HoopsHype rumors

December 28, 2012 | 08:53 PM ET Update

Van Gundy turned down the Nets before Avery Johnson was hired in 2010. One issue that made the job unappealing to Van Gundy is now gone: The understanding that he would have to move his family to New Jersey for two years in Newark, and then displace them again with a move to Brooklyn. Van Gundy, who also coached the Rockets, had conversations with them about a possible return in 2010, but the dialogue never went too far, sources said. Houston hired Kevin McHale. Before Toronto hired Dwane Casey that summer, GM Bryan Colangelo reached out to Van Gundy about the Raptors job, league sources said. Yahoo! Sports

For a brief moment last offseason, coming back to the Chicago Bulls looked like a realistic possibility for Keith Bogans. Behind his relationship with Tom Thibodeau, Bogans had a strong advocate within the Bulls, and privately the coach pushed management over the summer to bring back Bogans. RealGM

Bogans never communicated with Thibodeau about a potential return, but he told RealGM that his agent, Dan Fegan, talked to the Bulls’ front office during the offseason. Ultimately, Bogans believed re-signing with the Brooklyn Nets fit him best and the Bulls acquired Marco Belinelli. Bogans admits the respect between he and Thibodeau remains strong, but as he said after the Nets’ loss to the Bucks on Wednesday night: “That was about it, though.” RealGM

December 28, 2012 | 05:42 PM ET Update

Chris Mannix: HOU wouldn't stand in Sampson's way of a head job, but Rox are playing well and Sampson, who's thrived since coming from college, a big part Twitter @ChrisMannixSI

“I thought it was a group that was still capable of winning after Joe left, and the other offers that I had on the table were really teams that were rebuilding and I didn’t really want to go through that scenario,” Williams tells HOOPSWORLD. “I was in a situation in Philadelphia where I felt like that was a team that was turning the corner to be a pretty good team, so to have success in Philadelphia, and then leaving, I didn’t want to start over.” HoopsWorld

Dwight Howard: "Sometimes it’s tough, especially when you’re losing. You don’t want to turn on the TV and you have to be aware of what your friends and your family and other people are saying. You can’t get caught up into all that. You have to put all your focus and your energy in the team on the floor and it can be tough at times because every little thing, it sticks out. "We mess up a play on defense or we miss a free throw or whatever it may be, it just looks like the end of the world. But, in all, it’s basketball. You’re going to miss shots, you’re going to miss free throws, you’re going to miss assignments, the refs are going to miss plays, we’re going to make mistakes, but we have to move forward and remember that we have a goal in mind and it’s still attainable. Sulia

Tom Tolbert will join the Warriors’ radio broadcasts as a color analyst for a selection of games during 2013, the team announced Friday. Tolbert, who played for the Warriors from 1989-92 as part of a seven-year NBA career, will join current radio play-by-play announcer Tim Roye on KNBR 680-AM. He’ll do 10 of the team’s home games, beginning Wednesday for the Warriors’ game against the Clippers. San Francisco Chronicle

December 28, 2012 | 04:26 PM ET Update

I’ve heard Oklahoma City as a possible destination for Anderson Varejao. They have a lot of attractive assets such as Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones, Reggie Jackson, Eric Maynor and the two first-round picks they acquired from the Houston Rockets in the James Harden trade. HoopsWorld

Even though Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard believes the $35,000 fine he received for his flagrant foul on the Denver Nuggets' Kenneth Faried was exorbitant, he vows to curb his frustration to stop plays like that from occurring in the future. "I got to do a better job of keeping my composure and not getting frustrated and also remember that I'm playing for my teammates at all times and stay on the right path," Howard said after the Lakers' shootaround Friday in advance of their game against the Portland Trail Blazers. ESPN.com

Likely ready to return to action here Friday night as a backup instead of a starter after missing seven games with a partially torn biceps, Lowry contends all he wants to do is help. “Honestly, I just have to prepare myself to play, that’s all I can really do,” he said after a 90-minute practice Thursday afternoon. “In all honesty, just prepare to play … I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, how I’ll react (to being back on the court) so I just have to prepare to play and if I do play, how I can help the team.” Toronto Star

However, being on the other side of it isn't so much fun, and Jazz guard Randy Foye, a former Clipper, said he's seen teams take exception to Los Angeles' flair-filled style of play. "I seen a lot of team taking cheap shots at them," Foye said. "Last night [against Boston] they were beating a team, guys were still in there trying to dunk and get on ESPN and trying to get on the highlight reel." Salt Lake Tribune

About a third of the season has been completed, and it's clear that the Celtics (14-14) fall into that category. But don't look for the C's to make any kind of radical changes anytime soon. "Doc (Rivers) has proven his worth as a coach," Danny Ainge, Boston's President of Basketball Operations, told CSNNE.com. "There's nobody I want more to coach my team, than Doc Rivers." CSNNE.com

Ainge added, "One thing I've learned in this business is patience is a virtue. That's one of the reasons why I love Doc. Because when things aren't going well, there's no one I want in my corner more. Anybody can put on a smiley face and come to work with energy and enthusiasm and passion when you're winning. But it takes a special person to do it with an 18, 19-game losing streak with a bunch of young players and to still have that respect and work ethic before we were able to put a great team together and obviously, have some success." CSNNE.com

December 28, 2012 | 01:45 PM ET Update

Dunleavy also likes the Nets roster. In talking about its versatility, he told Termine, they can play big and they have great guard play. And what's the first thing the new coach will have to do, "The first thing you have to do as a coach is get (Deron) shots in his comfort zone." NetsDaily

Sam Amick: I think bottom-line you can just safely say that he hired a guy that he knew would not only have what he thinks is more influence than his previous guy. But somebody who, I can safely say this, he was well aware of the acrimony between the agent and his current GM (Geoff Petrie). Cowbell Kingdom

Carlos Arroyo is close to joining Galatasaray and the deal may be finalized by tomorrow, a source close to the player told Sportando. The Puerto Rican PG spent last season in Turkey with Besiktas winning TBL and Eurochallenge. Sportando

Matt Moore: Tulsa 66ers acquire Chris Quinn, who you may remember from the Heat team that helped them land Michael Beasley. Twitter @HPbasketball

But it’s clear Williams has become a major detriment, a locker room lawyer poisoning the atmosphere now against a second coach. He had everything to do with Sloan leaving no matter what you might hear from the Jazz, Sloan or Williams. He still has value and there’s always a team that thinks they can change guys. So maybe if you are the Nets you see what he can bring. I assume it still would be a lot. He’s always been one of the more difficult people to deal with in the NBA, condescending and selfish. But now that he’s essentially quit on two coaches you wonder what is next. As for Sloan, yes he’d like to coach again but seems to be waiting for a certain opportunity. Though as you approach 70 it may not come. NBA.com

TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal blasted Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams on Thursday night. Following Nets coach Avery Johnson's firing, Barkley said it's time for Williams to "put up or shut up," while O'Neal said he needs to "look in the mirror." "He's got the reputation of getting coaches fired," Barkley said. "Whatever happened in Utah [head coach Jerry Sloan resigned], it happened. Whatever happened in Brooklyn, it happened. This is all on Deron Williams right now. It's time to put up or shut up." ESPN.com

I don’t think so. While he was partially responsible for Jerry Sloan leaving the Utah Jazz, I’ve been told that Al Jefferson also played a large role in that. I don’t blame him for Avery Johnson either because it sounds like this was Mikhail Prokhorov’s decision and everyone was blindsided. The players didn’t see this coming, from what I’ve heard. HoopsWorld

Nene has grown increasingly frustrated with the direction the team has taken in recent weeks, and he hasn’t hidden his disappointment as he continues to play limited minutes because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot. In just 26 minutes against Cleveland, Nene had 16 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. The Wizards outscored the Cavaliers by 25 points while the center was on the floor. Washington Post

The Wizards had just lost their eighth straight game, an 87-84 defeat to the Cavaliers, and Seraphin was hardly noticeable with four points and no rebounds in 12 minutes. The third-year forward rolled his chair over to talk with the 11-year NBA veteran and got an earful. “He was really mad at me,” Seraphin said. “He’s like the leader right now. He’s trying to help the team the best way and he really thinks I’m an important player for this team and I’ve been struggling for like the last five games and he told me that. “He told me straight up, ‘You should play more than 12 minutes.’ I’m supposed to be ready for the game. I’m supposed to play good. He said, ‘Maybe if you were playing good, maybe we got more chances to win the game.’ That’s what he told me, he was just like, he was mad.” CSNWashington.com

Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting while Paul Pierce added 12 on 5-for-13 from the field. Pierce has 20 points in the past two games after tallying 75 in the previous two. "I thought we came out with too much respect (for the Clippers)," Garnett said. "We wanted to play back off some of their bigs and Blake (Griffin) hit some shot that he doesn't usually hit. They came out with a lot of confidence and they packed the paint and that is the reason why they have won 15 in a row. Teams like this, you have to come at them and attack them and we were not able to do that." Boston Globe

Nobody knows what will happen to the Clippers dive into the deep end of a possibly deep playoff run. Nobody knows if Lob City will be sustained through the two-month grind of the NBA playoffs -- a time when ragged, old teams like the Celtics always seemed to find a way to come back to life. But we know that if the Clippers are made of just a little bit of what Paul is made of, they have a great chance. "It's a really good feeling right now, a good vibe," Paul said. "... I just love the way we're playing right now, and it's contagious." CBSSports.com

Howard Beck: Nets are calling Deron Williams a gametime decision (wrist). Humphries (abdominal) is out, along w/Shengelia (flu). Twitter @HowardBeckNYT

Hedo Turkoglu won’t play tonight against the Washington Wizards, but he said he hopes to play Saturday night against the Toronto Raptors in Orlando. Turkoglu participated in the Orlando Magic’s shootaround at Verizon Center moments ago, and he’s scheduled to run and do shooting drills later this afternoon. “I’m feeling much better,” he said. “I had a good workout today. I’m going to have one later today, too, and hopefully, I’ll feel much better tomorrow morning and I’ve got a shot for tomorrow night.” Orlando Sentinel

Forward Patrick Patterson has stepped up his rehabilitation workouts with hopes of playing Saturday against the Thunder or Monday against the Hawks. He is considered out for at least the rest of the week and with no practice scheduled, is not likely to return from his bruised right foot until next month, but his rehab sessions have gone well enough for Patterson to hope to be cleared early. Either way, Patterson had been concerned he would be out much longer if he needed surgery. “Talking to the doctors, they all had different opinions,” Patterson said. “The specialist had a different opinion and they all got together and came to a decision that no surgery would be needed. That was a blessing. The last thing I wanted was another surgery. For me to come back earlier than anticipated would be great. Houston Chronicle

December 28, 2012 | 04:58 AM ET Update

Undaunted by Phil Jackson's reported reluctance to coach their team, Brooklyn Nets officials have established Jackson as their top target in the wake of Avery Johnson's dismissal, according to NBA coaching sources. ESPN.com

Sources told ESPN.com on Thursday the Nets have Jackson atop their list of potential replacements for Johnson and will make a hard push for the 67-year-old, who appeared close to returning for a third stint with the Los Angeles Lakers in November before L.A. unexpectedly gave the job to Mike D'Antoni. ESPN.com

As the Nets enter the search for Avery Johnson's replacement, the most decorated coach in NBA history is only a phone call away. Phil Jackson, the 11-time champion coach, would be interested in exploring the possibility of coaching the Brooklyn franchise "for sure," a person with knowledge of his thinking told CBSSports.com Thursday night. CBSSports.com

According to a person with knowledge of the Nets' plans who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of a coaching search, they fully intend on reaching out to Jackson. And while Jackson's representative told NBA.com he would not be interested in the Nets job at this time, it would be unwise to discount that possibility entirely. USA Today Sports

The Nets have made Phil Jackson their top target to replace Avery Johnson and have already reached out to the coach with 11 rings, according to multiple reports. Nets GM Billy King danced around the subject of Jackson on Thursday, but the Nets’ roster is built for the triangle offense and no other available coach comes close to his resume and pedigree. New York Daily News

Jackson's longtime representative, Todd Musburger, told TNT's David Aldridge on Thursday that his client has "no interest in the Nets' job at this time." But a source told ESPN that Jackson would indeed entertain an approach from Brooklyn and that his flirtation with the Lakers after Mike Brown's dismissal five games into the season got him "thinking about coaching again." Another source insisted Thursday night that the Lakers' presumed reluctance to give Jackson what he wanted, in terms of salary and say in basketball matters, would not be an issue with the Nets, thanks largely to the deep pockets and affinity for stars of billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov. ESPN.com

David Aldridge: Despite reports that Nets have Phil Jackson at the top of their wish list, informed source insists team has no top target. Twitter @daldridgetnt

“I think he’s the logical choice,” Nets guard Jerry Stackhouse said. “He’s been in a lot of big-time situations. That’s who he is. If I’m an owner or a general manager and I’m going to make a coaching change, he’d definitely be the first guy I’d see if he had any interest.” New York Daily News

One coaching source advised Thursday that an approach for Southern Methodist University's Larry Brown could not be ruled out, even with Brown in his first season at SMU, because of Brown's close relationship with Nets general manager Billy King. Other veteran coaches available include Nate McMillan, Mike Dunleavy and the ESPN duo of Jeff Van Gundy and Flip Saunders. ESPN.com

One more name that has surfaced and might just be the next in line should Jackson not succumb to Mikhail's charms: Mike Dunleavy. He was in the mix for the Lakers' job, he's a Brooklyn native and a quick glance at his resume (one trip to the Finals, two to the conference finals, 38 -33 playoff record) would indicate he's the next most accomplished coach available after Jackson. (I'm not including Larry Brown, because Deron knows LeBron and Carmelo far too well and there's no chance they'd endorse him after their experience playing for him on the national team.) Sulia

Less than a month later, the award can be used to wrap fish. After ownership called and asked many within and outside the organization for input, Johnson was notified yesterday he was being canned. “It was ownership,” said general manager Billy King when asked who made the call. New York Post

By the time Johnson was fired, he had lost several members of the locker room. Williams was the most obvious one, and his decision not to play Wednesday night in Milwaukee — citing a wrist injury that he had played through all season — only fueled speculation that he had, as one friend of Johnson’s said, “totally quit on Avery.” Suspicion also surrounded Kris Humphries, who went on the inactive list this week — right after Johnson yanked him from the starting lineup — because of a previously unmentioned abdominal injury. New York Times

Avery Johnson said he never saw his firing coming. “You don’t think as a .500 team that something like this would happen,” Johnson said yesterday in a press conference at the team’s practice facility after he was relieved of his duties as the Nets head coach. “But this is ownership’s decision. This is what we signed up for.” New York Post

Howard Beck: Would have been easy to just disappear, as most fired coaches do. Avery thanked everyone from owner to front office to players to video guys Twitter @HowardBeckNYT

We joke, but now that AJ’s a goner, our sympathy is transferred to King. Those around the organization claim that he still has ownership’s trust, but these things tend to change, and we’ll be damned if you should feel comfortable after investing one-third of a billion dollars in a .500 team when you take orders from some guy 10,000 miles away named Dmitry. Newark Star-Ledger

Source: Shaun Livingston thought he was headed for the Philadelphia 76ers once he cleared waivers, a plan up-ended when the Cavaliers claimed him. The takeaway: the 76ers are looking for back-up PG help and apparently are pursuing that need ahead of their obvious shortcomings in size on the frontline. Sulia

Dwyane Wade: I'm far from being a dirty player + my intent was never 2 kick Ramon Sessions. I just reacted to the contact that I got from him. More than anything, I think of my boys watchin me be4 retaliating 2ward any player. Im moving 4ward + ready 2 get back on the court in MIL. Twitter

The addition of two new point guards meant that Jordan Crawford’s experimentation at that position was likely over, but the shooting guard nevertheless cost himself a starting job in the back court against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday when he showed up late for the morning shootaround. Crawford deflected a question about his tardiness, then responded to another inquiry about oversleeping with, “I didn’t think about that.” Later, when asked if he understood why Coach Randy Wittman benched him to start newly-signed Shelvin Mack instead, Crawford grinned and nodded without offering an answer. Washington Post

Will DeMarcus Cousins play Friday when the Sacramento Kings host the visiting New York Knicks? The final say is up to Keith Smart, who has apparently made a decision. But in typical Smart fashion, he wouldn’t offer any further details. “I won’t share it right now,” Smart said following Thursday practice. “Because that’s my prerogative to keep it where I want to keep it right now.” Cowbell Kingdom

The media aren’t the only ones in the dark about Cousins’ availability for tomorrow’s game. The Kings big man says that Smart has yet to tell him if he’ll be seeing action for the first time in a week. “I would like to play,” the Kings center said as he answered questions about his status in an ostensibly stern mood. “That’s not my decision.” Cowbell Kingdom

However, Dirk Nowitzki had plenty to say about the man who had been filling his shoes as the Mavs’ go-to guy until recently. “Juice gotta go back to playing the way he was when I was out,” Nowitzki said. “I don’t know what’s been going on lately. It looks like he doesn’t have the confidence. “But we depend on him. He’s got the ability. He showed it early in the year. He’s gotta make plays for us down the stretch as long as I’m not all the way there.” ESPN.com

Del Negro has plenty of reason to gush about Green's professionalism. Green's started 26 of the Clippers' 29 games this season. The other three, Chauncey Billups started. And with Billups back, Green didn't get off the bench. "I'm not going to sit up here and say it's not tough," Green said. But he didn't complain. Green has accepted his role and embraces it. "It's definitely maturity," Green said. "For me personally, it's spiritual maturity. I know in order to reach our goals, it's going to take sacrifice and unselfishness from each member of this team." Orange County Register

"Given this kind of platform and the opportunities we have, you always want to lead by example first," Green said. "When it's time to speak up or say whatever you need to say to the team, they know you lead by example and your body of work allows you to speak up and be a leader." Orange County Register

Bottom line is, Lowry will adapt to what the team is doing, not the team adapting to him. “There’s no personality massaging,” Casey said with regard to Lowry’s return. “This is a team. We’ve got to do it as a team. We’ve shown whether it’s Kyle or DeMar (DeRozan), Andrea (Bargnani), whoever it is, Jose (Calderon), whatever we’re doing, we’re doing for the team. “When I get on a guy or make a substitution, it’s all about the team,” Casey said. “There’s no one guy, myself included, who is bigger than the team. That’s the only way. We don’t have the super-duper star, I’ve said that from Day 1, so if we don’t do it as a team, we’re not going to get anything done.” Toronto Sun

Evans told reporters Thursday that he plans on sitting one more game. He anticipates returning to the Kings’ rotation Sunday when the team hosts the Boston Celtics. “I feel much better,” Evans said after practice. “I had a good workout today. Ran on the treadmill, so probably try to give it a go on Sunday.” Cowbell Kingdom

With a game against the now-mighty Clippers on tap for later, Doc Rivers, whose club dropped to 14-14 with a 106-77 loss, was jokingly asked the obvious question yesterday morning: Are you afraid of losing your job? “Yeah, I am,” Rivers said with a laugh. “I mean, shoot, I may have to golf for the rest of the year.” Boston Herald

Dan Woike: Matt Barnes credited his play to VDN having confidence in him. Said he felt like he'd get pulled if he missed a shot last year w/ Lakers Twitter @DanWoikeSports

It's important to note that this New York Times feature isn't about famous people who died this year. It's regular people, with photos and remembrances submitted by their friends and family. And there, barely noticeable between a "devoted wife and mother" and an Egyptian immigrant doctor, is Dan Roundfield, the former NBA player who drowned in August trying to rescue his wife from rough seas. The brief note accompanying the photo was written by Dominique Wilkins, who played with Roundfield on the Hawks for two seasons. This wasn't commissioned by the Times—it was just Wilkins reaching out when he saw an opportunity to publicly honor his friend and teammate. Deadspin.com

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