HoopsHype rumors

November 4, 2012 | 08:53 PM ET Update

New Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera will announce on Monday that Philadelphia 76ers minority shareholder Jason Levien is joining the Grizzlies as the club's new CEO and managing partner, according to sources familiar with Pera's thinking. ESPN.com

Sources told ESPN.com that Levien, who recently sold his stake in the Sixers to join Pera's ownership group, will take charge of basketball operations as well as the Grizzlies' business department. That means the former NBA agent and front-office executive with the Sacramento Kings, sources say, will have the ultimate say on personnel and on-court matters, overseeing Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace and coach Lionel Hollins. Hollins is in the final year of his contract after back-to-back trips to the playoffs. ESPN.com

Levien was part of the Joshua Harris-led group that purchased the 76ers leading into the 2011-12 season. Sources say that Levien, in addition to his new post operating the Grizzlies, will continue in his role as general partner of DC United in Major League Soccer, which he assumed in July when he and fellow Sixers minority owner Erick Thohir purchased the MLS club. ESPN.com

There was a certain tightness, an incredible closeness between the Thunder's young core and losing a key piece like Harden should obviously disturb some of that togetherness and chemistry. The hole left by Harden's departure might be unfilled -- Kevin Martin's locker is well away from Harden's old digs -- but Scott Brooks has no choice but to move his team forward and focus on the goal. “James [Harden] was a good player,” Brooks said. “Don't get me wrong. But he wasn't Dr. James. He wasn't helping the group stick together. All the guys do. Russell, Kevin, down the line, Perk, Nick. All the guys. That's what makes good teams.” CBSSports.com

He also isn't James Harden. He wasn't the franchise's first draft pick in Oklahoma City; he wasn't part of a group that grew into a contender; he wasn't one of the three players standing in Miami with his arm draped around the other watching the final seconds tick off their season. He can't replace Harden in those ways. It's natural that this is a process for the young Thunder to overcome, for them to redevelop a new chemistry with a player on the court. “I've never once went into a practice or a game thinking ‘Oh my gosh, I'm really worried about our chemistry tonight,” Brooks said. “[Chemistry] was never a question. It really wasn't. I think when you talk about chemistry with our group and if you question it, I don't think you've been around our group as long as I have." CBSSports.com

“You can't duplicate it," Westbrook said of chemistry, "but we have a group of guys that have been here for a while. We're switching the team up a little bit but every year we've had a different team and we've found a way to incorporate guys and make sure everybody knows what it takes for us to win. So I don't think that's going to be a problem.” CBSSports.com

Hoopshype.com, via OpenSecrets.org, has composed a list of people around the league who have made contributions to the campaigns of Obama and Romney. Among the players who helped out the president’s campaign were Dallas Mavericks forward Vince Carter, Los Angeles Clippers forward Grant Hill and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who each chipped in $5,000. SportsNet

Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown thinks it's possible Steve Nash will only be out a week because of the fracture to his left leg but that the team isn't putting pressure on him to rush back. "You obviously hope he's back as soon as possible," Brown said Sunday after the team's shootaround. "But the one thing you don't want to do, you don't want to compromise his long-term health for him coming back quicker than he should. So, (trainer) Gary Vitti and the staff are on top of it. We'll just wait and play it out from there." ESPN.com

November 4, 2012 | 03:03 PM ET Update

Aliaga Petkim signed Tu Holloway for the season. The PG spent his NCAA career with Xavier averaging 17.5ppg, 3.6rpg and 4.5apg as senior. Sportando

Gasol then traveled to Spain where he trained with his national team for the London Olympics. Gasol missed some time early because of a shoulder injury in early July. But he was there when Spain challenged the USA for gold. There was no quit in Gasol when he returned to the Grizzlies for training camp. He didn't take time off and competed hard in ever drill and most of the exhibition games. He couldn't look sharper now that the season has begun. "I just love to play basketball," Gasol said. "I don't know how long I'm going to be able to do it so I don't think about how much I've played. Memphis Commercial Appeal

It was a monumental night for the Nets franchise, but the same could be said for Keith Bogans. Bogans was active for the first time since fracturing his left ankle, as well as completely tearing his deltoid ligament, after an awkward landing in a game against the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 5. “This is one of the best feelings I’ve had in a long time,” he said before the game. “After all I went through, getting back out on the court I’m just excited. I feel like a kid again. ... I’m almost overexcited.” New York Post

A minute of video from inside Mikhail Prokhorov's supersuite at Barclays Center on Opening Night, with the Nets owner, Jay-Z and Beyonce, David Stern and Adam Silver and Bill Bradley and a number of Nets officials from Brooklyn and Moscow moving around. A good time was had by all. (Trust us.) The suite above Section 108 is double the size of a normal suite, and ideal for large parties like this one for Opening Night. NetsDaily

Shaquille O'Neal knows ... being rich and buying houses is fun ... so despite living in a GINORMOUS 70,000-square-foot mansion ... he dropped $235k on a second, regular person house 30 miles away. Shaq -- who is reportedly worth around $250 million -- currently lives in an 11-bedroom, 13-bath PALACE outside Orlando, FL ... which includes a 20,000-square-foot basketball court and garage filled with DOZENS of sports cars!!! But that just wasn't enough ... 'cause in July the former NBA superstar laid down $235k on a very normal 3,900-square-foot abode ... in a place called Mount Dora, FL. TMZ.com

Last night marked a new era in Brooklyn, a few days after their inaugural home game against crosstown rival New York Knicks was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. The Nets impressed in a season opening win over the Toronto Raptors 107-100. A star-studded crowd was on hand including Jay-Z and wife Beyonce in courtside seats. The first game also featured the announcement of the leagues new partnership with Marvel to unveil the first ever NBA super hero in history. BrooklyKnight is the protector of Brooklyn’s home court and all around ruler of Barclays Center. He made his debut last night at the home opener descending to center court rallying fans. Additionally, to commemorate this historic event, Marvel Custom Solutions put together BrooklyKnight #1 – a 32-page comic book written by Jason Aaron whose resume includes Thor, Wolverine and The X-Men. The illustration was done by Mike Deodato of The Amazing Spiderman and The Avengers acclaim. All in attendance received copies of the limited edition comic book. stupidDOPE.com

On page 22 of a lengthy 26 page Order on Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Aaron Mintz/Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and Mark Bartelstein & Associates, Inc. d/b/a Priority Sports & Entertainment, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson wrote, “This is not the first time in this Order that the Court has exposed clear misstatement of evidence by counsel for Priority Sports. Counsel are warned that further errors of such an egregious nature will be construed by the Court as indicative of bad faith, and may be grounds for sanctions.” Sports Agent Blog

The Court concluded that Aaron Mintz did not meet his burden of demonstrating an actual controversy, because Priority Sports assured the Court that it had no intention of seeking to enforce the non-compete clause now or in the future. Mintz argued that Priority Sports refused to enter into a stipulation stating same; however, Priority Sports said it did not enter a stipulation because of its concerns with the “overbreadth” of the stipulation. The Court found declaratory judgment on this point moot. Sports Agent Blog

Mintz alleged that Priority Sports intentionally intercepted electronic communication. The Court quickly dismissed this claim, because it fails as a matter of law based on the fact that there was no “interception.” The Court stated that for an email to be intercepted in violation of this statute, it must be acquired during transmission, not while in electronic storage. Priority Sports viewed Mintz’s emails while the emails were stored in Gmail. Therefore, the Court GRANTED summary judgment in favor of Priority Sports on the ECPA claim. Sports Agent Blog

Priority Sports alleged that Mintz did several things to establish a pattern of disloyal conduct, mainly preparing for his move to CAA while under employment at Priority Sports. The Court found that under California law, an employee does not breach his duty of loyalty merely by preparing to compete with his employer. Further, the Court stated that Priority Sports offered no evidence to show that Mintz’s preparatory steps harmed Priority Sports in any way. Therefore, the Court GRANTED Mintz’s motion on the duty of loyalty counterclaim. Sports Agent Blog

Priority Sports claimed that Mintz made several defamatory/libelous statements against Priority Sports. Mintz responded by stating that Priority Sports made no offering of such statements into evidence. Priority Sports replied that it “will prove at trial” that Mintz made those statements. The Judge did not take too kindly to this offering by Priority Sports. Judge Wilson responded, “Priority Sports misunderstands the purpose of summary judgment: now is the time to produce evidence.” Therefore, the Court GRANTED Mintz’s motion on the defamation and trade libel claims. Sports Agent Blog

November 4, 2012 | 08:51 AM ET Update

While Teague is using the lack of an extension as motivation, he made it clear that the situation won’t turn into a distraction and that his first preference is to remain with the Hawks going forward. “I don’t think about it,” Teague said of his impeding free agency. “I just play. Go out here and just try to do what my team needs me to do so we can get wins. When that time comes, it will come, but right now I’m just worrying about getting better every day as a Hawk.” “I’m all about winning and whatever it takes to win,” Teague added. “Whichever way the organization wants to go, I’m all for it. I’m on board and I’m happy to be here.” HoopsWorld

One omission from the deadline frenzy was Atlanta Hawks starting point guard Jeff Teague. The fourth year guard was admittedly disappointed a deal on an extension wasn’t reached and plans on using the contract snub as a motivational tool for the 2012-13 campaign. “I mean we tried but you know it didn’t work out,” Teague told HOOPSWORLD. “[The numbers] didn’t match up. But you know it’s a little more motivation to go out there and try to prove to them that I deserve the things I was looking for and try to make the best of it.” HoopsWorld

The Hawks planned on staying the course, with Joe Johnson headlining their team, if Rick Sund had decided to commit to a new long-term deal to stay on as general manager. Despite his team’s inability to win more than one round in recent seasons, Sund thought his core group of players, led by Johnson and Al Horford and with several others hitting the prime of their careers, could have gone deep into the postseason in 2012-13. But when Sund declined to stay long- term, the Hawks brought in former Cavs GM Danny Ferry to replace him as their chief decision-maker, with Sund now serving as Ferry’s adviser. Ferry was willing to make changes and that’s the only reason Johnson became expendable. New York Daily News

It was his debut game as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the recently-acquired shooting guard just didn't want to mess anything up. “I've been the man the past eight years on my team,” Martin said. “I'm coming into a system where I don't have to play that role anymore, which I'm very OK with. First and foremost, I just didn't want them thinking I was coming in here trying to be that guy. It's just about doing whatever I can do to win, and I think they respect that.” Oklahoman

After 10 years of playing in San Antonio, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili’s mastery of English is flawless, but the ebullient Argentine has had to strike one of his favorite adjectives from his vocabulary. Thrilled with his injury-delayed season debut Saturday in a 110-100 victory over the Utah Jazz at the AT&T Center, the two-time All-Star had to catch himself while describing his feelings. “It felt very good,” he said, smiling broadly. “Of course, very happy to be — wait, ‘happy’ is not a word anymore — but I was very satisfied. I was able to play for a few minutes. I felt better than expected.” San Antonio Express-News

Ginobili is awash in the world of social media — he has 1.4 million followers on Twitter — so he was acutely aware of the “war on happy” that erupted after Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rankled at the suggestion by TNT interviewer David Aldridge during Thursday’s televised game against the Thunder that he might be happy with the Spurs’ shot selection in that game. “Happy?” Popovich replied to Aldridge. “Happy? Happy is not a word we think about in a game.” San Antonio Express-News

Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis are different. They’ve built a friendship that is stronger than the obstacles they’ve experienced dealing with the business of basketball. They’re like brothers who respect each other on the court and appreciate each other when the game ends. They’ve relied on their bond to help with the transition to Miami, while enjoying another chance to play together in the twilight of their careers. “I was sitting at my home in Connecticut when I found out; I was excited,” Allen said. “I randomly called him and he told me he was coming down and looking forward to being able to join. “I was very excited. He’s a guy that’s made a great career for himself. The teams we played for in Seattle, we had some great times. Over four years, we only made it to the playoffs one time, but he had some great teams. We had fun together and respected each other and that’s something I’ve always appreciated and cherished.” RealGM

It was teammate Austin Rivers‘ inadvertent elbow that clipped Davis in the side of the head, putting him out of what became an 88-86 loss. But it was the NBA’s precautionary concussions policy that prevented Davis from flying with the team to his hometown — his only scheduled appearance of 2012-13 in Chicago — and will sideline him until he satisfies the requirements of physical testing and a neurological exam. Now, please know that Williams was mindful of the NBA’s fining power when he spoke with reporters before the game. But as he spoke, he revved up a little and he didn’t mince words. “When you’re dealing with the brain, I guess what’s happening in football has affected everybody,” the Hornets coach said. “You treat everybody like they have on white gloves and pink drawers. It’s getting old. But it’s just the way the league is now.” NBA.com

New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams blasted the NBA's protocols for determining when a player can return from a concussion, a day after No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis suffered a mild one. Williams unloaded before Saturday's game against the Chicago Bulls, saying, "Now, they treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers and it's getting old. It's just the way the league is now." Associated Press

Asked what he doesn't like about the concussion policy, he said, "I'm not saying I don't like it. We've got to protect the players, but I think the players should have more say-so in how they feel. I'm sure I had four or five concussions when I played, and it didn't bother me. The NBA is doing what's necessary to protect the players, but this is not the NFL. You don't get hit in the head that much. I understand it. But as a coach, I'm a baby about it. I want my guys ready to play." Associated Press

Content to sit out this coming season, D'Antoni is looking to get another head coaching job in 2013-14, according to several league sources. In the meantime, the league will be watching what McHale gets out of Lin with his pick-and-roll offense. Whatever happens, remember that while many other coaches and GMs view Lin as no more than a solid backup, D’Antoni is still a big believer, maybe the biggest in the NBA, in his development into a major player. New York Daily News

Mike D’Antoni will take the coming NBA season off, but we can see him returning the following season and landing in Houston to reunite with Jeremy Lin. In fact, it makes all the sense in the world. Now that the Rockets are committed to going with Lin as their top playmaker, they should have D’Antoni’s phone number handy. Nothing against their current coach, Kevin McHale, but if the Rockets really believe that the former Knick sensation can be a crucial part of their renaissance, then there's no better system to put him in than the one used exclusively by D’Antoni, as the sporting world saw much to its amazement last season. New York Daily News

The man who had risen from player development coach to assistant coach to director of player personnel to assistant general manager to director of basketball operations added a new title to his resume: general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers. "After nine years, I had done everything I felt like I could do there," Olshey said Wednesday before the Trail Blazers defeated the Lakers at the Rose Garden. "It would have been nice to enjoy the ride for the next period of time with the guys that we had acquired, but it was time for kind of a new challenge." Los Angeles Times

Allen "made me a very fair offer in the range that I was looking for with the caveat that if he gave it to me, I gave him my word that I wouldn't let the Clippers counter," said Olshey, who had been on a month-to-month contract with his previous employer. "Once I gave Mr. Allen my word, for me it was a fait accompli and I had made a decision to move on." Los Angeles Times

"He did a tremendous job changing the perception of the organization and changing the culture," one NBA executive said of Olshey's work with the Clippers, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss a competitor. "He made the L.A. Clippers an organization that guys want to play for and that's no small task considering their history." Los Angeles Times

NBA revenues went down by about $400 million due to the lockout-shortened, 66-game regular season. With the loss of 20% of its season following the five- month lockout, the league expected the losses after pocketing $3.8 billion in 2010-11. New York Daily News

NBA owners left the Board of Governors meetings in Las Vegas happy in one regard: The long-awaited move of putting advertising patches on jerseys becomes official in two seasons, meaning the league is going to find a new way to fill its coffers. Deputy commissioner Adam Silver projects the ads will contribute $100 million per season, with the revenue expected to be split 50-50 between owners and players, since it will be part of the basketball-related income pool. Patches will measure two inches by two inches and will be stitched onto the jersey’s shoulder. New York Daily News

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov did not watch the rival New York Knicks rout the Miami Heat on Friday night. He was too busy sleeping. "Yesterday I went to bed (at) 8 o'clock to be up (at) 4 in morning for great workout," Prokhorov joked during a candid and witty 17-minute news conference prior to Saturday's regular-season opener against the Toronto Raptors at the $1 billion Barclays Center. ESPN.com

Asked to define a successful first season in Brooklyn, Prokhorov responded, "our plan is maybe the conference finals." But his ultimate vision isn't even close to being realized yet. "We are waiting for the ring," Prokhorov said. ESPN.com

Odom gave his teammates a book called the "The 48 Laws of Power," an international bestseller that is a guide for anyone who wants power, observes power or wants to arm himself against power. Chris Paul said he has started to read the book. "Lamar, I'm feeling that book," Paul said. "My dad started reading it and tried to take it. But I had to get back. I like it." Los Angeles Times

The ESPN “30 for 30” documentary on the life and death of 1980s Chicago high school phenom Ben Wilson has a connection to Kevin Garnett, who played high school ball at Farragut Academy in his senior season in 1995. Farragut was featured in the film as a school that opposed Wilson’s Simeon High School. Garnett said he has not seen the program but he is familiar with the Wilson story. “When I first got to Chicago, my coach, WolfNelson, the first thing he showed me was ‘The Ben Wilson Story,’ ” Garnett said. “Some of the footage on that ‘30 -30’ is from this video. That’s the first time I saw. “I saw probably four or five games, it was a rough edit. That was in ’94, so the things that are just now coming out through this documentary, that’s the first thing he showed me — not to just show me some of the players that were in Chicago but the history of [the city] and understanding streets and understanding neighborhoods and how the culture is in Chicago and to understand the severity, and that no one is immune to that reality.” Boston Globe

Somebody in the stands responded well, though. During the next timeout a fan shouted, “Hey Haywood! It would have taken you a month to score 12 points last season!’’ I asked Haywood about all the joshing post-game. He told me the real trash-talker was from Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who shouted something at him every time he took a shot. Charlotte Observer

Mark Followill, the play-by-play man for the Dallas Mavericks’ television broadcast, missed Saturday’s home opener against the Charlotte Bobcats. Followill sustained some injuries Saturday morning while riding his bicycle around White Rock Lake. His return to the broadcast is unknown. “We wish Mark a speedy recovery,” said Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. “He has been an anchor on our television broadcast for many years and he will be greatly missed.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram

During his pregame workout, owner Mark Cuban wore a purple band on his right wrist. It was a gift from a 12-year-old boy he met in Salt Lake City before Wednesday’s game against Utah. “His name is Braeden and he’s going through chemotherapy,’’ Cuban said. “We met before the game and he was really smart talking about the Mavericks. He knew his stuff. After the game, he came to say goodbye and gave me the wristband.’’ Dallas Morning News

Tim Donaghy, the disgraced former NBA referee and centerpiece of the league’s 2007 betting scandal, woke up Sunday off of probation and ready to move forward. He told The Linemakers on Sporting News that he plans to celebrate his release by taking in an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden, when the New York Knicks host the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Sporting News

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