HoopsHype rumors

November 23, 2012 | 06:28 PM ET Update

Darren Wolfson: TBD. Told retirement came up when he talked to Kahn last Friday. #twolves RT @KillebrewDj @DarrenWolfson They still think Roy's coming back? Twitter @DarrenWolfson

Back-to-back losses at home in early November to Golden State and Cleveland could have subjected coach Vinny Del Negro -- who happens to be one of seven coaches in the league in the final year of his contract -- to some Mike Brown-style heat had the Clips failed to respond quickly. The response they mustered was a six-game winning streak, bookended by home and away games over the same San Antonio team that swept the Clippers in the playoffs, with a home win over Miami thrown in as well. The streak didn't end until Wednesday night, when the Clippers took Oklahoma City to overtime before losing 117-111. ESPN.com

Early pressure on the coach, as well as the organization at large with Chris Paul bound for free agency at season's end, was thus eased emphatically. Things can change fast in this league, as we've all come to learn, but the Clippers can take further heart from the latest, loudest rumbles in circulation suggesting that Paul is growing more comfortable by the day in L.A. That's only strengthened the notion that the Clippers are on course to re-signing him for the long term. ESPN.com

I'm less sure than I was, though, after consulting with a few executives. A quick Thanksgiving survey of five teams conveyed undeniable concern about Bynum's long-term health after ESPN.com's story last weekend regarding the setback he suffered while bowling. One exec, as I did initially, noted last summer's deals for Gordon and Lopez and predicted that Bynum likely could count on a max offer, whether it's from Philly or another team. "We," the GM said, "are a desperate league." ESPN.com

A couple of others, however, cautioned that Bynum's healthy history is too worrisome -- too Greg Oden-like -- to apply the same Gordon-and-Lopez logic, especially because he's had trouble with both knees. "Maybe a one- or two-year (max offer)," one of the dissenting execs said. "You won't be able to get insurance coverage on his knees." ESPN.com

The Wizards had to absorb a bit of a cash hit when they waived Jannero Pargo to make roster room for Shaun Livingston, with Pargo's contract guaranteed for $300,000 this season. ESPN.com

Q: Was the plan always to come back to the NBA? Andrei Kirilenko: Yes. There was a real possibility for me to stay in Russia, but the reason I came back to Russia (to play for CSKA Moscow last season) was because of the lockout. That was the only reason. I never really thought about staying in Russia, even though I felt great because it was home. Everything was so comfortable. But the NBA is a different stage. You always want to play against the best guys in the world. Q: Where does the bronze medal from last summer's Olympics rank for you in your career? A: This was an unbelievable experience. My previous two Olympics, Sydney and Beijing, (were) unsuccessful. So I was really looking forward to this one. It might be my last Olympics, so I'm very happy that we got a bronze medal. ESPN.com

Q: What do you think about the changes FIBA is making to the international calendar? Think we'll ever get to the point where the NBA takes breaks during the season like they do in soccer, so players can join up with their national teams and play qualifying games during the (NBA's) regular season? A: To be honest, I don't know. Unfortunately I'm not going to make it (long enough) for when these changes get in. You want me to play until I'm 40 years old? I don't think so. ESPN.com

One of their go-to lines, according to one practice-floor spy, is needling Anthony about how they got Nowitzki to play D in Dallas and how embarrassed they'd be for No. 7 if he couldn't keep up. "To me, he's the best player in the league right now," Chandler said Wednesday night of Anthony, conveniently forgetting how well he knows James' game to build up his guy. ESPN.com

Sanders was told earlier this season by teammate Samuel Dalembert that "the referee is your best friend" and it's wise not to berate the officials. "I'm just trying to work through the calls," Sanders said. "They're unchangeable. You want to stand up for yourself a little bit and hope the next call won't be as bad. "You have no control over that. That's something you have to learn as you play." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Paul George had a monster night on Wednesday, pouring in 37 points and helping his team to a much-needed overtime victory over the Hornets. The majority of those points came from three-point distance, as George hit 9-of-13 from long range to just bury New Orleans in buckets. NBCSports.com

Something to look forward to: Perhaps this will be the first season that an NBA team sends a top-shelf veteran down to its D-League affiliate for a Major League Baseball-style rehab assignment. Imagine, for example, Minnesota sending Ricky Rubio to Sioux Falls for a game or two to test his knee in game conditions. That option wasn't available to NBA teams in the previous labor agreement and will be seized upon one of these days. ESPN.com

Two days earlier with the Wizards desperate for a win, Nene unexpectedly participated in his first game in more than three months. Although the outcome was a 101-100 loss to the Atlanta Hawks after officials ruled Martell Webster’s layup that would have won the game came after the buzzer, Nene’s presence infused confidence throughout the team, especially considering he played with multiple ailments. “Nothing’s changed,” said Nene, who until Wednesday had not played in an organized game since Aug. 8 as part of the Brazilian national team in the London Olympics. “Now I have news. My quad is sore. I tried to compensate on my left because my left is my strong leg. My quad’s a little sore. It’s going to take a while.” Washington Post

The D-League will continue to employ international goaltending rules that allow players to knock the ball away immediately after it touches the rim. Another one of last season's innovations -- three-minute overtime periods -- also remains in place. Yet there is one notable on-court change, with D-League franchises now permitted to sell jersey sponsorships. Four of the league's 16 teams have taken advantage of the new provision: Erie (LECOM), Rio Grande Valley (Lone Star National Bank), Springfield (MGM Springfield) and Texas (Chocotow Casino Resorts). ESPN.com

November 23, 2012 | 03:28 PM ET Update

The Lakers have tried unsuccessfully for several weeks to trade bench players to create roster space. "The biggest question is the taking on of more money," a league source told Yahoo! Sports. Bell is still under contract with the Jazz, but the team has allowed him to stay away this season until he finds a suitable offer and the two sides can execute a buyout. Once Bell has secured a contract for the veteran's minimum elsewhere, the Jazz will buy out the difference on the remaining $3.5 million on his 2012-13 contract. Bell wouldn't lose any money between the buyout and joining a new team. Yahoo! Sports

Carmelo Anthony called the contract "ridiculous" at the time, and he said Wednesday he doesn't regret saying it. "It was taken out of context," Anthony said. "When I said ridiculous, it was the way that they set the contract up, set the money up and put us in the messed-up situation to try to match it. They did their job in free agency, we did our job." Sulia

Smith gave a curious answer when asked about Friday night. "It's just another game," he said. "Personal goals, personal issues, whatever we got against Jeremy or whoever else has it against him got to let that go and make sure we get a 'W' first." Newsday

Bryant downplayed it all after scoring 38 points with three assists in the Lakers' 113-97 loss Wednesday to Sacramento. "I'm not working too hard, to be honest with you. The shots that I made were all jumpers. It doesn't take much energy to knock those jumpers down," he said. "Bringing the ball up and having me kind of initiate the offense and score and stuff like that, it's making me work a little more than I will when Gatsby gets back. "When Gatsby gets back, I don't have to do that. The game's going to become even more easy for me." Los Angeles Times

Perkins was the team's anchor for 6 1/2 seasons before the February 2011 trade and is still a wildly popular figure among fans. While other observers say the Celtics' defense, allowing a whopping 107 points per game in six losses, has not been the same since his departure. "Going against guys that you played with for a long time, won rings, went through wars with, still brothers over there," he said. "But at the end of the day, we're still trying to win games." Boston Globe

Perkins will oppose close friend and mentor Kevin Garnett, who is now the Celtics' starting center. Garnett was the team's power forward the last time the team's met. "I'mma check him," Perkins said. "He's a brother. I take a lot of advice, I learned (from him). But we're both trying to win. One thing I know about Doc (Rivers), KG, Paul (Pierce), they're not satisfied so they're probably not satisfied with the team's defensive effort." Boston Globe

Dwane Casey is happy the NBA admitted its officials made a mistake at the end of Wednesday’s loss in Charlotte, but knows the admission won’t change the fortunes of his team. “We have some of the best officials in the world, bar none. But people make mistakes,” Casey told the Toronto Sun on Friday morning. “But our system, the NBA system, proved to work (with) the fact that, if the officials make a mistake, they have a system in place where we can send plays in and they can review plays (which Toronto has done several times over the course of the season). Toronto Sun

“I respect the NBA for saying: ‘Hey, we made a mistake.’ We all make mistakes. It still doesn’t help us at the end of games (because the result won’t be overturned), but it shows a system is in place.” The NBA said the officials missed a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist foul on Andrea Bargnani in the dying seconds of Wednesday’s one-point loss. Bargnani should have been sent to the free throw line for two shots. Toronto Sun

Scott McClain, a native of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., was tucking into a platter of oysters and a Brooklyn Lager at Woodland on Flatbush Avenue on a recent Tuesday night, an hour before tip-off. McClain, who now works as the personal assistant to Josh Childress, a reserve forward for the Nets, was headed to his second game at Barclays Center. But he still couldn’t get his first visit out of his head. “I took a car service in from Weehawken, where I live now, and my driver pulled up and said, ‘That’s the arena,’ ” McClain recalled. “I was shocked. It’s extreme, a little out there. It didn’t look like it fits the neighborhood, that scrap iron. Where I come from, that kind of metal is used in prisons.” New York Times

November 23, 2012 | 10:10 AM ET Update

Finley then continued to work under Nelson through the offseason, but also never stopped training to keep alive his comeback bid. After Nelson publicly acknowledged for the first time in August that both Finley and former teammate Eduardo Najera were working as special assistants to the GM, sources say the Mavericks invited Finley to training camp as a player on a non-guaranteed contract before a minor calf injury scuttled that plan. ESPN.com

Douglas-Roberts is a prime example of what life in the NBADL is about. He has NBA talent and has been a part-time starter during his three- year career. Now, he’s trying to get back. “Sometimes, the NBA isn’t just about basketball,” Douglas-Roberts said. “It’s about business and it’s about being in the right place at the right time and the right system at the right time. I feel I’m an NBA player. So instead of going overseas and chasing the money, I’m going to be here for however long I’m here. “It’s a humbling experience. We don’t stay in hotels I’m used to. The per diem envelope is a little thinner. But overall, this can’t do anything but make me better and stronger.” Dallas Morning News

Surprisingly enough, despite coming into the league together, Aldridge and Roy were not and are not the best of friends off the court. “Everybody that you play with, you don’t have to be best friends with,” Aldridge said to CSNNW.com. “Things could always have been better between us, but this isn’t come build friendships for life, this is come and go to work and play basketball. That is what we did together. “I think that we maximized our time and got along for the team. We never beefed. Some people made beef up, but it was not really ever any big beef. People kind of made it happen. They (media) wanted us to be so close that they made it seem like we had beef because we weren’t overly close and they thought it was a negative thing and it wasn’t.” CSNNW.com

Following the Lakers' 113-97 loss Tuesday at Sacramento, the team sounded frank on what ailed Pau Gasol after posting only eight points on 3-of-10 shooting and one offensive rebound. "Pau is used to laboring up the floor and coasting a little bit," Kobe Bryant said. "In this offense, we have to put the motor on the first few steps we move up the court." Los Angeles Daily News

Felton is 28, four years older than Lin, but more significantly has a greater body of work in the N.B.A. In his eighth season, he has played in 544 regular-season games to Lin’s 76, and he took note of that disparity when he was asked about Lin on Wednesday night. “I don’t see how anybody can compare us,” he said. “I’ve been in this league much longer. He had a great run last year, one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’m glad he got his money. But to compare me and him is wrong.” New York Times

But on Wednesday night, he was careful to say all the right things about his former teammate. “I’m pretty sure he’s happy and content with where he’s at,” he said of Lin’s new address. “We’re happy here and we’re winning.” “It was crazy and I was a part of it,” Anthony added, and noted that he had talked with Felton, who played in Portland last season, on just what the phenomenon known as Linsanity was like to experience firsthand. But he added, “We’ve moved on.” New York Times

After practice today, #Linsanity said he feels Carmelo Anthony and Stoudemire can make it work because they are ready to buy in and forget about egos. "I honestly I think it can work because they’re so talented. It’s their approach to the game and they’re both really ready to buy in and do whatever it takes to throw all that other stuff out the window. You guys got to give them time.'' Sulia

Carmelo Anthony called it a “ridiculous’’ contract but clarified last night that he was referring to the structure. “I didn’t sense that to my face,’’ Lin said. “I’m not sure how they felt. It’s kind of something none of us could control. The way it happened, it happened. Nobody wished for any of that. I’m thankful it all worked out and everything happened the way it was supposed to.’’ New York Post

He was wide open for a 3-point shot at the end of overtime that could have taken down the Heat a few nights earlier. “I was sitting in my office after the game by myself and knock came on my door,” Sampson said. “It was Jeremy. He walked into the office and said, ‘Coach, I want to apologize for missing that shot. I’ll make the next one.’ I gave him a fist bump and he walked out.“It didn’t surprise me. I know he’s a high-character kid and he cares.” NBA.com

But Tayshaun Prince openly wondered afterward why Frank didn’t respond quicker with substitutions when it was obvious Prince and the rest of the starting five didn’t have it. "If I was coach, I would have made the decision sooner than what he did," Prince said in the Amway Center visitors’ locker room. Know what I mean? Detroit Free Press

But the Spurs are playoff regulars, and they’ve become so through selflessness and team-oriented play. Bonner’s not about to be the exception. He hasn’t been seeing the floor, but he’s not going to start complaining, either. “It comes with experience. I’ve fallen out of a rotation many times throughout my career,” said the 32-year-old, who was back in New England yesterday as the Spurs visited the Celtics. “For whatever reason, I’ve been out of the rotation (this year). My reaction is to keep working harder and to do whatever I can to help the team win.” Concord Monitor

In some ways, Batum is starting to get a little star treatment. “I feel some respect,” he said of Deng’s defense. “I take that as respect. It’s good. I have to keep working, find other ways to produce. Great players in this league, like LeBron (James), Carmelo (Anthony), (Kevin) Durant, they have game plans on them every day. But they find a way to score 25, 30 points, anyway. So I have to find a way to do that, to find my way and do something even when teams are trying hard to stop me.” Oregonian

Still astounded to see Tim Duncan’s run of 13 consecutive All-Star appearances end last February, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich already has begun stumping for his star big man three months ahead of this season’s game in Houston. Step one of the campaign appears to be to remind voters — and fellow coaches who select reserves — of last season’s snub. “I thought he played well enough in the West to be on the All-Star team,” Popovich said. “I thought that was a big mistake, and I thought a lack of respect for how well he played last year. He’s done the same thing this year.” San Antonio Express-News

A trust of all things D'Antoni already is in place with the Lakers, which — fair or not — validates the Lakers' early decision to fire Brown, whose inability to build the team's confidence while teaching them what they needed to learn left insecurity outweighing the obvious talent in that locker room. "It's not always the coach's fault at all," D'Antoni said. "Mike Brown is a great coach. But sometimes there's a disconnect. When that happens, then it changes — the players buy in quicker, and they're ready to get down another road. "Whether it's the right road or not, we'll find out at the end. But so far, so good — in the sense they are buying in." Orange County Register

By now all Celtics fans are familiar with Antoine Walker’s financial troubles. The former Celtic made millions during his NBA career and lost it all to poor decisions, gambling, and an excessive lifestyle. Ultimately this lead Walker to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010. His assets were liquidated and now EBAY merchant “The_Merchandise_Group” is selling many of “the Wiggles” personal items including 15 pairs of his sneakers. Some are game worn and others are his personal casual shoes. Pricing ranges from $25 to $99. RedsArmy.com

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