HoopsHype rumors

December 24, 2012 | 08:04 PM ET Update

When the practice court was opened to media today, Cousins was seen working individually with Kings assistant Clifford Ray and a player development coach. The Kings big man spent approximately 20 to 30 minutes with Ray after press was allowed in the gym. However at one point, tempers flared noticeably between the two, as Cousins and Ray paused the workout for a brief, but heated exchange. Cowbell Kingdom

The 22-year-old center declined to speak to media following practice. Cousins was benched in the second half of Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. He was subsequently suspended for an indefinite period of time the following day. Reports later surfaced that the 22-year-old big man had fired John Greig, the only agent he’s ever had, and hired Dan Fegan to fill the void. Cowbell Kingdom

Fenerbahce Ulker made another addition to their squad before TOP 16 and bought Elan Chalon’s American big man Shelden Williams. Fenerbahce will pay 350.000 € buy-out fee to French side Elan Chalon who still had Shelden Williams under contract. TrendBasket

Thanks to Anthony's stellar play, the Knicks are off to a 19-7 start. Their last trip to the Eastern Conference finals was in the 1999-2000 season, when they lost to the Indiana Pacers. In an excerpt of SportsCenter's Sunday Conversation, Smith asks Anthony what he thinks would constitute a successful season. "Winning the division, getting out of the first round, getting to the Eastern Conference finals," Anthony says. "I don't see anything less than that." He adds that anything less than a trip to the conference finals is unacceptable. "I'll sit here and tell you right now, it's unacceptable. With the guys we have, with the team we have, with the roster that we have, it's unacceptable," he says. ESPN.com

Although he acknowledges he's a ways away from playing in a game, Orlando Magic power forward Al Harrington appears to be making significant progress in his return from a staph infection in his right knee. Harrington ran a bit up and down the court and did some light jumping Monday at Amway Center in a post-practice shooting session that lasted about 30 minutes. “That was a big step for me,” Harrington said afterward, drenched with sweat. Orlando Sentinel

On Dec. 17, a basketball-themed Internet site reported, via Twitter, that Harrington was “likely out for the year” and that “medical retirement” maybe was a possibility. When Harrington was informed of the tweet, he sent out a message of his own saying the report was false. “I just wanted to get it out there I’m working too hard to retire,” he explained Monday. “I’m putting in three hours a day on my knee in here with the team, and then I do some stuff at night. So, I’m putting in all the effort I can to get out there as soon as possible. I don’t even know how to spell retirement.” Orlando Sentinel

After missing six games due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder, New Orleans Hornets forward Jason Smith could return later this week, Coach Monty Williams said. New Orleans Times-Picayune

A smart NBA employee, according to New York Knicks forward Steve Novak, doesn’t buy a home in the city where he works; he rents. “Statistically, very few guys stay in one place, so I think the people you have around you, your agents and advisors, are people that tell you to rent, don’t buy,” Novak said. “You are probably not going to be there forever, and even if you feel like you are, you can’t guarantee it. The guys who find a home are lucky, but I think a lot guys do bounce around for their whole career.” Novak, of course, had always been one of those guys before finding a good landing spot in Manhattan. Drafted as a Houston Rocket, Novak has played for five different teams in only seven NBA seasons. However, after a career year with the Knicks in 2011-12, Novak was able to ink a four-year deal to stay in New York. HoopsWorld

Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s decided it’s time to buy. “I rent,” Novak said, “because a lot of times things are out of your control. Sometimes the team controls the situation when it comes down to it, so with injuries and contracts… it’s just smart to rent. That doesn’t mean I want to be somewhere else; obviously I want to be in New York for the rest of my career, but I will rent every day of it.” HoopsWorld

December 24, 2012 | 03:00 PM ET Update

The Sacramento Kings have announced that they have dropped DeMarcus Cousins' indefinite suspension and have reinstated him to the team, effective immediately. Cousins was suspended indefinitely because of his verbal altercation with Keith Smart during halftime of Saturday's loss. RealGM

December 24, 2012 | 01:30 PM ET Update

Even though Cousins has shared his frustrations about the Kings organization privately so many times before, he insisted a trade demand wasn't on the horizon. It's still not a season to be jolly about, but Cousins said he wants to be in Sacramento. "I want to be in Sacramento," he told USA TODAY Sports. USA Today Sports

Asked if he wanted to be in Sacramento for the long term and if he could see himself wanting to sign another contract with the team either this summer (by way of an extension) or when his rookie deal expires after next season and he would become a restricted free agent, Cousins paused for some three seconds before answering. "I want to be in Sacramento," he repeated. "The possibility does exist. It's a possibility." USA Today Sports

As talented as Cousins clearly is, the early assessment of his value around the league – at least at the moment – is that it's on the serious decline. Teams known to have significant interest in Cousins in the past were Detroit, Houston, and Denver, though even the most ardent fans of his game have admitted his latest incident would cause concern. Because no one in the Kings organization has been a bigger supporter of Cousins than Smart, his decision to treat his coach in such a disrespectful way marked a new low for the player whose career has been marred by incidents such as these. USA Today Sports

Chris Mannix: Two teams that were interested in DeMarcus Cousins in the past--Nets and Rockets--not interested now. Nets definitely out, HOU very unlikely Twitter @ChrisMannixSI

For the Magic, according to a league source, it was a simpler decision than people thought. They did extensive homework on Bynum, on and off the court, the source said, and came out of that research convinced that he could not get through a full season healthy. Into the void instead have stepped veterans like Afflalo, who is having a career-best season scoring-wise. NBA.com

James is widely expected to opt out of his contract after next season, if for no other reason than to sign another max contract. And yes, believe it or not, he will give Cleveland a close look. He has a relationship with Irving and Thompson. His new agent, Rich Paul, is a local guy who has long been a close friend. Paul also represents Thompson. A number of pieces are aligning, but the biggest draw is missing. Akron Beacon Journal

The Cavs realistically must be a playoff team for James to consider them. He will turn 30 during the 2014-15 season. It’s inconceivable he would return to Cleveland for a rebuilding project. That means the Cavs will at least have to make the playoffs next season for them to be viable contenders in a free-agent market that will surely include the Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. That puts the Cavs into a difficult position — again. They absolutely cannot, and will not, make panic decisions on this roster to placate James’ potential desires. They’ve been down that road, and we all know how that turned out. Yet stay on this path as one of the worst teams in the league, and they will most likely disqualify themselves from the bidding. Akron Beacon Journal

The Jazz view themselves as a playoff contender, and as long as that remains the case dealing a player like Millsap or even Jefferson remains a low-priority items, according to sources. Of the two, Millsap seems to be the easiest player to trade, mainly because Jazz reserve Derrick Favors is clearly ready to play a bigger role. Moving Al Jefferson is a bit of a different story because his back up, Enes Kanter, isn’t nearly as evolved. Several of the Jazz players that spoke with HOOPSWORLD said they believed Favors was clearly ready for a bigger role, although Kanter, while having shown flashes of ability this season, still has more work to do, especially on his body. HoopsWorld

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed forward Jarvis Varnado. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Varnado, a 6’9” forward, appeared in 10 games for the Sioux Falls SkyForce of the NBA Development League this season averaging 14.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and an NBADL high 3.9 blocks in 30.5 minutes per game. NBA.com

(League sources believe one of the reasons for the Nuggets' up-and-down play to start the season is the absence of Afflalo, whom Denver coach George Karl loved.) Gustavo Ayon came from New Orleans in the sign-and-trade deal that sent Ryan Anderson to the Hornets, and has converted from center to power forward in Orlando. NBA.com

Telekom Baskets Bonn is signing Marqus Blakely, a source told Sportando. The forward will replace Patrick Ewing jr in the German team. Blakely spent last season in D-League finishing the year in the Philippines with B-Meg Llamados with whom he averaged 22.4ppg, 13.4rpg and 4.2apg. Sportando

There's no question that Nene is still one of the league's most talented bigs, capable of scoring with both hands. He's a willing and able passer and one of the best big men in the league at drawing charges. But the book on him in Denver was that he couldn't push himself through injuries, that he spent way too much time in the trainer's room to be a leader. And yet, he was the one with tears in his eyes Saturday night, his feet in ice, his knees wrapped up, after playing 26 minutes in his first start of the season. "When you play with confidence, and you're together, it's different," Nene said. "You feel, you know your teammates know you, and you give your best. But right here, right now, it's the opposite. Total opposite." NBA.com

And why is that not happening in D.C.? "Because people have no respect for the game," he continued. "They think this opportunity's nothing right now. That's the problem with the young guys. They don't take advantage of being in the NBA, the best basketball in the world. A lot of young guys want to be in their position. But right here, I don't think they realize that." NBA.com

They fell to a league-worst 3-22 Saturday after dropping a second game within 24 hours to the until-they-played-Washington 7-21 Pistons, the night after they lost in Detroit to the Pistons by 32, in a humiliating rout. It was another terrible performance in another lost season (already) for the Wizards, and the following night, most of the few fans remaining at the end at Verizon Center seemed too numb to boo. Or maybe it was too cold outside to boo. Or maybe the caring has been beaten out of them, with a fifth straight season with fewer than 30 wins staring them in the face. The predictable scurrying for the lifeboats has followed. "It's like there's a cancer in here," one player said. "I see division, and no vision," said another. NBA.com

"The goal is for us to all be on the same page," swingman Martell Webster said, "so that when we're out there, it doesn't matter what group of guys are out there. They're a unit, that has a rhythm and a chemistry together. That's the most important thing is building the chemistry. When you're having fun going out there and battling with the guys on the floor with you, then it makes it a little bit easier to win. And you know guys are going to motivate you, and you that you can motivate guys, without it being 'oh, man, get off my back.'" NBA.com

While LeBron was second guessed for saying the wrong things or missing the wrong shots, Bosh was mocked for, well, just about anything. He was labeled soft. He was considered a third wheel, riding the coattails of LeBron and Dwyane Wade. Nothing was off limits. "I was just happy to be in the United States market," he said. "I had this talent that I wanted to showcase, and I wanted to show I'm one of the best players in the league. But when I get here, I'm the butt of a lot of jokes and all these things. I'm like, damn, what did I do? What did I do to deserve this?" ESPN.com

He was even called effeminate at times, which led to the most sophomoric humor available. "It was this one thing during fashion week: I had my legs crossed, and they called me gay," Bosh said. "I've got my legs crossed, I'm chillin', I'm getting my grown man on at the event. It just seemed like anything I did, it was always chastised or made fun of." ESPN.com

Brooklyn Nets power forward Kris Humphries may have to undergo an MRI after experiencing issues with his abdominal muscles, coach Avery Johnson said Monday. "He didn't feel great today," Johnson said. "(Trainer) Tim (Walsh) is gonna send him over to our doctors to get him checked out. He said he feels worse." ESPN.com

December 24, 2012 | 09:25 AM ET Update

So, does that make Cousins the crazy uncle of the Kings? "Not so much the crazy uncle but the uncle you raise your eyebrow at like, 'Why did he do that?' " Hayes said. "He's still family here; we still have him here. We're not writing him off. "Every now and then, a family member needs some discipline and to be told what to do. That's what's happening and when he's ready to come back, we'll let that happen." Sacramento Bee

They have not signed anyone since waiving injured Josh Howard on Thursday and will continue auditions after Christmas before they sign a free agent such as former Wolves forward Lazar Hayward, James Anderson, Shaun Livingston or perhaps find a way to get Raja Bell out of exile in Utah in their search to find a wing player, preferably one who can defend. "If you're going to add somebody, you need to add somebody who will have a legitimate chance to help you," Adelman said. "Just to bring a body in ... I'm probably not going to play him, unless we have another injury. We'll play the guys we have." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The 76ers did plenty of things well Sunday afternoon at the Barclays Center. They made five more field goals than the Nets, won the rebounding battle by six and were plus-14 in second-chance points. But they believe the biggest factor in the Nets’ 95-92 victory was the differential at the free-throw line. Brooklyn shot 20 more foul shots (30-10) than the Sixers and scored 13 more points there. “That’s crazy,” Evan Turner said. “You don’t want to complain or anything like that, but it’s discouraging when it happens right in front of (the officials). The past few games it happens every time. We don’t really worry about it or anything, but sometimes you just sit back and laugh because it doesn’t make any sense.” phillyburbs.com

Jason Kidd said Amar’e Stoudemire “has the ability to get us over the hump." Kidd is proven and he knows how to make his teammates better. Raymond Felton also said he will make it work when Amar'e Stoudemire returns in the near future. Sulia

By the end of the opening period, Smith only had two points, but he had three assists. Felton and Jason Kidd had none. Then, in the second half, Smith had four more dishes, including his biggest one of the night -- finding Anthony for a 3 with 1:53 to play in the game, which inched the Knicks the closest they had been since the first quarter, 86-85. "J.R. has an all-around game," Felton said. "That's what a lot of people don't realize. They think he can just put the ball in the basket. J.R. can really penetrate, make good passes and create for everybody else. That's only going to make us better." ESPN.com

Outlaw’s previous season-high was 11 points, which he had twice, including at the Rose Garden during the Kings’ 99-80 win. But he was scoreless in five games before Sunday, including two games when he did not play at all. “I want to do well every night,” Outlaw said. “I mean, it’s nice going against your former team and playing well. You just have to be thankful for every opportunity that you get to play and hope that it leads to more.” Oregonian

Carlisle absolutely ripped his team after 38 pt loss at SA. Will have a link up shortly. Mavs will be practicing on Xmas Eve. SportsYapper

Mike Woodson ruled Stoudemire out for the Lakers game on Christmas, which had been a hypothetical return date based on the six-to- eight week recovery period. Stoudemire will travel with the team, but Woodson prefers not to play him until the power forward has had a chance to practice with the team. He had gone through two practices with the Knicks' D-League affiliate last week, but he did not join the NBA team for practice on Saturday. Sulia

Camby said his return comes at a perfect time because Tyson Chandler needs some time to rest. That’s what Camby signed up to do. “I’m ready to compete,’’ Camby said. “We have to find time to get Tyson some rest. He’s been playing exceptional basketball. We need to find time to get him minutes.’’ Camby confirmed he took a cortisone shot last week and most of the pain is gone. “No one’s pain free at this point no matter how many cortisone shots you take to mask things,’’ he said. New York Post

Davis got the relief of a lifetime on Thursday when he found out that the shoulder he injured late in the game against Washington would not need season-ending surgery. Instead, he was diagnosed with a sprain that could keep him out four to six weeks. At least that’s the diagnosis of the doctors. ``I have my own timetable and it’s when Glen feels good enough to play,’’ said Davis, whose Magic (12-15) next host the New Orleans Hornets (5-22) on Wednesday. ``I might have Superman powers and come back next week, or two weeks, three weeks, four weeks or a month. It just depends on how I feel and that’s all that matters. The doctors diagnosed it and it is what it is. I’m just glad it’s not worse.’’ NBA.com

Davis said he hasn’t had any problems sleeping or resting on his sore shoulder. He even shed his sling when he attended Sunday’s game because he said the shoulder is already feeling better. He said that his macho side has him already disregarding the sling he’s been instructed to wear. ``I want to wear (a sling), but I’m such a (stubborn person) sometimes. They’re telling me to wear it and I’m like, `No, I’m fine,’’’ Davis joked. ``I don’t want to wear one because in my mind I feel like I’m fine. That’s just how competitive I am. … I just have to calm down, do my rehab and wear my sling.’’ NBA.com

Hedo Turkoglu on Sunday continued his rehabilitation regimen from breaking his left hand Nov. 2 and undergoing surgery Nov. 3. Turkoglu worked out in the Magic's weight room at Amway Center and shot baskets afterward. Vaughn would not say when he expects Turkoglu to return to game action. But Turkoglu ostensibly will need at least one practice before he plays in a game, and so far, he hasn't practiced yet with his teammates. Orlando Sentinel

It took three-time NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant ($16.7 million salary) just 17 games this season to match Brooks' career player earnings, but the guy who stands one foot shorter is the one calling the shots for a player on the cusp of becoming the league's Most Valuable Player. “He's quick to say something to anybody if we mess up — miss a rotation, if we're playing as hard as he wants us to play,” Durant said of Brooks. “He's not afraid. He's a great guy to lead us.” Oklahoman

When Durant was quick to sign a five-year extension with the Thunder in the summer of 2010, part of the reason was Brooks. “We really click, man,” Durant said. “He's family. I consider him part of my family. He's helped me so much since I came into this league, even my rookie year when he wasn't the head coach (at Seattle). He gave me encouragement every single day. He saw the potential in me. He believed in me. It's very important that we have a very good relationship, which we do and it's getting better every single day. We can laugh and joke at each other, too.” Oklahoman

Durant said one reason he appreciates Brooks' sense of humor is he never makes himself the center of attention. “Naw, never,” Durant said. “He's the most humble guy I've ever been around, never gives credit to himself. Whenever he makes great adjustments and puts us in great position to win, he always says it's because of us. We know without him we wouldn't be able to win a game, or have a good stretch, or (have a winning) month. He does so much for us, man. He's always humble about it and we really respect that about him.” Oklahoman

At the end, Adelman seethed over a series of calls, including a no-call when center Nikola Pekovic grabbed an offensive rebound and missed a contested layup that would have tied the score with 52 seconds left. At the end, he pointed out how officials consulted after the final buzzer to determine if the Knicks were due two more free throws in a game already decided. "I'm glad they got that last call right, and I'm glad they waited five minutes to make sure that the game was over," Adelman said in a terse postgame address that lasted fewer than 30 seconds. "That was good. It really made a big difference, making sure they got that one right. That's all I have to say. I'm not going to get fined, so I'm sorry." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

But then Talia Castellano is not your typical teen, as the cancer monster has found out during the last six years. "She's so tough," said her mother, Desiree. Incredibly tough. The 13-year-old Orlando girl and devout Magic fan is fighting two cancers at once, and it's a draw so far. Even when doctors informed the upbeat Talia she had relapsed — again — her mother said she told everyone, "Can't stop. Got to keep going." Orlando Sentinel

Talia can tell you all about her myelodysplastic syndrome, cancer that affects bone marrow and blood; and neuroblastoma, a cancerous tumor found in the adrenal gland. "Talia learned how to say them, learned how they come about," Desiree said. Orlando Sentinel

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