HoopsHype rumors

January 9, 2013 | 09:14 PM ET Update

Foshan Long Lions waived Rashard McCants, then signed Doron Perkins. McCants played 17 games for Foshan, averaging 19.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 2.5 apg in 33.8 minutes. hupu.com

While speculation in the media has increased, there hasn’t been a ton of substantive talk among NBA teams at this point. After a conversation with a league executive on Wednesday, the takeaway was that we may not see any significant moves for a few weeks. “There hasn’t really been a lot of talk going around,” the executive said. “There is general chatter, but nothing serious. A lot of teams are trying to figure out what is going on with Memphis and all the names that have been thrown around.” There will undoubtedly be more players surfacing in trade rumors as the Feb. 21 deadline approaches, but the odds of a significant trade happening in January remain long. “This is such a deadline-driven league,” the source said. RealGM

Anderson Varejao has only one fear on the basketball court, one thing that worries the Brazilian center on a consistent basis, the one thing that he learned Wednesday will keep him out 6-8 weeks this season, his third major surgery in three seasons. "This is the only thing in life that I'm scared of -- getting hurt," Varejao said, addressing the media for only the second time since suffering the injury Dec. 18. "I'm not scared about playing against tougher guys. It's just tough. Three years. It's unbelievable." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson addressed the reports in a news conference Wednesday afternoon. "We're in a fight," Johnson said. "We've been here before." Hansen's interest was confirmed by people with knowledge of the situation, the AP reports. They spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because no deal has been reached. KCRA.com

Matt Moore: George Karl said he was torn about the Seattle news, obviously happy for them to be back in the NBA, but loved his time in Sacramento Twitter @HPbasketball

January 9, 2013 | 07:48 PM ET Update

Without issuing any trade demands – that's not his style – Evans said he would be neither shocked nor devastated if he were sent elsewhere before the Feb. 21 deadline. No tears. No fuss. No regrets. No more pain. That's his main deal. "The Kings need to do whatever they can to help the team win," said Evans, who played Monday after missing 11 games with soreness in his left knee. "I just want to go out there and play every night. That visit to (Lombardo)? That let me know that I wasn't totally wrong. I just need to get treated right. That was pretty much it." Sacramento Bee

It’s no surprise that DeJuan Blair may be moved prior to the trade deadline on February 21. The San Antonio Spurs have been shopping him for quite some time, and nearly traded him in June. In the days leading up to the 2012 NBA Draft, the Spurs spoke to a number of teams about the 23-year-old big man. They nearly sent Blair to the Miami HEAT, but the deal fell apart. Now, San Antonio is once again shopping Blair and seeing what teams are willing to offer. HoopsWorld

So the NBA league office has suspended the Knicks Carmelo Anthony one game for trying to confront the Celtics Kevin Garnett after the game between their teams Monday night. NBCSports.com

John Wall’s relationship with Reebok goes back to when he propelled to stardom after a stellar performance at a high school basketball camp sponsored by the shoe company. Wall later signed a five-year deal worth a reported $25 million with Reebok before the Wizards drafted him No. 1 overall in June 2010. But the union is close to ending as Reebok prepares to soon end its basketball division, Wall acknowledged after Wednesday’s practice. The decision to abandon basketball comes only a few months after Reebok released Wall’s third signature ZigSlash basketball shoe. Washington Post

Wall has been spotted wearing Adidas sneakers in practice this week as he prepares to make his season debut after missing the first 33 games with a stress injury in his left knee. According to a source, Wall is scheduled to meet with representatives from Adidas on Thursday. Adidas has owned the Reebok brand since 2005 and Wall would join a roster that currently includes Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and Ricky Rubio. The structure of his deal with Reebok was unknown. Washington Post

Kobe Bryant's wife just lost one-third of her real estate portfolio ... unloading one of the three Newport Beach mansions Kobe gave her right after they split back in 2011 ... TMZ has learned. We broke the story ... Vanessa Bryant listed the 6,000 sq. ft. Newport Beach property back in September for $3.75 million -- and she finally closed the deal this month for $3.22 million. Kobe and Vanessa purchased the place back in 2003 for $2.65 million. Vanessa's mother Sofia was living in the home prior to the sale. TMZ.com

January 9, 2013 | 05:24 PM ET Update

The Knicks, no doubt, will take a cautious approach with their $100 million forward. "This is a long haul, guys. I'm not going to sit here and jeopardize STAT's situation," Woodson said. "I feel good about what we have with [Marcus] Camby and Kurt [Thomas] and if doctors are saying that we have to limit him, then that's what we have to do." Any issue regarding Stoudemire's knee is treated with caution because he has a history of knee ailments. He had microfracture surgery on his left knee in 2005. He recovered well from that procedure, but the knee is still considered to be vulnerable. He also has had a procedure on his right knee. ESPN.com

Wall is edging closer to putting on his No. 2 jersey soon and said that plans to be back on court against Atlanta on Saturday if he can make it through this week without having any setbacks or extreme pain in his left knee. Coach Randy Wittman said he wouldn’t put Wall back on the court until he gets the proper approval from the Wizards’ medical and training staff. “They have to ultimately clear him,” Wittman said. “He’s conditioning isn’t near where it needs to be at this time. I don’t want to put him in a situation out on the floor where conditioning is going to have a tendency to cause another injury. I have to be careful with that on my own without a doctor telling me that.” Washington Post

In the end, you simply have to follow the money. The Hansen-Ballmer group is proposing to pay a premium for an NBA team that will do business in Seattle. The $500 million figure represents a substantial premium to whatever the team was worth it stayed in Sacramento, no matter who owned it or where it played. So it goes. "If money mattered to them," a league source said of the Maloofs, "the team was always going to go to Seattle. And money mattered to them." CBSSports.com

Add this to our growing “kicking the Lakers’ fans while they are down” file…. Look, these kind of things are staged. Because lawyers run NBA teams and if you just did this to some random guy in a seat the lawsuit would be filed before the game ended. Besides, if you were sitting at a game and a mascot smashed a cake in your face out of nowhere is “calm” how you would react? NBCSports.com

January 9, 2013 | 04:50 PM ET Update

While he is eventually expecting that call, Anthony said he does not expect to be suspended for waiting to confront Garnett outside the Celtics locker room and team bus after the game. "If you just go off the actual facts of what happened, I don't think anything will happen," Anthony said after practice Wednesday at the Knicks' training facility in Greenburgh. "But I am pretty sure they are going to be calling me just protocol, that's the league's security protocol. When they do, we'll handle it but they haven't so far." New York Daily News

Again Anthony would not comment on what exactly Garnett said that "crossed the line" Monday night. The News reported that known agitator Garnett taunted Anthony with crude comments about Anthony's wife, TV star La La Vasquez. "Your ... wife tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios," Garnett reportedly told Anthony in the heated game at the Garden, according to the website Black Sports Online. Again Anthony would not go into details about the incident. "That's over with, don't even want to go back to that," Anthony said. "As far as the game goes, I didn't shoot the ball well, I didn't play well. It happens, you have nights like that. Whatever happened between me and Kevin, that's done. That's settled, it's done and over with. We move on, got Indiana tomorrow, no disrespect, but I don't wanna keep talking about the same thing and beating a dead horse." New York Daily News

One good sign? The fact that Rose has enough explosiveness in the knee to start dunking again. “I see a few flushed here and there, nothing over the top,’’ Butler said. “He still has it in him, that’s for sure.’’ Chicago Sun-Times

Rick Adelman will miss his second straight game when the visiting Timberwolves take on Oklahoma City tonight. Assistant coach Terry Porter will service as acting head coach tonight, as was the case in Tuesday’s homecourt victory over Atlanta. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The Maloofs had gone missing from their own arena recently, no longer attending games and leaving their own employees to speculate that a sale or a move was on its way. A person with knowledge of the Kings situation told USA TODAY Sports that the minority owners of the team haven't been informed of the sale as of early Wednesday afternoon. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. The person said terms of the ownership agreement dictate minority owners must be told before a sale is complete. USA Today Sports

Indeed, sources close to the situation told PBT that there are still many hurdles for this deal to overcome, and that Sacramento still has willing, reputable buyers ready to meet or beat Hansen’s offer in order to keep the franchise in town. Indeed, as reported here numerous times, Hansen would have to drastically overpay in order to outdo the Sacramento ownership groups, because Sac owners don’t have to account for a relocation fee, a city loan back to Sacramento, and the hard costs of moving. Sources say that this will total a minimum of $125 million, and should the NBA decide they want to levy a higher relocation fee to even out the playing field that number could increase. This means that if the Maloofs sell to Hansen for $500 million, that in reality they are getting much, much less. In Sacramento, this means that it’s time for their local buyers to step up with their offers, and make the same effort the city made in the spring of 2011 when the Maloofs had most believing the team would move to Anaheim. An offer of $425-$450 million dollars would start to put more money in the Maloofs’ pockets than the Seattle offer does, and that’s where the next step in this relocation debacle lies. NBCSports.com

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday morning, and city officials said they had not confirmed that any deal existed. At about 12:40, Johnson tweeted, "Bottom line Sacramento: it's not over... ." "We've heard nothing from the NBA and nothing from the Kings organization and so for us, it wouldn't be appropriate for us to be commenting on rumors," said Sacramento Assistant City Manager John Dangberg. The news reports apparently spread quickly through the Kings organization, with both players Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins tweeting "Wow." Sacramento Bee

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been fined $50,000 by the NBA for sending a tweet that criticized the officials who worked last Saturday's 99-96 overtime loss to the New Orleans Hornets, according to a league source. After the Mavs' surprising loss to the Hornets, Cuban took to Twitter and tweeted: “Im sorry NBA fans,” Cuban tweeted after the loss to New Orleans. “Ive tried for 13 yrs to fix the officiating in this league and I have failed miserably. Any Suggestions ? I need help.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram

If there is one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that for the last 18-plus years, we have patiently awaited a follow-up to "Shaq Fu," the 1994 video game that told the story of Shaquille O'Neal wandering into a kung-fu dojo on his way to a charity basketball game, stumbling into an alternate dimension and battling various enemies (like evil mummies) with an array of fighting moves (like flaming roundhouse kicks). Now, at long last, our wait is over, thanks to Hiptic Games' new release, "ShaqDown." Behold: Yahoo! Sports

While not a sequel, per se, Hiptic did envision "ShaqDown" as a spiritual successor to one of the most reviled games of all time, as Yahoo! Games colleague Chris Morris wrote at Plugged In: "When we were working on the game, we codenamed it Shaq Fu 2," Long Vo, cofounder and creative director of developer Hiptic, tells VentureBeat. "This game is set in a postapocalyptic world where Shaq has become a legend, and it’s up to him to save humanity from mutant zombies." That’s right. The Big Survivor. As you might have guessed, O'Neal has a sense of humor about his gaming legacy, having told the developers to "have fun with it." And it looks like they did. In addition to bringing the pain to legions of undead jerks, Shaq will team up with a variety of allies, including three-time world wrestling champ Lee Kemp. Yahoo! Sports

January 9, 2013 | 03:45 PM ET Update

Still awaiting official word on this as of 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, but there are multiple reports trickling out of Europe that the Spurs, in true out-of-left field Spurs fashion, have signed New Zealand center Aron Baynes to a multi-year deal. Baynes had been playing well in the Slovenian league, averaging 13.8 points and 9.8 rebounds with Union Olimpija — incidentally, the same club Danny Green played for in 2011. Listed at 6-10, 250 pounds in college, Baynes averaged 8.7 points and 5.4 rebounds in four seasons at Washington State. San Antonio Express-News

Anderson Varejao: I will need to go through another surgery. Unfortunately, it must happen though it is not easy. It is tough having to go through this injury will keep me away from the team for a few more weeks. I want to thank all the fans for the supportive messages, for the love you always showed me and for all the support given me during the times i've been injured, you always stood by my side... Twitter @VAREJAOANDERSON

The Maloof family is finalizing an agreement to sell the Sacramento Kings to a group that hopes to move the franchise to Seattle for the 2013-14 season, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The deal will sell the Kings for approximately $500 million to a group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer. The group is seeking to relocate the franchise to Seattle's KeyArena for the 2013-14 season. The Seattle group's plans, with support of the NBA, is to play two seasons in KeyArena before moving into a new Seattle arena, sources said. Yahoo! Sports

No agreement has been signed, but one source with knowledge of the talks described the deal as "first and goal at the 1." The Maloofs' history of changing course late in negotiations still has some uneasy about getting the sale completed. The Maloofs previously neared a deal with Sacramento leaders to help finance a new arena in the city before backing out. The Maloofs are expected to keep an extremely small percentage of the team, but will have no real input or say in the franchise, sources said. Yahoo! Sports

January 9, 2013 | 03:04 PM ET Update

Glenn (Sacramento): What do you know about the Seattle Sacramento Maloof sit? Chad Ford (1:55 PM): Can't confirm that reports that are coming out. But everyone in the league office that I know has insisted all year that the next city to get a NBA team will be Seattle. So it won't surprise me if it's true. However, remember that the Maloofs have a history of changing their minds. I'll be happy for Seattle fans if this happens. I think the relocation of the Sonics to OKC was disgraceful. But Kings fans are among the most rabid in the NBA and I feel for them. But then again, I grew up a Kansas City Kings fans so ... ESPN.com

Chad Ford: I fully expect that by the start of next season Granger will be wearing a different jersey. The challenge right now is how to bring him back, prove to teams he's still a pseudo-All-Star so that his trade value is high, and not disrupt what's happening in Indy. George is the future of the franchise and Granger's absence has given him the opportunity to emerge. They can't mess with that. But they don't want to sell Granger for pennies on the dollar. Lots of veteran teams would be interested in him if they are comfortable that he can stay healthy. Look for Golden State, Toronto, Houston, Dallas to all pursue. ESPN.com

Chad Ford: I think someone will be moved. The Grizzlies are going to try to trim payroll while still trying to remain competitive. Gay is the most likely option, but Zach Randolph is another possibility. Right now Gay has the most trade value however. The Warriors would be a perfect fit, but not sure why they are insisting that Grizzlies take back a bad contract in return. That's not happening. I could see the Suns as a real possibility as well. Not sure the Raptors have what the Grizzlies are looking for. ESPN.com

Chad Ford: Is Houston going to be active in the trade market as the deadline nears? Chad Ford (1:17 PM): Hearing yes in a major way. They like their backcourt and feel that they are set at the five. Upgrading the 4 looks like the biggest priority ... but could also look to upgrade at the 3 (though Chandler Parsons is having a good season). Rockets still have a number of young assets to offer. ESPN.com

Chad Ford: Nope. I'm told Monroe is untouchable. They do like Cousins, but won't give up Monroe and given Drummond's strong play, there's an increasing feeling in Detroit that they can't trade him either. ESPN.com

Chad Ford: I don't think the Lakers even know the answer to that question anymore. Just still stunned that they can't find a way with all of that talent to play together. My inclination, based on some conversations with those around the team, is to blame Kobe. He's struggled to change his game to fit with Howard and Nash. But given the disaster, I think there's enough blame to go around from front office, to coaching to even Nash, Gasol and Howard. These guys are all elite players. Basketball is a team game. They really need a collaboration expert to come in and work with them. They lack the trust they need to really work together. ESPN.com

Joe (Canada): how good is my boy Kelly Olynyk? Please tell me he'll stay in school for another year though. Chad Ford (1:40 PM): May be the most improved player in college basketball. Just a different guy this year and for the first time in his career, a legitimate NBA draft candidate. My guess is that he's a second rounder right now. Another year at Gonzaga with that improvement curve could raise his stock even higher. ESPN.com

Larry (Chicago) Who is your top 10 picks for the 2013 NBA Draft right now? Chad Ford (1:47 PM): 1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky 2. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA 3. Alex Len, Maryland 4. Ben McLemore, Kansas 5. Cody Zeller, Indiana 6. Anthony Bennett, UNLV 7. Alex Poythress, Kentucky 8. Otto Porter, Georgetown 9. Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse 10. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky ESPN.com

Inside the arena, Desmond Ferguson lifts his 6-7, 225-pound frame from the bench. To his teammates, his friends and the fans he is known as Moneyball. It’s a nickname based on his ability to knock down three pointers—the moneyball. The name was born in his AAU days, when he played alongside Kevin Garnett. Every time Ferguson hoisted a shot from long distance Garnett would scream out the name, indicating to everyone else what he already knew, Ferguson wasn’t going to miss. Garnett went on to become an NBA champion, a league MVP and a 14-time All-Star. Ferguson is about to check in for the 18th team he has played for in a career that has spanned 10 years and 13 countries. He moves confidently, but slowly. His body can’t hide the mileage it’s endured. At 33, Moneyball is the oldest man on the court. He’s also the only one with NBA experience. SLAM

In October of 2000, at the age of 23, his professional career began. His first team took him to Holland, his next to Italy and then another to the Philippines. “I was basketball for hire,” he says. One team to the next, jersey after jersey, coach after coach. Never staying for more than a season with anyone. “You learn to accept it,” he says. “I’d miss my family, my friends, and just being home. But then you remind yourself it’s a job. You need to get that pay check, so you put your head down and go to work.” In 2002, Ferguson finally found himself close to home, playing for the Flint Fuze of the now-defunct Continental Basketball Association. His desire to reach the NBA still shook him to the core but the glamor of playing professional basketball had begun to wear off; replaced by the realities of jumping from one minor league to the next. SLAM

This season will be his last. His career arc having followed a path that’s more common than those often celebrated. Despite how quickly his NBA dreams faded, he achieved what so few do. His relentless pursuit to the top of the sport took him to the far corners of the world, it made him question himself, question his abilities and question the realities of being a professional athlete on the fringes of success. He views the men on the court as “the best blessing sowed upon me. They are lifelong friends.” “It’s amazing what the game can do. It can bring people together; make them forget about their trials and tribulations. It can give hope to the kids that need it most. If I can reach out to one kid and give them that sense of hope, it can touch them for the rest of their life. That’s a powerful thing.” SLAM

January 9, 2013 | 12:51 PM ET Update

Steve Kyler: There are at least 8 teams that have expressed real interest in Rudy, so there is a marketplace for Rudy Gay if Memphis wants a deal Twitter @stevekylerNBA

Marc Stein: Spurs working to complete buyout of Baynes. Emerging big man didn't play much in Olympics but Spurs' Brett Brown worked w/him as Aussie HC Twitter @ESPNSteinLine

Anderson Varejao will miss 6-8 weeks after learning his quadriceps injury needs surgery, the Cavaliers announced today. Varejao, who suffered what originally was diagnosed as a bruised knee on Dec. 18, will undergo surgery Thursday at the Cleveland Clinic to repair a split quad muscle and herniation Cleveland Plain Dealer

Dan Gilbert: Very disappointing news about @varejaoanderson. Nobody wanted him back on the court more than Andy himself. We keep marching ahead.... Twitter @cavsdan

A Sacramento Kings official denied today that the team has been sold to a Seattle group. "That rumor is inaccurate," said the source, who declined to be named. An NBA representatives declined comment this morning on the rumor, which surfaced on the Internet. Sacramento Bee

A night of partying turned into involvement in a sexual assault investigation for Andray Blatche as the Nets center took to the basketball court Tuesday night with a bad reputation renewed. According to sources, the Nets center was questioned and released by Philadelphia police about an alleged rape that occurred in his hotel room Tuesday morning. Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey told the New York Times that another man committed the alleged rape, but Blatche was present in the hotel suite at the time. According to the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia, samples of a date-rape drug were found in the hotel suite rented by Blatche. The station also reported that police confiscated Blatche’s cell phone, finding “compromising pictures of the alleged victim.” New York Daily News

“From all accounts, (Blatche) was not personally in any kind of assault or anything like that,” Ramsey told the Times. “He was there but was not involved.” Ramsey curiously knocked the credibility of the alleged victim, saying she was “so drunk... she is not going to be a good witness.” New York Daily News

January 9, 2013 | 11:28 AM ET Update

There are indications that the new Grizzlies management team is considering trading Gay -- the player who was once seen as the centerpiece of the franchise's future. But he swears he's not concerned with the notion that he may leave the only NBA team he has ever known. "It doesn't bother me," Gay told USA TODAY Sports of the revelation first made public by Grantland's Zach Lowe in a Jan. 4 article that he was being discussed with other teams. "It's not the first time. It's the league. It's my seventh year in the league and I've pretty much seen everything. If I haven't seen it, I've been a part of it. It's nothing new. "I'll be me there (at his possible new team). You are what you can do. Wherever I am, I can be me. As much as you want to be together (as a team), it's up to the organization whether they want to keep you. For me, I think I owe it to my teammates to play like I play and not be bothered by it. " USA Today Sports

According to several people with knowledge of the Grizzlies' plan who spoke to USA TODAY Sports, they are actively calling teams all around the league to gauge the market value of several of their players, in part, as a way of learning what their new assets are truly worth to other teams. They are, in essence, playing catch-up in this information game that is so crucial to a team's ability to make the most intelligent and efficient moves possible. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of trade talks. But rival executives have indicated that the Grizzlies are discussing Gay above the rest of the Grizzlies and making it clear that he's attainable for the right price. The growing sentiment around the league is that Gay is likely to be moved before the Feb. 21 deadline, and it's highly likely they would demand a starting small forward in return. USA Today Sports

While Phoenix, Golden State, Sacramento, and Denver are known to have discussed Gay with the Grizzlies, a person with knowledge of the situation said that Toronto is also very interested in Gay. The talks with the Suns - which were first reported by Yahoo! Sports - are still ongoing and the Grizzlies have expressed interest in small forward Jared Dudley as well as the Suns' future first round picks. The Raptors' and Warriors' situations remain viable, while the talks with the Kings and Nuggets appear to be fruitless. The Dallas Mavericks – who are currently 13-22 and so badly in need of starpower beyond the aging Dirk Nowitzki – are not currently pursuing Gay, according to a person with knowledge of their dealings. The Raptors are widely known to be shopping former No. 1 pick, center Andrea Bargnani, but the Grizzlies may be pursuing point guard Jose Calderon in light of the fact that they are known to be looking for a more suitable backup than Jerry Bayless for point guard Mike Conley. USA Today Sports

The Warriors have shown a serious interest in Gay, but their preference to have either small forward Richard Jefferson in the deal (two years, $21 million remaining) or center Andris Biedrins (two years, $18 million) are seen as dealbreakers. Still, the Warriors' impassioned interest in Gay coupled with the affordability and Grizzlies' interest in rookie small forward Harrison Barnes makes the situation worth watching. The talks continue to be exploratory in nature for the most part, but the significant level of interest in Gay may prompt the Grizzlies to deal him. USA Today Sports

Kerr is scheduled to work his first Bulls game for TNT when the Lakers visit the United Center on Jan. 21. But he has watched his former team several times and thinks, in a down year for the Eastern Conference, potential remains. "They have been great," Kerr said. "They have had some rough patches, which is to be expected. But they have been able to tread water, which is the main thing. If they can continue to do that and Rose comes back, whenever that is, and it gives them that boost, they're in a good spot. "The way the East looks, after Miami it's wide open. And Miami has shown cracks. The East is a lot weaker than the West and that plays to the Bulls' advantage." Chicago Tribune

Now that Virginia Beach is no longer a threat to lure the Kings, what happens next for the city of Sacramento? No one is quite sure. Not even R.E. Graswich, who spent the last three years working in the mayor’s office and the now-defunct Think Big Sacramento arena task force. Graswich was on the KFBK Afternoon News yesterday and was asked where California’s capital city might go from here. Q: You’ve been part of the mayor’s inner circle for quite some time. It seems like Kevin Johnson has just done everything he can do to maintain the team, but now some feel like he’s given up. Are we at the end of the road? A: Well you hate to say give up and Kevin Johnson in the same sentence. And even though I don’t work for him anymore, I still hate to say that, so I won’t say that. I don’t believe that he will give up. Unfortunately, it’s out of his hands. You’ve got a basketball team, which is a business and that business has really the ability to control its own destiny. So no matter what the mayor does, no matter what the city does, no matter what the governor or anybody else does, the decisions are going to be made by the Maloof family. Cowbell Kingdom

How cool is this commercial? I love it. It reminds me a little of fighting Great Tiger in the old Nintendo game “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out.” Great Tiger would do a disappearing act while in the ring. That’s basically the same concept in this “Disappearing Act” NBA BIG commercial. Spike Lee did a fantastic job directing this spot. I love the flow and the concept of the commercial. I like Magic Johnson’s role in the spot as well. The special effects are off the charts. Spike Lee hit a home run with this ad. The concept is great and the execution is spectacular. If this gets you in the mood to check out some NBA action, 104.5 The Team will be airing the Los Angeles Lakers @ the San Antonio Spurs tonight at 8:00pm. Pregame coverage begins at 7:00pm ET. 1045 The Team ESPN Radio

Police have released the two men being held after an alleged sexual assault at the Four Seasons hotel in Center City Philadelphia. Investigators say they are awaiting toxicology and DNA testing, and then it will be up to the District Attorney to decide whether charges will be filed in the case. abc.com

Authorities were called to the Four Seasons Hotel on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says officers found a highly-intoxicated, incoherent 21-year-old woman who told authorities she'd been raped. Sources say the woman was in hotel suite 663 with six men, friends of hers, including 26-year-old Brooklyn Nets forward Andray Blatche. abc.com

According to sources, Blatche met the alleged victim at Delilah's gentlemen's club on Spring Garden Street. They say she along with two other women went to the Four Seasons Hotel suite. The suite was being rented by Blatche, whose one-year contract with the Nets became guarenteed just hours before the alleged incident. The woman told investigators at least two of the men raped her and the others saw what was happening. Sources tell Action News investigators found samples of the date rape drug in the suite. abc.com

The Nets forward told police while he was in the hotel suite, he was not in the same room where the sex was taking place. But sources say investigators found Blatche's cell phone with what they described as compromising pictures of the alleged victim. Even so, Commissioner Ramsey says he was released without being charged. abc.com

According to Ramsey, Blatche was among three men and three women who were together inside a room at the Four Seasons Hotel in Center City, where the Nets stayed Monday night. One of the women, whom Ramsey described as “highly intoxicated,” said that she had “nonconsensual sex” with one of the men and “consensual sex” with another man. Blatche was “not an active participant” in either supposed sexual encounter, and he was not in the bedroom area when the alleged assault took place. New York Times

The woman was taken from the hotel to a hospital around 4 a.m. Ramsey said investigators ordered a rape kit in hopes of acquiring DNA evidence. He said that the investigation was in its early stages and that it was unclear if charges would be filed against anyone. “She was so intoxicated,” Ramsey said. “She is not going to be a very good witness.” New York Times

January 9, 2013 | 07:10 AM ET Update

The Toronto Raptors, by contrast, have definitively decided to make a real run at Gay. The Raptors might not be able to swing a deal for him. But they'd love to. Sources told ESPN.com this week that the Raptors -- who tried to make a play for Gay before the 2012 NBA Draft -- remain seriously "interested" in the Grizzlies' leading scorer and are trying to assemble trade packages to bring the 26-year-old to Toronto after preliminary talks with Memphis. ESPN.com

If the Memphis Grizzlies called the Minnesota Timberwolves about trading forward Rudy Gay, it was a very casual conversation, a league source said on Tuesday. It's also possible Memphis -- which is shopping Gay -- has yet to engage the Wolves in trade talks. Not that the Wolves don't like Gay, but the source indicated that finding a big man is the more pressing priority. 1500 ESPN

Sources consulted in Reno during the NBA's annual D-League Showcase have described the bulk of those discussions to date to be exploratory in nature, but Toronto, as part of that process, has let it be known to the Grizzlies that its desire to acquire Gay has not waned. ESPN.com

Word is that the Grizzlies' new regime is adamant that it won't merely try to dump salary by dealing Gay in-season if it severely weakens their team in the process. Averaging a team-high 17.8 points per game but shooting a career-low 40.8 percent from the floor, Gay is earning $16.4 million in 2012-13 and is scheduled to earn $17.8 million and $19.3 million in the next two seasons, respectively. ESPN.com

Thibodeau thinks Hamilton’s presence in the second half of the season, as well as the playoffs, will be huge from a leadership standpoint. That’s why he has gone out of his way to make sure Hamilton, 34, was on a minutes watch during the first part of the season, trying to keep him between 20 and 25 per game. Chicago Sun-Times

Djordje Matic: BREAKING NEWS: San Antonio Spurs closed to sign Aron Baynes, best center in Europe at the moment! Twitter

Aron Baynes is close to signing a multi-year deal with the San Antonio Spurs, a source told Sportando confirming the Tweet from Djordje Matic. Union Olimpija Ljubljana will get $400k as buyout for the Australian big man who averaged 13.8ppg and 9.8rpg in Euroleague this season. Sportando

Bobby Brown, in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, denied the report that he may leave Siena for the NBA this season. "NBA? I read about that. But I am in Siena, I love being here and I will stay here. At the beginning of the season, I had to learn how to play in Serie A. I want to be the leader of the team. Coming to Siena was the right choice for me. There is a winning tradition and I want to win. It is the best team where I have played in my entire career, NBA included. I feel like at home. I love the city and the people. To stay? It is a possibility. I want to play where I am a key player in the roster. I don't want to come off the bench. I want to be right player for my team. But it is too early to talk about my future, let's think about this season" said Brown. Sportando

After playing the last five games without Marcus Williams — the previous three of which have been losses — the Shanxi Brave Dragons have officially signed a long-term replacement. Christian Eyenga, who was drafted in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009, has formally been announced as Shanxi’s newest foreign player and has already linked up with the team in Taiyuan. According to Chinese media, the league has received Eyenga’s letter of clearance and he will thus be available to play in tonight’s nationally televised game against Fujian. NiuBBall.com

Olimpia Milano has an agreement with Pops Mensah-Bonsu since last week, as Sportando reported. The agreement between the two parts was confirmed yesterday to us by another source close to the British forward. But his arrival in Milano for the physicals, expected for this week, has been likely delayed a few days. Sportando

TMZ has obtained exclusive VIDEO of the postgame screaming match between Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony following Monday night's Celtics vs. Knicks game ... and it's clear both guys were ready to fight. The incident went down in front of the Celtics team bus inside Madison Square Garden -- just a short time after things got physical between the two NBA superstars on the court. TMZ.com

In the video, both men can be seen yelling and approaching each other aggressively as security scrambles to keep them apart. It's unclear exactly what the guys were saying to each other -- but we definitely heard someone use the n-word a couple of times. TMZ.com

Anthony, who recklessly ventured to the tunnel near the Celtics’ locker room on Monday and to Boston’s team bus, said he and Garnett have spoken. According to a person close to Anthony, “They spoke on the phone and resolved it.” Meanwhile, a source close to Anthony’s wife claimed the comment was not about her. Now, the issue is whether the NBA will let the incident pass. New York Post

While that matter appears closed until the Celtics and Knicks meet again Jan. 24 at TD Garden, Rondo’s continuing trouble with the league office is becoming more of a concern for the organization. He has already been suspended for three games this season and has missed six games over the past 11 months, including a playoff game. Rondo sought to defend himself Tuesday. “The league thought it was a big deal,” Rondo said. “I don’t feel there was a need to have an investigation. I know Rodney, and that particular time with that play, I actually went up to him and I made a joke, he laughed, and in the midst, I did touch him, and the league, I guess, reviewed it. The media blew it up, on ‘SportsCenter’ or whatever, and I served a one-game suspension. “I thought Josh had flopped. I told Rodney, ‘His body size and what he weighs [Smith is listed at 225 pounds], and look at me. There’s no way I could have made him go into the stands off of contact.’ He laughed, threw the ball in, and we got back on defense.” Boston Globe

Asked if past misdeeds are a factor with his reputation, Rondo said, “You’re smart. You know the answer to that. You seen what happened on the play.” Rondo acknowledged that terms such as “repeat offender” that are used by the league make him feel the problems are blown out of proportion. “I feel like I’m a criminal; I go to court a lot,” he said. “They say what happened during the investigation. I’m not on trial or anything. That’s how it is when you’re dealing with the league and when you get into a little bit of trouble. I’m a repeat offender. I don’t know if I have two or three strikes, but it is what it is.” Boston Globe

Ricky Rubio has yet to play a back-to-back game since returning from an ACL injury earlier this month. He recently missed a road trip due to back spasms. But that's about to change. After Rubio's eight-assist performance Tuesday night, CBSSports.com's Zach Harper reports that Rubio plans to play Wednesday in Oklahoma City. CBSSports.com

The second-best news for the Bulls is that Rose’s physical work has gone predictably, with no setbacks beyond the normal hiccups of rehab. His spirits apparently are fine, too. Last week, when he finally traveled with Chicago for games in Orlando and Miami, Bulls fans were excited to see him, to the point that a “Peekaboo Derrick Rose” meme has been popping up online. Reports from inside the walls of the Berto Center practice facility suggest a determined, driven and still upbeat All-Star franchise guy. NBA.com

“It’s great to see him smiling, running around with the team, man,” second-year swingman Jimmy Butler said. “Because he’s a leader and leaders don’t only lead when they’re on the court. They want to be around the guys off the court.” NBA.com

It's also possible Love's New York City doctor will advise against surgery. But if surgery is necessary, Love will be gone for a minimum of three months, the source said. The source said there's a far better likelihood than not that some sort of trade happens. The deadline is Feb. 21. 1500 ESPN

Forward Pau Gasol hasn't been cleared for basketball activities for the past two days after suffering a concussion. He saw neurologist Dr. Vern Williams in Los Angeles Tuesday and will have a another exam Thursday. Gasol will miss at least tonight's game against the Spurs. It's possible he will play Friday against Oklahoma City should he satisfy the NBA's concussion policy. The league requires players to pass a series of tests including those involving a stationary bike, jogging, agility and non-contact drills. Long Beach Press-Telegram

Ajani Williams, president of the Jamaica Basketball Association (JaBA), said his administration will begin talks with a number National Basketball Association (NBA) players who have expressed interest in representing Jamaica at this year's FIBA World Championship final-round qualifiers at the end of the month. Williams said his organisation will be holding talks with point guard Ben Gordon of Charlotte Bobcats, Indiana Pacers centre Roy Hibbert and André Drummond of Detroit Pistons. "We are going to make our best effort to get these players and then we will see how well things pan out," said Williams. Jamaica Gleaner

But while the statement Jackson gave didn’t include the word “retired,” it also didn’t rule out a front-office role of some capacity with a team, something he has hinted at having interest in previously. Either way, Carlesimo said jokingly he wasn’t ready to believe Jackson just yet. “I don’t believe Phil,” Carlesimo said with a big smile. “I’ve known Phil too long.” New York Post

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