HoopsHype rumors

November 8, 2012 | 07:43 PM ET Update

Sacramento Kings rookie Thomas Robinson will experience his share of first experiences this season, but serving a two game suspension didn't figure to be one of them. The NBA announced today that Robinson will be suspended without pay following an incident last night at Sleep Train Arena against the Detroit Pistons. news10.net

Robinson was not available for comment following the game but instead went to Twitter to apologize for his actions: "Apologize for my actions mistakes happen I take full responsibility lost my cool will never happen again," he tweeted. news10.net

On if trash talk from Jerebko lead to to the incident. Thomas Robinson: Just frustration. It’s nothing he did. Chirping is a part of the game, talk is a part of the game. And that’s something that I have to adjust to, that I have to learn to. These guys are professional whether its trash talking, whatever – they’re pros. It got under my skin. I let it get to me, so it was a mistake. Cowbell Kingdom

He scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting in 27 minutes against the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week. He would have been held scoreless if he hadn't been in the right place for a put back in the third quarter after he missed his first six shots. Hibbert had a chance to bounce back against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, but, again, he struggled, going 4-of-12 from the field for nine points. "I'm not finishing in the paint the way I want to finish," he said. "My teammates are doing a good job of getting me the ball." Indianapolis Star

Are you disappointed or encouraged by your progress? Andrew Bogut: I’m obviously disappointed. I want to play basketball. It’s been a long road to get me back on the floor. I’ve tried it out now. I know how it feels on the floor, so now I’m going to be smart with it. I’ve tried to be a little bit of a hero early on and tried to push through some things that I probably shouldn’t have. But at least I know where I’m at now. I know what I need to do to get back into it and hopefully we’ll turn the corner. Contra Costa Times

Video of a disturbed Kobe Bryant sitting on the bench late in the Lakers' loss to the Utah Jazz has gone viral as the "Kobe Death Stare." Coach Mike Brown can be seen briefly and appears to be the target of Bryant's anger. On Thursday, after practice, Bryant debunked that his ire was directed at Brown. "I'm too old to deal with that stuff. I really am," said Bryant. "I've been his biggest supporter. I'm really too old to be dealing with childish things." Los Angeles Times

In that context, the clip could certainly be interpreted to read that Bryant similarly holds Brown in contempt. According to the Lakers All-Star guard, that's just not the case. "Everybody here would be frustrated, losing a game. You're angry. It has nothing to with one particular person," he said. "God, people are bored." Los Angeles Times

Bryant later viewed the clip on a reporter's phone, calling it ridiculous. Naturally the Lakers as a group are frustrated and disappointed with their performance. Perhaps the upcoming schedule of six-straight home games will help. Los Angeles Times

Bill Walton, 60, has rejoined ESPN as a college basketball analyst and will work primarily Pac-12 telecasts on Wednesday and Thursday with play-by-play announcer Dave Pasch. Walton worked NBA games for ESPN from 2002 to ’09, but left broadcasting because of serious health issues with his back. He has since had surgery and returned part-time with the Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

He hails from Tomball, Texas, a small town of about 11,000 people that's 34 miles north of Houston. Given that proximity, one might think Butler would have big- city tendencies. But it turns out Butler calls dinner "supper" and has an affinity for country music and cowboy boots. In fact, his boot collection is similar to most basketball players' sneaker stashes. "I feel like it's my own thing," Butler said. "It's not my way of being different; I just want my own style. Not too many people do it. I'm from Tomball, a small town—it's country. But that's where I'm from and I like wearing cowboy boots. My teammates get a kick out of it, but it's just like wearing Adidas, like wearing Jordans or wearing Nikes." Red Eye Chicago

His teammates certainly enjoy teasing him about it. "You know, I guess that's that Texas swag," said Joakim Noah, a New York native. "I mean, I've never met a black man that wore cowboy boots like that before." Taj Gibson, another native New Yorker, was even less diplomatic. "It's terrible, just terrible," Gibson said. "But that's his swag so I'm gonna roll with him. But it's not me at all." Red Eye Chicago

"When I was at Marquette, everyone kept calling me 'country' and saying I had cows in my backyard and stuff like that," said Butler, who's averaging 4.5 points in 14 minutes per game this season. "So I was like, OK, you wanna call me a cowboy? I'll show y'all a cowboy. "So I started wearing Wranglers, cowboy boots, hats, the belt buckles, all of that good stuff. And now that I'm here in Chicago, my teammates know that I love country music. They know that I own a guitar. So I figured why not play into the stereotype?" Red Eye Chicago

November 8, 2012 | 05:01 PM ET Update

While McCandless admits he has been in contact with general managers across the NBA, he insisted by phone: “A report goes out and everybody thinks Mickael is on a plane headed for Indiana. Everybody needs to hold their horses.” RealGM

If the Pacers indeed decide they will sign a small forward due to Granger’s absence with left knee tendinosis, Pietrus and Josh Howard are the leading candidates. RealGM

Stephon Marbury showed the way by taking a detour around Europe and being the first NBA superstar who signed in Chinese CBA. Gilbert Arenas is ready to follow his footsteps. According to sources near the situation the former superstar of Washington Wizards has a deal with Shanghai Sharks after a week of practicing with them. EuroHoops.net

Sundiata Gaines is still the first option for Pallacanestro Cantù to replace the injured Jerry Smith. The PG ex NBA is still free agent after being waived by the Pacers during the training camp. Sportando

Spanish team Lagun Aro made official the signing of Jermaine Taylor for the season. The American guard with NBA experience spent last season in D-League with Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Sportando

Get on the court and actually play. "Sometimes you get into situations where you are not playing in practice and you are not playing in games and you can't get better if you are not playing basketball," Flynn said on Wednesday when the Tigers and head coach Chris Anstey introduced the 23-year old point guard. "I just wanted to come somewhere that would give me the best chance to play and I feel that being here will do that. It was kind of an easy choice when I decided where I wanted to go." Ridiculous Upside

In four games as a pro, the Blazers' point guard has faced Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook, Jeremy Lin and the speedy, underrated Darren Collison. On Thursday night, the national TV cameras will be focused on Lillard's matchup with Chris Paul and the Clippers. "That's what I expected," Lillard said in a phone interview with CBSSports.com. "I know my position is the toughest in the league and there's going to be rough nights. I understand that. But my mindset is to come in and attack the games and try to be aggressive and try to make it tough for them -- not lay down to them." CBSSports.com

"I've heard people say that we're not a playoff team and we're rebuilding and we're young," Lillard said. "But right now, we're competing and trying to win games. We can challenge people. We believe in ourselves. We haven't set out any goals -- like, we're going to make the playoffs or we're going to do this and that –- but we can challenge people." CBSSports.com

Do you feel you are still struggling over not yelling at referees over bad foul calls? DeMarcus Cousins: “I feel like I am improving, but at the same time, and like I said earlier, it’s easier said then done. Every player in this league complains to the ref. That’s basically part of the game. Those calls affect the game and us as players know that. If I was one of the players off the bench and got lucky enough to get some time, I shouldn’t be complaining because I am not really affecting the game. As one of the best players on the team, me in foul trouble affects the game. Of course I am going to complain and if I feel like it’s a bad call, I am going to say something. That’s that.” Sports Radio Interviews

What’s your version of what happened Friday night at the game?: Lance Jackson: “Well, first of all, I want to say I have the utmost respect for the game, the Lakers organization and most importantly the players. I have been going to games my entire life and we’re passionate fans, but I have never and would never ever use profanity towards any player, or anyone for that matter. With that being said, we’re really just trying to encourage Steve Blake and get him going. I told him to knock down a shot and it was just the heat of the moment type of thing. He’s a great guy and, like I said, just heat of the moment and he just got upset.” Sports Radio Interviews

Take us behind the scenes with the Steve Blake meeting you had. What did he say?: “We really talked about what happened and Steve Blake was really apologetic. That was really the gist of it. It was just a misunderstanding and he was frustrated and fans were frustrated. That was it. That’s all it really came down to. We’ve been fans forever and never had any issues, and Steve Blake knows we’ve been fans for a long time. We know Steve Blake is a great person and it was really just, like I said, heat of the moment and there’s nothing much else to it. It spiraled out of control from there.” Sports Radio Interviews

"That should be everyone’s mentality. We are competing -- there’s no friends on the court. Even if you were playing against a family member like your mother, you still go out there and try to beat her. It’s just a matter of competing. We love to win, I’m very competitive. Anything I do, I want to win. I don’t have time for friends. I don't talk to a lot of these guys in the offseason, so why I should talk to them on the court and try to be their friend? ESPN.com

Goudelock was drafted second overall by the Sioux Falls Skyforce, for whom he expects to play both guard positions, although he’s surprisingly grown accustomed to one in particular. “I think I’ll play a little bit of both,” Goudelock said. “I’ve grown accustomed to liking the point guard position a little bit more than I like the shooting guard position, which is kind of odd for me. I think I might be playing that a little bit more depending on what the coaches want me to do there. I think being a versatile player who can play two position is a great weapon for me. I’m going to continue to do what I do and add other pieces to my game. HoopsWorld

With the Idaho Stampede, who invested the third overall pick in him, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to make up for the experience he missed out on last year. “It’s exciting man,” Harper said to HOOPSWORLD. “It’s a blessing just to be called at the time I was. You have to look at it as another opportunity to get back to work. “I think it’s going to be good. You have to have confidence going in, especially when the team believes in you and takes you high. They have expectations and you have to go from there. And, have even higher expectations for yourself and be ready to work.” HoopsWorld

Even if the players don't compare, if the Clippers are able to enjoy some sustained success, they're hoping to one day draw some comparisons to the Spurs. "The Clippers haven't been together very long," Popovich said. "Last year they weren't really together. It's not like they've been together for five years and they know each other and everything is golden and everything is smooth. It takes time for a team to get to know each other. "They made a huge leap last year and became a very good basketball team and they're going to be an even better team this year. The only question is how good and how much better." ESPN.com

The Warriors have announced they are shutting down center Andrew Bogut for the next 7-10 days. That rules out Bogut for Friday's game at the Los Angeles Lakers, Saturday's home game against Denver, and Wednesday's game against visiting Atlanta. If he's out the full 10 days, he would also miss next weekend's three-game road trip at Minnesota, Oklahoma City and Dallas. Golden State coach Mark Jackson said it wasn't a setback, that the Warriors were giving Bogut time to strengthen his ankle. "He doesn't feel like he's 100 percent," Jackson said, "and he's clearly not." Bogut said he was frustrated because he can't do what he normally does on the court. He said he's tired of being limited and it's not right that he's taking minutes so he can rehab in games. San Jose Mercury-News

Gerald Wallace has been ruled out of Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic. This is bad news for the Nets. Why? They’ve been outscored 135-83 over the last five quarters without their best athlete and defender, including last night’s 30-point drubbing to the Heat. Wallace sprained his ankle in the waning seconds of the opener on Saturday. He’s always an injury-risk because of a reckless playing style, but Avery Johnson said Wednesday he doesn’t want Wallace to change his playing style. New York Daily News

Veteran big man Marcus Camby will make his season debut Friday night against Dallas, coach Mike Woodson said Thursday. Camby has been sidelined for the entire preseason and for the Knicks' first three regular season games with a left calf strain. "I can't give you the minutes (Camby will play against Dallas), but he'll play tomorrow, absolutely," Woodson said. ESPN.com

The bench is expected to add yet another player by Friday's game, which will make the frontcourt even deeper. More: Marcus Camby participated in his first practice scrimmage on Wednesday and all signs are pointing to him being available to play Friday against the Dallas Mavericks. “Of course I want to play," Camby said after practice. "I wanted to play in the Miami game but I don’t make those decisions. Sulia

Joan Nielsen: Ricky Rubio still on target for sometime in December. Adelman said he was dancing earlier today-not sure if that counts as lateral movement. Twitter @JoanNiesen

Scott Weiss, spokesman for Fanatics.com, an online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise, says the Spurs enjoyed the second highest increase among all NBA teams in sales of shirts, caps and other assorted franchise gear during the first week of the 2012-2013 regular season, compared to the final week of pre-season play. Sales of Spurs merchandise increased 91 percent over that period. The only team that enjoyed a larger jump in merchandise sales was the Golden State Warriors, with a 123 percent increase. Business News

The Thunder will debut a navy blue alternate uniform at Friday’s 7 p.m. game against the Detroit Pistons at Chesapeake Energy Arena. OKC also will wear the alternate jersey for its New Year’s Eve game against the Phoenix Suns. Because the NBA wants teams to wear their home uniform as much as possible, teams are allowed to wear their alternate uniform only twice at home during the regular season. However, teams are allowed to wear their alternate 10 times on the road. Oklahoman

On Friday night, when the Thunder takes the floor at Chesapeake Energy Arena against the Detroit Pistons, fans will be greeted to a creative, different look – the team’s brand new alternate uniforms. The Thunder’s strong, distinct logo and color scheme have always been an integral aspect of Oklahomans’ connection to the team, and now, Thunder fans will have an exciting, powerful complementary uniform to enjoy. On Thursday the Thunder unveiled its alternate uniform that combines a classic navy and white color scheme with modern, innovative vertical lettering. The two-color scheme creates a bold and clean look, while the unique vertical presentation of the word “THUNDER” illustrates the rising nature of the organization and the Oklahoma City community. In many ways the new uniform will be familiar to Thunder fans, particularly since the font used for numbers and letters is consistent with those on the current home and away uniforms. NBA.com

An angry Los Angeles Lakers’ fan on Thursday night opened fire on a Jazz fan with a can of pepper spray outside Energy Solutions Arena. Salt Lake City police Detective Josh Ashdown said a pair of Utah Jazz fans were attending the basketball game Wednesday night when they started trash talking with a pair of Lakers fans. Salt Lake Tribune

The discussion escalated and the Lakers fans challenged the Jazz fans to a fight, which they declined, Ashdown said. Security threw the two Lakers’ fans out of the game, but they apparently decided to stick around to continue the confrontation with the Jazz fans, he said. The Lakers’ fans spotted the Jazz fans standing on the corner of 100 South and 400 West and started trash talking again. At that point, one of the Lakers’ fans pulled out pepper spray fogger and let loose with it, police said. Salt Lake Tribune

November 8, 2012 | 08:53 AM ET Update

"I want to thank my family, my coaches, my teammates, the officials who have contributed to my career. And then I want to say Thanks to the fans who always supported me" said Okur to NTVSpor. Sportando

Bryant’s frustration was apparent long before his final exit: He got into it with referee Ed Malloy after being called for a charge in the second quarter; he punched the ball inbounds rather than passed it when there was less than a second left in the third quarter; and he was caught on camera staring down coach Mike Brown when he was sitting on the bench during a timeout in the waning moments of the fourth. Howard said after the game the Lakers would be better off bottling up those negative emotions. “I think sometimes as a team we got to be able to not really show our frustrations that much,” Howard said after L.A. fell to 1-12 with their preseason record included. “A lot of the guys look at me and Kobe and they feed off us, so we have to do a better job of keeping our frustrations on the inside and just playing through it so our teammates won’t get down on themselves. So, we just got to do a better job at that. ESPN.com

“I know [Kobe] was a little frustrated tonight. He wants to win just as bad as all of us do, but we just got to stay together, remember it’s a process, and stay focused.” When asked about his frustration level after the game, Bryant deadpanned it was, “just a little bit.” And what were the reasons that caused that frustration? “None that I care to share,” Bryant said. ESPN.com

The defense was a disappointment also, with Antawn Jamison (two points in 14 minutes) making one glaring failure on a defensive rotation. Things changed somewhat in the second half: The bench still struggled to score, but Hill’s activity inside gave the Lakers chances at both ends of the floor until Randy Foye shook free for a 3-point show midway through the fourth quarter for a 79-68 Utah lead. “We’re all frustrated,” Brown said after the Lakers’ loss. “I’m very frustrated, too, for the simple fact that I just didn’t think we played the game like we talked about going into the game. We wanted to be the ones to hit first. We wanted to be the ones to play through their physicality, and I thought we didn’t.” Orange County Register

And that was one night after the Celtics trailed by as many as 22 before losing a 99-88 laugher to the Bucks beneath 17 green and white championship banners. Getting melted in Miami is not shame-worthy. But the past three games have strained even the curve upon which Rivers has been grading his new class in these first weeks. What gives? According to coach, not the C’s. At least not enough. “We’ve got to get more guys that play harder, better,” Rivers said after the C’s 100-94 overtime win raised them to .500. “You know, I don’t care if we play well or not, because that’s just human. If you can make shots or not, it happens. But we just have to play with a better focus, and we’ve got to run our schemes better.” Boston Herald

Even though the Nets have since acquired Deron Williams and Joe Johnson to become a legitimate playoff threat, James said they were too much of a project at the time. "It was hard to, where they were at the time," James said. "I mean, honestly, I got an opportunity to talk to their owner and talk to coach (Avery) Johnson. I had a great meeting with those guys … I'm happy where I landed. I'm happy I'm here." The Nets also made a pitch to Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who enjoyed the visit but jokingly said he was disappointed part owner Jay-Z spoke with him over the phone. The hip-hop star met with James in person because they are close friends. South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Thomas Robinson, you’re a rookie so let me help you out here — the check for that fine that is coming can be made out just to the NBA. And there is certainly at least a fine coming — and likely a suspension — for Robinson following his uncalled for and nasty elbow to the neck of Detroit’s Jonas Jerebko. When you watch the replay there is a little contact but nothing out of the ordinary for an NBA possession — Robinson was trying to get Jerebko off him and the Piston responded putting his hands on Robinson’s hips and trying to slide past him into position. Robinson responds with an elbow to the neck. NBCSports.com

Prior to Wednesday’s game against Dallas, Toronto had jumped to 10th in the league in pace, thanks largely to Lowry. Bargnani, no longer the top option, has found it difficult to find his role in the offence and to locate quality shot attempts since the team’s point guards are no longer focusing on setting him up. Dwane Casey talked earlier in the week about the adjustment and about how he had given Lowry the freedom to make calls on offence on the break (pre-injury of course). “The offence we’re running is more of a random type offence where it’s in flow, the push is more random … (the) hardest thing to do in the NBA is to guard random play so that’s why we try to be unpredictable.” Toronto Sun

Bargnani shot just 33% from the field through the first three games of the year, but, interestingly, was a spectacular 46.7% from three after shooting just 29.6% from outside last season, the third year in a row he had declined. But that’s largely because most of his threes had been open looks, the result of him standing unguarded while opponents focused. Before Wednesday’s game, Casey added, “We need him to step up and, most of all, be aggressive offensively and get that bounce, enjoy playing again. I think a lot is expected of Andrea, undue pressure, he puts on himself because he wants to play so well.” Toronto Sun

Carmelo Anthony hustled back on defense, blocking Nick Young's fast-break layup attempt, and the ball bounced toward the Philadelphia 76ers bench, headed out of bounds. Instead of watching that happen, Anthony chased down the ball, jumping over the Sixers bench and into the first row trying to save it. Carmelo Anthony? "Just trying to lead the pack in other areas other than scoring," he said. "I'm just trying to do the little things and make the team better, that's it. Everybody in the world knows I can score the basketball with the best of them. For me to come out and do things other than score, it makes us a better team." USA Today

Woodson is not surprised. "'Melo was great for us last year. He made guys who hadn't played a lot of minutes in this league better based on how he played," Woodson told USA TODAY Sports. "This year, he has a veteran group of guys, and he doesn't have to do as much. He can pick and choose when he wants to be 'Melo based on all the surrounding pieces we put together." USA Today

"Now it's just about integrating yourself into a team, a very successful team, and that's where my passion and me fitting into their family culture around here is on display," said Martin, who was sent to the Thunder with rookie shooting guard Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round pick in exchange for Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward. "Now it's just that process of getting everything into one big piece. We saw with Miami a couple years ago, they went 9-8 (to start the season), then went to Cleveland and that's when it started clicking for them. It's a process. We're going to win a lot of games, but we know it's very important to be playing at the beginning of June." USA Today

Most of the time, when an NBA franchise starts a youth movement and uses the dreaded “rebuilding” word, the veterans who led the previous regime bail quickly in search of greener pastures. That hasn’t been the case in Portland, where LaMarcus Aldridge is all-in with the rebuilding effort and looking forward to new challenges. “A lot of change,” Aldridge tells HOOPSWORLD of this year’s team. “I think it’s all good for us to have new players. We have a bunch of good guys who can play, they’re hungry, they’re trying to prove that they can put their stamp on this game. We have a new GM whose trying to show us that players are first. I think everything has been good so far.” HoopsWorld

Aldridge has always wanted to be more of a post player, but the Blazers haven’t always wanted that to be his role. He welcomes the comparison to Nowitzki, but sees some key differences, too. “I’ve always wanted to be that guy, if the team let me be that guy, that was always a question,” says Aldridge. “But, I’ve grown into that role of being that guy who is trying to make shots for my teammates. We can’t do pick-n-rolls all game, we can’t take jump shots all game, so we’ve got to have that guy that can go down low and make teams double team.” HoopsWorld

Another thing that will help Aldridge this season is having J.J. Hickson next to him in the front court, ready to do some of the dirty work Aldridge isn’t as inclined to do. “He’s just active,” says Aldridge. “I think he compliments me well because he dives hard, he’s active on the boards, back to the rim. I need someone next to me that is high energy because I’m kind of mellow, so I need someone with that high energy. He’s been that so far and it’s been big for us.” There are some around the NBA who look at the Blazers and see a playoff team, and while they do look like a team that isn’t far off, Aldridge isn’t ready to make any such claim. “It’s too early, we’re just going to try and keep building, keep getting better every game,” says Aldridge. “If we keep growing, anything is possible. … I’m a realist. I’ve done this one or two times. When you have a really young team, you can be high and you can be low, so we’re just going to try and be in the middle.” HoopsWorld

Price said it will be a while before his ankle is considered back to normal. You will still find him limping from time-to-time and you'll see him grimacing in pain when he makes certain movements. He was asked if he thought about sitting out until he was completely healthy and Price gave a look as if you asked him to jump over a bridge. “I can't just sit down and watch,” Price said with a smirk. “If I think I can still help my team win ball games, then I'm going to play. I may not be as quick or as healthy as I want to be right now, but I'm going to go out there and give it my all.” CSNNW.com

After three regular season games, the breakout has yet to happen for Williams and fourth-year forward Dante Cunningham has been outplaying him coming off of the bench. It isn’t all negative for the former number two overall draft pick, but he just hasn’t been taking advantage of his opportunities. “Defensively, he has been better this year,” Adelman said. “He is more aware of what he has to do. I think sometimes with young guys it just takes time. They have to figure it out for themselves. I think players learn how to be effective in the offense you are running and he [still] has to learn how to do that.” HoopsWorld

When DeQuan Jones finally got a moment alone after making the Orlando Magic's roster, he sat silently for a while in his rental car outside the team's practice facility, reflecting on his good news that defied NBA odds. Here's how big of a long shot Jones was in making the team, let alone starting a game for the Magic: He wasn't invited to any predraft camps, wasn't listed in the league's media draft guide and worked out with only three teams. He was the seventh-leading scorer at the University of Miami last season as a senior, light credentials that led to a quiet evening at his parents' house last June, when he watched the NBA draft and didn't hear his name called. "I'd be lying if I didn't say an ounce of doubt didn't creep in my mind," Jones said of his NBA dreams. "Nobody expected anything. It was more so a shot in the dark." Yahoo! Sports

The Magic had to make the tough decision of keeping either Jones, veteran swingman Quentin Richardson, who had two years and $4.5 million left on his contract, or young guard Justin Harper. On Oct. 27, the Magic gave Jones the nod. "I just sat in the car for about 10 minutes and replayed everything that happened the last couple years of my life," Jones said. "I just wore a smile. I just can't stop smiling." Two days later, the 22-year-old was apartment hunting in Orlando with a new salary of $473,604. Yahoo! Sports

The Magic signed Moore as a free agent in September and the Purdue University alum got to work in the city where he had made a mark earlier in the in the year. In his first three games of the season, including two starts, he is averaging 15.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 32.0 minutes. Moore is also shooting 55.9 percent from the field and a team-high 70.0 percent from three-point range. “[I’ve seen] a maturation already just within the month of seeing his decision-making, his confidence, his ability to make shots for us,” Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. CSNNE.com

In an increasingly international league -- a record-tying 84 international players were on opening-day rosters this season -- three are from Montenegro and two were on the Target Center court Wednesday. Wolves center Nikola Pekovic and Orlando center/forward Nikola Vucevic are friends, have worked out together and have been teammates on their country's national team. "He's a good guy, a good player," said Pekovic of Vucevic. "We are friends, good friends. We talk a lot." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

As for the Rookie of the Year chatter, it’s still incredibly early, but Scott isn’t surprised. “We thought when we picked him that he would be a Rookie of the Year candidate,” Scott said. “We knew that he would have an opportunity to play and we felt he’d play well. He’s still going to have some ups and downs. It’s four games into the season. We’ve still got a long way to go. He’s on a little bit of a high right now, but he’s going to have some nights where he’s not playing well. We’ll see how he reacts to those, too.” Akron Beacon Journal

You’re in for something special when even Kevin Garnett admits, “That was a weird interview.” Last season, he compared team chemistry to frying tortillas and baking cakes. This year? After the Celtics (2-2) escaped a second straight game against the depleted Wizards, KG invoked cable providers and DVR in one strange analogy. “You can’t speed chemistry up,” said KG. “I think the more practice, the more you get familiar with each other. There’s no hit the fast forward button here. You’ve got Comcast. Some shows you can’t fast forward through. You’ve just got to let it go through and watch the silly ass commercials and be pissed, right? This is what this is. “Did I just take a shot at Comcast? [Expletive] it, I did it. So what? I’m a DirecTV guy anyway. This is what this is. I’m not helping myself, am I? [Expletive] it. [Expletive] it. [Expletive] it. Who cares? Anyway, that’s what this is. We totally messed that up, right? Goddamned, we just totally messed that up. But this is one of those things where it just takes its course and you can’t speed anything up.” WEEI.com

Steve Nash did some shooting and dribbling Wednesday but said he was "nowhere near" ready to take part in change-of-direction and cutting drills. Nash has been sidelined since sustaining a small fracture in his left leg on Oct. 31. He went with the Lakers to Utah but did not suit up for the game. Los Angeles Times

The big question: When is he back? "I have no idea," Nash said. "It’s sore when I wake up but it gets better throughout the day, for sure." Nash will be medically reevaluated this weekend. Los Angeles Times

John Wall plans to visit a doctor in Washington on Thursday to get an update on the stress injury in his left knee. Wall found out about the problem five weeks ago, when he visited orthopedic specialist David Altchek in New York and the Wizards projected that he would miss at least eight weeks. He isn’t expected to return until close to December, and while those close to him have hoped that he could return by Nov. 30 in New York, Wall said he doesn’t have a scheduled return in his mind. “No target at all,” Wall said, shaking his head. “No. I wish I did.” Washington Post

Although Chauncey Billups told ESPN on Wednesday that he expects to return next month from surgery to repair a torn left Achilles' tendon, the 6-3 guard and Del Negro said there is no timetable for his return. Los Angeles Times

At this point, Billups said he's playing at game speed in practice without soreness in his Achilles' tendon. "It's been nothing in my Achilles'. My Achilles' is great. It's strong, powerful," Billups said. "It's recalibrating the rest of my body, getting it up to speed, telling it 'It's time to go.'" Since returning to full contact practice during the preseason, Billups' setbacks haven't had much to do with his surgically repaired left Achilles' tendon. Instead, the setbacks have been stiffness in his back and a slight strain in his calf muscle. Billups also wants to make sure once he comes back, he stays back. "I could turn it on for a week or so and, boom, have to shut it down for a few days. I don't want to do that," he said. "I don't want to play two games and sit two games. I want to be back playing and be part of that team everyday." Orange County Register

Rookie Tyler Zeller returned to Cleveland on Wednesday for further evaluation after sustaining a concussion and broken cheekbone when Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan elbowed him in the face in the Cavs' 108-101 win Monday night. In that same game, center Anderson Varejao bruised his right knee in the first quarter. Varejao played through the pain on adrenaline but his knee swelled up later. He sat out Cleveland's game at the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night because of soreness. Cavs coach Byron Scott said it's unclear when either will return. "Tyler was playing great. We know how Andy was playing, unbelievable. You lose not only two of your best players, you lose your size as well," Scott said before his team faced the Warriors. "Again, we just got other guys who are going to come in and try to pick up the slack for what both those guys brought to the table." NBA.com

When Lowry got hurt during training camp, he tried to convince Toronto’s staff to put him back in immediately. They didn’t listen and he was rested until he returned to 100%. Head coach Dwane Casey expects Lowry to try the same thing this time around. “Knowing Kyle, he’ll get back as soon as he can,” Casey said. Especially since Toronto’s next game is against Lowry’s hometown Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night at the ACC. Toronto Sun

Coach Vinny Del Negro said that the Clippers were concerned about Blake Griffin's burst bursa sac in his right elbow, but that his All-Star power forward was feeling well enough to play against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night. Del Negro said Griffin also had a stiff neck as well from being hit in practice Tuesday. But he said Griffin went through the morning shoot-around Wednesday. "There is always a concern because Blake is such a huge part of what need to do," Del Negro said. "But his elbow is feeling a little bit better. He'll battle through it and he'll give us what he can. It's early enough and Blake has fought through other injuries before. So I don't think this will be any different. We just have to monitor it and see where he's at with it." Los Angeles Times

After watching the Los Angeles Lakers drop to 1-4 on the season with a 95-86 loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night, Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss was not a happy man. Something is not yet right with his star-studded team, and as a competitive guy, Buss is looking for ways to fix it sooner rather than later. "You don't start 0-3 for the first time since we've owned the franchise without being on top of it," Buss told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "No matter what, you have to be aware. That doesn't mean change is coming. That just means you have to be aware." ESPN.com

Six weeks after his surprise retirement from the Celtics, Keyon Dooling accepted a role as a player development coordinator in the organization, he told reporters after the C's 100-94 victory against the Wizards. "Wow first day on the job!" tweeted Dooling, who will likely have to relinquish his position as vice president of the National Basketball Players Association. "Such a different experience." WEEI.com

So far, Mike Brown (Los Angeles Lakers), Terry Stotts (Portland) and Dwane Casey (Toronto) are NBA head coaches who were once on Carlisle's staffs. Also, USC coach Kevin O'Neill was an assistant under Carlisle in 2001-03 with the Detroit Pistons and from 2004-06 with the Indiana Pacers. "It means there's a lot of well-coached teams out there," Carlisle said. "It's one of the things that you love to do if you're a head coach is help guys get jobs if they're deserving, so these guys have all been deserving and they've all done well." Fort Worth Star-Telegram

After a brief respite during which he went to his Indiana hometown to serve as interim coach for Martinsville High School, he is now back in the NBA as an assistant for the Washington Wizards. But Jerry Sichting will forever be known to the world at large mainly for the two-plus years he spent playing guard for the Celtics [team stats] in the 1980s. “Most people only know me as a Celtic,” said Sichting prior to the C’s 100-94 overtime win against his Wizards last night at the Garden . “Most people outside of Indiana, anyway — and even there most people associate me with playing for the Celtics.” Boston Herald

The Pera-led group closed on the $377 million purchase of the franchise from Michael Heisley late last month. A source told The Commercial Appeal Monday night that the group used $125 million available to NBA teams through the league's credit facility and another $50 million in bank financing to close the deal. But that's nothing new in the NBA. Nineteen of the league's 30 teams use the league's $2.3 billion credit facility, and many use it to the $125 million per-franchise maximum. The facility is a pool of money banks provide through the league and offer at lower rates because of the NBA's credit worthiness and other guaranteed future revenue factors such as its long-term television deal. Memphis Commercial Appeal

Franchises are also allowed up to $50 million in financing provided outside of the NBA's facility. The financing is a significant chunk of the purchase, but it isn't known precisely how the rest of the equity is divvied up since Pera's group has said it would not disclose ownership percentages. As controlling owner and chairman, Pera is the largest shareholder. Sources told The Commercial Appeal last month that Pera will own less than 50 percent of the franchise; league rules require controlling owners to own at least 15 percent. Twenty-four people or entities are listed as partners. Memphis Commercial Appeal

So could it be that the Heat have the best overall basketball player on the planet as well as the smartest one? Forward LeBron James, who is everybody's answer in the first category, doesn't disagree. "I'm not going to challenge him," James said of going against Battier on Jeopardy! "I'll tell you that. He's very smart. He has basketball IQ. He has book IQ. He's probably one of the smartest guys I've been around." FOXSports Florida

It has been well chronicled that 60% of NBA players are broke five years after retirement. Is the reason for this due to the fact that they do not save, do not plan adequately, are not advised properly, a combination of everything, or maybe that they just do not understand the numbers involved to keep up their lifestyle? Let’s take a look at the numbers and see if your clients comprehend the effort it takes to support their current lifestyle. Assume the following: A) A 23 year old, B) Current salary of $4,000,000, increasing by 3% annually until age 31, C) Saving $500,000 the first year, increasing by 4% annually, D) An inflation rate of 3%, E) An investment return of 5% as well as a post retirement investment return of 5%, F) Income replacement at retirement of only 25%, and G) A retirement age of 32. Figuring the individual would easily live a minimum of 40 more years (until age 72), the client will run out of money by age 38. Hence, the support evidencing why players are broke five years post-retirement. Sports Agent Blog

Teammate Ricky Rubio snapped a picture of Shved sleeping during the plane ride home. He tweeted it with the caption: "Gotcha!!! The young Toni Kukoc is tired!" Fact is, the shorn Shved does look a lot like a young Kukoc, the former NBA player from Croatia. But Shved got a bit flustered when asked about it. "Come on, guys," he said. "I don't know about that. Ask Ricky Rubio." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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