HoopsHype rumors

November 20, 2012 | 09:42 PM ET Update

Warriors guard Klay Thompson did everything he could to appear "fine" after another rough performance. He shrugged his shoulders, kept a straight face, talked matter-of-factly. But when he asked about the potential game-winner he missed in Monday's win over Dallas, his facade cracked. "That one hurt," he said, wincing as if his bricked 3-pointer with 16 seconds left just replayed in his head. "It didn't feel like it was good. It felt off to the right." San Jose Mercury-News

Mike Trudell: As expected, @Steve Nash is going to be out at least these next 4 games (Nets, Kings, Grizz, Mavs), D'Antoni clarified. Twitter @LakersReporter

A return by Warriors center Andrew Bogut has been ruled out for any of the Warriors' next three days, the team said Tuesday. Bogut spent several days last week in Los Angeles receiving treatment under the supervision of Dr. Richard Ferkel in an attempt to strengthen his surgically repaired left ankle. San Jose Mercury-News

Losing has been the only constant, with the Wizards (0-9) off to the worst start in the history of a franchise that has had numerous lean years over the past three decades. “This isn’t fun,” Wittman said. “You don’t sleep very good. You don’t eat very good. The bowl of pasta doesn’t taste worth [guano] right now.” Washington Post

China Central Television (CCTV), China's national television station, CCTV Future Advertising and NBA China on Tuesday announced a new, comprehensive multi-year television partnership that includes a significant expansion of NBA coverage and the formation of a joint media team to market and promote NBA broadcasts. This new agreement also marks a key milestone, as the companies celebrate the 26th anniversary of their partnership to provide access to the NBA and enhance the game of basketball in China. The announcement was made at a press conference featuring Li Ting, deputy chief editor of CCTV, Jiang Heping, director of CCTV-5, Zhang Yong, general manager of CCTV Future Advertising, Yin Tiegang, deputy general manager of CCTV Future Advertising, David Shoemaker, CEO of NBA China, and Collins Qian, COO of NBA China. China Daily

November 20, 2012 | 06:03 PM ET Update

Free agent center Eddy Curry has received interest from several NBA teams, according to sources close to the situation. Five teams have been in contact with Curry and expressed some level of interest in his services. Curry last played with the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 4.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in two games earlier this season. He was released by the Mavericks two weeks ago so that the team could open a roster spot to sign Troy Murphy. HoopsWorld

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that the team has waived guard Matt Carroll. The Hornets acquired Carroll on November 13 from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for forward Hakim Warrick. NBA.com

Following his team’s ninth straight loss, a 98-89 setback to the Indiana Pacers in front of a sparse crowd of 14,426 at Verizon Center, the Wizards coach wondered what it would take for him to find someone to lead his team to its first victory of the season. “I’m looking down the whole roster,” he said, “and if I had a cell phone I’d be calling the waiver wire trying to find another body. I mean, I’m just searching right now -- searching for people to give me consistency.” CSNWashington.com

Milicic, expected to serve as the primary backup to Kevin Garnett at center, has played just five minutes this season and left the team before Sunday's game against the Detroit Pistons to spend time with his mother. Rivers said he saw an immediate change in Milicic's disposition when he found out the news about his mother and doesn't expect the former lottery pick back. "Most likely (he's gone), yeah," Rivers said. "Honestly the stuff with his family has been going on for a while. We've talked about it three or four times. It's probably 50-50, but once you get the one side working, it's always going to win out. It doesn't look like (he'll come back." Boston Globe

I sent SLAM Magazine senior editor Tzvi Twersky (follow @TTwersky) a text message on Friday night, asking him if he had heard anything about Bynum injuring his left knee while bowling. As someone who is generally plugged in to these sort of things, I thought he might have some insight. “I started investigating [the bowling] a little bit,” Twersky said. “And one of the people that I hit, a guy who has played with him before, he texted me back and said ‘I don’t know if that’s true [the bowling], but I do know that I’ve never met another player in the league who likes basketball less [than Bynum].” CBS Philly

Kyrie Irving immediately knew something was seriously wrong. The Cavaliers point guard was trying to swipe the ball away from Darren Collison as the Dallas guard went up for a shot. Instead of hitting the ball, Irving hit his left index finger on Collison's shoe. "I just knew it wasn't a jammed finger," Irving said on Tuesday in explaining how he suffered a fractured left index finger that will keep him out four weeks. "I've jammed almost every finger on my hand, so I just knew when it started turning black and blue . . . I just thought it was a bad sprain, but it just turned out to be broken." Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Mavericks will have to play without superstar Dirk Nowitzki for at least another three weeks, the franchise icon said today. Nowitzki, speaking for the first time in more than two weeks, said his rehab is not going as fast as he would like. He’s been pushing himself as much as possible, but the first knee surgery of his career is proving to be a difficult adversary. “Well, unfortunately not as soon as we all hoped, I think,” Nowitzki said when asked when he might return to the court. “I think originally when the last statement we put out was it’s going to take six weeks before I do any basketball activity. Unfortunately, I tried, but I couldn’t cut the time down.” Dallas Morning News

Asked if it was going to be mid-December before fans could expect to see him in uniform, Nowitzki said: “Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping. It’s tough to really say how long it’s going to take until I get back. From the beginning, the goal is that the swelling has to be gone 100 percent and the strength has to be back 100 percent. And once that goal is reached, then I can obviously think about playing again. But I think we’re still far away from that. Dallas Morning News

Warriors center Andrew Bogut, who spent several days last week in Los Angeles where he received treatment under the supervision of Dr. Richard Ferkel, will not play in any of the team’s next three (3) games as he continues to strengthen his surgically repaired left ankle. It is anticipated that Bogut will begin running on the AlterG treadmill later this week with the hopes of returning to practice activity with the team next Monday. His progress will continue to be evaluated and monitored by the team’s medical staff and updates will be provided as appropriate. NBA.com

Under Petrie, the NBA's longest-tenured top basketball executive, the Kings have missed the playoffs for six consecutive seasons; four coaches have been scorched in the process, with Keith Smart's job security suddenly not so secure; the slow start has dampened preseason enthusiasm and furthered the belief that the Maloofs don't care and Smart can't coach, and that Petrie's Princeton pedigree notwithstanding, he is no longer the brains behind a highly successful venture. (NBA scouts summarized the Kings as a low-IQ roster that lacks a floor leader/facilitator, and has too many small guards and duplicating small forwards, a dearth of perimeter shooters, terrible chemistry and inexplicable offense.) Sacramento Bee

We told you about the new uniforms the NBA is rolling out for its slate of games on Christmas Day, and now we have a commercial featuring Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Joe Johnson, Russell Westbrook, and Dwyane Wade modeling the new gear. The video clip above is an ad for the BIG Color collection, and has the players dribbling in rhythm their own rendition of ”Carol of the Bells.” NBCSports.com

“It's been ten years and I felt like I had to go back to Cameroon because now I'm a NBA player and not a little kid in middle school,” Batum said. “When I was 13, I had nice sneakers and video games and I remember how I felt seeing others with nothing. I grew up understanding how lucky I was. But, at some point, I think I forgot and that's why I decided to go back and see how my family was doing and see what I could do to help them. “You know people say I'm French because my mom is French and I was born in France; I grew up there and everything, but my dad was born and raised in Africa and I have family, uncles, cousins and everything there. I'm from Africa, too.” CSNNW.com

Batum says he sat in astonishment, listening to each young woman's life story. “I was just shocked how 14-year old girls were raising their brothers and sisters,”Batum said. “They couldn't even go to school because they had to work. I told them, 'You are part of this world, too. You can become something in society.' But, mostly I just listened.” After hearing all of those painful stories, Batum said he stayed awake for hours that night writing out a list of ways he might be able to be of some assistance. However, he said it was frustrating trying to come up with something. CSNNW.com

David Axelrod, President Barack Obama’s chief strategist from his two historical victories and a longtime Bulls season ticket holder, is taking on a new challenge. He hopes to raise $1 million towards finding a cure for epilepsy. And if he does, his trademark look will be gone after more than four decades. NBA.com

But if you don’t recognize the president’s man in his usual spot at center court on the north side of the United Center at the end of this month it may because he doesn’t recognize himself, either. That’s because the Bulls’ No. 1 fan may be without his close friend of more than 40 years, his mustache. And if he is without it, as frightening it may be to family, friends and even himself, Axelrod will be thrilled because it means he’s raised $1 million toward epilepsy cure research. They already are more than halfway there. “It could be a shock to all involved,” Axelrod laughed. “I may have to wear a blindfold as it comes off. It’s something that started off as a lark to make a point in the middle of the campaign that has turned into an opportunity to do some good for a lot of people.” NBA.com

Wall Street's self-regulator has ordered Morgan Keegan to pay basketball star Horace Grant the award issued by an arbitration panel by early next month or face suspension. Morgan Keegan, which says its license isn't in jeopardy, has already paid Mr. Grant $1.59 million for losses he sustained in its mortgage-backed bond funds but is disputing the rate of interest that should apply on the award. Mr. Grant's attorney contends that his client is owed a total of $1.92 million. Wall Street Journal

Axelrod now heads to his role as director of the new University of Chicago Institute of Politics, will write a book and do speeches. “And I’ll still be available to the president,” said Axelrod. “He’s not just an old client, but a friend of the last 20 years who will be a friend for life. If he calls me, I’ll always answer.” Though if Axelrod is such a good strategist—and the record says he’s the best—then maybe he can devise something for the Bulls. “There’s going to be good nights and bad nights, but not because they don’t show up,” Axelrod agrees. “For example, (Joakim) Noah looks in great shape, better than any time since he’s been a Bull. His play is reflecting that. So some good things are happening. But every team needs a superstar, and we need ours. We’re all waiting and watching his progress and until then I feel we can be competitive.” NBA.com

November 20, 2012 | 03:04 PM ET Update

Marc Stein: Hearing Spurs do have interest in Mickael Pietrus -- natural w/3 other Frenchmen on roster -- but Pietrus still seeks more than NBA minimum. Twitter @ESPNSteinLine

Video: Doc Rivers admits Darko is "most likely" done in Boston: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUfaSsJd1ZU&feature=plcp … Twitter

Walsh knows the Pacers can't replace Granger's points without a significant trade, and they're not in the position to make a move like that. "The guys people are talking about at the level of a Danny Granger, that's a major trade," Walsh said. "How are you going to get those players?" Indianapolis Star

Walsh is frustrated at how the Pacers have lost some of their games this season, but he's remaining patient. The Pacers have lost four games in the final 30 seconds of regulation this season. "You never like that, but what we have to do is focus," Walsh said. "It's very early in the season. I knew we were going to be playing a lot of games on the road early and then we had the Danny situation, too. "We're developing a playing style we can win at. If we lose that game, I'm going to feel good about it, still, because we're going in the right direction." Indianapolis Star

Asked whether Hibbert is pressing to live up to his new $58-million contract, Walsh said, "I never approached it from that standpoint. We made the decision to keep him. . . . I think that he's struggling. I don't think it has anything do with the contract. "I do think this new style (on offense) will help, because when you walk the ball up the court and keep the ball on that same side of the court, it makes it easy to guard him. I feel like we're collectively getting better." Indianapolis Star

The rough start to the Raptors season actually turned as the team fell in triple overtime at home to the Utah Jazz to go 1-6 on the season. Calderon posted a double-double of 13 points and 11 assists during the three overtime periods for a 20 and 17 night. Calderon showing he knew when to dial up his production. “I think sometimes the point guard needs to score the ball and sometimes you don’t,” Calderon said. “I think what you need to do is try and find when it’s your time and when it’s not. “I might have to be more aggressive or less, but that’s how I play all the time and that’s what I try to see from a point guard perspective.” HoopsWorld

However, Calderon understands that Lowry will be returning to the court very soon and this team-first professional willingly accepts any role Casey assigns him. “You just go out there in whatever minutes you got and try and do your thing,” Calderon said. “That’s the way I play, that’s the way I play all the time, that’s what I’m trying to do, just play basketball and be myself. Coach is the one you can ask about minutes, it’s always a changing situation. I just try to be professional every day and try to do my best every night so it doesn’t matter. I cannot control the rest. “Hopefully, Lowry can get back as soon as possible.” HoopsWorld

Throw out the first three games, in fact, and Monroe’s averages for the season would be 19.1 points. 10. 9 rebounds and 4.0 assists. He shot 40 percent in the first three games, 52.2 percent since and 61.5 percent over the last three. “Just got into a better rhythm,” he said after Tuesday’s practice before the Pistons departed for Orlando and their Thanksgiving eve game with the Magic. “The game becomes a little bit easier. I feel like I’m in a good place right now, but it’s more importantly about the whole team and not about me individually. I’m trying to do whatever I can to help my team win.” NBA.com

It sounds like at least another week before Charlotte Bobcats captain Gerald Henderson will be well enough to start playing again. In an exclusive interview Tuesday with the Observer, Henderson said his sprained left foot is still sore and he hasn’t been cleared yet to run or jump on the basketball court. Charlotte Observer

“I’d say around a week. I’d have to be able to run and jump first and get a couple of practices in. To get myself in decent enough shape because I’ve missed some time,’’ Henderson told the Observer, after a session of shooting and ballhandling. Charlotte Observer

After completing his second consecutive practice Tuesday without any complications, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade said he plans to return from a foot injury Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks. Wade has missed the past two games with a bruised left foot he initially sustained during a Nov. 12 win at Houston when he stepped on the foot of teammate Chris Bosh. Wade finished that game but aggravated the injury two nights later in the Heat's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. ESPN.com

Mike D'Antoni, who has been the Los Angeles Lakers coach the last two weeks but hasn't been on the bench as he rehabs from knee replacement surgery, will make his debut at tonight's home game against the Brooklyn Nets, Lakers spokesman John Black confirmed to USA TODAY Sports. D'Antoni, who is familiar with Lakers forward Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard from Team USA duties and Steve Nash from coaching him with the Phoenix Suns, was hired after second-year coach Mike Brown was fired with the team standing at 1-4. USA Today

D'Antoni wanted to be on sideline Sunday but was convinced to give the knee more time by his wife, Laurel, and Lakers trainer Gary Vitti. The Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 119-108. "Mike told me he won't let Gary talk him out of it tonight," Black said. USA Today

November 20, 2012 | 01:23 PM ET Update

Darko Milicic, signed in the offseason to provide depth in the frontcourt, reportedly has been considering returning to his native Serbia to be with his ailing mother. Milicic, a bust as the second overall pick in the 2003 draft, has appeared in just one game for the Celtics. "It's up to him right now," Rivers said. "He has some family issues, more his mom. Not playing, and being in another country, and the NBA hasn't gone exactly great for him over his career. So, it's a lot of reasons for him to want to leave. And I understand that, and I told him that. So, I pretty much left it up to him. He has my blessing either way." WEEI.com

The Heat resumed practice Monday after arriving home early Sunday morning from a six-game trip that ended with Saturday's victory in Phoenix. Wade was able to do some work in practice and spent additional time on the sideline of the Heat's practice facility working with a team trainer. "I didn't do myself any justice playing in that (Clippers) game," Wade said Monday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. "I could have used the extra rest, and maybe I could have been back by the Phoenix game on the road, or I really could be ready going into the game Wednesday." ESPN.com

The NBA D-League will broadcast almost all of its games this season live on YouTube, making it the first professional sports league to use the popular video-sharing website as its primary broadcaster, ESPN Playbook has learned. The league will air 350 of 400 total regular-season games in high definition on the D-League YouTube channel and through a YouTube video player on NBA.com. ESPN.com

November 20, 2012 | 10:14 AM ET Update

Arenas said the Lakers contacted him following Steve Nash's injury, but he made it clear that he wanted to play for CBA teams. "When I played for the Wizards, Eddie Jordan was my coach. He's Lakers' assistant coach right now, we talk to each other a lot. He told me the Lakers were interested in me. I told him I'd like to try in China. Maybe after I play well in CBA, I'll consider (the NBA). " hupu.com

Arenas, perhaps learning from his failed experience in latching on with Guangdong, went along with company policy in Shanghai, however, and proved himself to be in shape in individual workouts and full-team practices. Further helping his cause, Arenas also got a ringing endorsement from Yao’s former teammate and longtime China National Team point guard, Liu Wei, who reportedly is in favor of adding a proven backcourt scorer to play alongside, similar to when the team signed John Lucas III for their 2009-10 semi-finals run. The fact that Arenas, who will collect over US $20 million this season and next from the Orlando Magic after being amnestied in December 2011, was willing to accept a contract within Shanghai’s budget also played a factor in the team’s thinking, according to the source. NiuBBall.com

Howard will become a free agent in July. The Nets won’t have the cap space to sign him unless they trade most of their starting lineup. “I’m here now in L.A. there’s no need to talk about what could have happened. I’m happy with being here in L.A.,” Howard said. “The fans have always been great here. Now that I’m on the team the fans, from Day 1, they’ve just been unbelievable to me and to this team. “It really doesn’t matter at this point (why I demanded a trade to Brooklyn). There’s no need to talk about the past. I’m happy being a Laker. This is the best situation for me and what I need to move forward.” New York Daily News

Meanwhile, an NBA source acknowledged that Darko Milicic may miss an undetermined amount of time because his mother is ill, and he may not return to the team. The Celtics are being very sensitive with Milicic and there isn’t likely to be movement unless he makes a decision to remain in his native Serbia. Boston Globe

Boston is 30th in rebounding and could use a boost. Kenyon Martin, the much-traveled No. 1 overall pick in 2000, is a free agent and hasn’t bolted for China or other opportunities like some of his aging brethren. Ainge signed Milicic and Jason Collins to add depth at center but neither is playing and that means Rivers doesn’t think they will be productive. If a roster spot opens, the Celtics should take a serious look at Martin. Boston Globe

Jason Kapono wrote an open letter which was posted in Panathinaikos bc official website. The American forward is thanking the Greek team for its support to his family problems (his wife is having pregnancy complications), but he still haven’t decided if he will come to Athens. “Having reached a deal with Panathinaikos last week, I faced an unexpected family emergency, that delayed my departure to Greece. At this moment my situation is still unclear and I don’t know yet if it will prevent me from fulfilling my obligations to the team. My agents and Panathinaikos are in constant contact and me and my family will try to find a positive solution. Panathinaikos is one of the most legendary clubs in Europe and I was excited to join them and be a part of their winning tradition. Everyone in the team is fully professional and respected my situation, specially owner Mr. Giannakopoulos, whom I thank personally about his support”. EuroHoops.net

Center Marcin Gortat recently — to a Polish newspaper — chronicled the struggles he’s felt adapting to the offense, namely pinpointing the lack of ball movement, especially through him, and the difficulty finding chemistry with point guard Goran Dragic. “Nothing’s going to change,” Gentry said in response to the comments. “We try to throw him the ball, and we’ll try to get him the ball as much as we can and ... . We’d love to be able to throw him the ball and have him post up and score for us. That hasn’t been one of his strengths, really.” Arizona Republic

John Denton: #Magic JJ: "I think we could use more structure. We’re trying to be unpredictable. Sometimes it doesn’t allow us to get to our strengths." Twitter @JohnDenton555

Forward David West made back-to-back jumpers to help the Pacers hold on and the Wizards had to once again discuss coming up short in a game that they could’ve won if not for a poor execution down the stretch and an even poorer start. “Always the same story,” Kevin Seraphin said after scoring 13 points off the bench. “We have to fight all the game to come back. But that’s difficult. We play some good teams. This is the NBA. That’s a league with no mercy. If you don’t start right, you already lost the game.” Washington Post

“I think we believe in one another. I don’t want to say it’s a surprise,” Kidd said of the Knicks’ success. “I think with the knowledge and the understanding of the game and the principles that Coach has put out for us, I think guys have picked it up quickly and it’s kind of fun as you can see.” National Post

Just don’t tell that to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich (above), whose choice words for his team after Monday night’s 92-87 loss could not be confused. Not only did his Spurs lose, but Popovich roasted them for an uneven effort against a fellow Western Conference contender in a way that only a couple of his peers (Doc Rivers and George Karl, maybe) could do without offending the sensibilities of the whole locker room. And even if he did set off a few alarms in his locker room with his comments, Popovich has the resume (not to mention the game tape) to back up his words. “Of all of our games, this is in the soft category,” he said calmly. “We never had five guys that competed hard enough to win the basketball game, the Clippers took it with their aggressiveness and toughness, both mentally and physically. And I thought for a portion of that game we were an embarrassment. So we’ve got to look at that and look at the film and make sure everybody understands that this is a game that has to be played with competitiveness for 48 minutes. And that’s the bottom line.” NBA.com

But Hollins — bless him — wasted no time getting to the central reason: The Grizzlies were outworked. "That's a recipe for getting beat and we got beat," he said. Witness, the rebounding numbers. Those usually tell the tale. The Grizzlies had 33 rebounds. The Nuggets had 47. "The kid Faried tore us a new one," said Hollins. Memphis Commercial Appeal

Lillard, who made three of four buzzer-beating chances in college, also said part of being a late-game stalwart is being OK with failure. His ability to overcome that fourth-quarter miss and excel in overtime validated his point. "In my mind, when I take the shot, I'm going to make it," Lillard said. "But I'm not afraid to miss it either. I've missed it before, so I can live with not making it. I think you've just got to be comfortable with yourself. For me, if I miss the shot, I don't think any less of myself. I feel like the next one is going to go in. You just have to be comfortable with who you are and be confident in yourself." Oregonian

New Orleans coach Monty Williams talked about #Knicks success this season, saying Chandler is still underrated and Woodson has been the key in adding defense to the program. "They are a really good team,'' said Williams, a former first-round Knicks draft choice. "They have a lot of confidence. They’ve added some really good guys who complement what they already have. They don’t even have Stoudemire. Woody’s done a good job of implementing defense into that team and Carmelo is playing at a high level, Felton is playing at a high level and Chandler is the only defensive player of the year who is underrated.’’ Sulia

Forward Dirk Nowitzki plans to talk to the media today and give an update on his progress. The 11-time All-Star has yet to play this season after undergoing arthroscopic right knee surgery on Oct. 19. A Mavs press release on that date indicated Nowitzki was "expected to resume on-court activities within approximately six weeks," which will be Nov. 30. "I've seen him work out harder on all of the machinery, so that's a good sign," Mark Cuban said. "You could tell he's picked up his intensity, so that's a good sign." Rick Carlisle said he's not authorized to discuss Nowitzki's status. "He's picked up his activity level, but I'm not going to get into exactly what he's doing," Carlisle said. "That's not my place." Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Stephen Jackson, starting his second game at the position because Kawhi Leonard is out with tendinitis in his left quadriceps, suffered a non-displaced fracture of a bone in his right pinkie finger during the first quarter of the Spurs’ 92-87 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night at the AT&T Center. Jackson is expected to be out four-to-six weeks. San Antonio Express-News

Rodrigue Beaubois' health has become a concern for the Dallas Mavericks. From injuries to his foot, ankle and hand, Beaubois has run the gamut on being gimpy and unable to give 100 percent on the court. It has become a regular occurrence for the fourth-year guard, who currently wears a brace on his left ankle. "I've been really concerned about his health, to be completely frank about it," coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's the guy that if he's five percent off in his athleticism and his quickness, it's going to affect his game and it's going to affect guys around him. "Right now we are going to need him to play in some situations. But if he's not playing that much we encourage him to spend more time on rehab strengthening and those kinds of things." Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The NCAA is investigating a conversation pertaining to UCLA basketball player Shabazz Muhammad that a Memphis, Tenn., attorney said she overheard on an Aug. 7 commuter flight. The attorney, Florence Johnson Raines, said she heard a man who said he was dating "an NCAA attorney" loudly telling people around him that his girlfriend had said Muhammad would never play college basketball this season because he broke rules. Raines emailed a letter to Dennis Thomas, then a member of the NCAA infractions committee, saying she was concerned that what should have been a confidential matter was being discussed in such a way. Los Angeles Times

The Times obtained a copy of Raines' letter and spoke to her last Wednesday, publishing a story online later that day. When contacted, she confirmed her story and added details such as the man referring to his girlfriend as "Abigail." Abigail Grantstein was the NCAA's lead investigator on the Muhammad case. The NCAA announced Friday that Muhammad would be eligible after paying $1,600, which was the approximate cost of the recruiting trips, and serving a three-game suspension. It effectively made him immediately eligible because he had already missed three games. Los Angeles Times

A number of NBA GMs -- including the Celtics’ Danny Ainge, the Jazz’s Kevin O’Connor, Bulls’ Gar Forman, the Warriors Bob Myers and the Blazers Neil Olshey -- were in attendance. Overall, they are seeing the same phenomenon here that they are seeing everywhere. This is a down season, talent wise, in the NCAA. “If Cody Zeller, Shabazz Muhammad, Nerlens Noel and James McAdoo are your top four picks, it’s going to be an ugly, ugly draft.” Other than McAdoo, I couldn’t find a scout or GM convinced there was another first-round prospect here. If Kabongo plays, that could be two. But that explains, in part, why the field is so weak. ESPN.com

Not the Bruins, nor Muhammad. Truth be told, Indiana would've destroyed UCLA on Tuesday night. For all the starry All-America freshmen at UCLA – Kyle Anderson to Jordan Adams to Muhammad – the Hoosiers are a throwback program of pro prospects. Beyond the clear greatness of Zeller, a highly recruited prospect, Indiana has become a pure player development machine under coach Tom Crean. From juniors Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey, to seniors Jordan Hulls (think Travis Deiner) and Christian Watford, pro scouts marvel over the development of modestly recruited players into draft-able prospects. "I think Muhammad is lucky they lost to [Georgetown]," one Western Conference executive said. "Indiana would've put Oladipo on him, and I'm not sure [Muhammad's] ready for that yet. Yahoo! Sports

This year, it's different. As one assistant GM of a likely lottery team said, "Whoever is the No. 1 pick, he'll play himself into it this year. I don't think it will ever be a clear-cut choice." As one Western Conference executive was leaving Barclays on Monday night, he knew he'd have to see Shabazz Muhammad over and over this season. After watching Zeller and Muhammad, he did have a suspicion about this spring's draft. "I think you're going to see a team who gets that first overall pick who will seriously think about trading down and moving out of it." Yahoo! Sports

There are many NBA scouts who believe both P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald could start on most high major NCAA teams and they probably would average 16-20 points. Once the game quickly got out of hand, Roy Williams turned to both of them and both delivered. The two combined for 39 points and shot 10-for-17 from behind the 3-point line. ESPN.com

D'Antoni referred to athletic trainer Gary Vitti. "I'm anxious to go," said D'Antoni, who watched the Lakers' victories Friday over the Phoenix Suns and Sunday over the Houston Rockets on TV in the locker room while undergoing physical therapy on his knee. Injured point guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake joined D'Antoni. "I suffer more back there than on the floor," D'Antoni said. "I just want to make sure it's right. There's no hurry on my part. When it's 100 percent, then I'm ready to go. I want to make sure I don't fall off the bench in the fourth quarter. "I've just got to make sure my stamina is there." Los Angeles Daily News

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