HoopsHype rumors

November 6, 2012 | 10:21 PM ET Update

Bryant may be feeling more spry, but he didn't quite confirm a CNN Turkey report which quoted Bryant as saying that he's aiming to play until age 40. Well, in the NBA, that is. "Playing until I'm 40 is not beyond the realm of possibility," he said. "There's always YMCA games, there's always pickup games. I'll probably be playing as long as I'm living. Los Angeles Times

After getting fined $25,000 by the NBA for inappropriate language directed toward a fan, Steve Blake met with the fan and his father, longtime court-side ticket-holder Steve Jackson, at the team's practice facility on Tuesday. "We got a chance to speak and talk about the situation," said Blake. "I just let him know that I was sorry for the way I acted. I didn't handle myself the way I wanted to. We were able to talk and hopefully build a relationship off of that." FoxSportsWest.com

Wallace may be the biggest surprise for the Knicks, who are 3-0 for the first time since 1999. Wallace has played in all three games after not stepping on the court during six exhibition games because he was not in shape. In only 21 minutes, Wallace has 16 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. “I took two years off from the N.B.A.; I didn’t take two years off, period,” said Wallace, explaining that he was always near a basketball court in Chapel Hill, N.C. “That’s what a lot people think, but I didn’t.” New York Times

At first the team said Bogut would not play on his surgically repaired ankle until it was was 100 percent; but now he's playing 20 minutes per game while it is clearly not. Then the Warriors said they would gauge how he felt to determine his minutes; now how he feels is out of the equation. The one thing that is clear: "The process," as coach Mark Jackson has been calling it since training camp began, seems to be taking a mental toll. "I have a lot more work to do to get to a level where I play 40 minutes," Bogut said after totaling 12 points in 19 minutes of Monday's loss at Sacramento. "Conditioning wise, I don't feel too bad. That's getting better every game. But the ankle is still a work in progress." Contra Costa Times

November 6, 2012 | 08:06 PM ET Update

Bryant, 34, certainly hasn't shown many signs of slowing down in his 17th season, and cutting down his minutes could help his longevity. That doesn't mean he'll be around forever, though, as Bryant provided some context to the CNN Turkey report that quoted the Lakers superstar as saying, "My aim is to play until I'm 40 years old and I believe I can do that." "Playing 'till I'm 40 is not beyond the realm of possibility," Bryant said Tuesday with a knowing smile. "There's always YMCA games. There's always pick-up games. So, I'll probably be playing. As long as I'm living, I'll probably be playing." ESPN.com

Daryl Morey: Very happy w/@JLin7 & he keeps getting better-very active in practice 2day MT @sidmufc How happy are you with Jeremy Lin's production so far Twitter @dmorey

Daryl Morey: We pursued @AsikOmer just 4his defense+reb alone but also liked his screening MT @noamschiller Did U bring in Asik with high screens in mind Twitter @dmorey

Daryl Morey: Happy we won-high 5ved an agent MT @tacoman245 how excited were U when @JHarden13 played well in 1st gm? Did U break out into gangnam style? Twitter @dmorey

“My wife and I spent the summer in New York City and when we got back to Orlando in September, we had a discussion,” Redick said after the Magic’s shootaround sessions Tuesday morning at United Center. “We really are focused on making the most out of every day.” That means not obsessing over speculation that, after six full seasons in Orlando, Redick, 28, might be down to his final few months. He is something of a luxury for a rebuilding team such as the Magic, with both a $6.2 million salary on an expiring contract and skills as a shooter off the bench that might make him attractive in trade by the league’s February deadline. NBA.com

“I don’t know what my future is,” he said, “and I don’t know what this team is going to look like at the [trade] deadline or anything like that. I know that as long as I’m here – and I’ve told Rob this and I’ve told coach Vaughn this – I’m going to be a pro and do what I do every day.” NBA.com

Last season, Kirilenko was one of many NBA players who spent time overseas due to the lockout. However, Kirilenko was also one of the rare NBA players to spend the entire season overseas after the lockout was lifted. “When I signed with the Russian team, it was a lockout season and I thought it was a great chance for me to play in Russia in front of Russian fans and my family and friends since I’m still the right age,” said Kirilenko. “I had the chance and I used it.” RealGM

Kirilenko confirmed that he spoke with Prokhorov briefly before the game, but in a casual manner. “He asked, like, how is everything,” said Kirilenko. “I said everything is great obviously. I just said it’s a great arena because when we get to the arena it looks very flashy.” The Barclays Center was nearly a new home for Kirilenko who was courted by Brooklyn Nets' management heavily before failing to come to terms on a deal. Kirilenko stressed that he has moved on and is solely focused on his current team. “I’m not talking about that (Nets negotiations), said Kirilenko with a smile. “I’m a Minnesota Timberwolf.” RealGM

After getting fined $25,000 by the NBA for inappropriate language directed toward a fan, Steve Blake met with the fan and his father, longtime court-side ticket-holder Steve Jackson, at the team's practice facility on Tuesday. "We got a chance to speak and talk about the situation," said Blake. "I just let him know that I was sorry for the way I acted. I didn't handle myself the way I wanted to. We were able to talk and hopefully build a relationship off of that." Los Angeles Times

There's a word to describe the Clippers' feelings after lookalike defeats Saturday to the Golden State Warriors and Monday to the Cleveland Cavaliers, inferior teams that won with a good deal more grit and determination and efficiency. "Disappointed," point guard Chris Paul said after Tuesday's practice. Paul didn't limit himself to a one-word answer, either. "Disappointed, and it starts with me as a point guard," he added. "I can't let us come out and start out games like that. Giving up 30-point (first) quarters like that the past two games is always going to be tough to come back from." Los Angeles Daily News

Chris Paul asked Byron Scott to stop using Alonzo Gee on him defensively. Scott made that shocking revelation today after practice. He has been calling Gee one of the league's best defenders for a few days and is trying to prove it by using him to defend multiple positions. Apparently at some point during Monday's Cavs win over the Clippers, Paul jogged by Scott and told him "take him off me" and wanted Kyrie Irving to defend him instead. "Why you got him guarding me? Let the young fella guard me," Paul told Scott. "I said, 'Young fella has guarded you. He said, 'Well you threw me in the fire, made me guard all those guys.'" Sulia

New Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Martin has been observing something very interesting about Hasheem Thabeet’s behavior. Martin’s point of view is especially intriguing as the two were teammates together for the Houston Rockets during part of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. “I was with him in Houston. It’s like night and day when he was in Houston,” Martin told HOOPSWORLD about Thabeet. “He wants to be in every practice drill now. I can tell he gets to the gym earlier. He’s just excited. “Whatever they did to him, it definitely worked in his favor,” he said, grinning, referring to the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise. HoopsWorld

“Doc Rivers is Doc Rivers and I’m Kevin Garnett, and I have to find a median between that,” Garnett said today of the Celtics coach, who is forever on the center’s case to look for his own shot more. “Within the flow of offense I pick and choose,” he said. “I have to use my discretion and IQ to when to be aggressive at times. If Rondo says something to me I’m a little more immediate. I like to get the ball moving. My flaw is that I’m too unselfish if you want to call it that. I think it’s absurd, but that’s who I’ve been. I have 18 years in this now, and it’s got me here. It’s November, I’ve never been a fast starter, but I’ll find a balance.” … Rivers talked of Courtney Lee’s frustration with missed shots following Saturday night’s win in Washington, and the fact that the Celtics guard is receiving more than his accustomed number of looks at the basket. Boston Herald

If the minutes are going to be there for Roy to play, he'll have to figure out if he's not getting any explosiveness because his knees are bad or because he doesn't have his legs back yet. After he played 30 minutes against the Kings, Roy seemed to feel like his legs weren't under him. “Yeah, I think so,” Roy responded after he was asked if it could take a couple of games to get his legs back under him. “You know, as far as playing, I feel good. But it's just getting the legs back. I hadn't played a fourth quarter in the preseason, so just trying to get a feel for it.” CBSSports.com

An MRI revealed that Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee during Monday's win over the Portland Trail Blazers. The Mavs announced that Marion will not play in the team's three games remaining this week. He will be re-evaluated next week. "It's a little minor thing to deal with," said Marion, a 14-year veteran who has averaged 8.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 blocks in four games this season. "I'll go on and treat it and take one day at a time. It could have been a lot worse. Luckily, it's not." ESPN.com

"I'm all right,'' Marion said. "It's a little minor thing to deal with, I'll treat it and take one day at a time. "EB kind of hit me on my way down a little bit and it buckled. It could have been a lot worst -- luckily it's not.'' With Dirk Nowitzki (knee surgery) and now Marion out, the Mavs are without their top two players. "It'll affect us a lot,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's really our best player right now with Dirk out, so now we've got our two best players out, so it's going to be challenging. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Backup point guard Beno Udrih will miss the Bucks' game against Memphis on Wednesday night due to a right thigh injury. Bucks coach Scott Skiles said Udrih collided with Ersan Ilyasova on a play during Monday's practice. It's not certain how long Udrih will be out of the lineup. Udrih played well off the bench in the Bucks' two victories last weekend. He had 10 points and five assists on Boston against Friday and contributed 11 points and five assists against Cleveland on Saturday. "It means Doron (Lamb) may play more and Marquis (Daniels) may play more," Skiles said. "Memphis is a very good club and we're going to need to play well, anyway. "But Brandon (Jennings) and Monta (Ellis) may play more minutes even. We'll see how it goes." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Both head coaches are in the final year of their contracts, making them lame-duck in a season where every win and loss arguably matters more than usual. For his part, Hollins refuses to embrace the so-called pressure of new ownership added to his equation. Hollins plans to coach the Grizzlies Friday night at Milwaukee like he has in the past and will the rest of this season. "I'm going to be me," Hollins said. "I'm not going to try to be somebody different and gain their confidence. Doing my job and doing it well will gain their confidence. That's how I've always lived my life." Memphis Commercial Appeal

Hollins first met Griz chairman Robert Pera Monday night before the 103-94 win over Utah. CEO Jason Levien had lunch with Hollins Sunday, and now they are in the get-to-know-you stage. Levien said he "walked away so impressed, which is hard not to be." Hollins understands that there is a process to advance toward possible contract negotiations. "I didn't get to know (former owner) Mike Heisley in a day," Hollins said. "(Jason) is a nice guy. He's a smart guy and I enjoyed our conversation." Memphis Commercial Appeal

Williams made the comments when asked about Hornets forward Anthony Davis, who was injured last Friday night when he was hit in the heat with an elbow from teammate Austin Rivers. "The better he feels in the next couple of days, it helps the situation,'' Williams said before Saturday's game at the United Center. "But when you're dealing with the brain, I guess what's happening in football it's impacted everybody. So he got touched up a little bit last night and I'm sure that happens a lot in basketball. It's just that now you treat everybody like they have on white gloves and pink drawers. It's just getting old, but it's just the way the league is now.'' New Orleans Times-Picayune

So what was the key? No one seemed to know. Chief among the reasons, according to this giddy, proud bunch, was Shved's haircut ("You think because of that we win?" Pekovic asked. "Me and AK, we make him to cut his hair. Now he look like a man.") Fox Sports North

President Barack Obama kept his tradition of an Election Day basketball game alive Tuesday, with an assist from Scottie Pippen. At around 1 p.m., Obama's motorcade arrived at the Hope Athletic Center on Chicago's West Side, where the president played basketball with staff and friends. Former Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias tweeted that he was playing on a team with Obama and former Bulls Pippen and Randy Brown. Their team reportedly won by 20 points. A White House spokeswoman confirmed that Obama also played with brother-in-law and Oregon State basketball coach Craig Robinson, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass, Reggie Love, Mike Ramos and Marty Nesbitt. Chicago Tribune

November 6, 2012 | 02:06 PM ET Update

Even with the rapid embrace of life as the franchise player for the Houston Rockets, something still troubles All-Star guard James Harden about the way his departure unfolded with the Oklahoma City Thunder: Why didn't officials give him longer than an hour to consider a final four-year, $54 million offer before trading him? "After everything we established – everything we had done – you give me an hour?" Harden told Yahoo! Sports on Monday afternoon. "This was one of the biggest decisions of my life. I wanted to go home and pray about it. It hurt me. It hurt." Yahoo! Sports

Asked if additional time might have caused him to accept a deal several million dollars short of the $60 maximum contract Harden had long sought, he responded: "Who knows? Another day, who knows what another day would've done?" Yahoo! Sports

Thunder and Rockets executives give the same explanation for the timing of the trade four days prior to the Oct. 31 deadline for contract extensions: Houston needed a deal done on that Saturday, because Rockets officials felt that was the bare minimum to assure they could get their eventual five-year, $80 million deal with Harden into place. Houston had been pressing hard to complete the trade on that Friday, but Thunder GM Sam Presti waited until Saturday to present his final offer with a 60- minute deadline to accept. Presti believed the Thunder would've lost leverage in potential trade packages if rivals weren't sure they could keep Harden off the restricted free-agent market next summer. Yahoo! Sports

"I heard a lot of those things," Harden said. "I heard that I was greedy; that I didn't care about winning; heard the questioning of my loyalty. And I'm thinking: 'Of course I want to win. I've been winning my entire life.' "Everybody has their own opinion about me [as a role player and focus of a team]. I can do both: I'm versatile. Growing up in college, in high school, I was the focal point. I was the leader. I was the go-to guy. I was the third overall pick. I took a back seat and did whatever it took for the team to win. Some nights I scored, some nights I passed. Whatever was needed to win. "Now, I'm back to my old ways: Needing to be the leader, needing to score. In any situation, I'm going to be good." Yahoo! Sports

According to multiple sources (and included in my story on ESPNLA.comRead more at ESPN › ) all the fan said to Blake was, "You need to knock down those open shots," as Blake was going through a 2-for-6 night. The story I heard was that a fan sitting somewhere behind the fan sitting courtside who Blake ended up directing his inappropriate comments at yelled something to the effect of, "You suck" and Blake thought it was coming from the wrong guy. Sulia

"I feel like I'm not in a rhythm at all," Stuckey said about his poor shooting. "I just feel like last year, I was having the ball in my hand, being able to create, and play in transition. Coming in the second quarter when Brandon Knight went to the bench last year, being the point guard, and being able to use my post position on smaller guards, I just feel like I'm not using that right now. " TalkBasket

You’ve said your relationship with Dwight Howard is good, these days, correct? Van Gundy: Yeah, it is. We’ve been in touch throughout the offseason and throughout his rehab. I’ve kept tabs on what has been going on with him. I’ve said from my standpoint that my thoughts of him are all good. I don’t know how many games we won here in five years but it was a lot and he was a huge factor in that thing. He did a lot for me and he was an easy guy to coach, one of the smartest players I have ever coached. He was coachable and practiced every single day. We had our differences and they became public. Had we been left to handle them on our own, I think things would have been a lot of different. SI.com: If you had to coach him again, there would be no issue? Van Gundy: Not from my standpoint. Heck, if I were ever anywhere again and he were available, I’d be knocking down the door of my general manager to do anything to get him. SI.com

A preliminary hearing into hit-and-run charges against a one-time NBA player was waived today in Grand Haven District Court. Duane Washington will stand trial for allegedly striking 70-year-old Estella Vitins, as the Sparta woman was wandering on the shoulder of I-96 east of Fruitport on September 18th, and then driving off. She’s recovering from her injuries. He could face up to five years in prison if convicted. 1450 WHTC

November 6, 2012 | 10:26 AM ET Update

The reasons are clear. Shumpert, the lone, young, rising star on the Knicks’ ancient roster, doesn’t want any dropoff from his rookie season of excellence. “What you all are saying is not what we’re going by,’’ Shumpert told The Post before last night’s 110-88 victory over the 76ers that improved the Knicks to 3-0. “January, February is what we’re aiming for. I’m just trying to get healthy. When I get healthy, I’ll return to the court. I’m not going to come back and not be able to do the things I did last year and a little more. I want to come back and add something.’’ New York Post

Helping erase a 22-point deficit, the former All-Star helped complete a stunning second-half comeback with an all-around performance that was classic Kirilenko, finishing with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, 10 rebounds, six assists and four blocks, as the undermanned Timberwolves won, 107-96. “Oh, he definitely was on our list. Oh, yeah,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said before the game. “That guy, with a skill set like that? I’ve always been a fan. He plays hard, he plays defense, he dives on the floor, he blocks shots, he goes back door, he’s improved his shot. ... When he was in Utah, I thought he was awfully good when he was healthy, so there was some discussion.” New York Post

Danny Ainge on whether he has spoken to Ray Allen since Allen has left Boston: “I’ve tried to reach out to Ray. (Host: What’s been the reaction?) Ray doesn’t have the same number and I didn’t even realize that until recently but he hadn’t responded and I just thought he wasn’t responding.” Sports Radio Interviews

Puerto Rico's Carlos Arroyo has decided to put his career on hold and remain in Florida until his wife gives birth to their third child in mid-December. Arroyo and Xiomara, parents of two girls, will have a son for the first time. "I've decided to be with my wife the last two months of her pregnancy," Arroyo said to Primera Hora. "It's my first boy. "After that, I will take flight." FIBA.com

Arroyo isn't counting on one, but if an offer were to arrive from an NBA club, he could remain in North America. As it is, he is keeping fit by working out at Florida International University, which is where he played American college basketball. FIBA.com

Jackson, who scored 12 points in the Spurs’ 101-79 victory over the Pacers at the AT&T Center, was traded to the Warriors midway through the 2006-07 season after an incident at an Indianapolis area strip club and a subsequent in-game confrontation with then-Pacers coach Rick Carlisle. He calls it one of the most important times of his career. “I think those two incidents I had in Indiana kind of made me grow up faster and get back to being a humble Jack and appreciate the game more,” Jackson said. “I think a little bit more now before I react, when I’m on and off the court, from being there. “But I think I learned my worth there. Going there and getting my first big contract taught me a lot about getting the confidence to be a good player and the guy I am on the court.” San Antonio Express-News

Kevin Durant though tried to put the brakes on all that Monday at practice. “It’s not the end of the world man. We’re 1-2. We’ve got 79 more games,” he said. “We got a long ways to go. We’re not going to come in after every loss and put our head down and blaming the world because we lost or mad at the world because we lost. It’s just a part of the game. We’ve just got to bounce back. “We easily could’ve been 3-0,” he said. “We not putting rotations or anything on why we lost these two games. We had these guys up 11 yesterday and we didn’t execute. We had San Antonio up three, we had a few breakdowns in that fourth quarter. It’s not like we’re just totally discombobulated or out of sync. We’re playing together, we’re passing well, defense is good at times but could be better. We just got to focus in and lock in every single minute.” DailyThunder.com

Battier joked that offensive flopping is "the silent killer" of the league. Sure, charge-takers might exaggerate the impact of a collision, but offensive players aren't exactly innocent either. In Battier's mind, an anti-flopping measure would need to be implemented on both ends of the floor. "As long as they have the same penalty against offensive floppers – guys who drive through the lane and throw back their head and flail and cry – then I’d have no problem with it on the defensive end," Battier said. ESPN.com

Of course, Battier doesn't want to get rid of charges altogether. He just wants to make sure that if flopping rules are in place, it applies to both ends of the floor. "The charge is a defensive weapon just like a blocked shot," Battier said. "If there’s a guy rolling down the lane, he wonders whether I’m going to take the charge or block the shot. So it’s a strategic weapon on the defensive end, one of few. Offensive players have way more strategic weapons and one of them is the egregious head flop." ESPN.com

After a day of rest and reflection, coach Vinny Del Negro was still grumpy about the way the Clippers played during their loss Saturday to the Golden State Warriors. He let his players know about it during their Monday morning shootaround, too. Del Negro talked and the Clippers listened. "They know that's not the way we want to play," Del Negro said before the Clippers compounded matters by losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-101 at Staples Center. "There are no excuses." Los Angeles Daily News

So for this season, with the exception of a technical foul in Saturday's game against Golden State, Griffin has kept his composure. "Blake understands the big picture. I think he's done a much better job in that area," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "I think it's been something that he should be commended for, kind of handling it." Del Negro said Griffin is hit and fouled a lot. The coach also said Griffin is a physical player who makes his living down low. "He's going to the basket a lot," Del Negro said. "He gets hit a lot, but I think he's kept his composure very well to this point. It's going to be important that he does that. And not just Blake, but everybody. . . . I think Blake is doing a good job recognizing those situations better, and that's a good sign." Los Angeles Times

So the coaching staff has been pushing him to be more assertive? "It's my kids, my mom," Jamison said. "Nah, the coaches, they know what they want me to do. Coach has tried to get me on the box a little bit more in the past game or two. It's going to take time." It's apparently going to take even longer for Meeks, who has been pushed toward the end of the bench with Coach Mike Brown designating Devin Ebanks as Kobe Bryant's primary backup at shooting guard for the next few weeks. A bad sign for Meeks: He played only four minutes against Detroit, and that was with the Lakers holding leads as large as 36 points. "It's disappointing because everyone wants to play," said Meeks, who has made two of seven shots, including two of five from three-point range, and is averaging 2.0 points in 7.3 minutes per game. "But there's really nothing I can do. Right now it's just out of my control and his decision." Los Angeles Times

He also starred in a Spike Lee movie not long after leaving UConn. So when another milestone comes, Allen takes it in stride. “You never go into and say, ‘This is something I want to accomplish,’ ’’ Allen said before Monday night’s Heat game in which he scored 15 points to eclipse the 23,000 mark. “The big thing for me is being healthy. That means you can play longer. Then you look at the things you have accrued on the court, the friends and family you make off the court. You just want to be available to play — and then you end up with a nice career.’’ Allen needed 12 points to hit 23,000. When told that before the game, Allen smiled. “That’s all I got?’’ he said. “Guess I need to work a little harder.’’ Miami Herald

But knowing Garnett as well as he does, Anderson will not make the same mistake Ray Allen made in the season opener for the Celtics when he went over and tried to exchange pleasantries with a guy who may have had a role in inventing the term “game face.” Garnett did not even acknowledge Allen’s presence when the former teammate and former member of Boston’s big three came over before the game and tried a pre-game greeting in his new Miami uniform. “You don’t speak to KG until after the game,” Anderson said with a laugh. “You don’t say nothing to him because he’s (all business). You just leave him alone and don’t say nothing until after.” Toronto Sun

The Cavs (1-1) had beaten the Bulls in the preseason, and that had not been forgotten. Coach Tom Thibodeau had the team staring at film the last 24 hours. And then a Cleveland fan opened up his mouth early in the third quarter and woke up Richard Hamilton. “Some dude in the crowd called me old,’’ Hamilton said. “That’s what woke me up. He called me ‘Old Man River,’ some dude behind me. So I was like, ‘All right, I got something for you.’ ’’ Chicago Sun-Times

On some nights it’ll be Irving who carries the scoring load, as was the case in the season opener when he dropped 29 points in the win over the Washington Wizards. On other nights it’ll be Waiters who takes over, as was the case on Monday night when he had 28 points in the win over the Los Angeles Clippers. “I feel like we’re just playing off of each other, just taking what the defense gives us,” Irving said of the duo. “That definitely works well for us. We take turns. I play off of him and he plays off of me.” “We can both play with the ball and we can both play off the ball,” Waiters said. “We make each other better.” HoopsWorld

“Potential wise, the sky is the limit for us,” Waiters said. “We’re still young and we’re still getting better every day. When we get on the court, it’s all about how we can make each other better. We’re going to push each other. We just have to keep working with each other every day.” HoopsWorld

Taking over for the departed Nick Collison at point guard, Hill is averaging 11.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists. He scored the deciding basket with two seconds remaining in Indiana’s 90-88 victory over Indiana on opening night, a play the Spurs coaching staff celebrated almost as much as Indiana’s. “I’ve watched him closely,” Popovich said. “As you very well know, he was a team favorite, a fan favorite, a wonderful community guy. Great competitor. So we’re always pulling for him to be successful. We were jumping out of our seat when he made the shot a couple of games ago to win the game for them. We were thrilled.” San Antonio Express-News

"I’m concerned, not as far as him getting tired, but I don’t want him to save himself on the floor," said Rivers. "There’s a minutes number for him, we don’t know what it is for him yet -- we’ll figure it out -- where he can play his minutes at full pace, instead of knowing he’s going to be on the floor too long and then he starts pacing himself. We need him to be a fast, quick, aggressive player." Rondo is no stranger to heavy minutes, averaging 42.6 per game in the playoffs last season (and 38.5 per postgame game for his career). At age 26, and being the team's only true point guard, Rondo expected a heavy workload this season, but Rivers wants to keep him operating at full throttle, particularly on the defensive end where a high energy level is necessary to maintain the brand of defense Boston desires to play. "I think [his minutes number] in the 39s [or] 38s," said Rivers. "Not much lower than 40, but it’s in that area." ESPN.com

As usual, Howard came out of the Lakers' training room with a bright smile. But there was still one thing irking him. Nearly 12 days ago, the NBA amended its All-Star ballot by eliminating the center position in an effort to adapt to the multipositional era. "I don't like it at all," Howard said. "We work just as hard as anybody else. I don't think it's fair to take away a position that's been here for life. You need a center on the court. So I don't think it's right. That's like taking away a guard." Los Angeles Daily News

But every year, he had to find himself, plus a new house. "I felt like I'd found a home with the Knicks," he said. "We got off to a good start that year, and Zach Randolph and I were leading the team. But they were trying to clear cap space to sign LeBron James. And I totally understand that. "Everything was good at Golden State, but Don Nelson thought Monta Ellis and I were pretty much the same player, so I moved on, went to Atlanta, got Sixth Man of the Year ... but then they committed a lot of money to their core, and there wasn't any for me. "I've had the same coach in back-to-back years only twice. I've always been on the fly, always changing. I've been blessed, overall, but I'm comfortable here." Orange County Register

Gang violence dissuaded Crawford from even going to school, much less playing. Clyde, who played with Stan Love (Kevin's dad) at Oregon and was a friend of Ahmad Rashad's, put up a basket in the backyard, a sanctuary for which Jamal would yearn. Crawford was 15 when he and his friend, Jalal Shams, were trying to catch a bus from a Dorsey High football game. They were approached by an older, more numerous group, and after some conversation Crawford watched Shams die of a gunshot to the head. Weird, indeed. "I was here when I was in the fourth and fifth grade, and then again when I was 13 until I was 16," Crawford said. "Just a lot of stuff going on. I wasn't focused like I should have been, on school and a lot of other stuff. I needed to get back to Seattle, where the rest of my family was. "It's a sad reality. I knew anything could happen at any moment. When I came back to Seattle my dad came the next year. It was just different there." Orange County Register

The shiner under his left eye will heal soon enough, but Ariza can’t say for sure when he expects to feel relaxed with his new team. Ariza, a 6-foot-8 small forward, is playing with his sixth team in eight seasons, but he admitted that settling in with the Wizards and understanding the nuances of the offense have taken more time than usual. “It’s never been this long to adjust to something for myself, so of course it’s frustrating,” said Ariza, who is averaging 4.5 points and shooting just 25 percent (3 of 12) in two starts. Washington Post

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 said 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

Neither Kobe Bryant nor Steve Nash took part in the Lakers’ non-contact scrimmage Monday. Both received treatment after the team watched film of Sunday’s victory and did a walk through. Orange County Register

Bursa sacs are small pouches filled with fluid that cushion and lubricate joints. While the injury is painful, Griffin is expected to play through it. Before Monday’s game with Cleveland, Griffin showed discomfort on his face as he warmed up, missing his first few shots well short. Orange County Register

Marcus Camby, who missed the preseason with a strained left calf, is expected to go through full-contact practices Wednesdayand Thursday and play for the first time Friday. "You're not going to just throw him out there," Woodson said. "I like to see guys practice a little bit and just see how they feel once they've been banged around and hit the floor a few times. He hasn't had the chance to do that." Newsday

Tyson Chandler said he was “75 percent’’ entering last night’s rematch against the 76ers but a lot better than he was Sunday. Playing with strep throat, Chandler made 75 percent never look so whole as he helped the Knicks romp past the Sixers, 110-88. In a vintage performance and taking advantage of center Andrew Bynum’s indefinite absence, Chandler rocked the rims for 14 points and six rebounds. “It was night and day,’’ said Chandler, who started feeling his infection against Miami Friday. “It’s amazing what some fluids can do for you.’’ New York Post

Mavericks forward Shawn Marion left Monday night's game due to a left knee sprain. The severity of the injury was not immediately known. Coach Rick Carlisle said Marion would be evaluated Tuesday. ESPN.com

A huge insurance fee required to cover JaVale McGee’s lucrative contract with the Denver Nuggets has dimmed negotiations to sign up the NBA star as the second naturalized player of Smart Gilas 2.0 after Marcus Douthit. National coach Chot Reyes confirmed that efforts to naturalize the long-armed, high-leaping Denver center and sign him up for Gilas have hit a snag owing to the huge insurance cover for the four-year, US$44 million deal he signed with the Nuggets prior to the NBA season. Sports Interactive Network Philippines

Here's how Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss, just two-plus weeks ago, put his feelings – and those of general manager Mitch Kupchak and Lakers owner Jerry Buss: "I'm a hundred percent behind Mike Brown. Mitch is. My dad is. We as a collective soul are behind him 100 percent." Collective soul? Brown's not getting fired anytime soon, folks. Orange County Register

Criticize his inability to develop the bench or wonder why the Lakers don't have the defensive tenacity he predicted he'd bring, but the guy is still getting his chance here. Lakers management basically gave him a pass last season because of how little post-lockout time he had to teach and change. This season, he felt secure enough to change the offense – which is the right decision, by the way, for the greater playoff good – and see where it can take him. Sure, everything would feel a little more solid if Phil Jackson was sitting there with a thin little grin even while these pretty pieces remain unassembled. (Just imagine how steadfast fans would've remained if Jackson had gone winless in the preseason: "Man, that Zen Master's just all about championships! He's just waiting until June. Brilliant!") The Lakers know that Mike Brown's not Phil Jackson. They actually don't expect Brown to push an array of elaborate buttons here. Orange County Register

The Miami Heat star makes many millions off his endorsement deals, including one with Nike. But there’s one other particular endorsement he isn’t shy about making news with, regardless of its negative impact on those deals — he's once again voting for Barack Obama for President. "I've been second guessed," James said after scoring 23 points in Monday's 124-99 home win over Phoenix on election eve. "They're saying it's bad for the brand. If I feel like I want to support someone, then go for it." FOXSports Florida

Wittman ended his conversation with reporters when he was asked if he had “Bieber fever.” “I know who he is,” Wittman said as he walked away. Webster said his daughter planned on attending the concert. “I said what up to him. I definitely respect him as an artist. I respect what he does, so I said, ‘Hi.’ My daughter has Bieber fever. I don’t.” Crawford isn’t a fan of Bieber or his music, but couldn’t help but ignore his celebrity as he drove to practice and pre-teen girls surrounded the arena holding signs and screaming. “He’s a popular guy,” Crawford said. “I seen all the little girls in there waiting on him before practice. So, you know, it’s definitely here.” When asked if he was sure if the fans weren’t waiting for him, Crawford had a long laugh before saying, “Nah. Not them young ones.” Washington Post

It wasn’t the type of news coach Tom Thibodeau was expecting or was prepared for, so his reaction Monday to the death of former Bulls play-by-play man Jim Durham at 65 was one of complete surprise. ‘‘Geez, that’s too bad,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘My condolences to his family. A great, great guy, a legend in the NBA. That’s sad news. I’m sorry to hear that.’’ Chicago Sun-Times

Durham, a Chicago native, had been doing games for ESPN, but he called Bulls games from 1973 to 1991 and White Sox games in 1989 and 1990. ‘‘I was so sorry to learn this morning of Jim Durham’s untimely passing,’’ Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. ‘‘Jim was the voice of the Bulls for 18 years, and he was the best at calling a basketball game I ever heard. I loved the energy he brought to our broadcasts, the way he painted a word picture of what was happening on the court, which made you feel like you were there, and his sense of humor. Chicago Sun-Times

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