HoopsHype rumors

January 18, 2013 | 09:17 PM ET Update

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is said to have called the Wolves recently about forward Dante Cunningham. But with a reasonable, $2.1 million team option for 2013-14, Cunningham won't be easy to get. 1500 ESPN

Willie Cauley-Stein aggravated an old injury to his left knee and underwent a minor procedure on Thursday. John Calipari said the Wildcats training staff could have put a knee sleeve on Cauley-Stein’s knee and let him play. “But as you know,” Calipari said, “that’s now how we operate here. If I err, I’m going to err on the side of the kid. Let’s just be safe.” Calipari confirmed that the injury has bothered Cauley-Stein at times this season. “We have been dealing with Willie (for awhile),” Calipari said. “Again, it was an injury – I hate to tell you – since junior high school. For the last couple of weeks (it has bothered him). So, it just happened to where, alright, let’s go, let’s see (what’s wrong).” RealGM

January 18, 2013 | 06:29 PM ET Update

One exec privy to Atlanta's trade posture told me Ferry seems to be in "win now" mode, which suggests he'll try to add an All-Star-caliber talent alongside Smith rather than trade him. CBSSports.com

The Hawks have been fielding calls, but have been reluctant to trade him because they believe Smith's presence in Atlanta could be a powerful lure for Dwight Howard this summer. But with Howard's situation up in the air, the time seems right for the Hawks and Smith to move on. Dallas, Houston, Boston, Milwaukee, Toronto and the Lakers are all potential suitors. The biggest question is: What is the price tag for a mercurial forward who is entering his prime and will be a free agent this summer? ESPN.com

The Grizzlies have recently pulled back a bit on the Gay sweepstakes because they haven't been blown away by what teams are willing to offer in return. But trade offers inevitably get stronger as we get closer to the deadline, and many GMs around the league believe the Grizzlies will eventually get what they want in mid-February. The Wizards, Clippers, Magic and Mavs have all shown interest in Gay. ESPN.com

But virtually every GM in the league believes the Jazz are moving one of their two big men -- either Jefferson or Paul Millsap. Because Millsap is a favorite of the team, Jefferson could be the odd man out. ESPN.com

However, I'm also hearing that Ainge has been quietly exploring other options should his quest to strengthen his team fail. If a team offers significant young assets for Rondo or Paul Pierce, this might be the year the Celtics finally blow things up. ESPN.com

Which means sharing a dressing room with Carmelo Anthony, the Knick forward with whom he had to be separated during and after the Celts' visit to New York earlier this month. But KG said today he doesn’t expect any problems. "From my understanding, me and Melo are fine," said Garnett, who will take on the Knicks next Thursday in Boston. "I don't anticipate any friction. You know, I'm a man; he's a man. I don’t think that situation will boil over into this and spoil the All-Star weekend. I think we're much more professional than that. "But you never know. I'm just speaking from my perspective, but I don’t anticipate that. We're both going there to enjoy the game. That's pretty much what it is." Boston Herald

Rondo was somewhat uneasy about talking about his potential fourth consecutive All-Star game -- and first as a fan-voted starter -- preferring to wait until he got the official call. But he dubbed himself an "entertainer" and said his desire to "put on a show" might have helped his cause with the voting public. Here's one thing he was definitive on: Rondo won't be very social if he lands at this year's mid-February classic. "No, I don’t do much socializing," he said. "If I make it, I hope one of my homeboys makes it, [Atlanta's] Josh Smith. If he makes it, KG makes it, we’ll all [hang out]." Just don't expect any members of the Knicks or Heat to get an invite. Rondo noted on Thursday, "I don’t try to be friends with anyone outside my team." ESPN.com

McGee is averaging 10.1 points and 4.9 rebounds for the well-stocked Nuggets, but remains a reserve despite leading the team in player efficiency rating at 21.6 and signing a four-year, $44 million deal last summer. Karl continues to start Kosta Koufas at center and added that he will continue to do so until McGee proves he deserves more than his current 19 minutes a game. “He’s playing about 20 minutes a game now, and I’d like to get it up to 25. But he’s got to earn that,” Karl said. “And he’s got three guys in Kosta and Kenneth [Faried] and Timo [Mozgov], who I think are NBA players that deserve minutes, too. So I think it’s like a competition. Sometimes I think young players think it’s an entitlement to minutes. There is no entitlement on this team. I mean, Anthony Randolph can play basketball. You earn your minutes. You earn your opportunity and produce wins. As long as he keeps working, he’ll get more minutes.” Washington Post

Karl’s message to McGee is similar to the same one he heard during his nearly four years in Washington. “Probably simple and solid,” Karl said, when asked what he tells McGee most. “I think he tries to be spectacular. Basketball is a game of possession after possession of doing things the right way, doing your job and letting the spectacular. I think JaVale tries to find the spectacular and forces the spectacular when if you just let Andre Miller and Ty [Lawson], let us orchestrate the game, something big time will happen. But I just want him to be more Tim Duncan-like. I tell him I like Tim Duncan. I want Tim Duncan. That’s what I want.” Washington Post

Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic will miss the next seven to 10 days because of badly bruised right quadriceps. Pekovic was injured in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night after a collision with Blake Griffin. Pekovic did not practice on Friday and Timberwolves president David Kahn says he will miss at least a week. Greenwich Time

Pit bull trainer and founder of Villalobos Rescue Center, Tia Torres, visits Memphis to meet up with pit bull lover and Memphis Grizzlies star, Zach Randolph. Together they meet Lucky, who is later nicknamed Z-Bo/Grizzly, after being found in a drainage pipe who Torres brings back to her shelter to find a good home for: beyondthebuzzer.com

January 18, 2013 | 02:24 PM ET Update

Adrian Wojnarowski: Suns front office installed Hunter into organization and see him as future head coach there. Turner is a favorite of owner, Robert Sarver. Twitter @WojYahooNBA

January 18, 2013 | 02:15 PM ET Update

The Suns have parted ways with coach Alvin Gentry after the team posted its worst record for the first half of a season in 25 years. An interim coach was not immediately known, although lead assistant coach Elston Turner would be the next in line and has been a finalist for other league head coaching jobs. The Suns lost at home Thursday night to Milwaukee for the first time in 26 years to fall to 13-28, the franchise’s worst midpoint record since the 1987-88 team went 13-28 coming out of the drug scandal. Gentry, Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver and President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby had a late-night meeting but Gentry was not let go at that time. A decision was made Friday morning. Sarver told USA Today on Dec. 11 that Gentry would be the Suns coach for the entire season. Arizona Republic

But a team source said that has changed in the last week. In fact, Kahn was aggressively working the phone Wednesday and Thursday way more than normal for mid-January and is making some progress on a trade. The source said it's for more of a big guy, not a wing. The most likely player to be sent elsewhere is forward Derrick Williams. Multiple team and league sources say he's being shopped heavily. 1500 ESPN

The Wolves are still figuring out if Memphis' Rudy Gay makes sense. They turned down an offer last week that was said to be a no-brainer call. That doesn't mean though that they've completely ruled out trying to get Gay. The source said if a trade for Gay comes, expect center Nikola Pekovic to go out, likely in a three-team deal. The Wolves won't have Gay and Pekovic together, fearing the salary ramifications starting next year. 1500 ESPN

Dwane Casey said there are no deals currently in the works for the Toronto Raptors, but he expects talks to get more heated as the trade deadline approaches. Casey, who was a guest on the Tim and Sid show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Thursday, told the hosts that he is in constant communication with Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo as well as executive vice-president of basketball operations Ed Stefanski on possible moves. "Bryan and I are talking every day about it (along with) Ed Stefanski," Casey explained. "They are looking at whatever can help our team become better whether it's short term or long term, they're talking about it." SportsNet

Barbosa received the call in mid-December. A few days later, he was on a plane back to his native country of Brazil. He missed four games for personal reasons and joined the Celtics in Sacramento against the Kings. Noticeably tired, he played four minutes on December 30. It was easy to assume Barbosa was jet-lagged from the travel. The reality was, the events that occurred during the trip were the most emotionally draining. "My mother-in-law, she's in a coma," Barbosa told CSNNE.com. "I have to go and try to help, so it's kind of hard. At the same time, I have a job and I have to be here, so I had to come back. The situation is still going on." CSNNE.com

"The streets are really small," he said. "I would walk and I could see guys with guns shooting people or putting fires on the people, all that kind of stuff. I had to (look straight ahead). I couldn't look or say anything or say anything to anybody else or the cops because I could be the next one to be killed." He continued, "When I was in school, I didn't know if I was going to come back to my place alive or if I would leave my place alive because there were people shooting people. It was surprising for me a couple times that nothing happened, no shooting. It could have happened any time." CSNNE.com

The youngest of five children, he was raised under the watchful eyes of his parents and four older siblings. Together, the seven family members slept in one space that could hardly be called a bedroom. "We didn't have beds to sleep on," he said. "It was just blankets and we would sleep on the ground." CSNNE.com

"She said, 'It's either you're going to go to school, be a builder, [or] be a criminal -- you choose which one you want to be and then you let me know,' " he recalled. "Then she put basketball last and I picked basketball. That's when I realized I really needed to work really hard in my life to be somebody. She was proud of me because I could have said basketball but at the same time done other things. But I really focused on basketball and I started to build up a dream, and that's when I became really tough and a man. I had to think old. I had to think big to change in the situation we were in. It was really hard. It was either you're going or you're not going. It was when I had to change everything." CSNNE.com

"I think I would be dead [without basketball]. I'm being realistic," he said. "[My parents' influence] was high, especially making sure I was growing up and being a good man. I definitely wouldn't be here. I had many opportunities to be in drug situations and maybe not be alive, be stealing, shooting people, all that kind of stuff. I had my friends and they're all killed or in jail. So I think the impact that they had in my life was unbelievable. Not only them, but my sisters and my brothers, too." CSNNE.com

While Barbosa began to plan for his new life in Phoenix, his mother headed back to Brazil where she had been able to protect her son all his life. But when she returned, there was no one there to protect her. "My mama got kidnapped," Barbosa said. "When I got drafted, it got really big news in Brazil. When she went back, that was when it happened. She was kidnapped for three days." CSNNE.com

Barbosa said at that time, criminals were targeting the relatives of Brazilian soccer players who had signed contracts in Europe and demanding a ransom. His family kept the news from him as his brother Arturo, a member of the Brazilian Army, worked to get their mother released. "It was a really, really tough situation," said Barbosa. "I didn't have to pay anything but I almost had to because it wasn't easy to find her. But my brother, someway, somehow did, he got her. [They told me on the] last day, when they found her. They tried to hide it from me so I wouldn't be worried. When I found out, I was shocked." CSNNE.com

Stefan Bondy: Joe johnson thinks he deserves an all-star spot: "Definitely, if they're going to keep doubling and tripling me as hard as they doing." Twitter @NYDNInterNets

Thibodeau said Deng "should almost be a lock" for All-Star, said most coaches take team record into consideration. "I think coaches will look at what a guy brings to the team overall," Thibodeau said. "Have they done it consistently? And then some guys it’s a buildup too. I thought two years ago Luol deserved to make it and didn’t but then he made it last year." Sulia

Crawford is averaging 16.7 points off the bench and has the third-highest true shooting percentage of his career (54.6 percent). The top teams in the league often flirt with putting three members of their team in the All-Star Game, and the Clippers currently sit a half game behind the Thunder for the best record in basketball. With Paul and Griffin being voted into the All-Star Game, could Crawford find his way onto what should be a loaded Western Conference team? "Absolutely," Griffin declared. "He's got to be the leading scorer off the bench in the NBA. He's been as big a part of this team as anybody. He should be an All-Star." “I absolutely think he's Sixth Man [of the Year], and he should be an All-Star this year," teammate Chauncey Billups said after the game. "I really do. If you look at the role that he's playing on our team and we're one of the best teams in basketball, so it's not like he's just playing well and it doesn't matter. He's making a huge effect on a good team. CBSSports.com

This has been Crawford's role for a few years now. Ever since going from the Golden State Warriors to the Atlanta Hawks in 2009, he has been coming off the bench to light up the scoreboard. After having a successful two-year run with the Hawks in that role, he moved on to the Portland Trail Blazers and had his worst shooting year in eight seasons. So what was the reason for the bad play in Portland? "I just thought it was a bad fit, honestly." Crawford admitted. "I was playing point guard the whole year, but no excuse; I didn't play well -- no excuse whatsoever. But this year, I came in ready and our team was ready to have a good season." CBSSports.com

Did you find it personally hurtful that the Lakers fired you after five games? Mike Brown: “First of all, I don’t care where you work in or anybody you work for, nobody wants to be let go at any time. Don’t get that wrong. Thing about it is I get paid very good money and part of it is to deal with the public pressure that comes along with the job, in my opinion, and that’s one of them. When I went and told my sons, they were probably more upset than I was and even embarrassed, too, but the things you gotta go through because I am in the public eye, everyone is going to have their opinion on it. People go through this every day. People get their lives altered and ruined or whatever you wanna call it on a daily basis, so I don’t look at myself being any different. Ownership and management felt they wanted to go in another direction, which is their choice. That is their job. They decided to do that and from there, I am able to move to the next thing.” Sports Radio Interviews

Everyone thought Phil Jackson was going to replace you. Were you surprised it wasn’t him? Mike Brown: “I don’t know if they had an opportunity to get Phil, because I wasn’t part of the conversation. [laughs] If they did have an opportunity to get Phil, you would think that would be the direction they would go. He’s a guy that obviously has won more championships than anybody in the history of the game and he’s brought a lot of success to the organization and if you thought they had an opportunity to get that guy … I was just like everybody else. You would think that was the direction they were going to go. I know Mike D’Antoni, never having worked with him. He is a good coach. He’s had success in the past. You understand to a certain degree, because he’s coached Steve Nash, and so the relationship is there and Steve is going to be there for the next three years no matter what. There’s some things with the hiring of Mike that you understand because of the dynamics of the team or the makeup of the team, starting with a guy who’s going to be there for the next three years in Steve Nash.” Sports Radio Interviews

Word is interest in buying the Wolves is as high as ever. One potential buyer is former Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley. Multiple sources insist that he's kicking the tires. Before any transaction occurs, the Target Center renovation plans need to be finalized. The Wolves and Minneapolis officials were scheduled to meet on Wednesday. 1500 ESPN

January 18, 2013 | 09:06 AM ET Update

"I don't think (he'd be ready to play this year)," Ainge said. "I don't know any of that for sure, but I would suspect that anybody that would sign him would have their eyes looking more towards his contribution in the future than now." ESPN.com

As expected, Mike James will sign a second 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks today. The Mavs were convinced they needed to keep James following his solid play after the point guard signed his original 10-day contract with the club on Jan. 8. James, 37, was effective during a Jan. 10 win over Sacramento, and in Wednesday's 105-100 win over Houston he had four of his five assists in the fourth quarter. "He played real solid [Wednesday] night," coach Rick Carlisle said. "He did a lot of good things." Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Wolves formally will sign Gelabale, 29, on Friday after Lazar Hayward's 10-contract expires. "He deserves to be in this league," said Clippers center Ronny Turiaf, who played with Gelabale on the French Olympic team in London last summer. "People are always trying to put other people in boxes. He is a basketball player. He can score. He's going to do whatever he has to do to help the team win. Yes, he can play defense, but he's not just a defender." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

When the Wizards finally made a move for him, Nene was shocked because he had just signed a five-year, $65 million free agent contract with the Nuggets about three months earlier after some angst-filled deliberations with his wife and manager. “It was quiet. Nobody mentioned my name in a trade. Nobody say nothing about a trade. And my agent [Dan Fegan], he’s supposed to know everything. He have no clue,” Nene said with a laugh. “When I signed my contract, I thought I was going to end my career right there. And I thought they were going in the right direction.” Washington Post

Nene recently admitted that he tore the left plantar fascia shortly after re-signing with Denver but tried to play until the problem became unmanageable. His reputation as a malingerer has followed him to Washington, where he has only played 34 of a possible 61 games, mostly because of problems with the same foot. He dismissed assertions that he lacked toughness. “When people don’t know, they create excuse,” Nene said. “That’s how it is, but I don’t worry about that. I know what I’m capable of. . . . It’s a business. Life, it continues. That’s why you take care of the present and future.” Washington Post

I always wanted to see you play Tracy McGrady. Kobe Bryant: I played T-Mac. I cooked him. Roasted him. Wasn’t even close. Ask him, he’ll tell you. When I was about 20, we were in Germany doing some promotional stuff for that other sneaker company and we played basketball every day. We were in the gym all the time. We played three games of one-on-one to 11. I won all three games. One game I won 11-2. After the third game he said he had back spasms and couldn’t play anymore. ESPN.com

With the Heat up 94-90, James took the ball out of the perimeter, motioned for his team to calm down and ended any hopes of a Lakers comeback by nailing a pretty 6-foot, pull-up jumper with 49 seconds left. The Lakers immediately called timeout while their fans said good night by immediately taking off to the exits. "When he has his mind set to do whatever he got his mind set to do, you can't stop him," Jamison said. "He makes the game so much easier. He knows how to put the pressure on the defense as well. During that one stretch in the third quarter going into the fourth, he took over the game and made it look easy." Yahoo! Sports

"He's one of the best we've ever seen," Bryant said about James. "Metta [World Peace] was up for the challenge. But LeBron made some tough shots." Yahoo! Sports

"This man has 30,000 points plus in his career," James said. "You can't stop him from scoring. You got to make it a little tougher, contest his shots. Keep him off the free-throw line. But he's going to get his points." Yahoo! Sports

Kobe's the only guy I can think of to get away w/ using the word "psychopath" & truly mean it as a compliment ... Kobe was asked about the Miami Heat's suffocating defense and gave all the credit to the team president, Pat Riley. "They're very smart," Bryant said of the Miami D. "You guys know Riley. You know what a psychopath he is with numbers and statistics. He plays percentages really well. He knows the high percentage of Steve (Nash) coming off of pick-and-roll and picking teams apart. He knows the high percentage of leaving me on the backside. So, he says, 'We're going to stay home and take our chances with everybody else.'" Sulia

Gasol came off the bench in his first appearance since suffering a concussion on Jan. 6 against the Denver Nuggets. "I've been a starter my entire career. I think this is my first games as a Laker, coming from the bench," said Gasol. "It's not something that I would enjoy I think." Gasol said he understood the circumstances, "coming back from the concussion" against the Heat after almost two weeks off. Los Angeles Times

Would he be open to coming off the bench moving forward? "Probably not," answered Gasol. Additionally the Lakers forward-center expects to be on the floor in the final moments of games. "I would always like to finish games. I think the most determined players, important players finish games," said Gasol after the defeat. "When the games are on the line, you need to have the best players on the floor." Los Angeles Times

Back in a place where he spent nearly 10 years developing from a raw teenager — a relative baby — named Maybyner Hilario into a skilled, dreadlocked big man who now goes by the Brazilian word for baby, Nene couldn't dismiss his return as just another game. “I have a lot of history. I’ve been through a lot of stuff — good stuff, bad stuff — in this city and basically, I think of this city as my mom’s home," Nene said, “Because I grew up here.” Washington Post

Nene was understandably hurt when he got traded to Washington and compared the confusion and disappointment to when the New York Knicks traded him to Denver after taking him eighth overall in the 2002 NBA draft. Nene’s only recollection of Denver at the time was struggling through his workout with the team. “I wasn’t excited. The altitude. I remember when I did the test, I couldn’t breathe, like, ‘How am I going to play over there?’ But God has plan. When he has plan for your life, things can change,” Nene said. “I was scared before, when I got traded. I didn’t know how I was going to be on another side. But I’m fine. The team has been taking care of me. Just need to win. We need to win. That’s the thing. We lost a lot of lot of games that we’re supposed to win, that’s the only frustration.” Washington Post

A British journalist brought a smile to the Knicks’ two stars when he asked a question that has grown stale in the USA: “Whose team is it, yours or Amare’s?’’ “It’s Melo’s team,’’ Stoudemire said. Anthony laughed. “No, It’s Jim Dolan’s team.’’ New York Post

STAT concedes he has not undergone a magical transformation into the extra defensive juggernaut the Knicks need to compensate for the loss of Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace. However, he is feeling more comfortable in an offensive system which no longer singles him out as a primary focus. “It’s coming,” he stated. “It will just take more repetition, more experience, more practice. Offensively I’m definitely improving for sure and my main goal so far this season is to get better defensively so I’ll keep working on that. “The timing’s definitely coming back. I feel just as good as I was before I was out with the injury. As far as timing, as far as explosiveness, I feel healthy and that’s definitely a positive. I think the minutes gradually improving is helping that recovery.” ESPN.com

So All-Star Weekend, Feb. 15-17, will afford him the chance to take a vacation. The Mavericks have a full week between games, although only four days have to be given off to players, as per league guidelines. “Even the first couple years where I wasn’t an All-Star, I had to go shoot 3-pointers in San Francisco and Washington before I was an All-Star for the first time in Philly,” Nowitzki said. “So basically I went ever since I came in the league. “That’s obviously a disappointing streak to end. I had fun representing the Mavs all these years, but it’s a tough year for me with injuries. I guess those four days I’m going to enjoy and get a good amount of work in as well. And be recharged for the second half of the season.” Dallas Morning News

Yet, in an informal poll of seven NBA officials — two general managers, an assistant general manager, two advance scouts and two players — Irving and Holiday received more votes than either Jennings or Ellis. Irving and Holiday were two of four guards chosen in the poll for the Eastern Conference team. The others were Boston’s Rajon Rondo and Miami’s Dwyane Wade, who were chosen as starters in fan voting. Joining the four backcourt players on the Eastern team were eight frontcourt players, including Miami’s LeBron James and New York’s Carmelo Anthony, who were also voted as starters by the fans. Racine Journal-Times

To the one hundredth of one percent of humans who have experienced what it's like to bounce 40 inches-plus in the air with nothing but a pair high tops to get you there, jumping is an artistic expression. "It's an art form, it really is," Robinson says. "A guy like Gerald Green controls his hops and his jumps are for a purpose. Julius Erving had big hands. He was always moving the ball all around; he made it look like magic in the air. Then you have explosive dunkers who jump high and dunk hard like Dominique Wilkins. Me? I'm an energy jumper. My jumping ability is more like an explosive Dennis Rodman, and since I'm shorter, it looks crazy. I'm just a guy out there who's trying to show the world what I can do. Not too many 5-9 guys can dunk like I can." Yahoo! Sports

The phrase Robinson repeats when asked about the key to maximizing your vertical leap is "control your hops." By that, he says he's talking about three things: Timing, control and balance. "There are guys who can jump out of the gym, but they can't control it," he says. "For anyone who wants to dunk, you have to get balanced and go for it. You need to use your core and your legs and have everything work at the right time. So much of dunking comes from your core. I do so many sit-ups and crunches and high knees and running the bleachers in the off-season because lots of jumping comes from ab muscles." Yahoo! Sports

"Nate set a record in the 110-meter hurdles here in Washington when he was in high school. He was ranked top five in the nation," he says. "He was an all-state football player. He could be in the NFL right now. Nate is talented but you still have to work your talent. There's no perfect athlete. Where Nate excels is in his strength to body mass ratio. His strength to body mass ratio is off the charts." Yahoo! Sports

But while the union's numerous business entanglements with Hunter's family members was not even the headline in this exhaustive report, the probe found that the practice extended beyond family members to what it called "cronyism" involving numerous Hunter friends. Honestly, you have to read the report to enjoy the tales of "Uncle Rudy," "Cousin Nate," and various contractors who did union work after allegedly performing personal services to Hunter. At times, the report reads like it has to be fiction, like the script of an Oliver Stone movie. But it's real. CBSSports.com

Beyond that, the report called Hunter to task for questionable decisions that cost NBA players money, even while their average salaries more than doubled under his 16 years of leadership. But one does not equate with, or absolve Hunter of wrongdoing in, the other. Such decisions probed by the law firm's investigators amounted to in some cases tens of thousands of dollars in union funds, hundreds of thousands in others and more than $1 million when it came to unused vacation time that Hunter billed the union for in 2009. The report raised serious concerns about Hunter's at times inaccurate accounting of that time (producing his own handwritten vacation logs as proof), and impugned the process by which it was approved and paid (by an executive committee lacking an independent advisor). CBSSports.com

This was only the tip of the iceberg, the surface story of Hunter's own personal fraternity in which he routinely "suppressed criticism" and "threats to his authority," the report said. Among the most distressing examples, the report says, was the way Hunter and general counsel Gary Hall prevented former NBPA treasurer Pat Garrity from raising questions in an executive committee meeting during 2009 All-Star weekend about the union's dealings with Hunter's family members and also the vacation pay Hunter was requesting. "Had Mr. Hunter allowed Mr. Garrity to explain his concerns to the Executive Committee without interference," the report states, "the Union might have begun to address years earlier many of the issues this report now covers." CBSSports.com

Above all, the report called into question the validity of Hunter's employment contract, stating that "no serious question exists" that Hunter's 2011 contract extension –- worth as much as $18 million -- was not approved by the union's player representatives (one per team), in violation of the NBPA's constitution and bylaws. The report recommended that the executive committee and player reps should decide at All-Star meetings next month whether to ratify Hunter's contract retroactively or permit him to continue as executive director and properly approve a new contract. CBSSports.com

Before the report was even released, Hunter's adversaries in the agent community already were preparing for his ouster, which now seems inevitable. As CBSSports.com reported earlier Thursday, among those contracted by powerful agents seeking a replacement for Hunter was Steve Mills, the former president of Madison Square Garden Sports and a 16-year employee of the NBA. Mills has told associates that he'd be interested in being considered for the position in the event Hunter stepped down, league sources told CBSSports.com. Asked if this report would be the end for Hunter as union chief, one prominent agent responded in a text message, "About time." CBSSports.com

While admitting that there were things he "could have done better," Billy Hunter vowed Thursday to continue in his role as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. After a massive, scathing 469-page report by an independent law firm eviscerated Hunter's actions as head of the players' union, Hunter said Thursday, "I look forward to continuing my work with the NBPA, adopting additional recommendations from the report and opening a new chapter of NBPA governance." Hunter's statement in its entirety: "The NBPA is currently reviewing the full independent special report simultaneous with the public. While I strongly disagree with some of the findings contained in the report, I am pleased it recognized that I have not engaged in criminal acts nor was I involved in misappropriation of union funds. Regarding my contract -- my third in a long tenure of the organization -- it was ratified by the NBPA Executive Committee and signed by President Derek Fisher. I believe the contract and extensions are valid. I am pleased to discuss with the Player Representative board any concerns about my contract. CBSSports.com

Former NBA basketball player Jamal Mashburn has become an investor in Spokane-based FairBridge Hotels International. The company, formed three years ago in Spokane, has developed a network of 24 branded hotels in the United States and Canada. Among other services, the company arranges loans for independent hotel owners to improve their buildings and for rebranding. The amount of Mashburn’s investment was not disclosed, but the company said in a news release that he would join its board of directors. Mashburn, a resident of Miami, has been an active business owner and investor since retiring from the NBA in 2006 due to injuries. Spokesman-Review

Rod Benson: The only time basketball players use the word “steroids” is when making fun of some dude on their team who is just big for no reason. My current teammate, Ira Clark, is pretty jacked, so it’s funny to say things like “lay off the juice, homie!” But I’ve never meant it. My reason is that I have literally never seen PEDs, seen another guy doing them, or heard of anyone doing anything like that in my entire life. Granted, I’m not in the NBA, but I’m still a part of the hoop fraternity, and it’s never come up. I’ve even recently asked numerous other players if they suspect anyone of having used PEDs, and they all say no. I may get a “well that MF-er Dwight is pretty damn big,” but even that is half-hearted. I’d say that at least guarantees that it’s not a steroid culture like people have claimed baseball to be during the home run record chase. HoopsHype

Rod Benson: Further, for the most part you can’t get away with it. Us basketball players are tested and the process sucks. I’ve had tests in both the D-League, which uses the same method as the NBA, and overseas. They all suck. You never quite get used to walking directly off the floor after a game and being ushered into a random bathroom. You (I) almost never have the urge to urinate, and you find yourself standing there stark naked for 25 minutes while some dude stares directly at your genitals while trying to make small talk about how he gave Tim Duncan a test last week. I personally wouldn’t know how to cheat in that situation. The possibility of a whizzonator is completely out the window. HoopsHype

Rod Benson: In certain countries, they give you blood tests, too. And guess what? They’re not just checking for PEDs, they’re checking for HIV’s, player. Every August overseas is a free, nerve-racking, HIV test that you never get the results for. You just get to keep playing if you don’t have it. What’s funny is that in all my years of playing, I’ve only ever heard of guys getting sent home for HIV and THC, but never PED. HoopsHype

Rod Benson: In basketball, the most athletic guys are sometimes the guys you never want to see on the floor when the game counts. The biggest guys are the most awkward, and generally end up in foul trouble. Sure, the appeal to be more athletic exists for all basketball players. But from my experience, some guys don’t even want to lift that hard or change their bodies much, because their games are so fine-tuned. There are a wide range of body types and levels of athleticism in the league, and if a guy is lacking something, he will be more likely to say “that’s not my game,” then he will be to take a PED. Just look at KD. Skinny. Dynamic. Awesome. Proud. Never going to try to body anyone, no matter how many times Skip Bayless says that’s the only thing lacking from his game. I know that there are many types of PEDs that can aid in anything ranging from injury rehab, to overall athleticism. So in theory, players could take something just to recover from a microfracture surgery. It just seems to me that all the basketball players I know don’t think that risk is worth it. HoopsHype

Joe Johnson has a personal reason to push a campaign against blood cancers. His mother has been diagnosed with leukemia and he has joined the campaign to get people to join the blood marrow registry. Johnson has become national spokesman Delete Blood Cancer and starting Friday vs. the Hawks, fans will be able to register at Barclays Center. Between now and the end of the season, the Delete Blood Cancer team will be at the Barclays Center five times to educate and register anyone who is eligible and wants to join the fight. NetsDaily

Maverick’s center Chris Kaman was on 104.1 The Ticket Thursday for his radio show. An owner of firearms, Kaman brought up recent proposals to gun legislation. Here are some highlights from the interview. "They’re trying to ban all this stuff and I just don’t understand it all." "What about people’s rights? At one point we started letting women vote, ok, it changed people’s rights. Now we’re letting gay — we’re letting homosexuals get married. They’re making more rights for more people. So why all of the sudden are we taking away the right for people to own guns?" "Listen, I’m just saying, I’m a big time advocate for gun control, all that. But it’s got to be within reason. You don’t just kill the whole deal." Dallas Morning News

Chris Kaman: "I think it’s important. You can’t just sell anything to anybody. There’s got to be some kind of rules. There’s got to be better background checks. I agree with all that. The magazine thing, I’m OK with them changing the magazines down to even five rounds. But to outrightly just ban the whole setup? You know how many people have assault rifles in this world? It’s unbelievable." Dallas Morning News

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