HoopsHype rumors

December 26, 2012 | 06:53 PM ET Update

In addition, I'm hearing that there's a split between the GM and ownership on what they want in return. Do they get back established players and try to win now or do they want more young prospects/draft picks? In other words, it's a giant mess ... ESPN.com

Tough call for the Kings. Cousins new agent will be pushing hard for a trade. They, along with the rest of the NBA, think the Kings ownership/management is dysfunctional and they want him out of there. The problem for the Kings is that Cousins is their best player, but given his frequent issues with coaches/teammates, teams aren't willing to give equal value back in return. ESPN.com

I do think the Celtics are one of the teams that would be willing to pull the trigger on a Cousins deal. Danny Ainge has never been afraid of players like Cousins. They do have assets too: Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, Avery Bradley are all players the Kings would have interest in. However, if the Kings do that deal, they take another step backward. Not sure if there's room anymore for the Kings to keep going backward. Pistons, Mavs and Heat are other teams with a lot of interest. ESPN.com

Though he’s out now injured, the Raptors supposedly would like to put Kyle Lowry in a trade package and keep Jose Calderon. The Raptors give up 11 more points per game when Lowry is on the court compared with Calderon. NBA.com

It all came to a head when Charles Barkley said Wade was "starting to lose his talent," and "when you can't jump over the building anymore, you have to learn how to play." Since the Spurs-Heat game Barkley broadcast as a color analyst Nov. 29, Wade has shown off a much more consistent game (he's shooting 56.5 percent in December) and even some of the explosiveness that had been missing. Wade said he used Barkley's comments as fuel. But more important, Wade's health is finally coming around after offseason knee surgery. And that's where his annoyance with Barkley's comments derived. "If I say it didn't bother me, I'd be lying," Wade said. "I think what bothers me more than someone saying it -- because a lot of people say things -- is why. What's the reason? Can you give the listeners, the viewers, the reason why I'm not doing what you're expecting me to do right now?" ESPN.com

That was a large reason for some of his more uncharacteristic performances, particularly in mid-November. And it's why his coaches and teammates paid little attention to his struggles. They all knew what to expect. "We knew he just needed some more time," Erik Spoelstra said. "Everybody wanted to make assumptions and evaluations then, which is totally ridiculous." ESPN.com

But Wade isn't about to let his dunk total define how explosive he still is. "I don't want to dunk as much as I used to," he said. "You know how much more effort that takes? When I was younger, I was trying to make a name for myself. I don't want to do that all the time anymore. "I know when I'm feeling good, I know when my explosion is there, when I'm able to cut through the defense. That's what I look at. I don't look at the dunking aspect. I can dunk when I want to. Even though I might not get as high as I did when I was a rookie, I can still get over the rim when need be -- especially when I get angry." ESPN.com

Josh Newman: Deron Williams will sit tonight in Milwaukee with. Bruised right wrist. Surprised it took this long to sit, he's been banged up for a while Twitter @Joshua_Newman

John Reid: Hornets' Eric Gordon may make his debut on Saturday at Charlotte, according to Monty Williams. Story coming shortly on NOLA.com Twitter @JohnReid64

Knicks starting guard Raymond Felton is likely to miss Wednesday night’s game against the Suns. The team said Wednesday afternoon that Felton is “questionable” to play because of sprained right pinkie he suffered Tuesday, but he was in considerable pain after the game. Felton suffered injury, which is on his shooting hand, during the 100-94 loss to the Lakers on Christmas Day and was fitted with a protective spring before he departed Staples Center in Los Angeles. New York Daily News

December 26, 2012 | 01:13 PM ET Update

DONUT 2: Defining what it is the Mavs now are ... "That will be based on how everybody will view it," Carlisle said. "The way we're playing, I think we would be viewed as we're not very good, so we've got to work to change that." Scout.com

The Clippers are 22-6. Things are different, exactly as Paul wanted them to be. “I know what the perception was,” Paul said. “I know that if I came on a road trip to play here in L.A., we felt like we were going to win.” With that, he shot a glance at Griffin, as if to say, “No offense.” “We want guys to know when they play us, they better get some rest before the game. They’re going to be in for a dogfight.” ESPN.com

So again, we need to start thinking of them in different terms, superlative terms, such as this nomination from Nuggets coach George Karl: “I think Chris Paul right now -- I know this might sound crazy -- I think he’s the defensive player of the year. I think he’s an incredible defender. I think he gets the ball, causes pressure.” Here’s the case: a large degree of the Clippers’ success is turnovers. They lead the NBA in both turnovers forced per game, and points off turnovers. And Paul is their chief thief, averaging a league-high 2.7. ESPN.com

Could Amar'e Stoudemire make his season debut with the Knicks on January 1? In an interview with ESPN's Heather Cox on Tuesday, Stoudemire acknowledged that the Blazers game on Jan. 1 could be a target for his return, if his rehabilitation continues without impediment. The Knicks had hoped Stoudemire would return sometime during their three-game road trip from Dec. 25-28. But that appears unlikely. Mike Woodson would prefer Stoudemire to have some practice time with his teammates. Last week, Stoudemire practiced with the Knicks' D League team, the Erie BayHawks, because the Knicks did not hold practice due to a condensed schedule. ESPN.com

Starting shooting guard Jason Richardson will not face the Grizzlies due to a low back strain. The Sixers did not say whether this was a one-day situation or whether it is something that could carry over into one or more of the remaining six games on the trip. Philadelphia Inquirer

The winters in Minnesota sure can get cold, so it's nice that one older woman in the area will get to spend the next few months with Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio wrapped around her. Well, at least a massive blanket bearing Rubio's likeness. The Spanish point guard retweeted one fan's amazing Christmas gift Tuesday. Via ondeckdean: "@rickyrubio09 Mom had a very Ricky Christmas!Grandma loves you! Feliz Navidad! pic.twitter.com/6ku0csBZ wish her a happy holidays!" USA Today Sports

December 26, 2012 | 09:20 AM ET Update

The Rockets will send forward Terrence Jones back to their NBA Development League affiliate this week. In his previous two games with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Jones averaged 22.5 points and 17.5 rebounds. With Jones assigned to the D-League and Royce White not with the team, Patrick Patterson returned to the active list, but he did not dress. Patterson stepped up his on-court rehab on Tuesday but is expected to be out with a bruised right foot for all three games this week. Houston Chronicle

“Some people have the crazy idea that I wanted the trade and I wanted out of there, and that’s not necessarily how it went down,” Anderson said from Louisiana in a phone interview. “It’s a game, and I understand it and I am glad that I’m here. But I just want people to know that I wasn’t turning my back on the team or anything. “The thing is,” he added, “Orlando didn’t even make a move at me. So it was a situation where every other team we spoke with thought that Orlando was going to match, and the only team that was willing to take that risk was New Orleans. It was just a real different situation.” Orlando Sentinel

A day after using his Facebook page to introduce his wife, Vanessa's, Instagram account, Kobe is now tweeting ... Bryant has taken over @nikebasketball's account. Nike Basketball's name that appears with every tweet is now "Kobe Bryant" and the avatar is a snake eating the little Twitter bird with the words "BLACK MAMBA IS HERE" surrounding it. Sulia

"A point guard like him who has that respect, a lot of it is the credibility of doing it for a lot of years," D'Antoni said after the Lakers beat the Knicks 100-94 Tuesday afternoon for their fifth straight win. "He just puts everything in perspective and calms everybody down and gives you a chance to win every night. He keeps your energy up on defense because you're not fighting yourself on the other end and you're not being demoralized by things happening there. Everybody's getting the ball, there's a flow, and it feeds and it builds. It's a like a little snowball that keeps getting bigger." CBSSports.com

"The players are unfamiliar, but the situation is similar," said Nash, who finished with 16 points, 11 assists, six rebounds, one crooked tie and a flipped-up jacket collar that nobody will remember. "We're trying to feel each other out and figure that out. ... I try to be aggressive in those situations and try to make a play for my teammates or free myself up for a shot to take pressure off my teammates. I think we still are trying to find that understanding and that kind of know-how that a veteran, or at least a seasoned team has. But while it comes, we've done a good job of keeping it simple." CBSSports.com

"I expected to get this thing turned around at some point," said Kobe Bryant, who went shot-for-shot and point-for-point with Carmelo Anthony in an electrifying offensive show that gave way to Nash's patience, brilliance and command in the closing minutes. CBSSports.com

With the way Kobe Bryant was gushing about what it's like to play next to the great Steve Nash after the Los Angeles Lakers 100-94 win vs. the New York Knicks on Tuesday, it was natural to wonder if Bryant ever caught himself watching his fellow future Hall of Famer with admiration. "I ain't watching (expletive)," Bryant said with a laugh as he sat at his locker. "I'm looking to get open." USA Today Sports

For all the attention paid to the Bryant-Howard pairing and all its similarities to the Bryant-Shaquille O'Neal days of old, Bryant-Nash is where it starts for the Lakers. "It's like (Michael) Jordan having (John) Stockton, or (Scottie) Pippen, (a player who) can facilitate and allows him to do what he does. I haven't had that throughout my career," Bryant said. "I've played with some great off-guards like (Derek) Fisher and (Ron) Harper and so forth, but I've never played with a point guard of his caliber that can manipulate the defense and put you in positions to be successful and organize the floor. It's great." USA Today Sports

World Peace fired back as only he can, forcing Anthony into a turnover on an ill-advised cross-court pass and later grabbing a rebound on a missed Dwight Howard free throw to extend a Lakers possession. He continually encouraged his teammates, even after being disqualified on a foul on Anthony with 1 minute 58 seconds left. "Metta's been a lot, lot more vocal, helping me with the leadership and making sure guys have that intensity and attention to detail and that toughness," Bryant said. If Pau Gasol is a gentle prodder, Bryant said, World Peace is a rigid enforcer. "[Gasol] kind of talks to guys and gets them in the right place," Bryant said. "Metta will drag you across that line, you know what I mean? It's important for teams to have that, because it keeps everyone on edge, which is necessary to win a championship." Los Angeles Times

I’m not sure exactly what he meant, or more specifically who, but Perk said this Thunder team needs to look itself in the mirror. “I just feel like — never overreacting to a loss — we just got to start getting back to who we are as individuals,” Perkins said. “Turning off the TV and stop looking at articles on ourselves and start just losing ourselves in the team a little bit more then the sky’s the limit. We just got to start knowing what got us here and what each guy did to get us to this point. We just got to make sure we start knowing who we are and what we are and what we mean to this team as individuals and the rest will take care of itself.” Oklahoman

The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard lives in the shadow of teammate Kevin Durant. Critics belittle his contributions and suggest he shoots too much. And those darn referees won't cooperate. Westbrook took out his frustration against the referees on the scorer's table Tuesday, when his team was upended 103-97 in a loss to the Miami Heat. Two key plays helped boost the Heat and fluster Westbrook. USA Today Sports

Thibodeau got no arguments in what is probably the low point during Thibpdeau’s tenure coaching the Bulls. The Bulls fell to 15-12, the same record as the Rockets, but teams clearly going in opposite directions as the Rockets have won six of seven. For the Bulls, it was their second straight blowout loss with Saturday’s meltdown in Atlanta. “We didn’t play with the right edge,” said Joakim Noah. “It’s a real disappointing loss. Our defense was not really good. Everything was bad. Terrible Christmas.” Bulls.com

Forward Gerald Wallace (15 points, six rebounds, three steals), who was one of the only Nets putting his heart and soul into every possession, seemed to shed a bit of light on what’s been going on. "We’re dropping our heads on every little mistake," Wallace said. "It’s carrying over from the locker room on to the court, and it shows. ... Losing wears on you." Boston dominated from the opening tip. The Celtics outscored the Nets 34-18 in the second quarter and led by as many as 21 points in the third. "This game reminded me of that preseason game when they came in and felt like they had something to prove," Johnson said. "We kind of had that look in our eyes like we’re up 2-0. They’re thinking March, April and May, and we didn’t have that sense of urgency until the fourth quarter." ESPN.com

The incident happened with 9:31 to play and the Celtics ahead 77-60. Nets guard C.J. Watson launched a 3-pointer that was rebounded by his teammate, Gerald Wallace. Wallace was fouled on the rebound by Jeff Green. Losing his balance following the foul, Wallace reached out to grab the shorts of Kevin Garnett. Replays showed Wallace holding on to Garnett's jersey shorts after the play, with there being a brief moment in which Garnett has his hand around Wallace's wrist. Wallace had little to say on the play after the game. But Garnett didn't hesitate to state his case on what happened. "He just grabbed my shorts. I tried to help him up, make sure he didn't fall," Garnett said in describing his role on the play. "And he just kept grabbing my shorts. So I asked him what he was doing. He didn't respond. And I looked at him, what you doing? And I tried to smack his hand away. It really wasn't nothing. He just jacked my shorts." CSNNE.com

Garnett, who has the reputation of being one of the game's great instigators, was clearly bothered by the fact that on Tuesday the play was done and over with when Wallace - who by now had regained his balance - still clung to his jersey shorts. "I don't get caught up in the scenarios and all the (bleep)," Garnett said. "The play was over when he (Wallace) started. I was just trying to make sure he was safe; that was it. I don't know where in America where you can jack somebody's pants off or shorts ... I don't know what the hell was going on." CSNNE.com

One of my ol' NBA heads offered an interesting hypothesis: coming up in the Princeton offense at Georgetown de-clawed him, in a way, because that offense doesn't ask any one player to dominate. It's a fit-in-and-get-along system. Green fit in and got along and he's been doing it ever since. Nothing wrong with that, but if you want him to take over at times, as the Celtics certainly could use and his talent certainly allows, he's never been conditioned to do it. I'm also a believer that you are who you are, which would mean Green's natural disposition, not his collegiate system, has made him the player he is, but when my ol' NBA heads speak, I listen and generally take their counsel into account. Sulia

Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro on Chris Paul: “He’s the catalyst. He’s the quarterback out there.." "..He’s an extension of me and Chris has a great pulse of the game. His assist-to-turnover ratio and just his command of the game is as good as anybody’s. He puts us in situations where we have the ability to execute at both ends, and that’s what he does out there. That is why he is one of the best players in the league.” Sulia

Kris Humphries wasn’t around to engage in the latest round of hostilities with the Celtics in yesterday’s 93-76 loss, as the Nets power forward remained sidelined by a late-breaking “mild” abdominal strain and continued his midseason fall from grace. Coach Avery Johnson said Humphries, who started the team’s first 18 games and 20 of the first 25 after re-signing a two-year deal worth $24 million in the offseason, will not make the trip to Milwaukee for tonight’s game against the Bucks, his third straight absence. Humphries then will be reevaluated. Humphries’ injury was not mentioned when he sat out Sunday’s home win over the 76ers, with Johnson calling it a “coach’s decision.” “He was healthy ... he is fine,” Johnson said Sunday. “He’s not in the doghouse. We just had to try something else, and we’ll see how long we can go with it.” New York Post

Amar’e Stoudemire finally has a realistic target date for his season debut following knee surgery. He said Jan. 1, 2013 is “a possibility.” It’s the first time Stoudemire has used a specific date. Sulia

Center Anderson Varejao will miss his fourth straight game for the Cleveland Cavaliers because of a bruised right knee. The Cavs said Varejao won't travel with them to Washington for Wednesday night's game against the Wizards. Varejao, who leads the NBA in rebounding, wasn't with the Cavs on Saturday when they snapped a six-game losing streak with a win in Milwaukee. He stayed in Cleveland to receive additional treatment, and the Cavs had hoped the extra rest would help him return this week. USA Today Sports

The Timberwolves thus far have been disciplined and uniform in their plan to carefully bring precocious point guard Ricky Rubio back from March knee surgery, limiting him exactly to his 18-minute target three times and 16-plus minutes once in his first four games. Is it time to loosen those limitations? "I hope so," Rubio said. Rubio will meet with management and the team's medical staff Wednesday, and all three parties likely will agree to begin increasing his minutes starting with that night's game against Houston at Target Center. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Mullens took a hard fall late in Saturday’s road loss to the Denver Nuggets. He couldn’t put any weight on the joint, and there was relief around the franchise that he hadn’t fractured his ankle. Still, he figures to be out weeks, if not a month, with the injury. So the Bobcats (7-20) will have at least one new starter Wednesday night when they face the NBA champion Miami Heat at Time Warner Cable Arena. Another power forward, Tyrus Thomas, is already out with a calf strain, so the options are limited. Charlotte Observer

James is not the only one who has faith in Paul. Former lottery pick Tristan Thompson of the Cavs, Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe and Spurs guard Cory Joseph have also joined Klutch. In reality, though, the threat is not actually Paul but this new breed of agent. Not Klutch but a series of Klutches. If Paul is successful, what's to stop another superstar's ambitious best friend from learning the corporate game while still maintaining the authenticity and street cred it takes to earn the trust and friendship of players? Make no mistake about it: Many middlemen, recruiters or runners are watching Paul closely, wondering whether he might blaze a trail they can soon follow. "The middlemen put in all the work and get crumbs for it," says one NBA executive. "Rich could end up being a model for young guys in the future who are close to a star player. They could follow what he's doing and start changing the name of the game." ESPN.com

In the summer of 2011, Paul, James, Dwyane Wade and others were in the Bahamas, just weeks after the Heat had been upset by Dallas in the Finals. The dinner table in their rented mansion was full of steak, seafood, fruit and more, but the mood was sour. James and Wade were beating themselves up, trying to explain what happened. Paul stepped in. "Man, it wasn't meant for y'all to win.'' "Man, what are you talking about?'' said an irked James. "The reason you didn't win it is that you weren't being you," Paul said. "You were playing with a lot of anger, being someone you're not. If God had let you win, you would've felt like you should be that person -- angry, thinking everybody's against you, not having fun on the court. That's not you." "Man, whatever," said James. "I'm not trying to hear this." "It's bigger than what you did on the floor, Bron. It started from day one, when you decided to be someone else. God took you from your highest point to your lowest point so you could be humble, so you could look in the mirror and be a better player. Experience is the best teacher." ESPN.com

No question, it is a simpler proposition for a non-Christian like me to say bah, humbug to those who have attacked the N.B.A. for turning Christmas into basketball’s version of a “Star Trek” marathon. So let’s allow Stackhouse to counter the righteousness of the argument with an appropriate dose of realism. “At the end of the day, when the licensing checks are rolling in, we’re all in line,” he said. “Everybody should be all in. It helps our brand.” New York Times

On the flip side, have you come to appreciate the other players' music? JJ Redick: The funny thing about it is that I grew up around hip-hop, because basketball and hip-hop are so intertwined in pop culture. I was the only white kid on my teams growing up, and we used to travel all over the country, so I used to be really into hip-hop. I grew up listening to Tupac and Biggie and Nas, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, some independent rappers as well. I used to actually write lyrics and battle-rap in high school, so I can definitely appreciate it. I'm not a huge fan of what's out right now -- I think that's partly why I don't listen to it as much. I've been a huge Kanye fan and a huge Lil Wayne fan and a huge Rick Ross fan, so when they put an album out I usually get it that day, and I'll listen to that for a while. Billboard

Do you dream of living in a mega-mansion where giant dolphin fountains spray you with pool water? If so, then NBA star Kenyon Martin has the house for you ... for a cool $5 million. Martin -- who plays for the Los Angeles Clippers -- bought the 15,000-square-foot Arlington, Texas crib back in 2008 for around $3 million. Looking to make a tidy profit, K-Mart recently listed the 5-bedroom, 5-bath Mediterranean pad for almost twice what he paid -- and the house is RIDICULOUS. It sits on 8.4 acres of land and is rockin' a full-sized basketball court ... bowling alley ... gym ... game room ... pond ... pool with 2 huge dolphin fountains ... 2 water slides ... 10 car garage ... white marble floors, white walls ... annnnnnnd a freakin' pecan orchard. TMZ.com

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