. I just know, for me, I don't have to worry because I know I'm not a flopper." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

‘‘It’s certain people’s game nowadays,’’ Bulls guard Rip Hamilton said. ‘‘It’s their actual game, flopping. Anytime you play, with the rules and things like that, guys are going to figure out ways to adjust and to do stuff that you’re not supposed to do, and then they’re going to come back with another rule, so I really don’t get into that.’’ Center Joakim Noah was all for it and wondered why it took so long. ‘‘Flopping is annoying,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a good rule. I just hope . . . it’s going to be hard to enforce, because it’s pretty opinionated.’’ Chicago Sun-Times

Both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol suggested that the FIBA rule for international play of a warning for the first flop and then a technical foul for the next (meaning two free throws and possession for the opponent) was better. "I'd love to see it have an impact on the game itself," Bryant said. "I think in international play a technical foul is the penalty for it. Free throw and get the ball back, that sort of thing. But I like the rule. Shameless flopping is just a chump move. We're familiar with it because Vlade (Divac) kind of pioneered it in a playoff series with Shaq (O'Neal). And it worked pretty well for him." Orange County Register

Before he's willing to start training camp, Houston Rockets rookie Royce White wants the team's permission to travel to some games by private bus, the former Iowa State star told ESPN.com on Wednesday night. White's fear of flying, he said, magnifies his anxiety disorder. So he's asked the Rockets to let him use a bus for some of the team's extensive road trips. White said he's willing to purchase the bus and assume liability. ESPN.com

Busing to games, he said, is a vital component in the treatment of his anxiety. White, who missed the team's media day on Monday and the start of training camp in McAllen, Texas, on Tuesday, said he hopes to reach an agreement with the team soon. He said he expects to join his teammates within "a week," if talks with the Rockets continue to progress. "What it's going to look like is every game that's drivable, I'm going to get a bus for myself," White said. "And I'm going to make that bus feel like home so that there's a level of consistency in a job where inconsistency is very apparent because of the schedule. I'm going to try and level that out and make sure that my stress levels stay low and that my rest is regular and that my meals are regular and that as much as I can, draw consistency from a very inconsistent schedule. ... "People with mental illness, one of the most important things is that they have that consistency and routine. The girth of (my request) was, 'Can I travel by bus to close enough games?' " ESPN.com

With his financial future virtually set, Ilyasova could have easily got lazy and out of shape during the offseason as some other players in his position have done in the past. Instead, Ilyasova rededicated himself to honing his game even more. “It doesn’t work that way for me,” Ilyasova said when asked if he was tempted to perhaps ease up on his work regimen after signing his huge contract. “That’s not my nature. “The thing with this contract ... there comes responsibility with it. People are expecting more, so that’s why I spent the summer working with a coach to try and improve myself.” Racine Journal-Times

The 25-year-old Ilyasova hired a personal strength coach for the first time in his career with the sole intent of transforming his rather slender physique into a more pumped-up and defined body. “I spent my summer in Juno Beach, Florida,” Ilyasova said. “I was there like maybe three months. I worked out three times a week. “I hired a strength coach. I don’t want to say his name; I want to keep it secret because he was so good. He’s worked with NFL type guys. He helped me a lot.” Racine Journal-Times

Retired Brad Miller was at Wednesday's second day of training camp, working with the big men on the finer points of Adelman's offense at the coach's request. Miller, who spent last season with the Wolves, considers a few days spent in Mankato a chance to see if he wants to pursue coaching. He also plans, of course, to do some hunting in the mornings. "I think he got lost," Adelman said. "Actually, he got more done today in camp that he did all last year. I just think it's good. He was such a smart player." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Now we know why Larry Ellison needs $4 billion in loans and credit. The Oracle (ORCL) CEO revealed the mystery behind the $4.2 billion worth of stock that he pledged as collateral for loans and credit lines, in an exclusive interview today with Maria Bartiromo on "Closing Bell." He doesn't owe $4 billion, he said. He doesn't even owe $1 billion. The stock was for a multi-billion-dollar credit line that he could use if he "went shopping." "I've got a line of credit just in case I go shopping and something catches my eye," he said. Yahoo! Finance

For Prokhorov, who ran for the Russian presidency this spring, this is a chance to see a cultural exchange between two countries that sometimes don’t see eye-to-eye. “For me, it’s very sad to see the U.S. relationship [with Russia] is getting worse and worse all the time," Prokhorov said. "What is the reason? Because we have a lack of cultural, business and, before, sports. We have a lot in common … we’re countries with big territory, multi-national, and a very good level of culture. “We have a big Russian diaspora here in the United States, but we still have a lack of business. Maybe that’s the biggest problem. When you have a lack of business and culture, politics is very vulnerable. I hope this cultural event will be a small drop in fulfilling this task … it’s very important.” New York Post

Barkley on LeBron, "I do think he can be better than Michael. I thought I would never compare... "somebody to Michael Jordan. But this guy, LeBron James, he does everything well. Michael did everything well. LeBron James is just bigger, stronger, faster. That’s the only difference." Sulia

Despite the attention, Avery Johnson said the cameras have not been a distraction. And he noted that the production is not independent, that the Nets have "the final say over the product." He also the program won't have any "drama." Indeed, "The Association" is not as behind-the-scenes as the NFL's "Hard Knocks." "They do a good job of giving us our space," Deron Williams said. "It's not like we have to re-enact things like the Kardashian show. 'We didn't get that, let's run that play over again.'" NetsDaily

Most Blake Griffin highlights begin with the Los Angeles Clippers’ All-Star jumping jack taking flight and with him smashing the ball through the rim. Every now and then we’ll stumble upon something a little different from Griffin, though. He does more than just dunk. Griffin showed off his long ball at a public scrimmage at USC’s Galen Center (let’s see what you’ve got Matt Barkley). At the 28-second mark of this video (below) Griffin sinks a shot from the opposite free throw line that sends the crowd into a frenzy: NBA.com

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