HoopsHype rumors

December 21, 2012 | 08:20 PM ET Update

Even though he's gone from ESPN, Ric Bucher still has great contacts, so my tentacles went up after he briefly mentioned the Wolves in connection to Orlando shooting guard J.J. Redick. Well, after digging, the Wolves are big fans. If the Magic decide to move Redick, consider the Wolves heavily in the mix. One league source said that it'll take more than forward Derrick Williams to get a deal done. 1500 ESPN

In an effort to return to the NBA, Mickael Gelabale has informed all 30 teams about his interest in signing with an organization between now and Jan. 30, agent Bill McCandless told RealGM on Friday afternoon. Gelabale’s agency reached out to all teams through email, and it is confident that someone will seriously consider acquiring Gelabale in January. “He’s better than [Chris] Douglas-Roberts or any D-Leaguer in my opinion,” McCandless said. RealGM

Look for the Wolves to soon announce that guard Malcolm Lee (knee) is lost for the season. He's not in danger for now of losing his roster spot because he has guaranteed money for next year. 1500 ESPN

The Wolves and Portland Trail Blazers had attorneys working diligently on the Martell Webster compensation claim case for months. Well, a source says we have closure. The Wolves were hoping for financial and/or draft pick reimbursement after they contend that that they got Webster (back injury) as damaged goods in June 2010. What the Wolves got is unknown for now. 1500 ESPN

There's a good chance European forward Nemanja Bjelica is with the Wolves next year, so here's a scouting report from an executive who saw him recently: "Great wing scorer who uses length to score over defenders. Great touch from deep three and has a nice one-two dribble drive with a step back game. Offensively, he's solid and will score in the NBA. Defensively, he will struggle guarding quick 3s and 4s and he has to learn to play angles. He will struggle in this department though he can be coached up. But one can't correct slow feet. He's a great kid with talent." 1500 ESPN

December 21, 2012 | 07:39 PM ET Update

So do the Sixers regret making the move? Not according to DiLeo. "We would still make the move knowing what happened. Are we disappointed that it hasn't worked out sooner? Of course." Philadelphia Inquirer

On Friday, Sixers general manager Tony DiLeo offered an update on the status of the injured big man. And while Bynum remains "out indefinitely," DiLeo believes this is "good news." "The report is his knees are healing. He is improving," DiLeo told reporters. "He has been approved to increase his activity level. There is still no timetable. It all depends on how his body reacts to the increased activity." Philadelphia Inquirer

When asked what recent tests on Bynum's knees revealed, DiLeo said "they showed that the bone bruises are healing. The weakened cartilage state is improving." "If [Bynum's knees] react well, we go to the next step," he said. "Once his knees react in a positive way, we will go on to phase two. Obviously, it's not something we want to rush." So how long will these steps take? "That's hard to predict. It really depends on how he reacts." Philadelphia Inquirer

The Knicks have said they wanted to give its D-League affiliate players a taste of the big-time, state-of-the-art training facility. But a source said the maneuver was done solely with Stoudemire in mind. The decision was made recently when the plan was for Stoudemire to be cleared for practice the week before Christmas and coach Mike Woodson didn't think he had 10 healthy bodies ready to scrimmage hard on the off days. Erie, whose GM is Allan Houston, left town Thursday night, headed for its game Friday night in Springfield, with Stoudemire staying behind. He wants a couple of more scrimmages under his belt before making his debut but Mike Woodson said he doesn’t have enough bodies for a 5-on-5. Woodson has been worried about the dilemma of not having enough scrimmage time to give Stoudemire once he got cleared. Woodson thought it was possible the two scrimmages with Erie would do the trick, but, Stoudemire says he needs "a little more time.'' New York Post

Mayo won’t get much time to reflect on his poor outing because the Mavericks face his former team, the Memphis Grizzlies, Friday night. The Grizzlies chose not to re-sign Mayo, who signed a two-year deal with the Mavs in July, but he said there won’t be any extra incentive to play well. “No, go win the game,” Mayo said. “It’s the decision they made. They’re a heck of a team. They’re playing well right now so we got to go in there and compete hard and play well.” Dallas Morning News

Q: Did you ever wonder if you would realize your NBA dream when you were coming up and how it took five years to get a buyout after you were drafted? Luis Scola: I was pretty sure I was going to make it and then, down the line, I started to think it might not happen. I had one bad year before the draft and I thought, “Maybe I’m not good enough.” Then I started playing better and got drafted but I didn’t get drafted where I thought it would be necessary for me to come to the NBA so I was a little disappointed. I got better and had the interest but I was stuck with the situation and thought it wasn’t going to happen. Right when I was ready to give up, it happened. I was going to sign a six-year extension with no NBA escape and I asked them for two weeks to give time to NBA teams. Two days before my deadline, it happened. I don’t regret all of those years. Some of those years, I got better. Maybe two years earlier would have been perfect. I would’ve caught Yao (Ming) and Tracy (McGrady) healthier. Arizona Republic

Karl knows that Denver still needs to cover the 3-point line better. The Nuggets have allowed 234 3-pointers, second only to Charlotte (238 entering play Friday). The Bobcats will be in Denver on Saturday as the Nuggets try to continue their strong play at home (7-1). Fittingly, it’s Family Night at Pepsi Center, because two former members of the Nuggets’ family will make their return. Mike Dunlap, who spent two seasons as an assistant under Karl, is in his first year as coach of the Bobcats. Charlotte strength and conditioning coach Matt Friia was Denver’s assistant athletic trainer/assistant strength and conditioning coach from 2004-2011. The Bobcats (7-18) started strong under Dunlap, matching their win total from last season in just 12 games, but they took a 13-game losing streak into Golden State on Friday night. “It always makes me nervous,” Karl said “They’re going to be beat somebody. They could’ve and should’ve beaten the Lakers. They played the Knicks in a close game a couple weeks ago. They’re spiraling in a negative way, but they’ll find a way to break it. Hopefully it’s just not against us.” NBA.com

“I think we’re doing well even without Big Fella down there,” starting point guard Jrue Holiday said to HOOPSWORLD. “Other guys just had to pick up. I guess we’re not waiting, we just got to move forward. We want Andrew to be out there, but again, trying to do our thing.” Though the full impact of the Sixers’ offseason moves have not yet been felt due to Bynum’s ongoing knee issues, one side effect has been the brilliant play of Holiday and Turner, who have garnered more minutes and more responsibility in the wake of the departures of Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams. “For sure, I think that’s just the process of us growing into a pretty good back court,” agrees Holiday. “We’re just trying to get comfortable with each other, trying to be leaders like Coach wants us to be. I think he made the right moves to do that.” HoopsWorld

Lakers guard Steve Nash participated in his second consecutive practice Friday without limitations as he continues to recover from a fractured left fibula, but the 17-year veteran is not certain when he'll return to game action. "There's a chance I play (Saturday)," Nash said of the possibility of his returning to the lineup when the Lakers go on the road to play the Golden State Warriors. "But I think Christmas, for sure." ESPN.com

The Lakers host the New York Knicks on Christmas Day. Nash later clarified that there was only a "low chance" of him playing against the Warriors after missing the Lakers' last 24 games. He was hurt Oct. 31 against Portland. "This is two days of basketball in seven weeks," Nash said. "It's not a home run that I just go back there in an NBA game." ESPN.com

Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge did a little more at practice Friday and could be back for Saturday’s home game against Phoenix after sitting out the Trail Blazers’ victory over Denver on Thursday with an ankle injury. “I feel better,” Aldridge said. “I did some shooting, some light cutting today. A little tender, but for the most part, I felt good.” Oregonian

Francisco Garcia will be present to donate and distribute traditional holiday meals benefiting 50 Spanish-speaking families in the Sacramento area. Kings partner Wells Fargo will join Garcia by donating a $100 gift card to each family in attendance. The Sacramento Kings 11th annual Season of Giving continues the organization’s commitment to making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Festivities continued on Tuesday as DeMarcus Cousins teamed with Wells Fargo and Walmart to treat 50 local children to a holiday shopping spree. Last Saturday, Jimmer Fredette, Thomas Robinson, Isaiah Thomas and Jason Thompson visited patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Sacramento. Players and volunteers delivered gifts and spent time with kids and their families. GoodwinSports.com

December 21, 2012 | 05:04 PM ET Update

Gordon told Yahoo! Sports he regretted those words, but there was a reason he was so cavalier. "Of course I did [regret it]," Gordon said. "But that was the only way to push the table on the Hornets. To get a deal done I was willing to negotiate. My agent and I were going through negotiations with them. But they weren't leaning into really giving me one. So I had to ride with Phoenix and from Day 1 they weren't playing games." Yahoo! Sports

Gordon says he has no ill will toward the city of New Orleans or its fans and he has not asked for a trade. His major concern is about the direction of the franchise after struggling to a 21-45 record during the 2011-12 season. The Hornets currently have the Western Conference's worst record at 5-20. "I just want to get back to playing," Gordon said. "Of course, I like New Orleans. I just want to make sure things are on the right track now. The team is having a terrible year so far … "I just got to see the overall picture of what the future is going to be like. We can be possibly good. But it's going to be a long venture. I have no concerns about the city." Yahoo! Sports

Pau Gasol and Mike D'Antoni met Wednesday night to hammer out some obvious differences since D'Antoni took over as the Lakers' coach, The Times has learned. Gasol said he wanted the ball in the post instead of on the perimeter and also asked to play in crunch time, among the topics discussed with D'Antoni at a Manhattan Beach restaurant. "It was to make sure we're in the same boat," Gasol said in a quiet moment Thursday after the Lakers' practice. "We're trying to reach the same goal. Let's communicate. Hopefully, we can meet halfway on some points." D'Antoni told Gasol he would no longer be benched in crucial situations, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Los Angeles Times

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that they have assigned rookie forward Arnett Moultrie to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Moultrie (6-10, 245) was the 27th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by Miami. He was traded to Philadelphia on draft night in exchange for the draft rights to Justin Hamilton (45th overall pick) and a protected future first round pick NBA.com

“We’ve got to prevent those runs by other teams and those droughts that we have at the offensive end and giving up so many lay-ins on the defensive end,” Ainge said. “There’s just no excuse for the way we’re playing. Yeah, you need to take time to find out who we are, but there’s no excuse for giving up 32 points in the paint in a half against Chicago, and there’s no excuse for giving up a 17-0 run to Cleveland.” WEEI.com

The New Orleans Hornets will get injured shooting guard Eric Gordon back on the bench for moral support Saturday night when the team plays the Indiana Pacers in New Orleans Arena. But Coach Monty Williams said here Friday that Gordon's first game action isn't imminent."He's been doing so much rehab now I think it's a matter of him getting his game condition back," Williams said after the team's morning shoot-around in preparation for Friday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs. "The only way to do that is to play. But there's some things he can do to build a base before he steps on the floor so that's what (the Hornets training and strength and conditioning staff) will be doing over the next few days." New Orleans Times-Picayune

Mike Stephenson couldn't talk and still managed to get himself suspended from Minnesota Timberwolves practice for saying too much. He couldn't walk and still managed to crawl out of his wheelchair to wipe up a wet spot he noticed on the court before anyone else could get there. He couldn't shoot and still managed to leave a lasting impact on the organization that took him in and treated him as one of the guys. Stephenson was born with cerebral palsy and died earlier this week after the latest in a long line of bouts with pneumonia, leaving Timberwolves past and present to mourn one of the team's biggest fans, and biggest inspirations. He was 42. "He was so good for the players and the rest of us," former coach and executive Flip Saunders said. "They all make a lot of money and are kind of on a different level. But Mike helped them get a better understanding that there's other things, bigger things, that make the world go round." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

December 21, 2012 | 12:53 PM ET Update

This past summer, the Knicks offered Stoudemire to nearly every team in the league — “available for free,” as one rival executive put it. But they found no takers because of his diminished production, his health and his contract, which has three years and $65 million remaining (counting this season) and which is uninsured against a career-ending knee injury. In February, the Knicks wanted to send Stoudemire to Toronto in a deal for Andrea Bargnani, a person briefed on the discussion said. But the proposal was vetoed by James L. Dolan, the Garden chairman, before it ever reached the Raptors (who would not have made the deal anyway, team officials there said). New York Times

Darren Wolfson: Michael Finley is another guy who wants in with the #Twolves. Heck, a lot of guys do with the open roster spot. Very little shot on Finley. Twitter @DarrenWolfson

O.J. Mayo tried to claim that his first trip to Memphis as a Grizzlies foe was “just another game on the schedule.” Yeah, right, and Elvis Presley was just another singer. Mayo couldn’t keep the clichés coming. It didn’t take much to get him to admit that he had some major additional motivational fodder for his Memphis return. “Going back to a former team that you had some mishaps between the two parties, that’s the way it goes,” Mayo said. “You obviously want to go back and kick their butts. They want to kick your butt to show that you’re not needed, whatever the case may be.” ESPN.com

With basketball a seemingly year-round obligation for Marcin Gortat, the Suns starting center naturally expects to encounter some resistance from his body. He definitely thought that would be the case this season after competing for Poland last summer in tournament play to help the country qualify for EuroBasket 2013. But instead of struggling physically with the wear-and-tear of a grueling schedule, it’s his mental fuel that’s been sapped. “I think I lost the hunger of the game,” Gortat said. “I wasn’t hungry enough to go and get it just like I used to do. I definitely felt that.” Arizona Republic

December 21, 2012 | 10:41 AM ET Update

Waiving Howard creates an open roster spot for a small forward who can defend. The options include signing swingman James Anderson, cut just Thursday by San Antonio, or a veteran sitting at home such as Michael Redd, who has had knee problems of his own; pulling a wing player such as Chris Douglas-Roberts or Coby Karl, who played on the Wolves' summer league team, from the Development League; or trading for a player such as Raja Bell, who is sitting home in exile from Utah. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

In fact, Martin is having so much fun in Oklahoma City that he could see himself signing a long-term deal with the Thunder this summer. Martin is in the final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent after the season. According to sources, the Thunder has made it clear that they want to keep Martin beyond this season and the interest appears to be mutual. “Oh yeah,” Martin said when asked if wants to stay in Oklahoma City long-term. “I get that question a lot since it’s a contract year. There are going to be teams interested over the summer, but I’m so happy right now and being with these guys has given me an extra pep in my step. It’s just fun being here. It’s a great organization and great guys. I’m happy right now.” HoopsWorld

Robinson's contract is structured as such in part to make it more attractive as a piece in a trade, one source said. Because it's unlikely the Bulls will make a deal before the contract's January guarantee date, it's likely Robinson will stick. Chicago Tribune

Someone who knows Kobe Bryant well suggests that he has turned his attention from making his case as the NBA's all-time greatest player by surpassing Michael Jordan in championships to finishing his career as the NBA's all-time leading scorer. The reason? He has a better shot at success. It's not that Kobe won't, or can't, win another ring, but the odds are tilting heavily against him, particularly when it comes to using it as a testament to his all-time greatness. Sulia

Mo Williams looked up from the dry erase board. On it he had plotted small black marks, designing a play that he believed would work within the offense that was thrust into the spotlight this week when former point guard Deron Williams said he preferred Utah’s system to Brooklyn’s. Mo Williams knew well the symptoms his predecessor described to New York media this week. He, too, once played in the Utah offense and then left it. "I could tell the difference," the Jazz point guard said, sitting courtside before Tuesday’s 104-94 win in Brooklyn. "Trust me." Salt Lake Tribune

But Kidd, who clashed with Johnson during their short tenure together in Dallas, said Williams’ struggles this season aren’t about play- calling. “I don’t think it has anything to do with the coach,” Kidd said Thursday. “I think it’s just a matter of getting comfortable making shots. Also, he has new teammates. He’s got to get used to a new crew. It’s always a growing period. “He’s a grownup. He’ll figure it out. All things don’t go well right away sometimes. He’s just going through a struggle shooting the ball, but he’s one of the best at what he does, so he’ll work through it.” New York Daily News

And Martin couldn’t be happier in Oklahoma City. For the first time in his career, he’s on a legitimate contender. He has only been the postseason once – as a reserve with the 2005-06 Sacramento Kings – and he has become close with his new teammates. Martin says that even though he’s coming off of the bench for the Thunder, this is the most fun that he’s had in his career. “This team has embraced me and made my transition so much easier,” Martin told HOOPSWORLD. “At this point, that’s all I can ask for. We’re going to keep getting better as the season goes on. We’re having fun now, but we feel like we still have a couple more steps to take.” HoopsWorld

Whether Mayo has a chip on his shoulders about the way the Grizzlies gave him the cold shoulder, he didn't give any hint after the Mavs dropped a 115-90 decision to the defending NBA champion Miami Heat on Thursday. But he certainly has only one mission when the Mavs (12-14) play the Grizzlies (17-6) at 7 Friday night at the FexEd Forum. “I just want to go win the game,'' Mayo said. "They made the decision they made and they’re a heck of a team. "They’re playing well right now, so I just want to go in there and compete hard and play well.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Asked in recent days about his All-Star candidacy, Chandler told The Post, “I hope so. I’m definitely playing up to par. It’s left up to fans who vote. That’s far in the future. Every player wants to be recognized and have those accolades, but I’m more concerned with winning.’’ With the 19-6 Knicks owning the best record in the East, the coaches would be remiss to overlook Chandler again. “Just the way we’re playing offensively the ball is flowing and he’s been great.’’ Woodson said of Chandler’s offensive panache. “The thing about his conditioning — to be able to rebound, block shots, defend and then run pick-and-roll basketball, you’re asking a big guy to do a lot. And he’s doing it because he knows he’s being rewarded for it.’’ New York Post

But in talking to Hickson about his nightly effort, it struck a funny chord with the 6-foot-9 center. There was part of him that was offended. “Let me ask you a question,’’ Hickson said in the middle of my interview. “So just because I go out and get whatever how many rebounds, that makes me a hustle guy?’’ “No, I’m not saying you are a hustle guy,’’ I said. “I’m saying you play hard every night.’’ “OK, then why do people misconstrue playing your butt off for being a hustle guy?’’ Hickson asked. “I have no problem with it, I’m just asking you. What’s that line?’’ “I wouldn’t say you are a hustle guy, I would say you are an energy guy,’’ I countered. He thought for a second. “Ok, I will take that. That’s the only way I know how to play - all gas, no brakes. That’s the way I was taught to play the game,’’ Hickson said. Oregonian

Before arriving on American soil three summers ago, center Tiago Splitter had been a Most Valuable Player and the centerpiece of championship teams in Spain. So when he joined the Spurs before the 2010-11 season, the big Brazilian naturally assumed eventually he’d be starting alongside Tim Duncan, one of his basketball idols. “You always want to play and do your best,” Splitter said. “So, yes, I expected one day to be a starter.” San Antonio Express-News

However, Rubio looked more like the guy who struggled Monday at Orlando than the one who impressed during his season debut Saturday against Dallas. He went scoreless again and had three assists, three rebounds, a steal and two turnovers. "He's trying too hard," Adelman said afterward. "I fully expected him to have problems. It's just nice having him on the court." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Since turnovers became an official stat in 1978-79, only five other players have reached those benchmarks in the same game: Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, Baron Davis, Latrell Sprewell and Antoine Walker. Crawford nodded his head approvingly this week when he heard about the rarity of his performance. “And nobody was surprised. Nobody really gave me any credit for it, either,” said Crawford, who has been known to walk with slouched shoulders because of an extra large chip. “It’s normal when I do it.” Washington Post

Crawford knows reputations are hard to shake, but he is taking a shot at changing how he is defined. He can do more than score. “I can pass easily, but I'm such a dominant scorer that people think I can’t pass,” he said. “They got to start watching the game.” Washington Post

Practice ended and, soon enough, Nash provided an update on his recovery from a fractured lower left leg. Actually, it sounded very much like what he's been saying for the last few days. He might play Saturday against Golden State, but Christmas Day against New York is more likely. "I felt pretty good," said Nash, who was injured in the first half of the Lakers' second game of the season Oct. 31 against Portland. "I thought it went well. I felt a little bit better than I thought it would feel, but we'll see how it feels in the morning." Asked specifically about the possibility of making his return to the starting lineup Saturday against the Warriors in Oakland, Nash said, "It depends how it responds (today) and (we'll) see how I feel Saturday when I wake up. We don't need to rush it. I don't want to come back too soon." Long Beach Press-Telegram

Stoudemire said he still has “a little bit of soreness’’ in his left knee but felt smoother yesterday than Tuesday’s practice debut. “I’m not quite ready yet,’’ Stoudemire said. “I’m taking a little more time to get 100 percent. Hopefully I’ll be back soon enough. I just know I need a little more time. I’m not totally there yet. “I want to make sure I am 100 percent and so I can really give it my all. My goal is to return to my dominant self. That’s what I’m on pace to do.’’ New York Post

At 32, Howard, who averaged 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 11 games with the Wolves, is likely dealing with a career-ending injury. He worked out before Tuesday's game at Miami and said he expected his hyperextended knee would be healed enough so he could play Sunday at New York. He found out differently on Thursday morning after tests revealed the torn ligament. "You just feel for him," Adelman said of Howard, signed Nov. 15 after Chase Budinger suffered a serious knee injury of his own. "He was really going to help us. He was playing well. He worked hard. To have this come out of nowhere, I was just shocked. I know he was in shock when he found out." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Myck Kabongo’s season-long NCAA ban is under expedited appeal. A source familiar with the University of Texas point guard told Yahoo! Sports that Texas appealed the NCAA's season-long ban on Thursday. Texas officials had a dialogue with the NCAA's eligibility committee on Thursday as part of the appeal. The school and player are now awaiting the outcome of that appeal, which could come as soon as Friday. The Longhorns have sought to have the star point guard immediately reinstated, but Texas could also achieve a reduction in Kabongo's suspension. Yahoo! Sports

Sources with ties to the Texas basketball program told Yahoo! Sports that Kabongo was suspended for the remainder of the season on Wednesday. The suspension stemmed from inaccuracies in his interviews during an NCAA probe into Kabongo’s relationship with an agent and an alleged predraft workout in Cleveland last May. Yahoo! Sports

John Hollinger is seen as a stat man with no NBA real life experience. How excited or nervous should Memphis fans be? Henry Abbott: John has been working full-time in the NBA for almost all of his adult life, and his life has been real as far as I know! The NBA is — in reality — a very small group of people. If it were a town, it’d be a small one. John has been visiting those arenas with those people for a long time. John’s phone already has a lot of the same contacts in the address book that he’ll need in this job. While of course he’s tackling a very new kind of role, the territory of NBA decision-making is hardly alien to him. Importantly, his opinions have been out there in ways you can verify day after day after day. Possibly more than anyone else in the league we know what he thinks, and he has a big ol’ track record of that which goes way beyond the PER rankings. When you get in there and access that track record, it is not perfect — nobody’s is — but it rivals anything anybody else has going. For example, when he forecasts how many wins each team will have, his results are right there with Vegas. When he forecasts which draft picks will do well his results rival the collective wisdom of the league’s 30 front offices. 3 Shades Of Blue

What’s John like as a person? Is he going to reach out to the Memphis community in the manner of Chris Wallace or is he more of a sit in his suite and leave him alone type like Jerry West? Henry Abbott: He has a ready smile, especially when he has a cup of coffee in his hand. (Seriously, coffee is a major Hollinger concern.) It’s amusing to me that from afar lots of people treat John as if he’s scary. Anybody who knows him knows he’s a good dude. I have no idea if his role will entail being the face of the franchise to the local business community and the like. But if the job is to say hello, listen, smile, and build relationships … he can do that job. 3 Shades Of Blue

Seth Jones probably should have wound up a basketball player. He is tall, with a great vertical leap, and his father is Popeye Jones, who played 11 years in the N.B.A. and is now an assistant coach with the Nets. But instead, Seth Jones, 18, is projected to be a top pick in the N.H.L. draft and may be on his way to becoming hockey’s first African-American star. “I’d be shocked myself if I heard a story like that,” Jones said, when asked if people are surprised by the combination of a basketball father and a hockey son. “Me and my two brothers all play hockey, so it was weird, I guess, that none of us played basketball.” New York Times

On the ice he is a commanding presence, a hard hitter. But more often he is the rare defenseman who can control a game’s tempo with his stickhandling and passing — a “full-package defenseman,” in the words of Phil Housley, the United States coach. Probably not what anyone expected from a son of Popeye Jones. “No one wants to live in their father’s footsteps,” Seth Jones said this week when the United States team held a three-day training camp at the Rangers’ practice rink in Greenburgh, N.Y., before heading to Europe. “I think the time will come when I stop getting those questions and everyone knows the story. That’s just my family and my background and part of my life.” New York Times

Jones acknowledged that the two sports did not have much in common, but said he learned from watching basketball players. “The persons I watched closely were Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd,” he said, recalling when his father was an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks. “You’d see Dirk back there behind the scenes taking jump shots before and after games, before and after practices. It just taught me to keep working hard when no ones’s watching, and the person you are behind the scenes is your true self.” Seth never played organized basketball, but some of Popeye’s basketball DNA seems to have rubbed off. “We played basketball in Ann Arbor a lot the last couple years, and he’s got a lot of talent,” said Brady Skjei, a United States teammate who spent two years with Jones at the National Team Development Program. “Great hands, a soft stroke, a terrific shot.” Jones said: “I actually am pretty good at basketball, I have to admit. I have a nice two-way game, I think.” New York Times

In this week's Portland Business Journal, I take a look at Adidas' basketball business, which includes the exclusive right to make NBA apparel, including team jerseys. Matt Powell, an analyst with SportsOneSource who tracks licensed apparel sales, told me he's confident that team-branded apparel sales are rising back to the top. “I really think we’re on the cusp of a revival of licensed apparel as streetwear,” said Powell. “It won’t be the same as it was in the ‘90s. We won’t see Starter jackets again. I just think the timing is right.” Business News

On Thursday, Johnson uploaded a photo of his new haircut to his official Twitter account. Shaved into the back of his head, as you can see above, is the Raptors’ dinosaur claw logo. After posting the photo, Johnson took the pleasant extra step of shouting out his Toronto- based barber. Johnson was already sporting a Mohawk, so this just takes it up another notch. SI.com

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