HoopsHype rumors

October 9, 2012 | 08:59 PM ET Update

With a message on Facebook, Tracy McGrady announced that he has signed a contract to play in China with Qingdao Eagles. Below it is his message: "There are times in life that a new road presents itself and it appears this time has come for me now. I am so proud of what I have accomplished these past 15 years playing in the NBA. It was a dream entering the league as I just turned 18 years old. I worked hard and poured my heart and soul into this game. I consider myself a student of the game as I have watched, studied and played with and against the best players in the world. The NBA was my University and I learned so much. The gratitude I feel is really immeasurable. I have experienced the best moments a player can experience and have had some dark ones too. Both equally important in helping shape me into the man I am today. Sportando

Mike Woodson still isn't sure who will be his starting shooting guard, but he sounds certain that it won't be J.R. Smith. Four days after Smith told reporters that he "preferred to start" for the Knicks this season, his coach made it clear that his preference is that Smith continue to play a sixth-man role. "I kind of like where J.R. is coming off the bench," Woodson said. "He could start, you never know. But everybody can't start. I have a nice mixture of guys at this starting unit and I have to have some offense coming off the bench, as well. "There's nothing wrong with that. He could be the best player coming off the bench in this league and perhaps win the Sixth Man Award." Newsday

After he was cut, Morrison disappeared. He never lost his love of the game but the last few years in the NBA had worn on him. “I don’t think I necessarily questioned my love of the game, I just (was) tired of playing so I decided to stay at home,” he says. NBA.com

The Spurs announced a slew of promotions and additions on Tuesday: Sean Marks is director of basketball operations and Toros general manager; Brian Pauga is now the director of scouting; and Gabe Farkas will assume the role of director of basketball analytics. Matt Meiners has been hired as the manager of statistical development; Brandon James joins the Spurs as the manager of basketball administration; and Trajan Langdon joins the team as a pro scout. San Antonio Express-News

October 9, 2012 | 05:41 PM ET Update

The Orlando Magic signed free-agent swingman Chris Johnson on Tuesday, the team announced, bringing their roster to 20 players as the exhibition season continues. Johnson, 22, went undrafted out of Dayton in 2012. In his four seasons with the Flyers, he averaged 10.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game and shot 42.7 percent from the floor. He's made a living as a floor-spacing specialist, taking nearly three-fifths of his shot attempts from three-point range and connecting on 37.1 percent of them. Orlandoinstripedpost.com

Add in that Boozer will be the 24th highest-paid player in the Association at $15 million, and is owed $15.3 million next season and $16.8 million in the 2014-15, and it’s no wonder that the chant of “Boooooooze’’ from the hometown fans has far too often turned to boos. “People look at it from the wrong perspective,’’ Boozer said. “This isn’t Utah, and this isn’t just a team with me and [former Jazz point guard] Deron Williams on it. We’re playing with five scorers here, so your touches aren’t going to be the same, your looks aren’t going to be the same. It’s a different system. “All the people should worry about is if we win. Criticize me if we lose, but if we win, just praise us.’ Chicago Sun-Times

Seems battle for SF job is a 2-man race: Brandon Rush v. Harrison Barnes. Sources say Rush has advantage because... Rush is clearly the better defender at this point. The starting lineup needs someone who can really make it tough for opposing perimeter stars, and Rush is even better with Andrew Bogut backing him up. Plus, to this point, Rush is shooting better. If Barnes did start, it would likely be because Mark Jackson already knows that Rush can thrive off the bench. Bringing Barnes off the bench, adding the task feeling a game out and getting going after sitting, might take away Barnes' aggressiveness and impact. Sulia

Q. What was your offense like in the process of choosing to come to Atlanta? Anthony Tolliver. It was interesting. It was a very long offseason, something I didn’t want to do. The whole offseason, for the most part, I was planning on going back to Minnesota. We had mutual interest. I definitely had interest from other teams, including Atlanta. Things were lining up but toward the end of free agency, and approaching October, things closed off over there. I just made sure we kept in contact with the Hawks and a couple of other teams. This situation opened up and it ended up looking pretty good for me. Q. What makes this situation attractive for you? A. I think I’m unique. I think I’m a guy if you put on this roster can do a lot of different things. There are other things that guys can do here but what I bring to the table is unique. Once I saw that, I really felt like this would be a good situation for me. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Here’s some of what he told ESPN Chicago about the man he coached, Michael Jordan, and the man who now holds the NBA championship crown, LeBron James: (On James) “He’s got all the physical attributes. I think we all question the prepping that went into LeBron. His defense was shaky when he was a younger player and finding his way through that direction. He is a player that can play four positions. Except for perhaps the center spot, which he hasn’t given a shot at yet, he can play those other four positions quite well. This is unique. Michael could play three and was very good at all three of those, but as a power player that LeBron can become, I think he has an opportunity to explore and advance some of the status that he has already gained.” Palm Beach Post

(On the greatest player) “I have a hard time judging that best player, but I do think that Michael had more moves in the post and he had more of a, perhaps, shooting touch with his back to the basket and all these kind of things that were part of his game. LeBron has this train out of control when he gets the ball in transition that he can go coast to coast without anyone getting in his way and if they do, he’s going to over run them. And he’s got the power with the body and he’s developed a left hand that’s extremely good. There’s a lot of things that you are seeing in the development of this player that leads towards that, but the ideal and the whole reason behind this is what kind of championships are you gonna get from a player like this? Can he match what Michael has done?” Palm Beach Post

Los Angeles Lakers forward Jordan Hill, the top frontline backup to All-Stars Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, doesn't need surgery for a herniated disc in his back and will return to the lineup before the Oct. 30 season opener, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Hill, 25, will undergo core strength training on his back to rehabilitate the injury, sources said. He could return to practice within 10-14 days, but Hill's rehab process will be fluid depending on how his back responds to treatment, sources said. Yahoo! Sports

To most basketball fans this is a picture of Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle posing with his opposite number for tonight's game, Barcelona's head coach Xavi Pascual. But NBA.com have mistaken Pascual, who has led Barcelona to the Euroleague title in 2010 as well as a Final Four appearance in 2012 as a fan posing with the 2011 NBA title winning coach. From NBA.com: "Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks poses for a portrait with a fan during practice at Palau Blaugrana during NBA Europe Live 2012 on October 8, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain." TalkBasket

Former Spur forward Sean Marks — who was apart of the 2005 championship team — was promoted to director of basketball operations for San Antonio. He will also assume the role of general manager for the Austin Toros, the Spurs D-League affiliate. Marks spent last season as the basketball operations assistant for the Spurs. The Spurs also announced several promotions today. Brian Pauga, who worked as the scouting coordinator last season, will be the director of scouting. Pauga has been with the organization since the 2007-08 season. Air Alamo

October 9, 2012 | 10:28 AM ET Update

Sheng Xishun, manager of the club, confirmed the news to multiple media outlets on Tuesday morning, and revealed that McGrady will agree to the signing by Wednesday. "Qingdao chooses McGrady for two reasons. One is that we hope he can help improve the team. The other is to take advantage of his influence to promote the team and the whole group," said Sheng in a Tencent Sports interview. China Daily

Sheng also revealed the signing was inspired by what Stephon Marbury and his Beijing Ducks accomplished last season, as the 35-year-old veteran led the Ducks to their first league title in two decades. "We will try best to help McGrady adjust to life in the Chinese Basketball Association and extend his career as a player. We hope he can continue to play for Qingdao next year and make the team a championship contender." China Daily

But Williams cited another factor Monday: the owner Mark Cuban’s absence from the Mavericks’ recruiting meeting. Cuban had a scheduling conflict — he was in Los Angeles shooting an episode of the reality television show “Shark Tank.” Asked if Cuban’s absence affected his decision, Williams said flatly, “Of course.” Williams added: “A lot of the questions that me and my agent had for them really didn’t get answered that day — you know, pertaining to the future. And I think if he was there, he would have been able to answer those questions a little bit better. Maybe would have helped me.” New York Times

Williams said the message he received from Nelson and Carlisle was, instead, “Just trust their track record.” “I can honor that, because they do have a good track record. But it’s not enough for me to switch organizations, especially when Billy was updating me daily,” Williams said, referring to Nets General Manager Billy King. Williams compared the situation to when he was a high school star being recruited by Illinois, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Maryland. When he learned that Maryland Coach Gary Williams would not meet with him, he canceled his visit. “So that was the end of that,” Deron Williams said. “Similar.” New York Times

"It's very different to be in a situation where you are not in the middle of the hurricane as far as rumors, where there's a big chance of you not being part of the team you've been through so much with," Gasol said in a quiet moment Sunday before the Lakers' exhibition opener. "With all that now aside and the addition of great players, it makes it much more enjoyable." Gasol didn't have fun last season. He was shoved outside the key more often than not to make way for Andrew Bynum's less-fluid presence down low. It was great for Bynum, not so much for Gasol. His three-year run as an All-Star ended. "We all know how competitive and how hard it is to make the All-Star team, but we weren't doing great as a team," Gasol said with a sigh. "Obviously, I like to make the All-Star team every single year because I like to consider I'm one of the best players in the league and the world." Los Angeles Times

Even the Lakers seemed to sympathize last March. "This has been a really hard, hard period for Pau," said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, who was put in the awkward position of welcoming Gasol back after the Paul trade fell through. "The way the whole thing unfolded with what took place in training camp, it's just been one big unavoidable mess, and unfortunately Pau's in the middle of it." Los Angeles Times

Despite the Lakers' early playoff exit, Gasol became a driving force two months later at the Olympics. He got Spain to the gold-medal game and had 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in a surprisingly close 107-100 loss to Team USA. When it was over, Kobe Bryant found Gasol and hugged his Lakers teammate. "It was a tough moment for me," Gasol said at the time. "He came all the way to our bench. It was a great gesture from him." Said Bryant: "I just told him I loved him and he did a fantastic job. He played his heart out. I told him to get some rest because we've got a long [season] coming up. "He said he would. He said he's going to be ready." Los Angeles Times

This, of course, was followed by Spanish media members with questions about whether Nowitzki would consider finishing his career in Barcelona. “As of now, I still got two years under contract in Dallas and then I’ll be 36,’’ he said. “We’ll have to wait and see. If it’s still fun, if I’m still good enough for the NBA, maybe there’s a chance. “But if 82 or 100 games is too much and I want a little less, I could go to Europe and play 30 or 40 games. All that is a possibility, but as of now, I don’t actually see a chance.’’ Dallas Morning News

Especially when an inspired C’s point guard starts talking about what he sees. “I think it’s our best shot,” Rondo said. “Not to discredit the 2008 (championship) team that we had, but if this team buys into the system and listens to (coach) Doc (Rivers), the sky is the limit. The championship could be ours. Not a lot of teams can say they can compete for a championship each year, and definitely this year with the talent we have, that’s our one goal.” Boston Herald

This year, Cavaliers fans are more concerned with the fact Dion Waiters, the No. 4 overall draft pick, did not start Monday’s preseason opener vs. Montepaschi Siena. He may not start in Tuesday’s preseason game in Canton, either. Instead, the honor went to another newcomer -- free-agent pickup C.J. Miles, a veteran of six NBA seasons (all with Utah). “I just felt C.J. comes in with a little more experience, he’s a guy who’s played in a ton of games. He fits in well with what we’re doing,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said prior to tipoff at Quicken Loans Arena. “It’s the same thing I said about Kyrie last year. Dion has to earn it. Simple as that.” FOXSportsOhio

After missing the Rockets training camp in McAllen and generating national attention for openly discussing his anxiety issues and what he’ll need to overcome them, on Monday White practiced for the first time, declaring “It went as well as it could go.” With plans in place to make his participation routine, White could finally look to the work to come, rather than the workouts he missed. “I think routine is important, especially for someone like me,” White said. “I don’t really feel it. It’s my first day back. It’s not much of a routine yet, but it’s here.” Houston Chronicle

“Royce is a guy that is going to have a different path in the NBA,” McHale said. “Look it, if you have a choice of a 10-hour bus ride or an hour flight, everybody would take an hour flight. He’s just going to have to work his way through that stuff. We’re here to help him and support him as much as we can, but eventually, as I told him today, you’re responsible to your team and your teammates. That’s the biggest thing. “Like all players, you have to make it to shootaround, you have to make it to practice and you have to make it to the games.” With the first step of that process out of the way, McHale had little difficulty listing where he would expect improvement. “Knowing what we’re doing offensively and defensively and conditioning,” McHale said. “Other than that…” Houston Chronicle

From a financial standpoint, it's usually better to get selected in the first round. But at your age (27), is it a little better to get drafted in the second round, which allows you to be a free agent earlier? Would you agree with that? Bernard James: Yeah, I definitely agree. In fact, that was the whole plan with my agent. All the teams that I worked out for were in that range that I was looking for. So I really wanted to go in the first couple of picks in the second round, so I can get to my second contract earlier. Me, being an older rookie, being locked into a four- or five-year contract to start off, is not really good for me. So the quicker I get to my second contract the better. HoopsHype

You've been to Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar... What was the craziest thing you went through? BJ: It was in Iraq. I was involved in a mortar attack where six detainees got killed and another 67 were injured. It was just like complete chaos for like about five or six hours trying to get everything under control and make sure everybody was OK and all that. How was a regular day for you over there? BJ: I would work from 5 in the evening to 5 in the morning. Most days were pretty boring but some days there were like riots and stuff and we would have to break out our gear – smoke grenades, pepper spray, all that stuff... The average day was pretty boring: account for all the detainees, feed them and that was pretty much it. HoopsHype

How did you go through those days? BJ: You had to stay alert , but you had pretty interesting conversations with the people you worked with. You mean the co-workers, not the detainees... BJ: Yeah, not the detainees (laughs). But you did to talk to some of them. We had kind of a relationship with them. If we treated them well, the guys in charge in there would make sure that other guys didn't cause problems. if we treated them with respect, it was less problems for us. We knew who they were and if there was a problem they could talk to us. But for the most part it was just talking with our co-workers. Telling stories, talking about situations we've been in, training, all that. HoopsHype

Do you regret not being more serious about basketball earlier in your life? BJ: Definitely not. I don't think I was ready when I was younger from a maturity standpoint. Handling this when you are 18 or 19... I've got a lot of respect for those players. You gotta be really mature and really dedicated to be able to handle this. I don't think I could have handled it at that point. Right now I'm in a really good situation and my experience actually gave me an advantage over my peers. Basketball is a job or a passion for you? BJ: A passion. When I first started in college it was probably more of a job. But after four years of that much basketball, if you don't love it, you don't make it through it. I definitely grew to love it and it's a passion now. I wanna get better everyday. I want to work hard and earn my pay. HoopsHype

Rookies go through a transitional period during their first season in the NBA. On the Boston Celtics, part of that experience is how they are addressed by Kevin Garnett. As the five Celtics rookies shared with CSNNE.com, first names are a rarity with the veteran leader. Fab Melo: “The Youngin. [He calls] everybody Youngin. Oh, and Melo. He calls me by my last name . . . He never calls me Fab. I don’t really care about that stuff. In Brazil, we don’t care. We call first name, last name, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t mind.” CSNNE.com

Rasheed Wallace is already throwing punches at Knicks training camp, but in a productive way. Wallace, known for his volatile nature, was on the sidelines yesterday in boxing gloves during the Knicks scrimmage, throwing left-right combinations in a surreal scene. Wallace is trying to get into better shape so he can scrimmage, and has taken to sparring with the club’s strength coach, David Hancock. It’s better than him sparring with referees, which has been his favorite pastime as the NBA’s career leader in technical fouls. So instead of boxing out, Wallace is boxing. New York Post

In the past couple of years, the medical staff, spearheaded by cutting-edge medical director Dr. Lisa Callahan, has deemed sparring with gloves as a great tool to getting into basketball shape. Wallace is doing other off-the-court exercises to strengthen his core. Conventional wisdom would state having Wallace run up and down the court playing basketball would get him in shape, but the Knicks are ahead of the curve. “It’s all geared for conditioning,’’ Woodson said. “These guys do a lot of different things around here that we didn’t do when we came up the old-school way. It’s all conditioning work to better the player. Eventually we’ll get him out on the floor ready to play.” New York Post

The Wolves have been working with Shved on being more vocal on the floor, a major requirement for NBA point guards. Even if Shved's point-guard duties are temporary, particularly when Ricky Rubio completes his rehabilitation from knee surgery, the Wolves want Shved to "speak up." "He hasn't shown it yet," Love said Monday when asked if Shved can yell out a play when he has the ball. "I could understand Ricky more when he first came here. Alexey is shy, but he's like Ricky. He loves the game and knows how to play. If we can get him to talk more, he's going to make big strides." St. Paul Pioneer Press

Point guard Kyle Lowry’s Raptors debut will have to wait. The team announced on Monday that Lowry will undergo therapy and rehabilitation for a strained adductor muscle suffered in his left leg last week in Halifax. There is no timetable for his return, but he missed Monday’s game against Real Madrid and will be held out of games on Wednesday and Friday against the Detroit Pistons. Toronto Sun

"I feel pretty good, I'm definitely getting better," said the soft-spoken Bynum. "I've been really trying to get to know the offense because it's all brand new. I've got a DVD so I'm going to watch some tape on it so I can familiarize myself on it for when I get back out." And when might that be? "I'm not sure," Bynum said. "It's really up to the trainers and the doctors right now, but I think if all the beans were on the table right now I'd be out there. It definitely feels better. A lot of it has to do with my pain threshold. It's just to the point where I can't run up and down with the team right now." Philadelphia Inquirer

Gordon did not participate in any contact work during the first week of training camp, and Coach Monty Williams said Monday it's unlikely Gordon will see the floor much this week as well. The Hornets play three exhibition games in four days this week, beginning Tuesday night when New Orleans' hosts the Charlotte Bobcats in New Orleans Arena. Gordon has missed practices with a sore right knee, the same knee that was arthroscopically repaired Feb. 14, an injury that caused Gordon to miss all but nine of the team's 66 games last season. "We're going to limit him still," Williams said Monday. "I think we'll know more about Eric next week when we start to ramp him up a little bit on the floor. He's been involved in our walk-throughs. He's participated in a lot of our exercises. But I think we're erring on the side of caution right now." New Orleans Times-Picayune

Clippers guard Chris Paul was cleared for full-contact participation before Tuesday morning’s practice at MasterCard Center. “Chris practiced today pretty much the whole practice that obviously changes things when he’s out there,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He played well. He’s just got to get in better game condition. He’s been out for a while, but there’s no question he’s a factor when he’s out there no matter what kind of shape he’s in.” NBA.com

Paul has been sidelined since August after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. Although he has gradually taken part in team workouts over the last two weeks, he has been limited to walkthroughs and non-contact situations. “It felt great [to practice]," Paul said. "I actually felt like I was part of the team. I was a little winded out there, but it felt good to get back out there and get in the mix. “I felt fine because I haven’t done anything for so long. I’m pretty well rested, so I was excited to get out there and play.” NBA.com

Los Angeles Lakers forward Jordan Hill was diagnosed today with a herniated disc (L5, S1) in his back, it was announced by the team. Hill, who scored 10 points in last night’s loss to the Golden State Warriors in Fresno, was examined by back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins Jr. Hill will be re-evaluated in a week and an update on his condition will be given at that time. NBA.com

On a trip in which most Celtics thought about the delightful Italian cuisine after a self-imposed confinement to the hotel in Istanbul, Rondo was regretful about the timing of the trip here. He missed the city’s fashion week by two weeks. More to the point, Rondo actually knew the dates of Milan Fashion Week. “I don’t know. I’m very into fashion right now,” Rondo said. “It just depends on the time. I know these guys had fashion week two weeks ago. I missed that one, but you never know. In the future I might come over here and enjoy fashion week as well.” Boston Herald

Top draft pick Anthony Davis and former No. 1 choices LeBron James and Dwight Howard are featured in a program detailing life as an NBA rookie. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Clippers teammates Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and a number of other top players are included in "My Life as an NBA Rookie," debuting Oct. 29 on Disney XD. ESPN.com

While there is nothing uncommon about athletes and celebrities showing up in car commercials, it is somewhat surprising when the endorser actually matches up with the product he or she is endorsing. Houston Rockets' point guard Jeremy Lin and the Volvo XC60 can both be labeled smart, underrated and overlooked, which makes them a great pair for Volvo's latest ad campaign, "The Unexpected Ones." Autoblog

Former Detroit Pistons player and coach Donnie Butcher died today at the age of 76, according to his son, Denny, a basketball coach in Hartland. Butcher was traded from the New York Knicks to the Pistons on Dec. 16, 1963 as a part of a three-team, four-player deal. He would play with Detroit until 1966. During the '66-'67 season, he was named Pistons head coach, replacing then player-coach Dave DeBusschere. Detroit Free Press

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