HoopsHype rumors

January 11, 2013 | 08:08 PM ET Update

The lone exception, executives say, may be Pierce, whose ruthless scoring prowess and championship experience come with another attractive feature: only $4 million of his $15.3 million salary is guaranteed next season. With the Celtics playing better since Avery Bradley returned from injury, president Danny Ainge once again finds himself trying to determine whether the remnants of the 2007-08 championship team have enough to make one more run. Some rival executives believe the Celtics recently waived Jarvis Varnado and Kris Joseph to create roster flexibility for a potential trade. If Ainge decides to stand pat, a deal involving Pierce -- which would mark the true end of the Big Three era -- could be re-examined around the draft or during free agency. CBSSports.com

I broke down the Rudy Gay situation on Wednesday, but there's another potential team to add to the mix: the aforementioned Clippers. While it remains unclear how determined the Memphis Grizzlies and their new management group are to move their star small forward before the Feb. 21 deadline, a package involving Clippers backup point guard Eric Bledsoe and veteran small forward Caron Butler, picks and other players to make the money work could be just what the Grizzlies are looking for. It's clear they are on the lookout for an upgrade over reserve point guard Jerryd Bayless, and Butler would fill Gay's small forward spot – albeit not nearly as well. The Clippers, I'm told, would consider Gay but are also justifiably wary of doing anything to affect the chemistry that has played such a big part in their season. USA Today Sports

As for teams that don't currently appear to have any interest in Gay: Denver, Sacramento and Houston. Golden State's interest in Gay that is explained inthe piece remains, but the initial talks didn't get far because the Grizzlies asked for too many of the Warriors' young pieces and the Warriors were looking to shed too much salary of their own. Phoenix, as mentioned in the piece, is a realistic possibility as well. USA Today Sports

By far the most talked-about name during the four-day scouting (and gossiping) event was Rudy Gay, as the Grizzlies' new management team tries to determine his value on the trade market. New owner Robert Pera dispatched general manager Chris Wallace and vice president of player personnel John Hollinger to Reno, with CEO Jason Levien and director of player personnel Stu Lash working the phones to plot out the plan to keep Memphis competitive with massive tax bills on the horizon. CBSSports.com

In order to avoid even steeper tax rates for repeat offenders beginning in 2014-15, the Grizzlies have to begin planning now for how they're going to restock the roster once their total obligation of nearly $52 million to Gay, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph falls off their books following that season. If they wait that long to move one of their Big Three for a package of young players and/or picks, it may be too late. CBSSports.com

Thus, the Grizzlies have engaged in conversations with the Suns, Warriors, Raptors, Kings and others, with the primary emphasis on Gay, an All-Star-caliber talent who is owed $37.2 million over the next two seasons. The Suns do have two first-round picks from the Steve Nash trade with the Lakers -- in 2013 and '15, the former of which looks much more attractive than anticipated -- plus Minnesota's protected 2013 first-rounder. But aside from those picks and Jared Dudley, Phoenix doesn't have much more than cap room to offer. With $6.4 million of room, the Suns could absorb most of the Grizzlies' tax burden in an uneven financial trade, but sources familiar with the Grizzlies' strategy say Memphis is not interested in a pure salary dump. The Grizzlies are seeking at least one quality young player in return. CBSSports.com

If the same players and picks will be available around draft time or after July 1, one school of thought is that Memphis will wait until then. In the meantime, there would be little harm in taking their shot with a team that has at least a puncher's chance against the elite in the West in a year when everyone in that conference is enjoying the rarity of the Lakers and Mavericks being non-factors at the same time. It wasn't so long ago when the Grizzlies had the best record in the league, and it would be foolish to break up a team that has a chance to make a run in order to solve a tax problem that could be just as easily fixed in June or July. CBSSports.com

Turkoglu, who left for 1.5 years before coming back, Redick and Nelson are the only Magic players remaining from the 2009 Howard-led team that lost in the Finals 4-1 to the Lakers. Those three, forward Glen Davis and guard Ish Smith are the only players left from last year’s Orlando outfit. So who will be the next to go in the Magic’s youth movement? Redick, a seven-year veteran who is earning $6 million in the last year of his contract, is seeing his name regularly in trade rumors. When asked if he wants to be dealt, Redick said, “No.’’ When then asked if he likes it in Orlando, he said, “Well, I like winning.’’ FOXSports Florida

If Turkoglu can’t be dealt, it remains to be seen if a buyout eventually might be arranged. The Magic already have used their one-time amnesty move on Gilbert Arenas. And they did eat two years and $5.4 million remaining on Quentin Richardson’s contract when he was waived last October. “I feel comfortable in Orlando,’’ said Turkoglu. “I had my great years in Orlando. I have a good relationship with the fans. The fans support me all the time, the entire organization. But, in the end, it’s a business. Whatever they’re trying to do, I’ll try to do my best, either helping them (if) staying or, if they have to move me, they’ll move me ... This is not upsetting me.’’ FOXSports Florida

“I’m quite sure it’s tough (on Turkoglu),’’ said Nelson, who at least appears to be safe after having signed a three-year, $25 million contract last summer. “We all as a unit last year went though a tremendous amount of adversity and a tremendous amount of uncertainty. But he’s nothing but a professional ... He carries himself that way on and off the court.’’ FOXSports Florida

Q: How close were you to retiring during your Dallas experience? Lamar Odom: Close. It's funny, because I asked my children, my son especially (if he should retire). Basketball has been a timeline for my friends, people in my family. And to see the support from those closest to me, I think that's the reason why I kind of stuck it out. I could take the humility of not being where I'm at (as a player), but that's life. USA Today Sports

Hedo Turkoglu won’t play when the Orlando Magic face the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday and could be out of action for an extended period to give his troublesome left hand and his conditioning time to improve. “I talked about at the beginning of the year and when guys were hurt that I always want to put them back on the floor when they’re comfortable and confident and have rhythm,” Jacque Vaughn said Friday afternoon. “I just think it’s best for us to take that approach with Turk until he gets right. I did it with other guys, and I think it’s just best for us to take that approach, and he deserves that approach.” Orlando Sentinel

Even as the Maloof family negotiates with a Seattle group that would move the Kings there, another potential buyer who would keep the team in Sacramento has emerged, CBSSports.com has learned. Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24-Hour Fitness who finished second to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber in bidding for the Warriors, told CBSSports.com Friday that he has interest in buying the Kings and keeping the franchise in Sacramento. "Definitely, there've been conversations," Mastrov said from his northern California office. "Definitely, there's interest in acquiring the team and keeping it in Sacramento." CBSSports.com

Mastrov met with the Maloofs recently, and two league sources speaking on condition of anonymity said he has made a formal offer. Supermarket magnate Ron Burkle has long been interested in buying the Kings and keeping them in Sacramento, and is well known to NBA owners who would approve any sale. But having made it to the final round of the process with the Warriors sale, Mastrov is familiar with the NBA process and league executives are familiar with him. A Seattle group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft's Steve Ballmer is deep in negotiations to buy the team for upwards of $500 million and move it to Seattle. Those discussions are ongoing, and league sources indicate a formal deal has not been struck. One person briefed on the negotiations said the Maloofs' intentions remained difficult to read, except in one area: "They are pushing for a bidding war." CBSSports.com

Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24-hour Fitness, told The Bee today that he has assembled a group that wants to buy the team and keep them in Sacramento. The group also wants to "work with the city to get an arena deal if possible." "There's definitely interest," he said, as reports swirled that the Maloof family had already made a deal to sell the team to a Seattle group. "We've been in touch with the Maloofs." Sacramento Bee

Mastrov said that Mayor Kevin Johnson is aware of his interest in buying the team and that he's been focused on purchasing the Kings "for a long time." "(Owning an NBA franchise) is a passion of mine," he said. "I love basketball and I love the NBA." Sacramento Bee

Also today, Dale Carlsen of Sleep Train Mattress Centers Inc. - whose company is the naming sponsor of the Kings' current arena in Natomas - said he has talked to Mayor Johnson since news surfaced Wednesday of a possible Kings sale to the Seattle group. Carlsen said he's definitely interested in participating in a bid, and has been contacted by other potential investors as well. "My hope is we're given an opportunity as a community to put our offer in," Carlsen said today. "There's several groups that are trying to put that together." Sacramento Bee

Sources have told The Bee as recently as Thursday that the owners of the franchise - the Maloof family - still had not received a formal offer for the team, but was expecting an offer very soon. Richard Benvenuti, a limited partner in the franchise, said this morning he had not been told of a sale. "We haven't heard anything about it," Benvenuti said. His family owns 15 percent of the team. Sacramento Bee

Magic Johnson is NOT part of the late bid to buy the Kings and keep them in Sacramento, I am told. Johnson was part of the Mark Mastrov bid that made a serious run at buying the Warriors, before Joe Lacob and Peter Guber beat out Larry Ellison for that team, and @KBergCBS is reporting that Mastrov has had talks with the Maloofs about the Kings. Also, Magic and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former rival on the court, are friendly, though not in regular contact. Sulia

According to a person with knowledge of Johnson's strategy who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the situation, he never stopped planning and plotting on this front and spent much of the last month ramping up the effort to coordinate with potential buyers who would keep the team in Sacramento. Yet the only interested party who is publicly known is supermarket magnate and part-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ron Burkle, whose wealth was estimated by Forbes to be $3.1 billion in September of 2012. USA Today Sports

Kobe Bryant is NOT getting divorced, because Vanessa Bryant says so ... She will file legal docs to dismiss her divorce petition. TMZ broke the story ... Vanessa -- through her lawyer, disso-queen Laura Wasser -- filed to end her marriage in December, 2011. Several months later ... Kobe -- in an attempt to win her back -- deeded over his interest in their 3 Newport Beach mansions. Since she filed, Vanessa and Kobe were on-again, off-again like high school students. TMZ.com

Q: How's the home life? Lamar Odom: Beautiful. Marriage is a beautiful thing. Me and my wife have a great relationship. Q:I hear Kim (Kardashian) and Kanye (West) have alittle one on the way? A:I'll be an uncle again. I'm excited for them. USA Today Sports

With unseemly details emerging in the sexual assault allegations over which Andray Blatche was questioned, several team executives expressed dismay and concern about the Nets forward's notoriously poor judgment. Though police initially said Blatche was not involved in the alleged assault at the Four Seasons hotel in Philadelphia, authorities have since characterized that information as "very preliminary" in a statement provided to CBSSports.com and other media outlets. "It is an ongoing investigation and information will be released by [the] Special Victims Unit once the investigation is complete or formal charges are filed," the police said. "Charges will not be determined until this investigation is complete and the district attorney's office has a chance to review it." CBSSports.com

January 11, 2013 | 04:32 PM ET Update

Count the Dallas Mavericks among the list of NBA teams who are keeping an eye on former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden. ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst reported Thursday that Oden, the big man whose career with the Portland Trail Blazers was derailed by serious knee injuries, plans to return to the NBA and play next season. ESPN.com

A source told ESPNDallas.com that the Mavs have been among the teams in contact with Oden's agent, Mike Conley Sr., while the 7-footer rehabs from his third microfracture surgery and takes classes at Ohio State. Oden still has significant work to do to get healthy enough to make a comeback, but ESPN.com reported that multiple teams have expressed interest in signing him to a multiyear deal this season that would allow him to continue rehabbing under the franchise's supervision until training camp. The Miami Heat are at the front of the list, ESPN.com reported. ESPN.com

Pacers head coach Frank Vogel may have painted George’s virtuoso performances best. “He's the leading scorer on the fourth-best team in the NBA and I think everyone has to ask the question, if Bruce Bowen was averaging 17 points a game and leading his team in scoring, would he be an All-Star every year?” Vogel said after Tuesday’s win over Miami. George is simply doing it all and carrying his team on his back despite their battles with injuries as Danny Granger continues to sit due to his left knee, Roy Hibbert leaving the game with back spasms, and George Hill battling bronchitis. “They are for real,” Knicks center Tyson Chandler said about the Pacers after the game. NBA.com

Asked what his adjustments would be once longtime team leader Danny Granger comes back into the lineup, George’s approach was as unselfish as his play all year long. "If anything, I hope my assists will go up," George said. In an interview with this scribe after the game, George pointed out how much the time he spent with perennial All-Stars such as James and Kevin Durant during the offseason has helped him elevate his game this season. “I spent a lot of time with LeBron (James), KD (Durant), Amar’e (Stoudemire), Rudy (Gay),” George told NBA.com Philippines. “I really picked their minds and it really helped me moving forward as far as understanding the game a little bit […] just for one, the way they carry themselves, I think that alone help them on the court – just the presence that they carry – and that’s something I’ve picked up from them.” NBA.com

Seventeen years ago, Mike Bibby was enjoying a spectacular senior season, leading Shadow Mountain on cross-country journey to shoe-sponsored tournaments and its first state basketball championship. He finished a four-year varsity career as the state's all-time leading scorer. The following year, the point guard led the University of Arizona to its only NCAA men's basketball championship. He went on to a 14-year NBA career with the Sacramento Kings and five other teams. "I'm just trying to make a statement for myself," little Michael said after a recent practice. "It's kind of hard. But I like how it is, following in my dad's footsteps, where he came from. It's fun." High School Sports

Mike's father, former UCLA and NBA point guard Henry Bibby, wasn't around much during his formative years on the court. It is partly what drives Mike Bibby, making sure his son is getting his attention. Mike hasn't joined an NBA team this year. He still waits for a call, feeling he has at least a year or two left in his playing career. He goes to all of his son's games, sometimes with his brother-in-law, former Arizona State star and ex-NBA player Eddie House. He doesn't sit on the bench at games. But he has been in the gym to install the defense and has work with some of the younger players. "There are a lot of people out there that probably look at it, 'He's just playing because that's his dad,'" Mike said of his son. "But he puts the work in. As far as me growing up, I never really had anything to put the work in for me." High School Sports

Mike Bibby's No. 10 came out of retirement this season for his son to wear. It's a big number to carry, but one Michael Bibby carries with pride and poise on the court. "I want to see these kids do good," big Mike says. "There are millions of kids trying to get to where you're at. If you don't show these guys the right attitude, how to play this game, they can go find someone else. It's not hard." High School Sports

January 11, 2013 | 02:29 PM ET Update

The Kings' sale to Hansen-Ballmer in Seattle is a done deal, according to CSNBayArea.com Matt Steinmetz: I've heard from reliable source that the Kings' sale to Hansen-Ballmer in Seattle is done deal. Source said price of the sale is $525 million. The source said further that the Maloofs will have no stake or decision-making with Seattle team and are out. Sulia

The Oklahoma City Thunder has recalled guard Jeremy Lamb from the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Including his 33-point (11-of-19 FGs) performance yesterday afternoon against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Lamb has appeared in 11 games (all starts) with the 66ers this season and recorded averages of 21.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 36.0 minutes. NBA.com

After recently firing his agent Joel Bell of Bell Sports Management, Portland Trail Blazers guard Nolan Smith has since hired former NBA player B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman Media Group, CSNNW.com has learned. Armstrong, considered one of the young up-and-coming agents in the profession, represents NBA notables such as Chicago's Derrick Rose, Atlanta's Al Horford, Boston's Jason Terry, and Denver's JaVale McGee. Smith's former agent, Bell, has been a personal friend of the Smith family for years. Smith told CSNNW.com last week that it was just time for him to move on and take his career to the next level. CSNNW.com

A source close to the situation had told CSNNW.com that Bell was pushing to get Smith out of Portland this season, but was obviously unsuccessful in doing so. Smith had acknowledged that Bell did request a trade, but says his inability to get it done wasn't the reason he chose to let go of the only agent he's had as a professional. Smith said he never asked to be traded. CSNNW.com

They might not be riding quite as high as they were during their recent 17-game winning streak, but the Los Angeles Clippers have bounced back from a pair of 2013-opening losses to win three straight games, still sport the league's best record and look like one of the favorites to take home this year's O'Brien Trophy. With their 28-8 record — and, of course, the Los Angeles Lakers' continuing struggles — making them the toast of Tinseltown, Clippers stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin paid a visit to ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Thursday night, chatting about their successful start to the season, CP3's son liking Blake more than his dad and more. Yahoo! Sports

January 11, 2013 | 10:03 AM ET Update

So, this is Kahn's chance to land a player he has long coveted. But according to a league source, he turned down a trade proposal from Memphis for Gay recently. In fact, the source insists Kahn said no immediately. It's unknown what Memphis' idea was, but since it was turned down emphatically, logic suggests it involved All-Star Kevin Love and/or center Nikola Pekovic. It's possible three- or four-team trade scenarios were discussed, too. 1500 ESPN

Until Gay is moved -- which is not a given, even though Memphis is calling many teams -- the Wolves are worth monitoring. The source said the Wolves like him, but the 2½ years and approximately $45 million remaining on Gay's contract is an issue. 1500 ESPN

Grizzlies big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol have also been mentioned in trade rumors, but Gay’s name has garnered the most attention. The Grizzlies have a new owner in Robert Pera and a front office led by new CEO Jason Levien, who both sat courtside during a 94-87 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. Grizzlies management has been calling teams to gauge interest in Gay, but no trade is imminent, a source told Yahoo! Sports. Yahoo! Sports

The Lakers could face a difficult situation in convincing Howard to re-sign with them when he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1. The Lakers can offer more years and more money than any other team because of the way the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement is structured, but would Howard want to stick around after a season that's gone so poorly? "If we make the playoffs, that means we're playing well and I think we'll go deep in the playoffs and it's a no-brainer that he stays," Buss said. "I think if it continues to fall apart because of injuries, I'm hoping we can convince him, 'Look, everybody was injured, you weren't 100 percent for the whole year, let's give it another shot next year.' "It points to 95 percent that we'll be able to keep him. I can't control what he does, but I can sure make a great argument." ESPN.com

As for Gasol, who is averaging a career-low 12.6 points a game and has struggled each of the past two seasons to find his place in the Lakers' offense, Buss said he expects the 7-foot Spaniard not only to revert to his previous form, but to play more in the low post, as both Gasol and Bryant have advocated. "I love Pau Gasol," Buss said. "The thing is, if you shoot the basketball from 6 feet, your percentages are going to be in the high 50s. If you shoot from 18 feet, you're lucky to get 40 percent. To base his year off of his shooting percentages is just not the right way to analyze how he's playing. "I believe if we can get him down low, he can coexist with Dwight Howard if they play enough games to where they can play off each other. I believe eventually he will move down there and D'Antoni will move him down there and his percentage will go back right to where it was." ESPN.com

Very little has gone according to plan for the Los Angeles Lakers this season. So little, in fact, that executive vice president Jim Buss said Thursday it would be foolish to "blow it up" until the team has played enough games together to correctly identify why it has so badly underachieved. "We still like this team a lot," Buss said Thursday in an interview with ESPNLA 710 radio in Los Angeles. "How can you not believe in this team? This team is built to win. It's a very, very solid team. We haven't seen them all together and play together for games. In my mind, we would not consider a temporary fix or blow it up. Why blow up something we have a future with? ESPN.com

Richard Hamilton turns 35 next month, a time when reflection becomes reality for professional athletes. "You do start to think about how long you're going to play because you're not at the beginning of your career. You're toward the end," Hamilton said in a quiet moment late Wednesday. "I don't see myself playing any longer than when I'm 38. That will be my max by far." Chicago Tribune

Woodson denied that the Knicks are pursing free agent forward Kenyon Martin, saying “that’s new news to me. That’s (media) speculation.” Yahoo! Sports reported that the Knicks are considering signing Martin to a 10-day contract. In order to add Martin, the Knicks would have to release a player because their roster is already at the maximum of 15. New York Daily News

Maynor has appeared in only five of the past 10 contests, and the majority of those sparse minutes have come in mop-up duty. But rather than agreeing to a D-League assignment simply for playing purposes as he continues to regain his rhythm from last year's devastating knee injury that cost him the final 57 games and the entire playoffs, Maynor said he prefers to remain on the Thunder roster. “No,” Maynor said emphatically, repeating it two additional times, when asked if he had any desire for a D-League assignment to the Tulsa 66ers. “I get good court work in every day so I'm going to be straight whenever the opportunity comes back around.” Oklahoman

The Wolves have called about free agent forward Sam Young. Currently out with an ankle injury, Young is expected to end up re-signing with Indiana. 1500 ESPN

A report by ESPN.com on Thursday said that the Heat has shown interest in possibly signing former Trail Blazers center Greg Oden if Oden attempts a comeback. Oden’s agent, Mike Conley Sr., told The Miami Herald on Thursday that the Heat has “never asked about Greg.” “They have never made a single call about him,” Conley said. “It’s strange this story [comes out] because I spoke to them this week about Daequan Cook before he signed with Chicago. They never asked about Greg.” Miami Herald

European wing Mickaël Gelabale is still on the Wolves' radar. He has an NBA-out clause in his Valencia (Spain) contract for all of January. A reminder: Gelabale is looking for a 20-day contractual guarantee. 1500 ESPN

The center stayed in the city, believing that if no one claimed him on waivers, he would return to the Heat on a 10-day contract, which he did Thursday. “I had other options, but I’m comfortable here,” he said, in the visiting locker room in Portland. “I’m on a great team, so I decided to stay with the franchise. We’ll see what happens. At least get one chance for one of my 10-days. I get two of them, so if the first one doesn’t work out, then maybe elsewhere.” Harrellson didn’t travel in style, connecting on American Airlines in Dallas. He admitted it’s a stressful situation. “It’s a lot of pressure to put on you, to come out here and hopefully get an opportunity to perform,” Harrellson said. “But you get comfortable, this makes you realize it’s a business, it’s crazy, and you’ve got to get back to work.” Palm Beach Post

But it would seem in order to find a place in the NBA, Harangody is going to have to develop a more consistent mid-range game or 3-point shot and that’s still not there. He’s 5-for-15 from behind the arc in his first five games with the Mad Ants. And with his lack of size, he has trouble making defensive stops in the lane. “I’m working on my outside shot, but that’s really no different than the work I do on the rest of my game,” Harangody said. “I think coaches always know what they’re gonna get from my game. I have to be more consistent at times. What I do out there is what they see — hustle, energy, getting on the glass. Just getting there and mixing it up for the team, doing the dirty work.” It’s consistent. It’s tough. It can be devastatingly effective in the D-League. But will it be enough to ever carve out a place in the NBA? NBA.com

If crossing the line can happen during the course of games considering all the trash-talk: “Absolutely. You can definitely cross the line in sports. There are certain things that are said on the court that is basketball chatter and then other things that should always be left off.” If Garnett is known as a guy that crosses the line too often: “I’m not sure. I guess it all depends on who you ask the question to.” Sports Radio Interviews

In years past, the Heat’s current struggles might have been the lead story in the NBA, but the Lakers’ tumult has pushed the Heat’s rebounding woes out of the focus. In the preseason, Los Angeles and its rebuilt roster was the favorite to reach the NBA Finals. With a losing record more than two months into the season, the Lakers are ranked 11th in the Western Conference standings and in jeopardy of missing the playoffs. “It’s the Lakers,” Wade said. “They’re America’s team. I keep saying it. They’re the standard of what the NBA has been for years, Boston and the Lakers. But the Lakers are in L.A., the big market. So, from that standpoint, you understand it. You get it.” Miami Herald

A team meeting after a loss to Dallas in November of 2010 helped the Heat work through some of its problems. Another difference between the Heat in 2010 and the Lakers this season is the simple fact that most of the Heat’s problems were addressed internally. Although there were disagreements early on, those problems rarely surfaced in the media. Wade suggested that some of the Lakers’ players were not fully prepared for the scrutiny. “I know [Kobe Bryant] understands it,” Wade said. “That’s the nature of the beast out in L.A. I don’t know if every player that comes through there understands what you’re getting yourself into when you walk through those Lakers doors.” Miami Herald

Rasheed Wallace, once Stackhouse's running mate at the University of North Carolina, was on the losing end of that first Brooklyn–New York battle. Wallace missed nine of his 11 shots. It's true, the ball don't lie. Nor do the lasting careers of two of the league's locker room sages. They've been allies, All-Stars, contributors, opponents, retirees, returnees, lightning rods, and — perhaps most importantly — chameleons, adept at adapting to their ever-evolving NBA roles. Both 38 years old, both hoping for one last playoff run, it's been nearly two decades since Sheed and Stack first met at Chapel Hill. "You're not going to beat Father Time," Stackhouse said. "He's going to catch up with us all. But I think we can manage him. I think that's what I learned to do. Playing less minutes, absorbing a little less of a role than I would customarily want … taking my wants out of the equation and putting other people's at the forefront. When I was pushing, pushing, pushing for what I really wanted, it seemed like I never really got it." Grantland

"I had a referee tell me he didn't like coming to the Rose Garden because he knew it was going to be a battle with Rasheed," remembers Nash, who took over the Blazers in 2003. When asked for comment, NBA officials declined to speak for this story. "Despite the fact he's had a marvelous career, I think it could have been better," Nash says. "But he was never about personal accolades. He was a team player, wanted to win, and coaches had a high regard for him, which is evidenced now. The fan base in Portland was probably equally divided. He had a lot of supporters because they liked his play. But he had a lot of detractors, too, because he wasn't fan-friendly. He was also difficult with the media, so the media never portrayed him in a favorable light. That's a shame in some ways, but it was his doing." Grantland

That first Dallas season also featured the defining Jerry Stackhouse, Tough Guy story. It happened after Utah rookie Kirk Snyder took a cheap shot at him under the basket during a game. Stackhouse retaliated with one of his own. Both men thought they were even. Nope. They bumped into each other a few plays later and … well, Stackhouse can explain the rest. "Boom, he punched me in the stomach with an open fist," Stackhouse said, incredulously. "I was like, 'OK, I can go crazy right now and get suspended for two or three games and lose this money.' The smart side of me said, 'No, I'm not going to do that. But I'm going to get this boy.' You don't put your hands on me. I can deal with a lot of verbal stuff and wolfing and all that, but you put your hands on me, no. And I thought I had cleaned it up, but obviously I hadn't." When the game ended, Stackhouse recalls asking the training staff for a warm-up suit, then waiting on the docks where Utah's bus would depart. "I ain't even shower," Stackhouse recalls. "I put on some sweats, some sneakers, and I went and stood in the tunnel. As soon as [Snyder] came out, I fired on him. I got in a couple. That was it. I don't know where all these security people came from. It probably lasted 20 seconds. Everybody pulled me off and that was it." Grantland

On the day of the second Nets-Knicks game in December, Wallace finally talked — barely. Asked if he was proud of his and Stackhouse's longevity, Wallace responded, "Hell yeah. We just know how to take care of our bodies doing what we do.12 We've had damn near every injury you can have happen to us throughout our career. But you've got to stay with it, know how to take care of your body. You can't take it for granted." Nor will Wallace take his comeback for granted. "I'm glad to see that I still have a lot of fans left in the basketball world," he said. "There's been a lot of people on the streets, when I'm out at restaurants or off of the basketball court, a lot of people say they're glad to see me back — to see, I guess, real basketball, post play and this and that, depending on who the fan is. It's a good thing, though. I'm not downplaying it or anything. It's definitely good." Grantland

An elbow from DeMarcus Cousins helped hand the Dallas Mavericks a win and gave Sacramento Kings fans another stinger. O.J. Mayo had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Vince Carter scored 23 points off the bench and the Mavericks took advantage of a flagrant foul by Cousins to rally from 17 points down to beat the Kings 117-112 in overtime Thursday night. USA Today Sports

Dirk Nowitzki provided a shred of uplifting information after the Mavericks’ 99-93 loss to the Clippers Wednesday night. He was asked about the state of his arthroscopically repaired knee and said: “Good. Unfortunately, the timing of the surgery was bad because it was right before the season, but I’m glad I did it now. I’ve been playing 30 minutes a game now and the knee has been great with that. “So I’m looking forward to getting in even better game shape. You can’t sit out two months and expect to walk in there and play well. But the knee feels great.” Dallas Morning News

There is no timetable on his return to Miami, but Spoelstra said they will take it slow because there is no place in the rotation for Pittman now. "We like what's going on," Spoelstra said. "We're not necessarily going to try to rush him back. At some point, we'd like his progress for ourselves. He's making good steps. This is the best thing for him. It takes some discipline on my part. I'd like to have him around … but the best thing for him right now is game minutes and he can't necessarily get that with this group right now." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Marcus Camby reinjured his left foot and is not expected to be available for Friday’s game against the Chicago Bulls. “I just drove, landed and felt a sharp pain in the bottom of my foot,” Camby said. “I’m not going to make any assumptions about anything. I should know more (on Friday.)” New York Daily News

"We thought Steve Nash was our future point guard for the next three years and we needed a coach we felt would fit with him," Buss said. "That was one of the main issues where we thought that D'Antoni was better than Phil. Well, not better, nobody's better than Phil, but we felt that he fit the team the way we wanted to work it. "I like D'Antoni a lot. I still believe in him 100 percent. I have no questions about him. We just have to have this team work together and play together. We just don't have enough information to analyze anything. It's just not enough data to put your finger on a problem." ESPN.com

Injuries and everything else aside, what if this team and its $99.2 million payroll don't make the playoffs? "We stuck our neck out with this payroll because Kobe (Bryant) is in the twilight of his career and we want to win championships," Buss said. "Now, am I upset that we might not make the playoffs? Of course. I'd be upset if I had a $10 payroll or a $200 million payroll. I want to make the playoffs and I want to win championships. But to panic? No, we're not going to panic." ESPN.com

While the Nets will likely elect to pursue big names such as top targets Phil Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Stan Van Gundy in the offseason, one league source familiar with the team’s thinking told ESPNNewYork.com that team management has been impressed with the connection Carlesimo has made with his players, and the coach will “almost certainly” make it to the end of the season. The source said the Nets believe Carlesimo has reduced the pressure on some players by allowing them to play through mistakes, something Johnson was far less willing to do. “P.J.’s done a very good job, and this team has already been through a lot of change,” the source said. “It’s like switching offensive coordinators all the time on a quarterback. There’s only so many times you can do it.” ESPN.com

“He’s been great for us so far, and I think all the guys responded well to him. I think all the guys like him. He’s done a great job coaching us,’’ said Williams, who is averaging 20 points per game and 8.8 assists during the Nets’ four-game winning streak heading into tonight’s game against the Suns at Barclays Center. “We lost a head coach, but then we gained another one. He’s coached a lot of teams in this league as a head coach. Like I said, he’s doing a great job.’’ New York Post

Adelman stayed in Minnesota to be with his wife, Mary Kay, who has been hospitalized, while the team started a four-game trip. He did not join the Wolves on an off-day on Thursday in New Orleans but could do so on Friday and coach that night's game against the Hornets. "Everybody knows it's tough without coach," center Nikola Pekovic said. "But the assistants do a great job planning the game. Of course we want him back, but we'll be fine without him." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The Detroit Pistons, whose average attendance ranks 29th among the NBA's 30 teams — above only the Sacramento Kings — are overhauling their approach to filling the seats at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Palace Sports & Entertainment officials say the days of free tickets and corporate-suite discounts, which bulked up crowds but did little for revenues, are gone. Under new owner Tom Gores, who bought the team in June 2011 for $365 million, the focus is on building value into ticket purchases through packages that include extra discounts, memorabilia and "experiences" that aren't available to secondary ticket buyers. They also are adjusting game prices, based on demand. Detroit News

This year, season-ticket holders received a key fob and Pistons jacket with an embedded chip in a sleeve that allows them to get 20 percent off food and drinks as well as 30 percent off merchandise in the Locker Room at the Palace. Fans purchasing certain packages receive a subscription to the Pistons' quarterly magazine and direct delivery of "inside access" videos about the team. Other lures include special team events such as a college draft party, game-night "Storyteller" receptions, summer golf outings and kids' basketball clinics with current and former Pistons players and coaches. "Those experiences don't happen with seats bought on the secondary market," Grigg said. Detroit News

Here goes: The episode made me shed a tear. Zach Randolph: [Laughs.] Well, I haven’t seen it yet. But I might, too. Seriously? You’re a crier? Yeah, a little bit. I’ll keep that between us. It was emotional, man! I got a passion for these animals. I really do. ESPN.com

This trapped pit bull was big news in Memphis. Are you a dog lover or just a good samaritan looking to help out? I’m a dog lover -- lover. I’m a spokesperson for the Memphis Humane Society. I like getting involved with the fighting dogs. This ain’t no overnight thing, it’s how I’ve always been. Now I got two Russian terriers. And I got two more in Russia that are four weeks old -- not old enough to come out here yet. The two with me now, I got them from a breeder in Georgia and one in Wisconsin. They’re show dogs. I got a handler who shows them. They’re at a Florida show right now. When they’re not on the road, they’re with me. In the offseason, I’ll go to shows with them. It’s a great thing, man. ESPN.com

This weekend, Brooklyn Nets fans will learn to say "defense" in Russian. On Jan. 13, the Nets will host An Evening of Russian Culture during a game against the Indiana Pacers, which coincides with Old Russian New Year's Eve. Famed Russian concert violinist Alexander Markov will perform the national anthem before the game and again at halftime. Russian entertainer Oleg Kolomyets is slated to introduce the starting players, and Russian music will also be incorporated throughout the game. Nets players Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez will appear in a video in which they sample fare from Manhattan restaurant The Russian Samovar. Crain's

Kevin Johnson knows how to work a room. But considering the Kings-to-Seattle reports of recent days, the Sacramento mayor might need to add a bit more charm tonight. The special guest for tonight's 16th annual St. HOPE Fundraising Dinner at the Hyatt is LeBron James of the Miami Heat, which plays the Kings on Saturday night at Sleep Train Arena. The focus for the sold-out event is on the arts and St. HOPE's "commitment to providing arts education to its students and the surrounding Oak Park Community." So paint this picture in your mind: Johnson buddying up with everyone, gauging potential suitors for the Kings. Sacramento Bee

He never had a crossover move. Never hit a game-winning shot. Never dunked. Surely never shattered a backboard. But Dave Zinkoff was as much a part of 76ers lore as Allen Iverson, Julius Erving, Wilt Chamberlain and Darryl Dawkins. The Zink was the public-address announcer for the Sixers from 1963 until his death in 1985, with the exception of the 1980-81 season. But it was who he was and how he announced that set him apart from the rest, that got him into the James Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (the only PA announcer so honored), that got his "microphone" retired, that caused the Celtics' Red Auerbach to call Zink the Sixers' sixth man. "Certainly," said former Sixers general manager Pat Williams, "he was the most celebrated public-address announcer in American sports." Philadelphia Inquirer

Carmelo and La La Anthony have been living separately, sources say, but friends close to the Knick’s wife say she’ll stand by her man and won’t split from the NBA star. “It is true they haven’t seen much of each other in the past few months,” says a friend of the couple. “She’s been away a lot filming her show, ‘La La’s Full Court Life,’ in London, New York and LA. They are not separated and are still together. She and Melo have a house in LA — so she’s always there when she’s doing auditions.” But others say they’ve been going through a more rocky period. “They have been living separately for several months now,” says a source. “She’s been living in LA while Carmelo has been in New York.” The source added, “La La used to go out to the games and wanted to be seen . . . now she’s always off doing her own thing.” New York Post

Sources add that La La’s also been partying with girlfriends from Mexico to Miami, which has displeased Melo and “made him angry.” According to multiple sources, the pair had been seeking a new home over the summer and were checking out apartments in TriBeCa for up to $25,000 a month. But the search cooled along with the relationship. “During the summer they were looking for a new apartment constantly,” said a source. “About two months ago, that completely dried up. They don’t even return their brokers’ phone calls anymore.” New York Post

The legal case involving former Nuggets center Chris Andersen has yet to be resolved, a Douglas County Sheriff's sergeant said, but Andersen's attorney went public Thursday, reiterating a claim made last May that his client was duped and then extorted by a woman claiming to be of legal age. The Douglas County investigation involves possible Internet crimes involving a minor. "What I'd like to communicate is, this had nothing to do with children," attorney Mark Bryant told The Denver Post on Thursday. "This had to do with an individual who represented herself as legal age and then some, and by the way, is and was at legal age." Denver Post

Last May and Thursday, documents reviewed by The Denver Post confirmed that the woman making a claim against Andersen repeatedly represented herself to be of legal age and that her family later demanded payment from Andersen. Douglas County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Hanavan said authorities investigating the former Nugget, released from the team this past summer, have received results of forensic laboratory tests of electronic devices and other evidence and are processing the information. "The investigation is still ongoing," Hanavan said. "Detectives are continuing the investigation." Denver Post

Through Bryant, Andersen gave The Denver Post a statement Thursday: "I appreciate everybody that's supported me, and I don't want to say anything bad about anybody, it's everybody's worst nightmare, but I just want to thank everyone that supported me and knew this was a lie from the beginning. They know how I love people, they know how I love kids and they know where my heart has been in this community." Bryant said he and his client have been cooperative with authorities, answering any questions asked of them. But there are still "clouds out there," Bryant said, because of what he deems an unfair public perception of his client's involvement with children. "It was never about little children's pictures or pornographic sites or enticement of children," Bryant said. "Never. ... We want to get this stigma off of it." Denver Post

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