HoopsHype rumors

November 30, 2012 | 06:48 PM ET Update

The NBA announced today that the San Antonio Spurs organization has been fined $250,000 for its decision to send four players home prior to the Spurs’ Nov. 29 game in Miami. The Spurs’ actions were in violation of a league policy, reviewed with the NBA Board of Governors in April 2010, against resting players in a manner contrary to the best interests of the NBA. HoopsWorld

And yet, once more, Stern's tossed a temper tantrum that left everyone around him embarrassed, humiliated and wondering why he insisted on staying until February of 2014. All these years, Stern and his underlings privately complained and moaned that no one wanted to watch the Spurs, that they destroyed his TV ratings, that they were uninteresting, unappealing and impossible to market to the masses. And now, this act of condemnation for Popovich – which resulted in a $250,000 fine for San Antonio handed down by the league office Friday evening – would be bathed in the ultimate of twisted irony: Without the Spurs' stars, Stern was selling that the NBA logo had been desecrated, that a public trust had been betrayed. Yahoo! Sports

Back in the Spurs' glory days, it was one disrespectful act after another out of Stern. The Spurs don't forget how the NBA's vice president of operations, Stu Jackson, directly called Bruce Bowen to warn him about how he was playing defense and threaten him with future punishments. Jackson didn't show the respect of reaching out to Spurs officials before communicating with Bowen, but bypassed them and got into the heads of one of their most important players. Phil Jackson himself couldn't have orchestrated it better on behalf of the Lakers' Western Conference championship chances. Yahoo! Sports

They don't forget how Stern wanted to infiltrate the inner sanctum of the Spurs with TV cameras and microphones, with the kind of phony, superficial behind-the-scenes access that went against how the franchise conducted its basketball business and kept its edge. The Spurs have been a model of efficiency and innovation that has been an immense resource for the operations of small- and big-market franchises, but the commissioner can't leverage that on TNT with Ernie, Kenny and Charles. Yahoo! Sports

Williams’ introduction to the NBA has been challenging, to say the least, but he’s not allowing the situation to get him down. “No, it doesn’t (wear on me),” Williams tells HOOPSWORLD. “I think a lot of people just try and put too much pressure on different guys, but you know it’s not like our team was bad when I got here. We have a good team. We’re 4-2 and we’ve had a lot of injuries. Most of the time when you have such a high pick, the team is not very good, and you’re out there averaging twenty to twenty-five points but your team is losing. But, you know, we’re winning, and that’s the main thing. It’s not about stats, and all that. As long as we’re winning, everyone is happy.” HoopsWorld

Fisher will wear No. 6 as a Maverick, however, even though jersey No. 2 currently is unoccupied. Jason Kidd wore that number the past five season. Owner Mark Cuban, upset that Kidd changed his mind this summer and signed with New York, went on record as saying he doubted he would ever retire Kidd’s number here. “I was actually told that 2 was unavailable, which I can respect,” Fisher said Friday, following his first practice as a Maverick. “I think that guy was pretty good. He’s had a really, really good career. You can expect to probably see that one hanging somewhere, so that’s not available right now.” Dallas Morning News

Daryl Morey on drafting Royce White: "His upside is that great. I really think he's a top-five talent. Without some of the risk factors, he would have gone ... I don't know exactly where, but for sure in the top 10 if not the top five. For us, especially prior to having James [Harden], and prior to some of the other moves, we were just so desperate for at least one guy who's got elite talent and I think he's got it. Will we ever get it out on the floor? That's the question. Given where we were strategically, taking a lot of swings at really high-upside guys was more rational than taking a lot of safe bets." SI.com

Warriors general manager Bob Myers, in the wake of the controversy surrounding Andrew Bogut's left ankle surgery, fell on the sword. "I know it's being perceived that it was mishandled and not handled appropriately," Myers said during the pregame show on "Chronicle Live." "Ultimately, that rests on my shoulders. ... Ultimately, the last thing I want to do, or anybody in the organization wants to do, is deceive the fans. So the fact that some people feel that way, I feel really bad about that." Oakland Tribune

For Ricky Rubio, the waiting has been the hardest part. Now that Minnesota's dynamic young point guard is achingly close to playing in his first game in nearly nine months, Rubio says it's important to be patient with his recovery from torn ligaments in his left knee. He was cleared to return to full-contact practice this week and is expected to practice this weekend, but it's still too soon to tell when he will be able to play in a game for the Wolves. "I don't want to think about dates, 'cause I don't want to rush it," Rubio said Friday after the team's shootaround before a game against the Milwaukee Bucks. "I want to feel like (I can) practice, and (worry) nothing at all about my knee. When that time comes, I will be ready." USA Today

Here's a look at some players who have been dropping on our Big Board the past few weeks. James Michael McAdoo, F, So., North Carolina Tar Heels: We detailed the concerns scouts had about McAdoo last week in our Maui Invitational blog. While McAdoo clearly looks the part and has a terrific pedigree, the result on the court this year has been disappointing. McAdoo, despite the much larger role in the North Carolina offense, doesn't seem to have improved at all over the summer. ESPN.com

In that instance, here's a possible reason for the way the NBA never acted dutifully on its flagship franchise. The scout responsible for running those workouts? Rodney Heard. How did Heard get into the NBA? Jackson, as general manager of the Vancouver Grizzlies, hired him. Rival teams were always suspicious Heard conducted those illicit workouts on the Grizzlies payroll, too. If Rush told me about blowing out his knee as a Kansas undergraduate with the Knicks conducting an illegal workout – and then hiding it – wouldn't he have also told league investigators the same had they pulled him into their Manhattan offices and demanded the truth? Yahoo! Sports

NBA players love Christmas trees, too, obviously, and make sure to get their own every December. But I highly doubt that many will challenge the tree of Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson in terms of sheer size. On Thursday night, the 6-9 Johnson posted this photo to Instagram (via SLAM), in which he places the crowning star on what appears to be the biggest tree on the whole Toronto lot, if not in Ontario as a whole. Oh, and he also did so while perched precariously on a ledge near the top of this room. I doubt his Raptors contract has any provisions against trimming trees from large heights, but something tells me the team won't be too happy about this one. Yahoo! Sports

November 30, 2012 | 03:26 PM ET Update

Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said newly signed power forward Kevin Jones likely will not join the team this weekend but will remain with the team's NBA D-League affiliate, the Canton Charge, for the short term. The coach doesn't think he'll stay in Canton long. "I don't know at all as far as when we expect to see him,'' Scott said as the Cavs prepared for tonight's game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. "If I had to guess, I think we'll see him pretty soon. He'll be up here and start practicing with us. "As you guys know, in training camp we really liked Kevin, thought he could be a pretty good NBA player. That's why we wanted to keep him around, get him into Canton, see how he'd played. Obviously, he played very well. "I don't know what type of NBA player he's going to be, but it's going to be interesting to find out.'' Cleveland Plain Dealer

But as much as not having him around is at the central thoughts of both Rondo and the Celtics, none of them are naive enough to believe that something similar to this won't happen again. "If it happens once in the next nine months, maybe that's progress, right?" Ainge said. "I don't expect Rondo will play the rest of his career and not … go over the line emotionally." CSNNE.com

But no, he doesn’t yet know, exactly, when he will return to play point guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves. “No idea,” he said, smiling, surrounded by a mob of media after Friday’s shootaround. During the Wolves’ last road trip, Rubio went to visit Richard Steadman, the Vail, Colorado surgeon who repaired his knee on March 21. He was given the green light to go full-out in practice. Now he just has to actually have a practice to get some idea where he stands. “It’s going to be my first practice with contact,” Rubio said of his first true team workout, which could come as early as Saturday. “I don’t know how I’m going to feel, if I’m going to feel great, if I’m going to feel weak. I don’t have any idea. I have it all in my mind, ‘Ooh, I want to practice. I want to dunk.’ But I don’t think I can.’’ Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Jason Kidd returned to practice with the Knicks on Friday and said he’s hoping to play next week when the team hits the road. Kidd (back spasms) will miss his third straight game tonight against 1-12 Washington and seems out for Sunday’s game against Phoenix. Newsday

The Utah Jazz say forward Marvin Williams will not play against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night because of a concussion. The Jazz say Williams is also doubtful to play Saturday against Houston after he didn't pass an exam following his concussion suffered in a game Wednesday night against New Orleans. Yahoo! Sports

Next Thursday, the Phoenix Suns will be the first team in NBA history to guarantee its fans that they will have fun at the game against the Mavericks, or they can get their money back. The idea of "Satisfaction Guarantee Night" came out of a staff meeting following a 112-106 overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls on Nov. 14. "After that game, I think we were all struck by the fact that so many people were leaving our building with a smile on their face," said Suns president Jason Rowley, who took over as team president this summer. "Normally, when a team loses fans are down. But not with us. And that was an eye- opening moment." ESPN.com

By one metric, newly acquired Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash has the greatest potential among NBA players as an endorser, according to Nielsen. Just behind is teammate Kobe Bryant in second place. In Los Angeles, 11 players between the Lakers and Clippers made the top 50 combined. Nielsen looked at the endorsement potential for the top-50 active players in the league by an N-score, which is determined by Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research. An N-score takes into account factors such as demographic profiles. N-score research is conducted using a panel of 1,100 via the Internet. MediaPost

Center Andrew Bynum, still idled by rehabilitation after knee surgery and yet to play for the Philadelphia 76ers, can't escape headlines from his time in Los Angeles as a Laker. Documents filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court and obtained by USA TODAY Sports show Bynum has sued, and is being countersued by two neighbors, for his behavior as a home owner in the Los Angeles suburb of Westchester. Bynum filed suit first, on June 1, claiming he was "harassed" by Ramond and Cindy Beckett, "who object" to his "profession, his race, his friends, his cars, and his taste in music." USA Today

November 30, 2012 | 09:24 AM ET Update

Amar’e Stoudemire’s goal is to return around Christmas, with mid-December no longer a legitimate possibility, according to person familiar with the Knicks power forward’s thinking. The person said Stoudemire hasn’t begun running on the court following his surgery on Nov. 1. The Knicks’ timetable of six-to-eight weeks from the left-knee-debridement surgery hasn’t changed. Under that time frame, the earliest he could be back is mid-December. The Knicks play the Lakers on Christmas Day. New York Post

A source told The Post recently Stoudemire realizes if the Knicks are winning at a solid clip, he expects to come off the bench at the outset. Last week, coach Mike Woodson wouldn’t commit to Stoudemire as a starter but said he’s committed to having the Stoudemire/Carmelo Anthony union work out. Stoudemire continues to undergo rehab and treatment but the club will not reveal what that entails. New York Post

There’s been speculation there were talks between the Lakers and Knicks about a Stoudemire-Pau Gasol trade but a source claims nothing took place. New York Post

Mickael Pietrus has reached agreement on a one-year, veteran-minimum contract with the Toronto Raptors, agent Bill McCandless confirmed to RealGM on Thursday night. The deal will be made official Friday, McCandless confirmed. "It came down, in the end, to choosing the team who liked him best," said McCandless. RealGM

After a prolonged offseason, free agent guard/forward Mickael Pietrus and the Toronto Raptors have agreed upon a one year deal worth the veteran's minimum, CSNNW.com has learned. The deal will be finalized Friday morning and Pietrus is expected to suit up Friday night when the Raptors host the Phoenix Suns. Bill McCandless, the agent who represents Pietrus, confirmed this agreement to CSNNW.com via text message. "It has been a long journey and a long summer," McCandless told CSNNW.com. "We started this process first off with high expectations in July and had a bunch of phone calls. We spoke with Chicago and Houston early on. As we got deeper in the year, we had conversations with Atlanta, Minnesota, and Toronto. CSNNW.com

Dominic McGuire will be waived by the Raptors to make room on the roster, agent Mark Bartelstein told RealGM. Pietrus, 30, has averaged 8.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in his nine-year NBA career with four different teams. Pietrus, who has been training in France for months, has established himself as a solid outside shooter and a top-tier wing defender when healthy. RealGM

For the Dallas Mavericks, the ability to get Derek Fisher at this stage of the season has been a godsend. "I think we were fortunate that he was available, and the timing was right,'' said Donnie Nelson. the Mavs' president of basketall operations. "He adds leadership, he adds big playmaking ability in crunch time, and certainly three-point clutch shooting. "And he’s perfect with the Mavericks that are in that locker room. He’s going to fit in really well with our guys.'' Fort Worth Star-Telegram

David Stern, however, didn’t seem to be as rational when delivering his statement on the matter, which was shown in a graphic on TNT prior to tip-off during the pregame show, and later sent out by the league in an official release. “I apologize to all NBA fans,” the statement from Stern said. “This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.” Good for the league for putting its foot down on this issue. It’s completely ridiculous for fans to buy a ticket for one product, only to be bait-and-switched for no good reason at the last minute. The fact that Spurs-Heat is a matchup between two of the league’s best teams and is being televised nationally on TNT also factors into the equation. The league’s broadcast partners pay a fortune for the right to televise the best teams playing one another, and having a coach willfully mess with one of these matchups is just bad for the league, pure and simple. NBCSports.com

“It is pretty logical,’’ Popovich said before his gritty understudies made a game out of it, leading 98-93 with two minutes left before previously lackluster Miami came back and took the lead for good at 100-98 on a Ray Allen 3-pointer with 22.6 seconds left. “I don’t think it was a tough decision at all. In fact, the decision was made when the schedule came out.’’ FOXSports Florida

“I’m sure a lot of people were disappointed to not be able to watch two of the best teams in the league play,’’ said Bosh, who wished he could have faced the real Spurs. “I’m always a competitor …. We only play them two times a year, we only get ahold of them once here.’’ FOXSports Florida

LeBron James says he doesn’t think Gregg Popovich was wrong and wonders how David Stern might be able to fine Spurs. “I’m not going to get involved in what the commissioner wants to do as far as his decision,’’ James said. ‘But I don’t think Pop was in the wrong. It’s not in the rules to tell you that you can’t not send your guys here or send your guys home. But the commissioner will make his decision and everybody else will deal with it.’’ Sulia

Before Thursday’s game in Golden State, Denver coach George Karl was asked about Pop’s decision. “I don’t think I’m touching this one – the only question I would ask is, is the commissioner in the right?” Karl said. “If you’re going to ask if Pop is in the right, you’ve got to ask if the commissioner is in the right. And I’m not answering either one. To me, how you coach the team should be on the organization and the coach.” Denver Post

Rondo has been suspended two games, the league announced Thursday, and Wallace and Garnett will both be fined. Wallace is hit with a $35,000 penalty and Garnett will be docked $25,000. Rondo will serve his suspension Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Humphries gets off scot free. "Humphries was at fault,” said Rivers on the "Dennis and Callahan Show" Thursday morning. “The foul was what precipitated everything. They called a flagrant to begin with. That started it. But then we took it to the next level.” New York Post

As for Rondo himself, he spoke to reporters after Thursday’s practice in Waltham, Mass. and defended himself and his actions. "I thought the play on Kevin was a malicious play," Rondo told reporters following practice, after talking to the league office about the incident before practice. "I got hurt last summer on a similar play like that, a guy going up in the air defenseless, on his way down. "I don't think I did anything dirty. I didn't try to start a riot. I don't think it's more than just a pushing war that started." New York Post

No other players were suspended, although Wallace was fined $35,000 and Garnett was fined $25,000. Humphries didn’t receive any additional penalties. Nets general manager Billy King said he had a long conversation with Stu Jackson, the NBA executive vice president of basketball operations, about his decisions in the matter. “We’ll agree to disagree,” King said on a conference call with reporters. “Stu has a tough job at the league and they make decisions that, from the team standpoint, you don’t agree with them. But they have to make tough decisions and so ... I don’t want to share my conversation with him because I don’t think that’s fair. His job is tough. They make decisions, but I’ll agree to disagree with him.” New York Post

WILBON: Do you feel freer, do you feel different? LEBRON JAMES: I felt different coming into last year, period. After my first year in Miami, just the whole transition of moving down here and being in a new situation -- it took a lot -- and one thing coming into last year was saying I want to get back to having fun and loving the game like I did growing up and what helped me get to this point. So I've kind of carried that all the way through last year, and I still feel that joy for the game again. ESPN.com

WILBON: I want to go back to something you talked about, your post game. Because for a while that was a criticism: "We know LeBron has the body, the skills, the game to have a great low-post game, but he doesn't do it." But last year you dominated opponents and dominated entire series by playing in the post. What led to you adopting that? JAMES: I think a few things led to it. What we needed as a team -- we had so many guys who could play on the perimeter. I knew that I can handle the ball, I knew D-Wade would handle the ball, Rio [Mario Chalmers] would handle the ball. But we weren't scoring a lot of points in the paint unless we were driving into the paint. I felt like to help our team, it would be a big thing if I started to attack the paint more without dribbling the ball -- catching the ball in the low post, creating double-teams for my teammates and creating matchup problems. And I wanted to make another transformation in my game. ESPN.com

The reviews are finished. Finally. David Lee had 31 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Golden State Warriors beat the Denver Nuggets 106-105 Thursday night. But that score came after three official reviews in the final four seconds of the game gave the Nuggets controversial chances to win. The biggest call fell the Warriors' way, though, as Andre Iguodala's three-pointer didn't count because he released after the final buzzer. "I was very confident that it didn't count," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "That being said, I didn't know what the results were going to be, the same way with some of the other calls. Mistakes are going to be made — by players, by coaches, by referees. At the end of the day I'm just thankful we're at a time where we review it. Great camera work. Shout out to the cameraman." USA Today

"When Dwight goes out, (Gasol is) a great center," D'Antoni said. "You cannot find a center for 14 minutes like he can do it. So that is super positive. And with Dwight, he shoots the ball all the way out to the (3-point line). He's another 7-footer that can guard the rim. He's extremely smart. So there's no reason why he can't fit. ... He's a big part of what we're gonna do. "I just don't see how a player as smart as he is, as talented as he is, as big as he is, doesn't fit into anybody's scheme. Then I've got to re-examine myself and think, 'I can't play with Pau Gasol?' C'mon. He's won two championships. I gotta rethink what I'm doing." Those words of encouragement meant a lot to his player. "It's important that your head coach has trust in you, and confidence in you, and respects your game, and wants you to be a big part of what he's trying to do," Gasol said after the Lakers practiced Thursday. "So, it's a big plus." ESPN.com

While appreciative of D'Antoni's support, Gasol acknowledged the often-frustrating learning curve remains in place. "I'm trying to figure out how I can be effective and more productive within the system," Gasol said. "I try to get myself in positions where I'm more comfortable and where I can be more effective ... I've never been in a situation where I have to figure things out. I've always been in positions where I have to deliver and there's that responsibility on my shoulders to take the ball and deliver. Make plays for us, whether it's scoring or passing or whatever the case is. So it's a little different." ESPN.com

This season, however, Gasol is doing his best to remain positive about elements beyond his control. "I think that the uncertainty of life itself, it's good to think about it sometimes," Gasol said. "Not just professionally, but personally. Mental health-wise. When you think about those things, if they don't happen to you directly, you tend to ignore them. Anything can happen (in life). So that's why you try to grab the moment and try to enjoy every step of the way, and that's hopefully the mindset you try to get to." ESPN.com

Following the unveiling, Bryant sat down for an interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com from the 32nd floor of the AT&T Building in downtown L.A. to discuss his new shoe but also take a look back at his lasting legacy to the game. "Just by observation of some of the younger players that I face now, they wind up having a similar mentality that I had," Bryant said when asked how he has changed the sport during his time as a pro. "Because growing up, they were obviously watching me when I was 21, 22 years old and just kind of by any means necessary get things done, not afraid of the big moment and extremely competitive. They all have these work ethics now and most of them get up at five in the morning to train like I do. It’s pretty cool." ESPN.com

It had been a while since Isaiah Thomas had a game like Tuesday’s against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Sacramento Kings point guard provided a much needed spark off the bench, scoring 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting in just 21 minutes of action. “I feel like I’m back to my old self,” said Thomas to a small scrum of media following practice yesterday. “I know what I need to do. I watched a lot of film, talked to a few people.” Cowbell Kingdom

What’s been the problem? The Kings guard confessed to thinking too much, rather than playing with his instincts, which was a key element to making him the steal of last year’s NBA Draft. “No matter if I start or if I come off the bench,” said Thomas. “I gotta know I gotta bring energy and I gotta be me on the offensive end. I just did that in the second half and it worked a little bit.” Cowbell Kingdom

According to the website 82games.com, Thompson's shot is blocked 22 percent of the time when he throws the ball at the rim. Further, Thompson's attempts when "close" to the basket -- in essence, not a dunk but not a jumper -- is a staggering 37 percent. By comparison, Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao is blocked 4 percent of the time, overall, and 10 percent when he attempts a "close" shot. Enter the solution: Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Byron Scott brought in the former Cavaliers big man and current assistant to the general manager Thursday to teach Thompson a thing or two about how to avoid being blocked. Ilgauskas was strolling the Cavaliers practice facility in street clothes Thursday. The main thing Thompson needs to work on, Scott said, is making quicker decisions -- and moves. Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A lot of times [when] he gets it, he puts it on the floor and he's trying to gather," Scott said. "By the time you do all that, you've got two bigs or three guys surrounding you, and they're just trying to push him under the basket even farther. Now he's going up, and most of the time, it's against somebody who is 6-11 or 7 foot, so he's at a disadvantage." The 6-9 Thompson might be smaller than the 7-3 Ilgauskas, but the Lithuanian still has some tricks to teach. In Ilgauskas' final season in the NBA, with Miami, he was blocked 4 percent of the time and 15 percent of his "close" shots. " 'Z' has shown him some things I think can be really good for him. It's just a matter of him implementing it to be a little more effective," Scott said. "I think he has that in him. It's just a matter of continuing to do it." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Tuesday, Wayns played a season-high 13 minutes and finished with 10 points. He has the ability to quicken the pace of the game and offers Collins many options - mainly to give Holiday some much needed rest, but also to pair the two when double-teams are hounding Holiday. While his 6-1 frame and quickness hint at a point guard's makeup, Wayns isn't the typical backcourt quarterback. "They can both get their own shot, which I think is important," Collins said of pairing Wayns and Holiday. "One of the things we're missing is, last year, Lou [Williams] could get his shot any time he wanted to and Dre [Iguodala] could create a shot, and then [we had] Jrue and Evan [Turner], so we had four guys. Sometimes you can't just run a play. Sometimes, you have to get the ball in a place for a guy then to make a play for himself. [Wayns] got eight shots up [against Dallas] in about 13 minutes, and the other day [against Phoenix], he got seven shots up in 7 minutes, so he knows that I don't care if he shoots the ball, which is great. His defense on the ball is going to get better. Philadelphia Inquirer

"I'm happy with Maalik. He battled through some DNPs, which is not all bad, because we put his feet to the fire a little bit and said, 'How bad do you want to get out there and play?' He showed he really wants to be out there and play, and we have a lot of belief and a lot of trust in him." And now Wayns appears to have more trust in himself as a professional player. "It makes you anxious to get that opportunity," Wayns said of his riding the pine. "When you get that next opportunity, you want to make the most out of it. That's what I'm trying to do. My last two games, I just tried to make the most of the opportunity I was given. I just have a big heart. I'm going to go in there, throw around my body into guys that are three times bigger than me and guard guys who are bigger than me, rebound. I just have no fear." Philadelphia Inquirer

But unlike last year, when King was told that Lopez had suffered a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal of his right foot, the news yesterday was relatively good. The X-rays on Lopez’s foot were negative and he was diagnosed with a mild sprain of his right foot, an injury that will keep him out for at least tonight’s game against the Magic and tomorrow’s game in Miami against the Heat. The injury occurred with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter, when Lopez landed awkwardly after completing a drive to the hoop. But after limping on it while moving up the floor, Lopez stayed in the game until the next stoppage in play, when he told the training staff it was just a sprained ankle. Walsh consulted with the Nets’ orthopedist, Dr. Riley Williams III. New York Post

Can you see how fans may feel deceived? Bob Myers: “Absolutely. I can absolutely see that and I understand their position and feel terrible about that. If there was blame to be laid on how this was communicated, that blame ultimately rides with me as the general manager of this organization. As the general manager of this organization, I know it’s being perceived that it was mishandled and not handled appropriately. Ultimately that rests on my shoulders. Not (co-owner) Joe Lacob, not anybody in the organization but myself. Again, in these situations, there is a process involved and, ultimately, the last thing I want to do or anybody in the organization wants to do, is deceive the fans. So the fact that some people feel that way, I feel really bad about that. … That rests on my shoulders. It’s something we’ll work through and get the trust of those fans back. Contra Costa Times

Will he require any more surgery before he gets back out there? You know what, I’ve already messed up one message (laughs) … I don’t think so. I’d be very surprised. But again, I’m not sure. I don’t think so. That’s the best I can tell you. I’d be very surprised if it required anything beyond what’s already took place. I hope that answers the question. Contra Costa Times

Are you at all nervous that we won’t see him this season? I think he’ll play this season. Beyond that, I’ll leave it at when Andrew’s ready and the doctors say he’s ready to go, he’ll play. But my days of prognostication, I’m not sure that anybody wants to even hear what I would speculate on at this point. But, again, the process will be (based on) Andrew and the medical staff — which is how it always has been and will be. When they decide he’s ready to go, he’ll play. I’ll be very excited when that day happens. I can’t tell you how much I want him to be out there. And the good story is … we’re doing pretty well. I like the direction the team’s going and I think he’ll only help us. I really do think he’ll help us as we move forward. It’s unfortunate that I can’t sit here and talk about we’re 8-6 and our rookies are playing great. Like I told somebody, if a mistake was made by myself I apologize. But let this be the mistake rather than maybe not drafting the right guy or making a mistake that affects the performance of what’s going on. Contra Costa Times

A Mike D’Antoni confidant said the former Knicks coach doesn’t “regret’’ coming to New York, that his comments Wednesday reflected he wished he never had to leave Phoenix and Steve Nash. “It has nothing to do with New York,’’ the D’Antoni confidant said. “It’s just you don’t know how good you have it until you don’t have it. They weren’t begging him to stay in Phoenix. The way things played out, he would do it all over again. He loved it here. And now he’s been blessed. He has a second chance working with Steve.’’ New York Post

D’Antoni was quoted as saying: “I shouldn’t have gone to New York. I should have stuck in there [in Phoenix] and battled.’’ The confidant said D’Antoni knew his days were numbered in New York when then-team president Donnie Walsh declined an extension after the 2010-11 season. “Mike jumped at the opportunity to work with Donnie,’’ the confidant said. New York Post

Despite persistently optimistic reports out of Virginia Beach, Va., that the town (hamlet? intersection?) is progressing in its plan to put together an arena deal to attract the Sacramento Kings, the NBA office has received no communication on the matter from Kings ownership, a league source told CBSSports.com. Nor has the league received a relocation application from the Kings, which would be the first step in any move. Everything looks peachy with Virginia Beach's arena proposal, except for little matter of a $150 million subsidy being sought from the state of Virginia. Along with $195 million earmarked from the city budget, the project is estimated to be 90 percent publicly funded. Good luck with that. CBSSports.com

But Ed Snider, one of the young minority owners of the Philadelphia Eagles, had become a fan of the National Hockey League and had heard that the league was about to expand. Keeping it to himself, so that no one else in the city would bid against him, Snider secured the rights to an expansion team. A big part of Snider's presentation to the NHL was that the new team would play in a new arena, one that he would get built. But Snider could not even begin to think of building an arena until he had secured a partner, another team that would fill seats at least 30 to 35 times a year. And he had a plum in his own backyard, a 76ers team that would eventually be called the greatest team in the history of the NBA. Former Philadelphia Warriors owner Eddie Gottlieb, one of the all-time great movers and shakers in the history of the NBA, knew Snider needed help. "Eddie Gottlieb often told me in conversation that before that building can make money," recalled super statman Harvey Pollack, who served as a publicist under Gottlieb with the Warriors, "they have to have 150 dates in which the building is used during the course of a year." Philadelphia Inquirer

Fisher, by the way, has been interviewed by the New York law firm conducting a review of the NBPA's finances and business practices. So has Fisher's nemesis, executive director Billy Hunter. The information-gathering portion of the review being carried out by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison -- a starting five that now has one less win than the Wizards this season -– is over. The lawyers are said to be writing their final report, which ultimately will be submitted to a three-player special committee, with copies to Hunter and Fisher. The final cost to the union is expected to be in the millions of dollars, and sources familiar with the probe say there has been no indication the firm uncovered any illegalities -- though final say in that regard will come from the U.S. Attorney's office, whose separate probe of the union remains open. CBSSports.com

Barkley: Do you like the pace of the game? Popovich: We have to have a good pace. If we play halfcourt, their defense is too good. Our only shot is to keep the pace going. Barkley: Who's the one guy who -- Popovich, interjecting: That's a third question, isn't it? Don't you just get two? Barkley, sheepishly: My bad. Barkley knew not to pick a fight, which was a wise move. Fights don't get won against Popovich. Not during games. He also avoided the question about sending home Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green. We doubt Popovich would have been interested in answering that one. USA Today

One week ago, we shared a picture of members of the six-time champion (and two-time defending best record in the NBA-holding) Chicago Bulls posing with Sir Paul McCartney, a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and possibly the most widely heard songwriter of all time. The photo was snapped with great lighting in a plush hotel in Los Angeles. Today, we bring you the exact opposite of that. It features members of the upstart Charlotte Bobcats, of no world championships and coming off a season when they set the NBA record for worst winning percentage, posing with prop comedian Carrot Top in a lobby of a hotel in Oklahoma City. It's not even Instagrammed. Yahoo! Sports

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