HoopsHype rumors

October 6, 2012 | 06:34 PM ET Update

Martin said he was more anxious about where he would be traded this off-season than hoping to be moved. But when asked if he had requested a trade after the season, he would not be specific about those conversations. “You always go through mixed emotions,” Martin said. “The organization goes through mixed emotions. Things like that we’ll keep behind closed doors. I’m happy now. We’re good.” Houston Chronicle

Days later, it hit him. He’s been laughing a lot lately. He has played well, so well that McHale said he’s “been great.” But that’s not it. “I am happy,” Martin said. “I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week, just enjoying this time with the new players and getting a full training camp. I got a chance to clear my mind this summer of some things that happened last year. Put in a lot of hard work. I feel like I’m on my way to being where I was the year before last.” Houston Chronicle

Byron Scott told me yesterday Luke Walton has been the biggest surprise through the first week of training camp. Scott was amazed at Walton's conditioning and the way he's making shots, moving around on the court. Walton has proven that with a nice first half (5pts) in this scrimmage. Sulia

Still, simply getting back on the court can't be his only goal. If Bogut plays 75 games at a decent level, the trade that brought him to Golden State has pancaked. The Warriors need standout play at center, because a truly impactful Bogut makes power forward David Lee better, because Bogut can set up the several scoring wings for baskets and, most of all, because Bogut can be the force in the middle on defense. A lot needs to spin off him. Solid will not cut it. Bogut also has to bring that attitude that he talks about. "If I can influence other people to step up their up games defensively, that'll be mission accomplished for me," he said. "I think I need to bring the same tenacity and the same defensive mindset I had in Milwaukee, but make it rub off on David Lee and Brandon Rush and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, that we need to get stops to win games. I think that's more my goal than it is to actually go out there and block five shots a game. I think if we can get everyone on the same page defensively and hold guys accountable -- which guys probably weren't held accountable the last few seasons defensively -- I think we'll be better." NBA.com

October 6, 2012 | 03:46 PM ET Update

And last but nowhere remotely close to least, he's getting a say in the roster, too. Paul gave his thumbs-up on the Odom trade, then helped recruit Barnes and Willie Green (sign-and-trade with Atlanta in late July) and wasn't shy to share his opinions with vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks and Del Negro throughout the summer. "It meant a lot," Paul said of his ability to speak up about his potential teammates. "Gary and [the rest of the staff] were unbelievable." SI.com

Even Paul admits that the courting, which began when he arrived via trade from New Orleans last December, is going just swimmingly. "First and foremost, I know my way around L.A. a little bit better now -- that was the toughest thing last year," Paul said. "I think the guys that we have here know what it's all about. We got guys with championship experience, a lot of playoff experience. "But all the guys here understand that it's more than just basketball when you're trying to become a team. It's the off the court, the communication things, it's when this guy has a function and stuff like that." SI.com

Asked if he had discussed a new deal with Sterling recently, Del Negro said, "Me and Mr. Sterling talk all the time, but like I said I'll leave that between him and myself. There's no timetable on anything. My focus is, I'm going to go upstairs, I'm going to watch practice, I'm going to prepare for tomorrow with the coaches and keep focusing on the ultimate goal, and that's to be ready opening night." SI.com

Former NBA player and Phoenix Suns TV analyst Eddie Johnson wants to challenge corporate America - to a game of basketball. Johnson has started a new sports league exclusively for corporations. In his Arizona Corporate League, part of his business JJJ Sports LLC, teams composed of employees from various companies will compete against one another. The league is intended to help companies fight absenteeism by keeping employees healthy and improving relationships among them. "Corporate America is stressed out," Johnson said. "I wanted to create a corporate league that takes stress away." Arizona Republic

The league will provide uniforms, practice courts and a clinic for coaches. All the games will be held at the Inspire Courts in Gilbert. Companies will pay a fee for every team, and each team can have up to 15 players. The Arizona Corporate League will sponsor a maximum of 20 teams for each sport. Johnson, 53, said games in his league will start in February 2013, but some companies already have enrolled teams, including Intel Corp. in Chandler and Cox Communications in the Valley. Johnson said he has talked with many other companies about joining. Arizona Republic

October 6, 2012 | 09:02 AM ET Update

He’s always said he’ll weigh his options after his deal expires following the 2013-14 season. Now, he sees extending his career as a more likely option. “It’s kind of hard to plan longer than two years ahead when you’re 34,” he said. “But I definitely want to finish my contract strong, hopefully have a couple good years. “So if it’s still fun and I feel well, then I’m more than happy to play longer.” Dallas Morning News

Battier will look at you with a straight face and tell you he’s not one of the NBA’s serial floppers. “Listen, I don’t flop like a lot of these guys,” Battier said. “I know a lot of people say I flop, but I’m too old for that.” Then, after a few minutes of bantering, Battier will tell you he’s “wholeheartedly against” the NBA’s new “anti-flopping” rule. “Reputation may play a big role in it,” Battier said. Miami Herald

That continued Friday when Jackson chimed in on the war of words between Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard. He didn't deliver any jabs, but a day after O'Neal suggested Philadelphia's Andrew Bynum and New Jersey's Brook Lopez are the best centers in the NBA, Jackson argued Howard has a more well- rounded game. "Brooks and Andrew are guys who have good touches," Jackson told an ESPN radio station in Chicago. "They're good scoring players and they have good offensive games. Shaq has a lot to what he says that way. "Dwight is a guy who has amazing athletic ability, but overall, game, rebounding, defending, blocking shots, running the court, this is the guy who runs with the wolves so to speak. He can get up and down that court as quick as any of the guards and forwards because of his athletic ability. Both Brook Lopez and Andrew Bynum are more plodders as players. They have trouble in their transition game in both directions. This is a big difference in the play of those guys." Los Angeles Times

He has a good chance, because free-agent signee Ronnie Brewer had knee surgery in early September and won’t start practicing for two weeks. Iman Shumpert, incumbent starter at shooting guard, may not be back until January as he rehabs from ACL surgery. The shooting guard position is Smith’s for the taking. He admitted concern about being pegged as a bench player, perhaps because of a bad-boy rep. “I’d rather start. I’ve been playing [eight] years, coming off the bench,’’ Smith said yesterday. “Whether it stays [that way] or goes, I’m going to be same person I am. I prefer to start. I’d rather be a starter. If not, I understand that.’’ New York Post

Was that someone criticizing Jeremy Lin at Knicks camp? While Knicks coach Mike Woodson has run from the Lin issue, center Tyson Chandler was blunt, saying Lin was too “inexperienced’’ and their point-guard trio of Raymond Felton-Jason Kidd-Pablo Prigioni is an upgrade over last season’s Lin-Baron Davis-Mike Bibby troika. “Baron was hurt and Jeremy was a young point guard who was just learning and figuring out an offense,” Chandler said. “It was nothing against them and it was definitely nothing against Baron. “Jeremy was a young point guard who was inexperienced, who brought a great light to the organization. But as far as being able to run the offense and putting players in the right position he just wasn’t there. We got some veteran point guards that are capable of doing that.” New York Post

Chandler also took issue with Shaquille O’Neal, who on TNT named the NBA’s two best centers as Brook Lopez and Andrew Bynum. Dwight Howard wasn’t the only one slighted. Chandler, reigning Defensive Player of the Year, called Shaq’s rankings “comical.’’ “I was watching SportsCenter this morning, eating breakfast in the team lounge, and was laughing at the whole thing,’’ Chandler said. “I honestly think it’s comical. I don’t care about rankings. “That’s one individual’s point of view. I know where I’m at. I know what my value is. And I know I have to continue to get better.’’ New York Post

The Magic like the 6-11 Vucevic's versatile offensive skill set. They view the 6-10 Ayon as an Energizer Bunny off the bench. "I'm not here to replace Dwight," said Vucevic, who arrived in the mammoth Howard trade, through the Philadelphia 76ers. "Dwight's specific in his way. I'm totally different. I'm more of a skilled player with a high basketball IQ. "I can shoot the ball and pass the ball. I think I do a lot of things fans won't see." Orlando Sentinel

There were no walkers or rocking chairs pulled out on the court for forward Grant Hill, and he said he didn't even take much verbal abuse. There were, however, cheerful-looking birthday cupcakes from the team's staff, forming the number 40, and one candle. "I don't think I'm 40. I don't feel 40. But I guess I am," Hill said, smiling after practice. "In particular, when you do this, at least in sports with a lot of young people, predominantly 20-year-olds, so you're around a lot of young folk, young people. You forget … it sort of helps to prolong your adolescence." Los Angeles Times

Talk about impressive, considering, at 30, playing for another decade was a distant dream for him. "When I was 30, there were some rough moments and uncertainty related to my career," Hill said. "I'm trying to think, 2002, that was probably my third surgery. My ankle surgery." "I try to block out those years. To be able to overcome that and still play 10 years later is something I'm proud of." Los Angeles Times

Over the summer, Jeffries roamed the wild in pursuit of the small (pheasants), the big (buffalo) and the exotic (alligators). Over the years, he's hunted everything from deer to rabbits to raccoons to turkeys. He's even pursued wild pig. Jeffries' prized catch came in the summer of 2011, when he landed a gigantic buffalo that produced 583 pounds of meat. "We might not ever eat it all," Jeffries said, laughing. During that hunt, Jeffries traveled to an Indian reservation in South Dakota and immersed himself with the natives, roaming the land and soaking in the outdoors and culture. "It was awesome," he said. "I hung out on the reservation, met everybody. We walked and stalked (the buffalo)." Oregonian

Kobe Bryant sat out the Los Angeles Lakers' two practices Friday because of discomfort in his right foot. The discomfort is not considered serious, however, and Bryant is day-to-day. ESPN.com

Former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was set to accept an ESPN studio job, but then things fell apart. With the network and the NBA in bed together, could Commissioner David Stern have squashed outspoken Stan's gig, given their history? Stern must have figured two Van Gundys on TV would provide too much candor. Orlando Sentinel

The Knicks are getting older on the court but younger in the broadcast booth. Knicks legendary broadcaster John Andariese, a team radio staple for 40 years known around the Garden as “Johnny Hoops,’’ has stepped down from his color analyst position, the Knicks announced Friday. Andariese called the Knicks’ last championship — in 1973 with Marv Albert. Andariese will be replaced by Hubie Brown’s son, Brendan Brown. The Knicks had reduced Andariese’s role last season, having him do just home games. New York Post

Cheri DeVos VanderWeide, the daughter of Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos, has filed for divorce from Bob VanderWeide — who left his post as the team's CEO last December. In a document filed in August in Michigan's 17th Circuit Court, Cheri DeVos VanderWeide — who serves as the Magic's executive vice chairman — alleges that her husband is at fault for a breakdown in their marriage and that he vacated their primary home in Aug. 2011. In a subsequent legal filing, Bob VanderWeide denied that he is solely at fault for the marriage's problems and said it is untrue that he left the home in August 2011. They have been married since 1984. Orlando Sentinel

A picture of Rich and Helen DeVos with their children and their children's spouses appears in the Magic's 2012-13 media guide released this week. Bob VanderWeide is not in the photo. "Bob is not considered a part of the family any longer," Magic chairman Dan DeVos, a brother of Cheri DeVos VanderWeide, said in an email to the Sentinel. Orlando Sentinel

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