HoopsHype rumors

November 12, 2012 | 08:05 PM ET Update

Phil Jackson issued a statement regarding the Los Angeles Lakers coaching situation. Saturday morning, Jim Buss, called to ask if he could come and visit. I did not solicit or ask for the opportunity, but I welcomed both he and Mitch Kupchak into my home to discuss the possibility of my return to the Lakers as the head coach. We talked for over an hour and a half. No contractual terms were discussed and we concluded with a hand shake and an understanding that I would have until Monday (today) to come back to them with my decision. I did convey to them that I did have the confidence that I could do the job. I was awakened at midnight on Sunday by a phone call from Mitch Kupchak. He told me that the Lakers had signed Mike D'Antoni to a 3-year agreement and that they felt he was the best coach for the team. The decision is of course theirs to make. I am gratified by the groundswell of support from the Laker Fans who endorsed my return and it is the principal reason why I considered the possibility. USA Today

All signs over the weekend had pointed to Phil Jackson coming out of retirement to coach the Lakers for a third time, and Rambis had been talking with his old friend for days about joining him as an assistant. Instead, the Lakers made the decision late Sunday night to hire Mike D'Antoni to replace the fired Mike Brown, and Rambis -- along with the rest of the Laker Nation -- was stunned. "They had told Phil that it was his job (in a Saturday interview), that he was their first choice, and they agreed to wait until Monday -- today -- to allow him time to digest whether or not he felt he was, in fact, the right coach to come and coach this team," Rambis told USA TODAY Sports. "And, in fact, his agent (Todd Musburger) flew into town -- he's here from Chicago -- to start negotiations. So Phil had made his mind up that he wanted to coach this team. Somewhere between Saturday afternoon, when Phil and I had a conversation, and Sunday night, the Laker organization made a complete 180-degree turn." USA Today

"If you're talking about having success and having this team and someone who knows how to guide a team to an NBA title, Phil is that guy," he said. "There's no second, third, fourth or fifth choice at this point in time. He's that guy. I don't know if Jim Buss knows one system from another in terms of how it fits with players, or what works best for players, or what's the difference between them. I don't know if he really understands that, so a lot of times decisions are made on gut feelings and with outside sources that have an influence on it." USA Today

"The other thing that this organization has to keep in mind, is that if things don't work out really well here, and Dwight Howard's not happy, he's a free agent," Rambis said. "He could leave, and that would be disastrous for the imminent future of this team. I think you can see that there's a lot of pressure on this organization to win, and ultimately that's what you have to do. And Phil has been the coach in recent history who's had the most success here." USA Today

Derrick Rose began cutting on his surgically-repaired left knee, the next step in his nine- to 12-month recovery from tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. Coach Tom Tibodeau said Rose began the next progression "within the last week," reiterating that he does believe the All-Star guard will play at some point this season. "Everything is going according to plan," Thibodeau said. "He's not ahead of schedule. He's not behind schedule. He's exactly where he should be." Chicago Tribune

November 12, 2012 | 06:22 PM ET Update
November 12, 2012 | 05:19 PM ET Update

Stan Van Gundy has already reached out to D'Antoni and encouraged him to keep assistant coach Steve Clifford on his staff. Clifford had a strong history of working with Stan in Orlando and Jeff Van Gundy in Houston and had gone to the Lakers to join Mike Brown's staff. As much as anyone, he understands how to incorporate an individual's flaws into the greatness of Howard's ability to dominate on the defensive end. Yahoo! Sports

Anthony, D’Antoni and Bryant were all together in July and August as part of the U.S. Olympic Team that won a gold medal in London. But while Anthony and D’Antoni, an assistant under Mike Krzyzewski, were fine during the Olympics, their union in New York ended badly. D’Antoni resigned March 14th -- the same day The Post reported Melo told a confidant he preferred a trade unless he had assurance D’Antoni was gone next season. “I’m happy for him,’’ Anthony said after Monday’s practice. “ I knew he was trying to take time off and get healthy. He didn’t know what was going to happen. It worked out for him. This summer with him and Kobe, maybe they had something under the table, I don’t know. It will be fun. I know Kobe is excited about it.’’ New York Post

Jackson wanted to humiliate Lakers vice president Jim Buss far more than he wanted to coach the team. He wanted significant allowances on travel, coaching duties and an ability to veto player personnel moves that didn't fit his vision. With an unprecedented 11 coaching championships, Jackson had every right to make unprecedented demands. He doesn't have the right to be surprised when the Lakers rejected them and hired a pliable, cheaper coach in Mike D'Antoni. "Phil wanted Jim Buss to walk away with his tail between his legs," one source with knowledge of the discussions told Yahoo! Sports. "He thought he had time to still negotiate with them, and see how much they would give him." Yahoo! Sports

November 12, 2012 | 03:51 PM ET Update

“I am so happy to be back with Steve Nash,” D’Antoni is saying late on Monday morning. “To get one more chance to have him run the thing the way he did for me before (in Phoenix), well, that’s the kind of thing you never think is going to happen. But now it has.” I asked him if he thought Phil Jackson, with all that winning in the books in Los Angeles, was a lock to return to the bench, start to make things right at the Staples Center after the mistake the Lakers had made hiring Mike Brown. New York Daily News

He left, and waited to see what kind of team he would get next. He gets the Lakers. “Sometimes you have to be lucky,” he said on Monday morning. “Lucky or even blessed. I look back over my career, just what I’ve been able to do so far, and feel like nobody has been more blessed than I’ve been. Now this happens and I look at myself and I really do say, ‘Are you kidding me? I get to come back and coach these guys?’” “I like this team,” D’Antoni said. “We’re good, and we’re gonna get better.” New York Daily News

"He's just not a very confrontational coach," says someone who knows D'Antoni well. "And there's going to be confrontations on that team."' NBA.com

D'Antoni, his affable persona with the media aside, has a bit of what the old timers call the "red ass" as well; e can scream and cuss with the best of them. And Bryant likes a coach who challenges him -- as long as he respects him. He says he "loves" D'Antoni. But that's not the same as respect. NBA.com

Mike D’Antoni, the coach who had guided Lin through the Linsanity part of his career, was back in the league, having been named the Lakers coach. As Lin left the Toyota Center floor Monday morning, he knew what would be asked and all that he could say about his first coach with the Knicks and the next coach of the Lakers. “Obviously, I’m very, very happy for Coach D’Antoni,” Lin said. “He deserves it. He changed my career. He changed my life. I’m always thankful to him for that. I wish him the best of luck in LA. Obviously, I’ll be seeing him soon.” Houston Chronicle

“He gave me confidence in running the offense,” Lin said. “He’s a coach that empowers his players. He gives his players the confidence and freedom to go out and play to the best of their abilities. That’s what he did for me last year. Houston Chronicle

When everything had become too hard with the New York Knicks, D'Antoni walked into the office one morning and surrendered. Carmelo Anthony had stopped listening to him, stopped running his plays, and ownership never supported the coach. When Anthony grumbled to Bryant about D'Antoni's defensive acumen on a trip to Los Angeles before the coach's resignation in New York, one witness says Bryant shot back to Anthony – only half-kidding – that, seriously, when the hell have you ever played defense? Yahoo! Sports

Carmelo Anthony: “Despite all the hoopla and the -- that was going on about me and Mike, we always had a pretty good relationship. Especially behind closed doors and at practice, we actually talked a lot, talked basketball. What he’s able to bring to the Lakers organization, to that team, and hopefully he brings some positive energy over there. Anytime guys are losing like that there’s always negativity, a lot of negative energy. Sometimes it changes. “I’m happy for him. I knew he was trying to take some time off and get healthy and things like that. I was with him this summer. He didn’t really know what was going to happen as far as getting a job, this year or next year. So, obviously it’s worked out this summer, with him and Kobe, maybe they had something under the table, I don’t know. But it’ll be fun. I know Kobe’s excited about that. We’ll see what happens. Newsday

He doesn't have the right to be surprised when the Lakers rejected them and hired a pliable, cheaper coach in Mike D'Antoni. "Phil wanted Jim Buss to walk away with his tail between his legs," one source with knowledge of the discussions told Yahoo! Sports. "He thought he had time to still negotiate with them, and see how much they would give him." Yahoo! Sports

A statement by the 76ers this morning at the conclusion of their shootaround indicated that center Andrew Bynum could be available to make his debut with the team at some point between the third week of December and the middle of January. "We know that Sixers fans are eager to see Andrew Bynum play and shine in a 76ers uniform,” Sixers general manager Tony DiLeo said in the statement. “We also know that no one is more eager to see Andrew play for the Sixers than Andrew himself. He fully realizes the key contribution he can make to the team. Hopefully, that day is coming soon." Philadelphia Inquirer

Dooling is safe now, because he was able to finally face down demons he'd kept buried throughout his adult life. He is safe because of a rock-solid wife, an organization that reached out when he needed it, and because he was willing to admit he needed help. Dooling, basically, suffered a nervous breakdown, which explained his sudden decision to retire in August after 12 NBA seasons. The breakdown culminated in a week-long stay in an asylum, and forced him to finally address the root of his troubles: the sexual abuse he had suffered when he was a child in Florida. NBA.com

After a lifetime of hiding the truth, Dooling now wants to tell his story, hoping that it will help kids that are in a similar predicament -- or convince potential predators to seek help before they destroy someone's life. "It started when I was five, and it happened multiple times," Dooling said. "It happened with men and women. I was abused by my brother's friend. I was five; he was about 13 or 14. But also young ladies, older ladies in our neighborhood. In my opinion, I thought I was cool at the time. I thought I was in the in crowd. I thought that was how it was supposed to be. And I was sadly mistaken. I didn't even realize the pattern of behavior I had taken on at such an early age." NBA.com

Dooling earned a reputation as a mentor for young players over the years, including the Pistons' Brandon Knight and the Celtics' Rajon Rondo. He was, in the NBA lexicon, a good locker room guy. He ascended to a vice presidential role in the players' union, always immaculately dressed, able to roll in all manner of different worlds, paying his mentor role forward as he had been helped over the years by the likes of Eddie Jones, Doug Overton and Adonal Foyle, among others. "It's my duty," Dooling said. "I get a lot of pleasure seeing young men, people around their game, reach their goals, accomplish their goals. Uplift their family, uplift their community. And a lot of times, cats just don't know how to do it. They don't know how to put a name or a face to that success they're striving to achieve. I kind of normalize it for them, because I've come from nothing. I've come from the slums, the City Zone, as we like to call it in Fort Lauderdale. I've had a very unique ride, a very unique journey." NBA.com

But the past was never far behind. As Dooling was deciding whether or not to return this season -- he had an open invite, basically, from the Celtics -- his behavior began to deteriorate. The week before the family moved back up north to Boston to get ready for the season, Natosha began noticing her husband acting erratically. He began having hallucinations. "I didn't know what it was, but I knew it wasn't good," she said. "Just weird stuff that he would say, or do. I was just like, 'Hmm, what's going on? Is he OK?' I even called his momma at one point, but she really couldn't give me any answers. I knew something was wrong. Actually, I just stayed on my knees. I was just praying. That's all I know to do, just go before the Lord." NBA.com

He was at home, playing in the street in front of his home with his kids. A neighbor thought he was playing too roughly with the kids and called the police. There is uncertainty about how many officers showed up -- 10? 12? 20? -- but it was more than one. The Doolings were new to the neighborhood. They know the police were just doing their job, responding to a call. But a bunch of cops showing up, unannounced, banging on your door is a little disconcerting. "So I ran to the door to see what was going on," Keyon Dooling said. "I was like, 'Who is this knocking like they're the damn police?' That's what I said to myself. So when I got to the door, it was really the police. They was like, 'Get on the ground, get on the ground, get on the ground!' So I got on the ground." Natosha didn't know what to do, what to tell her kids. She was scared. Keyon had always been the strong one, able to handle whatever. And now he was being taken away. "I was just terrified," she recalled. "I was like, 'What is going on? Like, what are these people doing in my house?' ... And they separated us. They had the kids over here and me over there and Keyon over here. It was horrible. I was living in a nightmare. I was really living in a nightmare. I was terrified for myself, for my kids." NBA.com

"They try to find the right dosage of medicine," he said. "Unfortunately, the dosages are so high that they start out with, all the side effects hit you. And unfortunately, it's [during] visiting hours. So when my wife was coming, I was scared, because I had no control over what I said, what I thought. It was a bad situation." She noticed. "When I saw him, you could tell," Natosha said. "It was like they would give him the medicine, like they was timing to give him the medicine. They would give it to him when they knew I was coming, they would give it to him like four, five hours before so he could be a little calm, but still, [he was] talking out of the side of his head." NBA.com

"There's so much hurt, especially when you grow up in the inner city," he says, "whatever struggle it may have been growing up, fatherless, maybe abusive mother, maybe you've seen a stepfather being abused. Maybe you're like me and you were sexually abused. It hurts. Cops abuse people. Teachers abuse people, you know, like verbal abuse, physical abuse, any kind of abuse. It leaves wounds. And as athletes, a lot of times, we don't heal. We don't know how to heal. We're afraid of healing. Thus we get stuck with all this anger and all these different emotions where we don't even know where they're coming from. We've got to go within." NBA.com

Hal Biagas has agreed to join Excel Sports Management as its general counsel, the latest hire by the sports talent representation firm owned by agents Jeff Schwartz, Casey Close and Mark Steinberg. Biagas most recently was Wasserman Media Group’s executive vice president of operations, a position he held for three years. Prior to that, he served as deputy counsel for the National Basketball Players Association, where he worked for 13 years. Biagas and Excel and Wasserman officials declined to comment or did not return inquiries for this story. Sports Business Daily

Former NBA superstar and budding winemaker Yao Ming, whose eponymous Napa Valley wine label made its debut in China at the beginning of this year, is set to take on the US market. According to the drinks business, the basketballer’s Yao Family Wines plans to distribute a limited supply of its Yao Ming 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Yao Ming 2009 Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon to “select wine shops and restaurants across the US.” Though Yao is better known in the US for rebounds rather than reds, don’t expect his wines to come cheap; his Napa Valley cab is expected to retail at US $170, while his Family Reserve comes with a hefty $625 price tag. Sourced from six Napa Valley vineyards, Yao’s wines are aged in new French oak barrels, for two years in the case of his Family Reserve Cabernet. Labels feature an illustration of the Napa Valley, as well as a traditional red chop depiction of Yao’s surname. Yao’s foray into the US wine market will be handled by distributor Regal Wine Company and a handful of wholesalers outside of California. Jing Daily

We’d like to personally thank UCLA freshman basketball player Adria Gasol — the younger brother of NBA players Pau and Marc — for proving that some of the athletes we bash on the internet pay close attention to what we say. On a Saturday Reddit post concerning a high school hoops picture of Marc, one of the commenters brought up Adria, of whom he heard “he’s not very good at basketball.” The first person to respond to the comment? None other than Adria himself. “I have to get more athletic, but it’s pretty hard to do when my body is still in the process of growing,” he responded under the account name “Airdria.” “It sucks, and I probably won’t get any playing time this year, but I’ll still fight and work to become the best I can be.” Lost Lettermen

The Lakers beat the Kings last night behind 23 points and 18 rebounds from Dwight Howard and 18 points and five rebounds from Ron Artest. After the game, Jim Gray spoke with Artest about DeMarcus Cousins. Since Artest has had his fair share of “issues,” he offered advice to Cousins to deal with his issues. I don’t think he actually gave any sort of advice that anyone could really use, but at the end, he asked Jim Gray to go pop some bottles and party in Sacramento. The Big Lead

November 12, 2012 | 08:53 AM ET Update

Mike D'Antoni, not Phil Jackson, will be the next coach of the Lakers. "We signed Mike D'Antoni to a multi-year deal," Lakers spokesman John Black said, mentioning the team's owner and top two executives. "Dr. [Jerry] Buss, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak were unanimous that Mike D'Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time." D'Antoni, 61, coached the New York Knicks last season and the Phoenix Suns before that. He will officially take over the Lakers within a week or two, depending how quickly he recovers from knee-replacement surgery. Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Lakers hired former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni on Sunday night, his agent confirmed to USA TODAY Sports. The deal, according to agent Warren LeGarie, is for four years. A person with knowledge of D'Antoni's deal said it will pay him a combined $12 million in three guaranteed seasons and includes a team option in the fourth. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because financial terms are not disclosed by the team. USA Today

Lakers spokesman John Black confirmed on Sunday night that the team has signed Mike D'Antoni to a multi-year contract. The team is expected to have a press conference to announce the deal most likely on Tuesday or Wednesday of the coming week. NBA.com

Dave McMenamin: Part of Brown's leftover staff is expected to be retained by D'Antoni. D.Ham & P.Handy - player development guys - would be logical to keep Twitter @mcten

D'Antoni, who had knee surgery at the beginning of November, hasn't yet been cleared to travel, according to sources and "it'll be a couple of days before he comes in, but he's further along than people believe." There is a possibility that Bickerstaff will remain interim head coach even after D'Antoni's introductory press conference, according to a source, if D'Antoni isn't feeling physically able to coach games yet because of his recent knee surgery. ESPN.com

The Lakers said they plan to hold a press conference most likely on Tuesday or Wednesday. In a statement released by the team, Lakers spokesperson John Black said team owner Jerry Buss, executive vice president Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak were "unanimous that D'Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time." ESPN.com

A league source indicated late Sunday night that Jackson was "stunned" when the Lakers called to inform him they had chosen D'Antoni. He had been prepared to accept the job Monday if negotiations between his agent and the Lakers went well. Jackson's agent Todd Musberger had been scheduled to fly in to Los Angeles on Monday ESPN.com

Jackson and the Lakers had never spoken about a salary, the source said, "but he knew coaches don't make what he used to make anymore." Jackson, the source said, never intended to miss any more road games than he had in his previous stints with the Lakers. "Phil would come back only to win and skipping games doesn't lead to winning," the source said. ESPN.com

Chris Broussard: Lakers say Phil's so-called demands were not the issue. They didn't wait for his answer on Monday. Twitter @Chris_Broussard

Kings coach Keith Smart has discussed the incident with Cousins. "Any little mark is gonna knock you all the way back down again," he said, remembering their conversation. "So you've got to stay one step ahead and be perfect, with everything that goes on. You've got to be a man now and accept what's happening. And then we've got to move on. But understand that everything you do until you are this person that we believe you can become, you have to do things perfect, because when you make mistakes they affect not just you but it affects our entire team. "So let's put this behind you, we've got the right people in place now to get you through all these things and we're looking forward to the polished person to eventually come out." ESPN.com

The NBA suspended Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins for two games without pay for confronting San Antonio Spurs announcer Sean Elliott in a hostile manner. The exchange followed the Spurs' 97-86 victory in Sacramento on Friday night. Cousins, who has a volatile past, will lose about $70,500 of his $3.9 million salary. Cousins will sit out games at the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday and at home Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers. USA Today

Smith has been a spark in the Knicks going 4-0. He's not just filling the role of the consummate sixth man, but also has been the second scorer the Knicks need behind Carmelo Anthony with Amar'e Stoudemire out. "I'm loving it right now," Smith said. "I'm playing my game, playing with confidence. I have a chance to go out there and make plays for my teammates. Coach has given me a lot of opportunities, so I love it." Newsday

Odom said he has gotten his weight down to 250 pounds, and he understands that the results today aren't the ones that matter. "I'm looking big picture," he said Sunday. And big picture, Odom's going to be important. "He has such a good feel for the game, he can make plays out there," Del Negro said. "He sees plays offensive or defensively out there because of his experience." Orange County Register

However, the same two issues popped up for the Trail Blazers: Defending and lack of bench production. Last night marked five out of six games where the Trail Blazers have allowed opponents to shoot over 50 percent from the field and the Spurs shot a whopping 57 percent. “I can't put my finger on it,” Wesley Matthews said. “It's something we have to correct somehow, but I can't tell you right now what it is.” CSNNW.com

The Timberwolves announced Sunday that forward Chase Budinger suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee after falling in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game in Chicago. Budinger traveled with the team to Dallas on Saturday night, and he underwent an MRI Sunday that revealed the damage. His surgery will be scheduled for later this week, and the team will determine a timetable for his return afterward. Fox Sports North

With the Wizards (0-5) one of just two remaining winless teams in the NBA and John Wall also injured, Nene admitted he feels pressure to return and help on the court, not just serve as some cheerleader or sage veteran passing along wisdom. But the desire to fix a problem that has plagued him for nearly 11 months outweighs the temptation to rush back. “I want that thing to heal 100 percent, because I don’t want to shrink my career,” Nene said. “I need to take care of it right now. I want to finish the pain, because it is still painful. I try sometimes, like, ‘Hurry up,’ when I have physical therapy. That could be a mistake. I need to be true with myself and know this is a serious situation.” Washington Post

After two straight injury-plagued seasons, Drew Gooden is confident that his health is strong and is the best it has been in his time with the Bucks. He’s been listed inactive over the past two games, but for now, he hasn’t broached the topic with coaches and doesn’t plan on doing so. “I’m doing great,” Gooden told RealGM on Saturday night. “I feel this is the healthiest I’ve been in quite some time.” RealGM

Now Steve Blake, who has started every game in Nash's absence, could miss time with a lower abdominal strain. Blake aggravated the injury early during the Lakers 103-90 win over the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center, and played just over two minutes in the third quarter before pain forced him to the bench. The Lakers said Blake will miss Monday's practice in El Segundo, Calif., then undergo an ultrasound Tuesday, after which he will be reevaluated. ESPN.com

Newspaper reports meeting between team representative and local officials A recent survey of Hampton Roads residents has found signs of fan support for a NBA basketball team locating in the area. Virginia Beach is considering building a $350 million, 18,500-seat arena that could become the home of major-league professional sports team. Virginia Business

Kevin Durant: Happy birthday to that boy @Russell Westbrook, I've watched you grow from a young pup to a full grown animal! Lol enjoy bro Twitter @KDTrey5

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