HoopsHype rumors

January 16, 2013 | 09:32 PM ET Update

The man who brought James to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, Keith Dambrot, is now the head coach at the University of Akron. When Dambrot left after James' sophomore year to return to the college ranks, Dru Joyce took over as St. V-M's head coach. Both were asked Wednesday about various reports that James could opt out of his Miami Heat contract and return to Cleveland, making good with the franchise -- and the city -- he left in the summer of 2010. Neither wanted to say too much. Neither thought the idea seemed far-fetched. "With LeBron," Dambrot said, "anything is always possible." Said Joyce: "Nothing could surprise me at this point, and it wouldn't surprise me if he came back here, either. This is home. I think he has an affinity for this place. He's been around the world, he's seen the world, he can live anywhere. He loves Akron." FOXSports Ohio

More titles -- emphasis on plural -- is ultimately what both Joyce and Dambrot say will drive James' future career decisions, too. "I really don't know if he thinks about Cleveland, or if this is way premature," Dambrot said. "I haven't talked to him much lately. I usually only call when things aren't going well, and he's playing very well right now. I think LeBron is a unique individual. He's going to do the right thing. Whatever he eventually decides to do will be the best business decision, the right thing for him and his family. FOXSports Ohio

Cousins has received three suspensions this season – the NBA suspended him two games for confronting San Antonio Spurs broadcaster Sean Elliot after a game, and another game for hitting Dallas guard O.J. Mayo below the belt; and the Kings gave him another one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team after a halftime confrontation with Coach Keith Smart. “I talked to him all the time. Just tell him to keep his head,” Wall said. “Sometimes, certain things don’t go his way. Sometimes you get suspended, sometimes you get bad fouls because you’re a physical player and you’re bigger than a lot of guys. Just keep playing through them. Whenever he’s on the court, he’s doing a great job when he’s not in foul trouble or suspended.” Washington Post

"You want a guy to be more focused," Horry said, pointing to LeBron James' no-nonsense demeanor in last season's playoffs. "That's the kind of guy you want, someone who's focused, not fun-loving." At first, Howard bristled and refused to get drawn into a war of words with Horry, but went on to say that he is going to continue to be himself. Orange County Register

Howard wasn't smiling after hearing what Horry said, as related to him by a reporter Wednesday. "I'm going to continue to be me," Howard said. "This made me successful the last nine years. I'm not going to stop smiling. This is what I do for a living and if you have a problem with me smiling, we can go talk about it. "I get paid a lot of money to play basketball. I'm doing something that teachers and doctors and police officers and fireman should be getting a lot for. But I'm getting paid for it so I'm going to have fun. I don't care who has a problem with it. "[Horry] had his time. His time has come and gone, so don't try to tell me how to play. I think it's stupid. I never judged him on how he played. Just because I smile and have fun, that doesn't mean that I don't take this game seriously. I don't want anybody to ever get that twisted. I came here to win championships and I came here to dominate, but I'm going to do it with a smile on my face." Los Angeles Times

January 16, 2013 | 07:06 PM ET Update

When asked Monday during the Los Angeles Clippers’ shootaround in FedExForum to assess the latest rumors surrounding a possible trade involving Gay before the February 21 deadline, Paul, as he customarily is with the media, was forthright about the subject. “Rudy is one of my closet friends,” Paul told reporters. “Rudy was at my wedding. His fiancé and my wife talk every day. So they’d be crazy to get rid of Rudy.” Memphisport

Rock Gaming Chairman Dan Gilbert announced Wednesday that he has acquired a majority interest of the Greektown Casino-Hotel in downtown Detroit. Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers owner who triggered the building of the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland, moved his Quicken Loans headquarters to downtown Detroit. His family of companies are expected to help lead a revitalization of the city's urban core. "Our plans are in the early phases," Gilbert said in a news release. "However, we envision significant investment in the Greektown Casino-Hotel, as well as the enhancement and growth of the existing entertainment district. Cleveland Plain Dealer

David Stern is sitting in an office overlooking Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. He is thinking about England. He is thinking about football. The NBA commissioner, one of the most powerful men in American sport, is talking about the set up of the Premier League, or what he calls ‘the EPL’. “Good luck with Financial Fair Play rules,” he says with a mischievous chuckle that makes it obvious he does not envy his friend Richard Scudamore. “We deal with that issue through the salary cap and through revenue share. But then the EPL punishes failure and the NBA rewards it. “If you fail in the EPL, you get relegated. If you fail in our league, you get the first pick in the draft. “It is an interesting starting point if you want to intellectually examine the underpinnings of various sports.” Mirror.co.uk

January 16, 2013 | 06:00 PM ET Update

Among the teams that would appeal to Smith are Dallas, Houston and Memphis, a league source told CBSSports.com. The Grizzlies, in the midst of establishing the value of Rudy Gay on the trade market in the face of massive luxury tax bills on the horizon, are not among the teams that have spoken with the Hawks about Smith, one of the sources said. Despite owner Mark Cuban's comment this week that "the bank of Cuban is open," the Mavs also have not yet expressed interest in trading for Smith, another source said. CBSSports.com

Josh Smith's agent spoke with Hawks general manager Danny Ferry on Wednesday to discuss what he characterized as "a lot of frustration" with the team's recent spiral, but stopped short of making a trade request. "As far as moving forward and whatever changes will be made, that's more so management's job to field those calls and make the decisions they feel like are best to move forward," Smith's agent, Wallace Prather, told CBSSports.com. CBSSports.com

While Prather made it clear that Smith is concerned about how the once-hot Hawks have rolled over in losing six of their last seven games and seven out of nine, neither he nor his client has asked for a trade. Smith will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and barring an unlikely departure from Los Angeles for Dwight Howard or Chris Paul, would be among the top players on the unrestricted market. "I do know there are teams interested," Prather said. CBSSports.com

Dwyane Wade and center Chris Bosh during a late comeback bid that ultimately fell short against the Utah Jazz. Wade was curt in his postgame comments that night, saying, "Coach makes the calls. I'm just the player." That triggered speculation that the star guard and coach were at odds, as many perceived was the case during their playoff blowout during last season's Eastern Conference semifinals against the Indiana Pacers. South Florida Sun-Sentinel

But just as that blew over on the way to an NBA championship, so were Monday's issues in the rearview mirror by Wednesday morning. "It's the frustration of losing," Wade said Wednesday of being brusque with Monday's postgame comments. "I think the fourth quarter is overblown. I went to the bench in the fourth quarter, we were down 19 points. That team did a hell of a job of coming back and making it a game. "Obviously, you want to play. But I could never be mad at my team for coming back and making a game of it. So it's other frustrating moments, throughout playing, and throughout the game, that, as a player, a player of my caliber, that you get frustrated at." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Wade insisted he did not partake in the ensuing noise. "Like I said, I don't watch it, good or bad," he said. "I didn't get a chance to watch the Dwyane Wade Show yesterday." But he did post on his Twitter account Tuesday morning, "The high road . . . Isn't always high . . ." Asked for a clarification, Wade, in a far better mood Wednesday morning than Monday night, said, "I can't give you every Twitter I put out, man. Read between the lines like I do every Twitter. "It just came from my mind. A lot of stuff could be up there." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

As the uncertainty surrounding Rasheed Wallace's left foot injury lingers, members of the New York Knicks organization fear Wallace will be out for an extended period of time, possibly for the entire season, two league sources told ESPNNewYork.com. ESPN.com

Then, we have a big man at Bucknell who's been opening eyes among NBA scouts in 6-11 senior center Mike Muscala. According to BU sports info director Jon Terry, scouts from the Clippers (at Cornell), the 76ers (at Bucknell) and several groups of others (at Loyola, MD and Missouri) have come to see Muscala in the past several weeks. PennLive.com

Diligent work in the weight room has developed a body type not naturally muscular. And Muscala credits a 2-week stay last summer at the IMG Academy's NBA pre-draft camp for rising seniors as a factor in his stamina and strength this season: “I think I learned a lot about taking care of my body. And I got a chance to play with some guys who are in the NBA right now – Larry Sanders [Bucks], Kendall Marshall [Suns], Moe Harkless [Magic] – and some other guys who didn't get drafted. “Good competition, but also I learned about the importance of taking care of myself – what I eat, methods of recovery, things like that.” PennLive.com

Another lawsuit has been filed against the planned professional basketball and hockey arena in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood. The latest suit states that the arena plan violates Initiative 91, according to The Seattle Times. The initiative, which Seattle voters approved in 2006, said the city must make a profit on any investment in a sports facility. Seattle attorney Cleveland Stockmeyer filed the suit last week on behalf of Mark Baerwaldt, who drafted I-91. It’s the second suit against the $490 million arena that San Francisco hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and others are proposing. Hansen and his group hope to bring the NBA back to Seattle. Business News

January 16, 2013 | 04:01 PM ET Update

Jose Calderon has been a subject of trade discussions for several seasons and the clock is ticking on a potential trade from the Toronto Raptors with the point guard having an expiring contract. “Maybe it’s going to be more than usual,” Calderon told RealGM. “It’s been usual for a while now for a few years.” RealGM

Calderon has not made any decision where he wants to play next season and will evaluate the situation when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. “I think it’s too soon,” said Calderon. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if I’m going to get traded or not because of my contract situation. Let’s see what happens when we finish the season. I think the summer is going to be the time to think about it, all the pros and cons, in every situation.” RealGM

So how do the Suns sell the approach to their fans? "I think you've got to do it (by) saying that obviously this season isn't going the way we anticipated, and now we're in a situation where we've got to start looking to the future," Gentry said. "And if we're looking to the future, we've got to play young guys and get them in a situation where we figure out exactly what we have for the future, and see if they can show improvement for the next 30 games or whatever it ends up being that we decide to do this." Gentry said it would only happen after consultation with club President Lon Babby, General Manager Lance Blanks and owner Robert Sarver. "It's something we'll discuss," he said. "We'll sit down and try to decide what's best and understand that there are maybe more important things than the win-loss record at this point." Gentry said the Suns aren't there yet. "I would say we're probably moving in that direction or getting real close because obviously we're struggling to win games," he added. "And if you're going to do that, you've got to try to get something positive out of it. That (developing players) is one of the things you can do." USA Today Sports

The versatile, 6-foot-9 forward was always going to figure in as a major piece to the rotation, but he’s been invaluable in the wake of long-term injuries to forwards Chase Budinger and Kevin Love, among multiple other injuries such as to Brandon Roy and Malcolm Lee that have thrust the surprising Shved into a starter’s role at shooting guard. “We had some seasons when we had a lot of injuries, but this is something crazy,” said Kirilenko, whose scoring (13.4 ppg), rebounds (6.8) and minutes (34.8) are all his best since the 2005-06, and his 50.8 shooting percentage ranks as a career high. “We never played together [with a full roster] for even one game. It’s tough to play that way, but I guess this is the reality of NBA basketball.” NBA.com

SLAM: Speaking of the Western Conference and numbers, Kobe Bryant has said he’ll retire in two years but do you think he’s as good as he’s ever been? Andre Iguodala: He’s not the best ever—there’s this guy named MJ… SLAM: Nah. I mean, is he playing as well as he ever has? AI: Oh, he’s playing at a high level. I think he’s exerting a lot of energy, but Kobe does so much—speaking of our awareness campaign—off the court with his body and his preparation and that’s why he’s playing at a high level. He has a chef, who puts the fuel in his body for him to play a high level. He has a trainer, who I used to work with, and he’s always in the weight room, always working on stuff. He has a physical therapist, who I’ve worked with as well, and he has a masseuse. He’s really doing everything to get the most out of his game, and that’s similar to our campaign. We have to do everything we can to get the most out of our bodies, and that includes how we use it and what we put inside of it. SLAM

Chris Tomasson: Portland big man LaMarcus Aldridge said he wants to play for Team USA in the World Cup in Spain in 2014. "Yeah, if they call me, I'm definitely interested in doing it,'' Aldridge told FOX Sports Florida. Aldridge had been a strong candidate for the 2010 team but dropped out just before the trials for what he called "personal'' reasons. But he was back in USA Basketball's good graces for the Olympics last year before he got hurt and had to bow out. Sulia

SLAM: Changing subjects, we’re here to talk about the Dribble to Stop Diabetes campaign. I mean, if every player has the responsibility to use his success to further one cause is it safe to say that this is your cause? Andre Iguodala: Yeah. I don’t think this is my one and only cause, but I’m so close to it—I have family members effected by it—I feel like, like you said, I can use my celebrity to continue to get the word out and to spread the word. Not just for others, but even for my family members, because we, as Americans, tend to take things for granted, like, it couldn’t happen to us. Well, it can happen to us and we just need to understand how to prevent it. SLAM

SLAM: Because you’re so closely tied to it, do you feel more of a responsibility towards raising awareness about diabetes than if you had just aligned yourself with any other cause? AI: Definitely. It’s funny because I’m always pestering family members, cousins and friends about the types of foods they eat, what they put in their bodies, their weight; I get on them about working out. They’re like, ‘Why you always getting on me?’ ‘Well, it’s because I care about you first of all.’ It’s the same thing with spreading the word. It’s kind’ve our responsibility, getting out the word, and just getting people to realize how importance it is for them to live a healthy lifestyle and to get regular doctor checkups. There isn’t a cure for diabetes; once you have it, you have it. SLAM

SLAM: It’s weird in a way, but when you talk about healthy eating I don’t think about NBA players. It feels like, between the late night flights and hotel food, players have it hard in terms of trying to eat right and do the right things to stave off diabetes. AI: Yeah, we do have that problem with what we eat. We get in late to hotels in there is limited menus in terms of what we can order—mainly, chicken tenders and fries. But the thing with us is that we’re so active, our bodies, our energy, our adrenaline is always going. We’re always moving, working out, lifting weights, so we’re not at-risk as much as someone else but we are at-risk and do need to be aware of that. SLAM

January 16, 2013 | 02:55 PM ET Update

Hawks President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ferry today announced that the team has suspended forward Josh Smith for one game and fined him an undisclosed amount for conduct detrimental to the team. Smith, currently in his ninth season with the Hawks, is averaging team highs in scoring (16.5 points) and blocked shots (2.3) while adding 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals in 34.8 minutes per game in 35 games (all starts). “Josh and I discussed the issue and he understood and accepted this course of action. We are confident that he will respond positively, learn from this experience and come back with a renewed sense of purpose to the team moving forward,” Ferry said. NBA.com

According to a person familiar with the situation, Smith was thrown out of practice Tuesday. The Hawks held a lengthy practice one day after losing in franchise-worst fashion in Chicago Monday. Following Wednesday’s shootaround, coach Larry Drew would not confirm he dismissed Smith from practice. However there clearly was an issue during the workout. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Center Al Horford said he has spoken to Smith and that “he will be fine.” “You have to address things and make sure everybody is on the same page,” Horford said. “I think it’s something that is going to be a positive for our team. It’s going to be a positive because you grow from this. You grow from adversity, having guys not playing, things like that. That’s what it’s all about. I think we’ve always reacted well.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Obviously we are going to miss him but we are just going to move on,” said Zaza Pachulia, who will start against the Nets. “There have been situations where we played two games without Josh. … Everybody is frustrated, coaches, players. I don’t see any happy guy in the locker room right now. Everybody is really trying to play good and win basketball games and get back on track. Yesterday, maybe it just went too much. It was what it was. We let it go. Everybody learned from it and we moved on.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Chad Ford: Multiple teams tell me they've talked to the Celtics and they believe everything is on the table -- as it should be. If Ainge can make the team stronger for a run at the Finals he will. If he can't, but he can just start the rebuilding process in a big way -- why wouldn't he. The team he has now probably isn't a serious Finals contender. I think it's likely it moves one way or the other. So when I wrote a few weeks back that he could or could not move Rondo, I wasn't trying to have it both ways. I meant that both options are on the table and he's looking for the best deal for his team. If there's a great Rondo trade for the Celtics, he'll do it. If there isn't, he's not in firesale mode, he's not moving players like Rondo or Paul Pierce for the sake of shaking up the team. ESPN.com

Chad Ford: The relationship between the Hawks and Josh Smith has always been a rocky one on both sides of the ledger. I think Danny Ferry has wanted to keep him around in hopes that he could lure Dwight Howard back to Atlanta this summer. But if Smith wants out (which it appears that he does) that plan isn't really going to work. From what I can gather, he's definitely available. ESPN.com

Vicente Solà, president of Valencia Basket, confirmed that Mickael Gelabale may soon sign a 10-day contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Spanish club hopes to have him back when his contract in NBA expires. "He has not signed yet his contract with the Wolves. He may soon sign a 10-day contract. Hopefully we can have him back when his deal with Minnesota expires. But his future is not up to us" said Solà to LigaEN Punto Valencia. Sportando

Shawn Marion, much like Dirk Nowitzki, desperately wants to compete for another championship at this stage of his career. Unlike Dirk Nowitzki, Marion isn’t committed to retiring as a Maverick. Marion’s response to a question about whether he wants to finish his career in Dallas was to steer the conversation back to competing for a title. “When you start hitting that 13, 14, 15, 16 years in the league, if you ain’t playing for a championship, it’s a disappointment,” said Marion, whose defensive prowess and veteran savvy could be attractive to a contender in the trade market. “Ain’t no beating around the bush to it. You’re sticking around for one reason. You ain’t sticking around for the money at that time. You’re sticking around because you love the game, you love to compete and you want to add something to your legacy.” ESPN.com

Carmelo Anthony has no problem with New York Knicks owner James Dolan recording his conversations on the basketball court. The team's owner ordered technicians at Madison Square Garden to install microphones at either end of the court for last Friday's game against the Chicago Bulls in the wake of the recent trash-talking incident involving Kevin Garnett that led to Anthony's one-game suspension. League sources have told ESPN that the move was undertaken to protect Anthony, to see if opponents' trash talk was crossing the line, rather than "spying" on him. And the player involved insists he has no problem with Dolan's decision. ESPN.com

"I got an owner that looks out for me," Anthony said at the Knicks' practice Wednesday in London. "You can't beat that for an owner to try to protect their players, to protect his players. It just shows how much loyalty Mr. Dolan has." ESPN.com

In addition to trying to get his rhythm back, Howard, one of the league's top centers, has been trying to learn how to share a team with Bryant, who is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time. Bryant made it clear at the beginning of the season that the team belonged to him, a notion that Howard seemed to grapple with from time to time. The Lakers are now a third of their way into the season, and Bryant said that Howard is growing more comfortable on his new team, in his new role. "I think he's just accepted things for what they are," Bryant said. "When you got out there and you just play burden-free, it's amazing what happens." Los Angeles Times

As he lounged courtside at the Pepsi Center on Tuesday night, chatting with Trail Blazers assistant coaches, shaking hands with reporters and debating team broadcasters about whether or not single-digit temperatures truly are cold, Meyers Leonard was more than willing to share a little good news. “I’m getting better daily, there’s no doubt about that,” he said, before the Blazers lost to the Nuggets. “I’ve made a lot of progress.” Oregonian

January 16, 2013 | 09:45 AM ET Update

Howard's shoulders appear superhuman enough to carry Barclays Center from Atlantic Avenue to the Manhattan Bridge, and, yes, that's why the men running the Brooklyn Nets chased after him last summer like kids in a parking lot desperate for his autograph. "But that's changed," said one NBA official familiar with the thinking of Nets management. "It's not as cut and dried as it was last year, when the feeling was go ahead and pretty much gut the team for Dwight, give up a bunch of draft picks and players and take back bad contracts. That feeling isn't there anymore." ESPN.com

So if Howard won't pledge his everlasting love, and if the Lakers decide they can't bank on securing a summertime signature from a star who changes his mind every hour on the hour, they might have no choice but to put him on the market. "If that happens," the NBA official said, "there will be a lot of healthy debate inside the organization." ESPN.com

Yet privately, they still monitor Howard's play and the reports that he's getting along with Bryant like he got along with Stan Van Gundy. It didn't take long for Howard to air his true feelings about Kobe, his whining wrapped inside his stated admiration for the lovefest going on next door with the Clippers. ESPN.com

And rumors. And more questions and rumors for a six-week period, until the trade deadline in late February. He's so used to it, it almost feels like he has been traded, although he's never gotten that call from Bill Duffy, his agent, or Pistons president Joe Dumars, the man who drafted him more than a decade ago. "Look at Corey Maggette, they probably feel like I feel and I haven't been traded," said Prince of his teammate, who's been traded five times since 1999. "They're like, 'I know what time it is, I know the situation', and I feel the same way because I've been through this in the last five years. It's a 'been there done that' thing." Detroit News

Instead of getting upset when the questions come, Prince, who has been surly during his time in Detroit, displays a different side — amusement. "The reason why I'm always positive and upbeat is because around the same time all the time, people always ask me and expect the answer to change and it's not," Prince said. "The first time I was on the trading block it was my sixth or seventh year, and you asked me that, my answer might be different. I was a younger player, I would've been like 'trade me, you can't come tell me?' I didn't know the nature of the business about rumors." Detroit News

Celtics GM Danny Ainge sat down with CSNNE's Greg Dickerson for an exclusive 20-minute interview that touched upon all things Celtics. It will air Wednesday. In the preview, we have Ainge talking about trade rumors, and with the deadline coming up, it'll continue to be a hot topic. So will the Celtics make a blockbuster move? "That doesn't make a lot of sense to radically change the team when you're trying to compete to win it all," Ainge told Dickerson. "We have been and will continue to look to upgrade our team, but I think it's always more unlikely that that happens than likely." CSNNE.com

The Lakers also filed for a disabled player exception for Jordan Hill on Tuesday, general manager Mitch Kupchak told ESPNLosAngeles.com. Hill needs hip surgery and is expected to be out the rest of the season. If the league grants the petition, the Lakers will be allowed to spend a little more than half of Hill's salary, about $1.78 million, in order to sign a free agent or to absorb a player's contract acquired in a trade. ESPN.com

According to Kupchak, the Lakers will not definitely use the exception if it becomes available to them, especially with Clark unexpectedly stepping up in Hill's absence. "There's no downside (to receiving the exception)," Kupchak told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "You never know what could happen." ESPN.com

Why do you think Skiles’ attitude toward you changed? Sam Dalembert: We had a talk briefly at a shootaround; I forgot where it was. I think it was in Boston. After that talk, everything went downhill. After the game in Chicago, you said Skiles had attacked your integrity in that talk. Can you elaborate? Sam Dalembert: He told me some different things and I explained to him that I’m a happy person. And the reason I’m happy is I grateful for coming from where I came from, Haiti, and I’m grateful for every single day of my life. I’m grateful to wake up and see I’m able to have a home here, a home there and be able to help so many kids go to school back home (through his foundation) and help my family. For that, it’s a blessing. To me, being a happy person, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Racine Journal-Times

Can you be more specific about what Skiles said that upset you? Sam Dalembert: No, I really don’t want to go into detail. I don’t want to go into it because it really hurt me. I had to express myself. I had to let him know where I’m coming from, the root of who I am today, what is defining me. It’s my country defining me. Anybody who knows me, you can ask any of my teammates, I am the most enthusiastic, happy person coming in the morning. I’m the player where I am always very respectful. I don’t know what happened between us. I’m not going to say that conversation was 100 percent the reason for what happened (not him being demoted) but for some reason there was nothing said to me again and everything went downhill. There was no explanation. There was no conversation. Nothing was said to me. He didn’t say, ‘Hey, this is what I want you to focus on or anything like that.’ It wasn’t just me. Other guys were going through the same thing with him, guys who have been here way before me. So you can only imagine what they were going through. For me, it was new. I never got a chance to know him or what he didn’t like about me. Racine Journal-Times

You may have heard the rumors that it was your fault and not Skiles’ fault for your demotion, that you were reporting late to games and practices, etc. Sam Dalembert: Listen, I’m not the only one who’s ever been late for a game. At some point in an 82-game season, somebody is going to be late. I wasn’t the only one on the team. But that’s not the reason for all of this. That one (where he was allegedly late), there was a cutoff time and I was in the hallway on the phone. I had something important to talk about and then I came back (in the locker room). That’s not being late for the game. But that’s got nothing to do with this. If I was late for one game, it was because of miscommunication. Ever since that time, I’ve never been late. Racine Journal-Times

Everywhere he turns, Earl Clark suddenly finds people interested in him. Former high school and college teammates have suddenly flooded his cell phone with calls. A pack of reporters frequently surrounds him. The Staples Center crowd continues to cheer for him. Clark's assistant coaches have built-in excuses to tease him. "Earl, when you go out," Lakers assistant coach Eddie Jordan said, "Can I hang out with you one night?" Long Beach Press-Telegram

Asked which of his players he deems worthy for consideration, Karl paused for a second. "That would be really difficult to say," Karl said. "I'd probably say Andre Miller. From the standpoint of efficient minutes, Andre's given us as efficient minutes as anybody. But I think Ty (Lawson) and (Andre Iguodala) and (Danilo Gallinari) all have had moments. And I'm excited, because I think they all are getting stronger and more confident, and their consistency is getting at a higher level. But because of their up-and-down moments, it's going to be difficult for them to get any recognition." Denver Post

J.R. Smith was talking about his Denver days and saidhe purposely did things “that would [tick] George off,” as in Nuggets coach George Karl. Smith clashed with Karl and his first coach Byron Scott. But Smith has clicked with Mike Woodson. Smith said he has become a more reliable player because he said he doesn’t want to disappoint Woodson. Sulia

Suns forward Michael Beasley, after missing two of his first free-throw attempts off the side of the rim, walked down the lane, stared up at the iron and shook his head. “I had to scare the gremlins away,” he said. “Those gremlins are always messing with me.” NBA.com

Knicks coach Mike Woodson won’t rule out starting Iman Shumpert Thursday when he makes his season debut. Shumpert, returning from ACL surgery after a first-team All-Rookie campaign, will participate in one last practice Wednesday in London before Woodson declares him a definite. But unless there’s a setback, he’s a go and possibly a starter. The Knicks have yanked Ronnie Brewer in favor of James White at shooting guard in their recent alignments. The Knicks could go back to a small-ball lineup with Jason Kidd, Shumpert and Brewer in the backcourt and Carmelo Anthony at power forward. New York Post

The head of the entertainment conglomerate that had planned to build a new arena for the Kings in Sacramento said Tuesday that his company is still interested in doing so if Mayor Kevin Johnson can assemble a new ownership bid to keep the team here. AEG Chief Executive Tim Leiweke, in Sacramento for an appearance at the Capitol, said the arena developer is definitely interested in pursuing an arena deal downtown, depending on how the Kings' ownership situation gets settled. "We haven't changed our opinion about Sacramento or the arena," he said. Sacramento Bee

He added that NBA Commissioner David Stern and Johnson asked him to re-engage on the arena issue. He planned to meet with the mayor this week. "To the commissioner's credit, I don't think he ever forgot about Sacramento," he said. He said Stern, whom he's known for decades, doesn't like to relocate franchises. AEG pledged $59 million to the arena plan that was abandoned by the Kings last spring. "We are still committed to the same economic package," he said. Sacramento Bee

The recent success of the national team in Great Britain, the Olympic basketball spectacle in August, the notion England will play host to the EuroLeague Final Four in May and the increased participation in the sport are signs there may one day be an NBA team wearing London on its chest. Former Knicks general manager Ed Tapscott is in the process of forming a second pro league here beginning in 2015, trying to make it more than a niche sport. “Why not?’’ Moreland said of a London NBA team. “How many years? I don’t know. But it’s still David Stern’s decision.’’ New York Post

Moreland points to NBA games now appearing on TV network Sky Sport and the ESPN feed Londoners get on satellite. According to Moreland, a study shows basketball is the second- highest participation sport among 11- to 15-year-old boys after soccer. “There’s just an increasing amount of NBA product new in our media,’’ Moreland said. New York Post

With a nod to Houston's air history, adidas' 2013 All-Star uniforms and warm-ups will take "take inspiration from Houston's rich aeronautical history, speed and jet plane design." The jerseys and shorts will feature a state-of-art camouflage pattern and high-tech material designed to increase speed and mobility and the lettering and numbering is based on stenciling on jets. The camo design also "evokes the classic silhouette of a basketball net," according to adidas. The All-Star game is Feb. 17 at the Houston Rockets' Toyota Center. USA Today Sports

Klutch Sports, the sports agency founded in September by Rich Paul that includes Miami Heat star LeBron James as a client, has enlisted respected agent Mark Termini to "oversee contract negotiations," two people familiar with arrangement told USA TODAY Sports. The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly until an official announcement is made. ESPN first reported the news. USA Today Sports

USA TODAY Sports has learned that Termini, who represents Denver Nuggets center Kosta Koufos and a few others, will continue to run his agency, Mark Termini Associates. His existing clients will not become part of Klutch Sports, and he can continue to build his client list if he chooses, according to one person. Termini adds impeccable credentials to Paul's upstart firm and is considered a valuable addition. USA Today Sports

What were Kobe Bryant and Bill Clinton doing hanging out on Monday night? ... Bryant and his wife Vanessa joined former president Bill Clinton in Hollywood on Monday to commemorate the renovation of Step Up on Vine, a housing project for the homeless. The Bryant's have been heavily involved in tackling homelessness in Los Angeles in the last couple years, also volunteering at the homeless shelter for teens, My Friend's Place and getting behind HomeWalk L.A. Sulia

"It was incredible," Bryant said of Clinton's involvement. "We couldn’t get a better stamp of approval or a stronger validation for what we’re trying to do. It meant everything for us for him to take time out of his schedule to come down and check out the facility and give the good praise that he did." Sulia

Back in early December, Pacers.com's Scott Agness reported on Roy Hibbert and Miles Plumlee joining the set of Parks and Recreation here in Indy. Their visit has come to fruition and the episode is set to air this Thursday, January 17th on NBC (13 WTHR) at 8:30 PM EST. NBA.com

NBA star Kevin Durant, one of the sports world's renowned good guys, has recently come under a bit of scrutiny for a fouler-than-normal mouth and surlier-than-standard on-court demeanor. His grandma, for one, doesn't approve. That's according to a text message she sent him after his team, Oklahoma City Thunder, beat the Phoenix Suns Monday night. In the message, she congratulated him on the win, but tempered her praise with a side of scolding: "Kev kev stop cussing so much they be showing u when u do." Mashable

Businessman, philanthropist and professional sports team owner George Gund III died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. Gund, 75, had been undergoing cancer treatments the past 18 months. He died in Palm Springs, Calif. George, along with his brother Gordon, bought the Cavaliers basketball franchise from Ted Stepien in 1983 for $20 million. They sold the team in 2005 to Quicken Loans founder and billionaire Dan Gilbert in 2005. Cleveland Plain Dealer

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