HoopsHype rumors

November 11, 2012 | 05:00 PM ET Update

Rockets guard Carlos Delfino told the Houston Chronicle the team’s offense has “become too predictable sometimes. Just because we know we have a guy like James creating and Jeremy (Lin), even if you are going to finish with pick-and-roll, from my point of view, you should be able to get another play before that pick-and-roll happens. It’s better to finish with a pick-and-roll in the last 10 seconds than the first five or 10 seconds, because the defense is already set.” Oklahoman

J.R. Smith has been one of the key factors in the Knicks’ 4-0 start with not just his scoring, but his overall play off the bench. Smith admitted he’s a little surprised at the Knicks’ record and how well they’re playing. “Yes and no,” Smith said after practice Saturday. “I say yes because of how old our team is and the injuries to Iman [Shumpert] and [Amar’e Stoudemire]. “I say no because of the camaraderie we have, how much we talk and communicate one through 15, all of our guys. We all seem to be on the same on the page, as well as the coaching staff too.” Newsday

Bradley Beal was shoved to the floor by Brandon Jennings and ejected by the referees, but there were no further repercussions for his hard foul on Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis with 23.7 seconds remaining of the Wizards’ 101-91 loss on Friday at Verizon Center. After reviewing the incident on Saturday, the NBA downgraded Beal’s infraction to a flagrant foul penalty one. Under league bylaws, Beal was eligible to get suspended and receive a fine of up to $50,000 after he was assessed a flagrant foul penalty two – unsportsmanlike contact defined as “unnecessary and excessive” – and an automatic ejection in the loss to Milwaukee. But he didn’t get a suspension and his punishment has been reduced. A player receives two points for a penalty two flagrant foul and one point for a penalty one flagrant foul. Exceeding five points during the season will lead to an automatic one-game suspension and further suspensions for each additional flagrant foul. Washington Post

But the larger question is Ilyasova's slow start to the season. The 6-foot-10 power forward had 10 points and six rebounds against Boston after scoring 11 points in the Bucks' victory over Washington on Friday. But Ilyasova had all 11 of those points in the first quarter. He ranked second in the league in three-point percentage last season at 45.5%, one of the reasons he finished second in voting for the NBA's most improved player award. In the first five games Ilyasova is shooting 29.4% from three-point distance and 29.8% overall. "He's got a lot of movement going on right now," Skiles said. "It's not that Ers is not coachable; he's very coachable. "But sometimes the best thing to do is leave him alone and let him work himself out of it. It gets in his head a little bit. He's shooting the ball and his feet are moving; he's drifting all over the place. He's just not real solid with it right now. "He's just got to make sure it doesn't affect other parts of his game and eventually they'll go in for him." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Q: It certainly seems like the deal (with Jackson) is going to get done, but are you pretty confident he'll be the guy soon? Magic Johnson: I feel it's going to get done. They have some things,of course, to work out. I know that Phil wants to bring his staff in, which is good, because - again - most guys like (former Lakers assistants) Kurt Rambis and (Jim) Cleamons, they know the guys. Kurt has worked with Kobe almost since he came into the league. He knows him, they respect Kurt, Kurt respects them,and Kurt knows how to get the most out of these guys. He did a wonderful job with Bynum and the rest of the guys. They love Kurt, because he's won championships. Cleamons, same thing. Of course he wants his guys, and that's good because that's what makes Phil comfortable coaching, so I think they'll get it done. USA Today

Q: You've made it pretty clear who you want to coach this team, Magic, but break it down for me. Why do you feel like Phil is the only choice? Magic Johnson: When you get Dwight Howard and you get a Steve Nash, and you bring them to the Lakers, Phil would be a perfect coach of this team because of his recent success with Shaq (O'Neal), his recent success with (former Lakers center Andrew) Bynum and (Lakers forward Pau) Gasol. So he knows how to utilize both big men, put them in a position that they can be successful and that the team can be successful as well. So he already has this incredible history with Kobe, winning five championships with him. He would definitely, I think, from Day One, be able to take over this team. He'll have the respect of the guys, because he's won championships. He would have a knowledge of them, they would have a knowledge of him, they know how to run the triangle. The only two people who have to catch up are (Steve) Nash and Howard. With Dwight, that'd be easy, and I think that'd be easy for Steve Nash as well. If the Lakers want to win now, he's the perfect coach. USA Today

Magic Johnson: That's the reason why Mike is out, because the Lakers are about winning championships. They're not about waiting. Some people have complained, and said different things - no, he didn't get a fair shake. The Lakers don't give people fair shakes. It's not about fair shakes. It's about whether you can produce or not. Other organizations, they have time and patience because they're not about winning the championships. The Lakers are about winning championships. They've had championships already, when you think about 16 of them. This team was put together and they want to win this year.That's why Dr. Buss and Jim and Mitch made the call. USA Today

Q: Not sure if you feel like addressing this, but it's been written that you played a part here (in the firing of Brown), that you told Dr. Buss to do it. Any response there? A: It's so stupid. They're so misinformed. I have never talked to Dr. Buss about firing Mike Brown. I've seen Dr. Buss one time. I visited with Dr. Buss three months ago. I had a great visit with him. We were just reminiscing. That (claim about Brown) was coming from Mike Brown's camp, that they thought I played a role in this. But let me tell you something about Dr. Buss. First of all, I didn't do it. Second of all, if I had a role in it, I'd tell the world. I don't have no problem telling people (laughs). That's easy. If I went to tell (Dr. Buss) that , 'Hey Mike Brown should be out,' and they fired him, and then somebody said, 'Well Magic had a hand in it,' I'd say' Yeah, I had a hand in it.' (laughs). USA Today

Coaching the Lakers might be his dream job, but Scott has a lot of unfinished business with the Cavs. He's not going anywhere, especially after the Cavs recently picked up the option on his contract for next year. That was a big boost to his confidence. "I didn't know it was coming when it did," Scott said. "It was a little bit of surprise, but (I was) very happy. I think I let you guys know how much I enjoy this organization and the direction we're headed. We have an unbelievable owner in Dan Gilbert, who I have a great relationship with, and a great general manager. We're on the same page as far as how this thing needs to develop. Like I've stated before, I'm extremely happy here in Cleveland." News-Herald

Scott, 51, said he feels he has the support of ownership and the front office. "It's very important," he said. "I've been through the other end of it, too. It's a blessing to be in a situation like this where you have the backing of your owner and general manager. The way I see things playing out, they see it the same way." News-Herald

Don't talk to Cavaliers coach Byron Scott about new-age statistics. Many NBA teams are sinking millions of dollars into statistical analysis, which break down the game in many ways. Scott doesn't always adhere to those principles. "I'm still so old school," he said. "I don't put a whole lot of stock into it. I know we've got a couple guys who are numbers guys. And I'll look at it, but for the most part, I'll look at it and say, ‘OK, yeah, all right. Sounds good, looks good.' "I really like what I see on the basketball court. I like to see it with my own eyes rather than go by what this guy does statistically." News-Herald

Joseph Goodman: Mario Chalmers has a rap song. It's awesome, of course. Lyrics like "Colder than Alaska, My willpower's legendary." bit.ly/Nl3aaj Twitter @MiamiHeraldHeat

November 11, 2012 | 12:52 PM ET Update

Mike Bresnahan: Lakers meeting w/ Dunleavy today. He coached them for 2 yrs in 90s + Clips for 7 yrs 'til 2010. Dunleavy, McMillan, D'Antoni = back-up plans Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan

“It’s one of those situations,” West said when asked if he wanted to remain in Indiana long term. “My main objective is to try to win [here]. I feel like this group has an opportunity to do that. Obviously with Danny [Granger] out it changes and makes things a little more difficult for us this year, but again we feel like with the group that we have and with Danny at full strength we can compete.” HoopsWorld

Darren Wolfson: I know there's initial concern about Budinger's knee. Should know more later today. Do know #Twolves plan to continue talks w/ agents today. Twitter @DarrenWolfson

November 11, 2012 | 10:01 AM ET Update

Jackson is looking at adding Scottie Pippen, his former Chicago Bulls star, to his staff, sources said. Bernie Bickerstaff is expected to coach the Lakers on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings. Bickerstaff became the interim coach after Mike Brown was fired on Friday with a 1-4 record. New York Daily News

Jackson is expected to meet again with Lakers officials on Sunday or Monday, a source said. Bernie Bickerstaff will again coach the Lakers in Sunday night's game against the Sacramento Kings. Yahoo! Sports

Still, Jackson remains their focus. Almost immediately after firing Mike Brown on Friday morning, the Lakers zeroed in on Jackson who has won 11 NBA championships, including five with the Lakers. If he is amenable to a return under the right conditions, it likely would be on a two-year deal, sources told ESPN. A source close to Jackson told ESPN on Saturday: "I can't imagine this not working out. Phil's health is fine now. That's no issue at all. Phil's feisty. He gets feisty when he's ready to coach. He likes this Lakers team." ESPN.com

The desire of Lakers fans and players to have Jackson return has been matched by management's hope to have him back on the sidelines. There's been speculation since Jackson's departure in 2011 of a rift between Buss and the coach. That is not a deterrent in present discussions, according to a person familiar with them. Los Angeles Times

"It is Phil's job to decline," a source with knowledge of the talks told Yahoo! Sports. "So the real question is does he really want to do this for two more years knowing what he has done and not having any regrets? Only he knows that answer." Yahoo! Sports

Jackson, according to a source who knows him well, is in good shape after having a knee replacement last March. The likelihood is that if Jackson returns to coach, he'd want to bring back many of his longtime assistants, including Jim Cleamons, Frank Hamblen and Kurt Rambis. Most observers around the league think it would be easy for the team's current personnel that weren't in Los Angeles when Jackson last coached the Lakers to pick up the triangle offense Jackson has used since his days in Chicago in the 1990s. The offense would be especially good for Howard, who could thrive in the low post the same way Shaquille O'Neal did when the Lakers won three straight titles from 2001 through 2003. NBA.com

The Lakers had a phone interview Saturday with former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, a source told ESPN. According to the source, the interview went very well, "except it still feels like it's Phil's job to lose." There was no in-person interview with D'Antoni scheduled after Saturday's initial phone interview, a source close to D'Antoni told ESPN. ESPN.com

Petrie said Fredette is still in the Kings' plans. But the team has to figure out if Fredette is indeed a point guard or more of a combo guard, which would free him to score more and not run the offense as much. "Everybody eventually gets their opportunity," Petrie said. "He's got a real good feel for the game, and he hasn't come close to shooting the ball to his potential. That's not a concern given the quality of his stroke and his history of making shots. It'll just require some patience and time." Sacramento Bee

The Nets didn’t trade for Gerald Wallace because of how they could match up with the Heat or because they figured he could guard James, although that’s how GM Billy King is busy spinning it now. Nets insiders vividly recall that Wallace was imported from Portland because “we got burned by Dwight Howard,” according to one team source, “and we were hoping that getting Wallace would help keep Deron Williams around.” Back then, it was all about keeping Williams from bolting to the Mavs. The Heat/James angle wasn’t a big consideration. New York Daily News

The NBA is looking into a postgame confrontation between Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins and broadcaster Sean Elliott that took place on the Sleep Train Arena court after the Spurs’ 97-86 victory in Sacramento on Friday. Elliott, the former Spurs star who serves as analyst on the locally produced telecasts of Spurs games, criticized Cousins for “talking trash” about Spurs captain Tim Duncan during the fourth quarter. After overpowering Duncan for two baskets and drawing a shooting foul on the Spurs star with about five minutes left, Cousins bellowed to his teammates on the Kings’ bench after drawing a shooting foul on the future Hall of Famer. Elliott paraphrased Cousins as saying, “I’m going to bust his (expletive).” San Antonio Express-News

Elliott responded after Duncan blocked a Cousins shot at the rim and scored three baskets. “That’s why some humility is in order,” Elliott said on the air. “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 ballclub 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 Nets brought in Johnson this offseason to try and turn the page on their losing past in New Jersey. So far, Johnson’s transition to the Nets has been inconsistent. A five-time All-Star, Johnson too is trying to find his place with Williams. Johnson, averaging 13.8 points per game through the first three games, is slightly off his career average of 17.7 points per game. “It’s going to come for me. It just takes time. I just need to get acclimated with everybody, and I think things will come. Right now it’s early, we’ve only played three games. We just have a lot of room for improvement,” Johnson said. “I’m getting there. I just thought (Friday) night I miss a lot of shots I normally make but I’m still learning Deron’s sweet spots on the court, the things he likes to do, the places he likes to catch the ball.” New York Daily News

A statement is needed and Garnett can’t be the one to make it. “We’ve got to put the work in in practice to figure out the second unit,” Pierce said of how to respond with Garnett on the bench. “But that’s going to come. Our identity is going to be a defensive team first and we’ve got talent offensively to where we think it will come together. We’ve got to do a better job of sharing the ball, making the extra passes, but the main concern is the transition defense and rebounding the ball. “I understand that it’s a process, we’re going five games in. We’re still building even though we lost today, there’s some positive things we can build from that. It’s still a long season. It’s still some things we got to get together mentally, maybe a road trip like this one against two pretty good teams will solve it.” Boston Globe

Kurt Thomas didn’t make a peep when he went from being the Knicks’ top power forward reserve in their first three games to sitting out their win over Dallas on Friday night. But Mike Woodson said he didn’t expect any backlash from Thomas, whom he called “a true pro,” or anyone else who might be the odd man out on a given night. “My first speech at our team dinner, right before we opened camp, I told everybody that they had to leave their egos at the door,’’ the coach said Saturday after practice in Greenburgh. “If we’re talking about trying to win a title and win at a high level … we got to leave the egos at the door. I’m not going to deal with guys with bad egos. If there’s a problem, they’ve got to go.” New York Daily News

The team announced earlier Saturday that McHale was taking an immediate leave of absence to deal with a family matter. Assistant coach Kelvin Sampson took over and said before the game he hoped the team would come together to win for McHale. USA Today

Jeremy Lin said it was a bit strange to play without McHale in charge of the team. "It was definitely different," Lin said. "He's our leader. He's our voice. But coach Sampson did a good job coming in, and we played hard. Obviously we can't wait for coach McHale to come back. Everybody around here loves him to death." USA Today

The men's World Cup of Basketball will skip 2018 and be played instead in 2019, serving as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympics. The former world basketball championship also will expand from 24 to 32 teams, basketball's world governing body said Sunday. Normally played every four years, the next World Cup of Basketball will be held in 2014 in Spain. It will continue to be held every four years starting with 2019. FIBA says the qualification period for the tournament will be held over two years starting in November 2017. ESPN.com

Most importantly, though, is that FIBA will qualify teams for the World Cup and Olympic tournament much as its football brothers do: through multiple qualification periods through the year. These periods will, for the 2019 World Cup, be in November 2017, February 2018, June 2018, September 2018, November 2018 and February 2019. You may note that the NBA is typically in session in November, February and, for two teams, June. Whether this means that NBA players will no longer participate in global basketball remains to be seen. If so, it's a huge dent to the sport. SB Nation

Langdon said playing in Europe allowed him to experience new cultures, especially during his six years in Moscow. Like most of us, all he knew were stereotypes of the city, but he learned to understand and enjoy Russian culture. “It’s 15 million people there, you can get anything you need there, the language is difficult, but in terms of getting what you want, it’s like New York,” he said. “The people there are harsh at the beginning. They are just not going to embrace you immediately, especially if you are new. “For me, with the players, it wasn’t about being a person of color at all, it was more about being an American than anything.” Boston Globe

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