HoopsHype rumors

November 10, 2012 | 07:29 PM ET Update
November 10, 2012 | 06:48 PM ET Update

When the phone finally stopped ringing Saturday, Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan couldn't have been happier to return his quiet existence in his Utah home. The Los Angeles Lakers may not have called about their coaching vacancy for which he was believed to be considered, but so many others who wondered if he would be the replacement for Mike Brown after he was fired on Friday certainly had. And with all signs pointing to a possible Phil Jackson return, Sloan added himself to the list of people who think that's the hire that makes the most sense. "I think that's probably a good choice for them," Sloan told USA TODAY Sports by phone. "It doesn't matter what I think, but he would certainly know what's going on there. If somebody else comes in and sees what's going on, it might shock them to death." USA Today

"I haven't talked to anybody (from the Lakers)," Sloan said. "That's what's interesting is that I didn't talk to anybody because it looks like I'm just trying to take every job that comes up and I don't like that. So I'll just keep out of it." USA Today

November 10, 2012 | 06:02 PM ET Update

The Lakers concluded preliminary talks Saturday with former coach Phil Jackson, a feeling-out process that would continue, The Times has learned. Team Vice President Jim Buss and Jackson met Saturday morning to explore the prospects of Jackson returning to the team. The Lakers are unwavering that there’s still a 95% certainty he will be their next coach. It's known that Jackson has already contacted assistant coaches who have worked with him previously about joining the Lakers' staff. It doesn't appear to be a problem for Lakers management. Los Angeles Times

Until it becomes a certainty that Jackson is ready to return to coaching, the Lakers will continue the search process. It's believed they have an interest in talking to former NBA coaches Mike D'Antoni, Nate McMillan and Mike Dunleavy. No formal offer was made Saturday, but it’s well understood the job is Jackson’s if he wants it. Sources were unclear whether discussions had advanced to the stage of salary and contract length. Los Angeles Times

Jackson’s health is fine, according to people who have spoken to him, but he is hedging a bit because of all the travel done by NBA teams. He has always disliked the routine of 41 regular-season road games — 39 for the Lakers, who play two designated away games against the Clippers at Staples Center. The Lakers have played only two road games this season, neither of them against the Clippers, meaning a long, steady stream of road trips awaits the team. Los Angeles Times

Guard Jodie Meeks may benefit with the coaching change given he had fallen out of Brown's rotation. "I had no idea so, just like everybody else," said Meeks. "We respected him and played hard for him." Rookie center Robert Sacre addressed expectations that surround the team. "We are the Lakers," said Sacre. "We have that across our chest. We are supposed to have 'Ws', and that's it." Los Angeles Times

World Peace spoke about how blessed players and coaches are for the lives they have. "I think it's a good life and it's a good job, at the end of the day," World Peace said. "I get the chance to go out there and have fun." As far as what happened to the Lakers this season, starting 1-4 before Friday night's victory over the Golden State Warriors, interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff had a simple answer. "Yeah, there was something missing . . . [Steve] Nash." Los Angeles Times

Ken Berger: Rockets coach Kevin McHale's leave of absence is to be with his ill daughter, league sources say. Obviously, thoughts are with the family. Twitter @KBergCBS

November 10, 2012 | 05:00 PM ET Update

"I've been more vocal this year than I've been in probably all my years in the league, and guys are listening," said Howard, who is in his ninth season. "People think that I'm keeping things light (in the locker room), but what people don't understand is we go through so much as players on and off the court, and this season we have a microscope on us. "We're all pulled into the negativity where people bring scrutiny and we can't play and be free, so everybody feeds off my emotions. If I'm up, then everybody is up. If I'm down, then everybody is down. We've just got to find a medium." USA Today

The Los Angeles Lakers zeroed in on Phil Jackson on Saturday morning and if their former head coach is amenable to a return under the right conditions, "it's Phil's job to turn down," sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne and ESPN.com's Marc Stein. What those right conditions are extends beyond Jackson's health and willingness to return to coaching after retiring after the 2010-11 season. It would need to be "a philosophical match," according to sources. ESPN.com

Houston Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale will be taking an immediate leave of absence from the team to attend to a personal family matter. Assistant Coach Kelvin Sampson will handle head coaching duties during McHale’s time away. No return date has been set for McHale at this time. NBA.com

Late in the second quarter of the Hornets’ win over the Bobcats on Friday, Anthony Davis and Byron Mullens got tangled up. There was some pushing and shoving to go along with the requisite showing of bravado, before the referees stepped in and the two had to be separated. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist then came over to intervene, in what you’d hope was an attempt to calm rather than inflame the situation. But the official was already there, so MKG ended up running him over, which sent the ref tumbling to the ground. There’s no guarantee Kidd-Gilchrist will be suspended for the contact; the rule book only specifies an automatic one-game suspension for making “intentional” contact with an official, and in this case, that’s going to be subjective. NBCSports.com

November 10, 2012 | 03:35 PM ET Update
November 10, 2012 | 02:52 PM ET Update

Phil Jackson has emerged as the clear leading candidate to be the Lakers' next coach, and two people connected to the 11-time champion coach told CBSSports.com Saturday that all indications point to Jackson wanting the job. "Phil wants it," one of the people with ties to Jackson said. CBSSports.com

Josh Howard doesn’t know when or if the phone call is coming, he only knows that he wants to be ready. Four days a week, Howard trains in Dallas with the hope that eventually some team will find the value in adding a former all-star small forward who has been to the NBA Finals and reached the playoffs in seven of his nine seasons. “I’m just a surprise waiting to happen for anybody that picks me up,” Howard, a former Wizard, said in a recent telephone interview. “Of course, I am at the end of my career, as far as what they consider older guys, but I’ve got a lot left in the tank.” Washington Post

“I’ll be happy to play on any team that wants me. Indiana or anybody else, I’d be very appreciative to get there,” said Howard, a former high school teammate of Pacers forward David West at Hargrave Military Academy, which also produced Wizards guard Jordan Crawford. “I mean, I think ultimately, most guys care where they end up. I just want to be some place where guys come in, night in, night out and play hard. That’s ultimately how I want it. Of course, I’d like to be on a championship team if that can happen, but I’m going to give it my all, no matter what.” Washington Post

November 10, 2012 | 01:02 PM ET Update

The Lakers plan on meeting with Jackson on Saturday morning to make sure he is interested in the job. The unknown 5% in their equation is the chance Jackson doesn't want to fill the vacancy created by the Friday firing of Mike Brown, either because of health reasons or other unknown issues. Los Angeles Times

James doesn't believe his former coach in Cleveland ever got a "fair shake" in Los Angeles and was stunned when he learned Brown was fired by the Lakers on Friday after their 1-4 start to the season. ESPN.com

According to Elliott, Cousins — never known for his maturity or good decision-making — said something to the effect of, “I’m going to bust his (expletive).” That drew a lecture from Elliott, which he took into overdrive after Duncan proceeded to dismantle Cousins over the final four minutes. In addition to blocking Cousins at the rim, Duncan scored three baskets, including a dunk off a give-and-go with Boris Diaw that left Cousins flat-footed. Crowed an angry Elliott: “That’s why some humility is in order. You think you’re dominating Tim Duncan, you get it stuffed right back in your face. Timmy doesn’t like to talk trash. But if guys start talking mess to him, he’s going to respond. All that trash talking was premature. I’m not about to let these guys off the hook. Young ballclubs…should learn from this. Don’t start talking and flapping your gums against one of the greatest players ever. He’s going to make you pay. Tell me who got the best of this exchange.” San Antonio Express-News

The 22-year-old center wasn’t too pleased about Elliott’s comments, calling the Spurs analyst “immature” to media after the game. “I mean me and Tim – we’re good,” Cousins said, pointing out that he meant nothing malicious with his trash talk. “Like I said, I have the utmost respect (for him). But for the commentator to say the things that he said – that was immature.” Below, video of Cousins voicing his displeasure of Elliott’s comments following last night’s loss at Sleep Train Arena. Cowbell Kingdom

November 10, 2012 | 07:49 AM ET Update

The Lakers officially contacted Phil Jackson to gauge his interest in their coaching vacancy. Nothing was offered, nothing was solved, but a lot was gained. Jackson has never stopped watching the Lakers since leaving them. He's interested in working for them again, according to numerous people who are close to him. "He's never out of touch with what's going on," said a person close to him. "He's never walked away from the game." Los Angeles Times

In fact, Jackson wanted to get back into coaching last summer if the Knicks hadn't decided to sign then-interim coach Mike Woodson to a long-term deal, according to a person with connections to Jackson. Jackson was prepared to bring former assistant and current TV analyst Kurt Rambis with him to New York if the Knicks had approached him about the job, the person said. CBSSports.com

Jackson would have his choice of key former assistants, including Rambis, if his reunion with the Lakers became a reality. ESPNLosAngeles.com reported Friday that Jackson is open to a return to the NBA sidelines and has kept abreast of developments with the Lakers and around the league. CBSSports.com

Marc J. Spears: Kupchak told Y! Sports a new coach could be hired in "four or five days." Interim Bernie Bickerstaff will likely coach Sun vs Sac,Tues vs SA Twitter @SpearsNBAYahoo

There is a scenario in which former Lakers coach Phil Jackson would consider returning for a third stint with the team, sources said late Friday, but it will require executive VP Jim Buss once again relinquishing the organizational reins – and this time handing them to Jackson, rather than back to GM Mitch Kupchak. One source described the possibility of Jackson returning, should a suitable offer be made, as “strong.” CSNBayArea.com

"He's too great of a coach to go out that way," Bryant said. "That's my personal sentiment. For me, it was just … I took it to heart because I couldn't give it everything that I had, because my knee was shot. That's always kind of bothered me." USA Today

"He teaches guys to be thinkers," Bryant said of Jackson. "He teaches us the little nuances, the details, the intricacies of the game that just a lot of people know. It's no fault of their own, but when it comes to basketball he's at a genius level. It's tough for anybody to step in those shoes afterwards (with) players who were raised from that tutelage." USA Today

"Are you doubting the Zen Master?" Bryant quipped when asked if Jackson entering without a training camp would be challenging. USA Today

Like just about everybody else, Gary Payton believes Phil Jackson would be the best fit for the Los Angeles Lakers' coaching job. But the future Hall of Famer doesn't see Jackson wanting to come back. "Because he'd be going back into a situation where they blasted him when he left," Payton said in a phone interview with FOX Sports Florida, referring to Jackson leaving the Lakers in 2011 and being replaced by Mike Brown, who was fired Friday. "You heard all that stuff (from the Lakers) when he left that they didn't want to hire anybody affiliated with Phil Jackson's system (the triangle offense). That's why they didn't hire (then-Lakers assistant Brian Shaw). They fired everybody that was affiliated with Phil." FOXSports Florida

"The offense wasn't going and Kobe wasn't happy," Payton said. "And you got two new guys who just came in in Nash and Howard. It just wasn't a good fit. I think he didn't have the respect. You know that Phil is going to demand respect because of all the championships he won. ... I think players want to play for coaches who have produced." FOXSports Florida

Former Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw could also be in the mix, according to league sources, but is believed to be below Jackson and D'Antoni on the team's wish list. Shaw, currently the Pacers' assistant head coach, is well-respected around the league. He interviewed for the Orlando Magic job this summer before the Magic chose Spurs assistant Jacque Vaughn as their coach. NBA.com

Other names believed to be under strong consideration as Brown's successor are former Suns and Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni; former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan; and former Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan. Brian Shaw, who was passed over in the search for Jackson's successor, is now an assistant with the Indiana Pacers and is "very happy there," according to a person familiar with Shaw's thinking. Kupchak described the prospect of luring an assistant under contract with another team as "a remote possibility." CBSSports.com

D'Antoni has a solid relationship with Bryant, having been an assistant coach on the U.S. men's gold-medal winning Olympic teams in 2008 and 2012. He was not planning to coach this season, but the sudden opening of the Lakers' job Friday got his interest. Even though D'Antoni struggled in Phoenix to find a suitable backup for Nash and usually went with a short playing rotation -- something that would not work with this older Lakers team, which needs to extend its bench and get improved play from the reserves -- D'Antoni would have no reservations about coaching them. "The lure of coaching with Steve Nash again, it's pretty compelling," said a source with knowledge of D'Antoni's thinking. NBA.com

The Lakers had actually decided to fire Westhead two games earlier, sources said, before they played the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 15, 1981, but they didn't do it right away. When the team beat both the Pacers and the Utah Jazz three nights later, things got awkward. The team's issues hadn't changed -- Johnson was unhappy with the way he was being used in Westhead's offense -- but now after losing four of their first six games, the Lakers had rattled off four straight wins. When Johnson asked to be traded following the Jazz game, it created the perception he forced Jerry Buss' hand when in actuality the decision to fire Westhead had been made several days earlier. ESPN.com

As the Lakers' lead swelled to 62-50, the Staples Center crowd began to chant "We want Phil", a nod to former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who is said to be interested in returning to the Lakers' bench. Bickerstaff claimed not to hear the chants, saying he doesn't hear well at his age. "Convenient amnesia," he called it. Bickerstaff, though, kept the players focused on the game and they kept the Warriors from gaining traction. They couldn't afford another defensive breakdown. Orange County Register

Your name has been in the news a lot since the summer because of possible trades. How much is that on your mind these days? Jose Manuel Calderon: I think I'm going to be in the news a lot during the whole year (because of his expiring contract). ... I've just got to be professional. That's what I've been doing for these (last) eight years. (By) now you're going to like my game or not, but that (trade) stuff I cannot control. I don't need to worry about what's going to happen. I don't know what's going on (in the) next few days or months or February (leading up to the Feb. 21 trade deadline). I'm just trying to do my job. Whatever minutes the coach (gives) me, that's what I'm going to take and play my best. ESPN.com

Sources with knowledge of the deal say Flynn's contract with Melbourne has an out clause that allows for an immediate return to the NBA if someone calls. If Flynn had done what most players in his sneakers are doing these days -- taking the big money in China -- he'd have been prevented from coming back to the States until the end of the Chinese season in March. ESPN.com

This offseason, you were a free agent, and you took your time deciding between your hometown Dallas Mavericks and the Brooklyn Nets. What was it like being courted by Mark Cuban? Deron Williams: I never really spoke to Mark Cuban. There wasn't much courting, to be honest. GQ.com

Cuban said he spoke with Jeremy Lin’s representatives over the summer. Dallas was Lin’s first team he signed with out of college, playing for their summer league team. “It wasn’t a primary motivation, but we have all the respect for his game, and we were the first team to sign him,” Cuban said. “But the deal he signed with Houston was a great deal.” New York Post

In the final minute of the Wizards’ 101-91 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, though, Beal tried to block a shot by Monta Ellis and wound up with a flagrant-two foul that sparked a minor fracas. (Check out the replay here.) NBA rules stipulate that a player charged with a flagrant-two foul can receive a fine not exceeding $50,000 and/or a suspension by the commissioner. It’s also possible the league can reduce the call to a flagrant-one, which doesn’t come with additional punishment, when it reviews the play. “It was just a foul. I went for the ball but I got a flagrant-two, so it is what it is,” Beal said. “I guess [Brandon Jennings was] defending his teammate, came up and pushed me but it’s just all a part of basketball. It’s physical but it is what it is. I just have to deal with it.” Washington Post

Jennings took exception to the play and as Beal and Booker tried to help Ellis up, Jennings ran over and with a two-handed shove pushed the Wizards rookie into the camera crews. Booker quickly got Jennings away from Beal, who got up and confronted his opponent but the situation resolved itself quickly as referees separated players. Jennings received a technical foul and was ejected. “He fouled me hard and my teammate reacted,” Ellis said. “To be honest, they never showed the replay – but when somebody is up that high, if you can’t block the shot I don’t think that you should try to make a basketball play at the end of the game like that.” Washington Post

Word is there was some early worry in Denver that Kenneth Faried returned for his second season with the strut of someone who bought into all of the positive press he got as a Cinderella rookie and expected to be treated differently in Year 2. That was October. The Nuggets' last three games have quickly hushed those concerns. In a mere 94 minutes in those games, Faried reverted to vintage Manimal form, amassing a heady 53 points and 36 boards. ESPN.com

After scoring three points in the season opener, Green tallied 22 points over his next two games before netting just 10 points in 40 minutes over his past two — a drastic drop from his stellar preseason play. On Thursday, Danny Ainge expressed his disappointment in Green’s adjustment, and Friday was coach Doc Rivers‘ turn. “It’s a dilemma, but he’s going to be a good player for us this year,” said Rivers. “And sooner rather than later, I’m hoping. We’ve just got to unlock him. Right now, he’s just absolutely frustrated; you can see it in his play. But that’s on all of us; it’s not just on Jeff. Jeff’s the easy target right now. Jeff’s part of this team, just like everyone else, and we have to do a better job of getting him going. He’s probably got to do a better job of getting himself going.” WEEI.com

It also feels good to have more of a support system in Brooklyn, something Blatche certainly could’ve used while in Washington. The hope is that his being pushed by a hard-working group of veterans will prove good for him. “To have the teammates I have encouraging me at practice, in the weight room, that’s what I needed,” Blatche admitted. “We’re all for one another. Whenever anybody scores, we all clap and cheer them on and give them confidence. We all need that, and we’re a family over here.” HoopsWorld

In some ways, Teletovic has typified the Nets' early-season growing pains. He is still figuring things out. Now, he appears in danger of becoming a forgotten man on coach Avery Johnson's bench. Teletovic didn't make his way onto the court until the fourth quarter of Friday night's 107-68 rout of the Orlando Magic. He finished with five points on 2-of-4 shooting. "Talking to other European players who came here for their first year, they told me it's a process," said Teletovic, who spent the past six seasons with Caja Laboral of the Spanish League. "You have to get used to it. It's not only basketball; it's life around basketball. It'll take time. But I'm confident." Wall Street Journal

“Serge is as good a mid-range shooter as we have. And the reason why is because he spends a lot of time with coach [Mark Bryant] working on that,” Scott Brooks said. DailyThunder.com

Point guard Steve Nash will be out at least another week after the non-displaced fracture in his lower left leg was examined by Lakers team doctor Steve Lombardo on Friday. That timeline ensures Nash will miss facing his former Phoenix Suns team at Staples Center on Nov. 16. It also likely means Nash won’t be around for the debut of the Lakers’ next coach, which should come next week - perhaps against visiting San Antonio on Tuesday night. Orange County Register

Despite the many calls for Brown's job around L.A., the mood at Staples Center on Friday night was more awkward than elated. Assistant coaches who just started working for the Lakers this season are finished with the team but still languishing on the bench. One of them, Bernie Bickerstaff, hired Brown for his first job as video coordinator in Denver and is now the Lakers interim coach. During a tense pre-game press conference, which was even attended by former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, it seemed Bickerstaff was biting his tongue to keep from lashing out at the club he was coaching. "It's a tough situation," Bickerstaff admitted. SI.com

We haven't necessarily seen the last of former Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley. Not if you buy what's circulating with increasing volume about Heisley's interest in eventually buying the Milwaukee Bucks from Herb Kohl. Sale speculation about the Bucks has been a staple for years, but the latest scenario has the Chicago-based Heisley making a serious bid to buy the franchise if Sen. Kohl can secure the new building (or Bradley Center refurbishment) that would cement the team's future in Wisconsin. ESPN.com

Over a week ago, Cuban said he would donate $1 million to a charity of Trump's choice. But first Trump has to agree to accept a quasi-blind offer from Cuban on what to do in order to receive the $1 million. “I did it all in fun hoping it would be a fun way to just to kind of kick in and raise awareness, and he didn’t want to go for it,’’ Cuban said. “Maybe I’ll just have to lend him the money and spend it for him.’’ Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Are you and Jay-Z buddies? Is he the type of friend where you text him, "Hey, want to grab a burger?" Deron Williams: [Laughs] We text a lot. After games, he'll send me a note. I'll text him back. Before and after games, we'll talk when he's there. We don't really talk about fantasy football or anything, but we're definitely friendly. He's cool. When my wife and I were looking for houses downtown, he was helping us out, passing along names and numbers and giving us tips on where we should be looking. When he was working on the new Nets uniforms, he was asking me for my opinion. He asked me what I thought about wearing the black uniforms at home. He didn't have to do that. GQ.com

Lakers reserve forward Devin Ebanks was arrested on suspicion of DUI in the Hollywood area early Friday morning, according to California Highway Patrol public information officer Saul Gomez. Ebanks, 23, was pulled over at 2:32 a.m. on the intersection between Hollywood Blvd. and El Centro Ave. by California Highway Patrol officers and booked at the Metropolitan Detention Center at 3:44 a.m Los Angeles Daily News

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.