HoopsHype rumors

January 20, 2013 | 07:36 PM ET Update

The Lakers' 108-103 loss Sunday to the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre featured far too many snapshots of another effort gone astray. "We have too many issues," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. Los Angeles Daily News

The Raptors stormed out to an 11-2 run. When he wasn't barking at officials, D'Antoni nearly burned all of his timesouts after never-ending defensive lapses allowed Toronto to shoot 54.8 percent from the field. Lakers center Dwight Howard picked up one technical late in the first quarter after protesting a no-call after driving on a reverse layup. He then received his second ejection of the season late in the second quarter after Toronto's Alan Anderson locked him up. "They didn't explain," said Howard, whose six technicals this season puts him 10 away from a league suspension. "I didn't do anything to get ejected." Los Angeles Daily News

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant asked that all the criticism go toward him after scoring 26 points on only 10-of-32 shooting. Bryant attributed the poor marksmanship to "heavy legs" after playing 42 minutes. But he vowed he would adjust his game and enhance his post-game treatment entailing ice baths and massage therapy. "This team needs me on both ends of the floor," said Bryant, who has taken a larger defensive role in the past week. "So unless they're going to do something roster-wise, I have to continue to push through it." Does Bryant believe the Lakers' front office needs to make a move? "No," he said. "Listen, if this is what we're rolling with, I can't make excuses. I have to go out there and do my job." Los Angeles Daily News

Ric Bucher: Tough situation in Phoenix for Elston Turner, who the Suns didn't allow out of his contract to join Rick Adelman in Minnesota and now finds himself in limbo with Al Gentry out and Lindsey Hunter taking over. Having been Adelman's righthand man for years at several previous stops, I've long felt Turner could be another Thibodeau -- long-time assistant coach with the IQ to run a team but who never got a crack at a head job because he's all about the work and not the trimmings that can charm an owner. Sulia

Ric Bucher: No telling if Turner or the Suns' other assistant with head-coaching aspirations, Dan Majerle, walk now or later, but based on the dynamics I've heard about in Phoenix, it's hard to imagine them staying beyond their contractual obligations. Sulia

On Sunday morning of his team’s midseason revival interlude, Phoenix Suns general manager Lance Blanks provided the crucial "Amen!" moment. “I think the simple answer is that the organization needed a jolt,” Blanks said. “We needed something that would shock the system.” Fox Sports Arizona

Hunter, in his first season as the team’s director of player development, played in the league for 17 seasons, retired in 2010 and has never been a bench coach on any level. “Being a basketball junkie has prepared me for this,” Hunter said. “My entire life has been surrounded by this game. It never gets old to me.” Fox Sports Arizona

While Hunter spent Sunday morning conducting his first practice (it went swimmingly, by all accounts) on the practice floor at US Airways Center, Turner was in another section of the arena. Majerle wasn’t in the arena, according to reports, and Kokoskov was on the floor working. Blanks said all three were offered the opportunity to remain with the team as assistant coaches, but he left further commenting on the coaching staff to Hunter. “It’s still up in the air,” Hunter said. “I’m not at liberty to speak about it.” Fox Sports Arizona

In the face of a scathing and detailed rebuke of National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter by an internal inquiry, Hunter was not defiant. However, despite the internal review's conclusions that "based on the findings of this report, the NBPA should consider whether Mr. Hunter should remain as the Union's Executive Director," Hunter made clear in his statement that he does not plan to step down any time soon. "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 said in a statement Thursday, the same day the report was released. USA Today Sports

Some powerful player-agents were often unhappy with Hunter during the lockout and he fended them off. This report gives those agents more resolve to replace Hunter. One agent told USA TODAY Sports that many agents will be satisfied as long as Hunter is not involved in the next round of collective bargaining negotiations, which could begin as early the summer of 2017 when either the league or players can opt out of the current CBA. The person requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of Hunter's situation. USA Today Sports

January 20, 2013 | 04:57 PM ET Update

The Clippers reportedly have received multiple calls on the third-year guard's availability. They aren't looking to trade Bledsoe, who is under contract through the 2013-14 season, but that hasn't stopped the inquiries. Bledsoe undoubtedly will hear his name come up in trade rumors leading up to the Feb. 21 trade deadline. "A lot of guys' names will come up, but that's a good thing. That means people want you," Del Negro said. "That's a positive thing." Orange County Register

The Miami Heat have re-signed forward Jarvis Varnado to a second 10-day contract. Varnado, who was signed to a 10-day contract by the Heat on Jan. 9, appeared in two games with Miami, both victories, totaling two points and two blocks in 12 minutes of action while shooting 1-of-2 from the field. RealGM

The Golden State Warriors have re-assigned forward/center Jeremy Tyler to the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, the team announced today. He is slated to join Golden State’s D-League affiliate in time for the team’s home game this evening in Santa Cruz against the Erie BayHawks at Kaiser Permanente Arena (5:00 p.m. tipoff). NBA.com

Landry Fields had a season-high 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Toronto Raptors sent the Los Angeles Lakers to their fifth straight road loss, 108-103 on Sunday. Kobe Bryant scored 26 points and Pau Gasol had 25 for the Lakers, whose road skid is their longest in six years. Dwight Howard was ejected after drawing his second technical foul with 1:18 left in the first half. USA Today Sports

The trouble with picking up a first technical foul is you can get roped into picking up a second technical foul when you get tied up with the 10th man on the other team after a free throw. That's what happened to Dwight Howard in the Sunday matinee between the Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors. Howard picked up one technical 7:17 into the game after he missed a shot inside. After a second quarter free throw attempt by Metta World Peace, Dwight got tangled up with Alan Anderson, exchanged some words, and that was enough for him to receive a second technical and be ejected from the game. CBSSports.com

Orlando Magic center Nik Vucevic, a Montenegro native, is one of Nowitzki’s disciples. “He actually was my favorite player growing up for a while,” Vucevic said after the Magic finished their shootaround at Amway Center. “I really enjoyed watching him. The way he plays, I think he’s the only one that plays that way. I think it’s impossible to stop him. [When] he gets it going, you can’t really stop him because of the way he plays. I look up to him a lot.” Orlando Sentinel

If the Los Angeles Lakers don't make the playoffs, there is some speculation that General Manager Mitch Kupchak could lose his job. He said recently he's not sure they'll be active at the trade deadline. "We don't have many options," Kupchak told the LA Daily News. "It's not like we're going to be active or overly active in the trade market." The Lakers owe $29.85 million toward the luxury tax and Kupchak probably would want to bring back less money if he does make a trade. News-Herald

Which brings us back to Olshey, the man with a silver tongue, sharp eye and iron gut. He admits he misjudged how good the starters were. He acknowledges the bench needs to be upgraded. And, he admits, he probably won’t do anything about it this season. “Right now, this calls for some real patience and diligence. To not throw the baby out with the bath water because of a real successful first half of the season,’’ Olshey said. “I think the mission is still the same: The players we needed to play well are playing well and what we need to do is develop the guys on the bench, preserve our assets and our flexibility so we can go after guys and be really aggressive next summer.’’ Oregonian

January 20, 2013 | 01:14 PM ET Update

Bill Ingram: Houston may have found their big man if the Grizzlies really do decide to trade Zach Randolph. Limited interest in Gay. Twitter @TheRocketGuy

Chris Andersen is getting another chance in the NBA. The Miami Heat have signed Andersen to a 10-day contract. The Heat also brought forward-center Jarvis Varnado back for a second 10-day deal. Andersen worked out for the Heat about two weeks ago and remained in the team's plans. Denver Post

Because of the moves, center Josh Harrellson was not retained after his 10-day contract expired. Also, the Heat announced that center Dexter Pittman again has been recalled from the NBA Development League. The focus Sunday, though, was on Andersen. "It's a great fit for me," Andersen said of being called in to provide rebounding and defense. "It's what I do." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 20, 2013 | 08:49 AM ET Update

Indiana forward David West is another unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Interestingly, the Pacers seem to have no interest in moving him and aren't really taking any calls. Sources say that's because the Pacers feel they have a pretty good shot at retaining West (much like they did when they matched Portland's offer for Roy Hibbert). FOXSports Ohio

The Clippers went 3-0 in their recent stretch without Chris Paul in the lineup at point guard. Naturally, the assumption was Paul's replacement, Eric Bledsoe, passed his test. But was it a test or an audition? The third-year guard reportedly is high on the list of a few teams seeking his services in a trade, but Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said he doesn't believe the talk will become a distraction. "A lot of guys' names will come up, but that's a good thing," Del Negro said Saturday. "That means people want you. That's a positive thing. "There'll be all these rumors out there and things being said, and most of them probably won't be very accurate. As guys' names are out there, we'll discuss things with them if there's anything to it or whatever. I don't see that being an issue for us. We've got pretty good balance on that and obviously, I'm always available." Los Angeles Daily News

When the Lakers (17-22) visit the Toronto Raptors (14-26) today at Air Canada Centre, Nash will face a team he considered a "very, very serious option" as a free agent this offseason. Once the Phoenix Suns informed the 38-year-old point guard they preferred rebuilding over retaining him, Nash chose the Lakers. Even though he might have returned to his Canadian roots by joining the Raptors, Nash felt the Lakers' championship pedigree and proximity to his three children in Phoenix trumped it all. "That means everything to me," Nash said in an interview with this newspaper. "The people who understand get it. Family comes first." Los Angeles Daily News

Although former Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni professed to love European players, sources told The Post he was against bringing in Spanish League point guard Pablo Prigioni the past few years. The Post reported in July the Knicks had Prigioni on their radar for four years. According to multiple sources, Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald and European scout Kevin Wilson wanted to sign Prigioni, but never made an offer because of D’Antoni’s reluctance. Sources said D’Antoni felt Prigioni was a third-stringer and didn’t have the speed to make an NBA rotation. New York Post

Timberwolves forward Mickael Gelabale, signed to a 10-day contract Saturday morning, Jan. 19, had recommendations from fellow French-born NBA players Tony Parker of San Antonio, Nicolas Batum of Portland and Ronny Turiaf of the Los Angeles Clippers. Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said he spoke to Parker before the Wolves' game in San Antonio last Sunday and had someone reach out to Batum to get his opinion. Gelabale played with Parker, Batum and Turiaf on France's national team last summer in the London Olympics. "He was brought to our attention a couple of weeks ago," Kahn said. "Nobody should expect him to come in and score 30 points. That's not the type of player he is. He can do a little of everything." St. Paul Pioneer Press

The NBA fined Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion $25,000 for criticizing the league’s officiating after the team lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, the league announced Saturday. Marion commented about the foul calls after the Mavericks lost 117-114 in overtime to the Thunder on Friday night. Thunder forward Kevin Durant scored a career-high 52 points and went to the free-throw line 21 times in the victory. Durant hit all 21 of his attempts. SI.com

That's the case even more so after Anthony's summer with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and the rest of the players on the gold medal-winning Olympic team. One of them was Chandler, and when it was brought up that there were issues last season, he didn't have much to say other than, "Yeah. Absolutely." But Chandler couldn't say enough about how he and Anthony became close while playing together on the Olympic team and how Anthony has changed. "I think when you play on a team like that, you learn a little better how to lead because it's different when you're playing amongst players who can almost do anything on the basketball floor," Chandler said. "You fall into a position where you do what it takes to win. He just did the same thing. Newsday

The coach changed his tune a bit on Friday when discussing Gasol's role. "My job is to put the best team on the floor," D'Antoni said after admitting that he had not yet decided if Gasol or Clark would start against the Raptors. "If I feel like (starting Gasol is) the best way to go, then we'll go that way. If I don't, it's nothing personal. It's just that I got to do what I think is right. I think every player has to accept what is right, whether they like it or not. So, that's the bottom line. ESPN.com

"Now, does he deserve to start? Yeah, he does. He's been here a long time and probably that will happen, but if it doesn't, then you know what? You got to go on. You got to contribute. You got teammates to think about. You got the Lakers to think about. You got to do whatever is best for the Lakers. Whether we agree or not, then that's something else, we can agree to disagree. My job is to try to get the best team on the floor all the time and make it work. That doesn't mean I'm not including him. I just mean, that's my job." ESPN.com

Smith, in particular, was brutal. Bucks guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis administered the equivalent of a public wedgie on Smith, twice swiping his pass, and once stripping him of his dribble. All three turnovers resulted in fast break layins. “Rough stretch,’’ Smith said after the game. “Really rough stretch. I’ve gotta take care of the ball. I’ve gotta put it behind me.’’ Oregonian

But before McGee gets to the "skill" part, Denver's coaches want him to get the "routine" part down. Karl, who emphasizes that he is impressed with McGee's skill set too, wants him to be more Tim Duncan and less Latrell Sprewell. "He's got to understand that lazy and crazy isn't going to make it work," Karl said. "We want solid and we want fundamental, and we want spectacular but only when it happens, not forcing the action where sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't." Denver Post

The Detroit Pistons had the chance to draft Anthony in 2003 but instead used the second overall pick on Darko Milicic, who was drafted after LeBron James and before Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Milicic won a title as a rookie but played sparingly. He never lived up to his pre-draft hype and the Pistons’ demise was accelerated because of it. “That’s a big what if,” Wallace said of the Pistons not drafting Anthony. “It was possible. They went with who they went with. That’s the best I can say about.” Asked if two or three titles would have been possible had the club selected Anthony second overall, Wallace said: “Hell yeah, with the squad we had. We were running the East for six years. But it just wasn’t in the cards for us.” New York Daily News

“He’s playing as well as any center in the league,” Carlesimo said when asked about Lopez’s play. “I don’t know another center that is playing better than him. There are a couple others that are playing really well, too, but I don’t think there is any center that is playing better than him. He’s done a heck of a job.” SNY Nets

Since moving to Brooklyn, the Nets had conducted all their shootarounds at Barclays Center, using their $1-billion home arena in the mornings to work on their shooting and game plan for that night. But interim coach Carlesimo left the ball in the players' court, giving them the chance to bring about their own change if that's what they desired. So for now , the plan is to hold shootarounds at the Nets' training facility in New Jersey throughout the week and possibly hold them at the arena if they need to before one of their weekend games. "We just kind of talked about it," Johnson said, "and since you really only have two or three guys that live in the city and everybody else lives here in Jersey, this is kind of what they wanted." Newsday

Then there's that thing of having more baskets for the players to shoot at, which Carlesimo prefers. At the arena, they'd just use the main court most of the time because their practice court inside the arena is small and has only two hoops. Over on the Jersey side of the Hudson, they have more room to stretch their legs at their facility. "They had a lot of input into it and guys are going to be divided," Carlesimo said. "I'm sure a couple of the New York guys would rather be in Brooklyn. You can make a case for that too . . . But I like coming here because I like the setting better for getting things done. "You also don't have the other team on your back. If the other team is coming in, you have to be off at a certain time. In here, we do whatever we want. So it's just an easier setup for us." Newsday

The NBA is on to C.J. Wilcox. At least two scouts were in attendance Wednesday to watch him score 25 points against Colorado. During last week's trip to the Bay Area, a dozen scouts saw his 19-point, eight-rebound performance at California and a handful witnessed his 27-point, nine-rebound outing at Stanford. "He's got our attention," said one Western Conference scout. "At the beginning of the year, he was a guy on our list. But there's a lot of guys on our list. "Now he's moved up that list. He's someone that we're taking a hard look at." Seattle Times

About 12 years after leading Canada to the quarterfinals of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Nash became the national team's general manager nine months ago in hopes of increasing the team's international prestige. "I could still be playing for the national team," said Nash, who stopped playing for the national team after 2007. "But the reason I did it early is because I felt like the program needed a change. "Most importantly, there's a bunch of kids I feel I can help." Los Angeles Daily News

According to Canadian basketball's chief executive officer, Wayne Parrish, Nash's arrival improved fundraising efforts that enhanced their operating budget from $300,000 in 2012 to $1 million this year. "I don't think all of that happens unless Steve is asking for it," Triano said. "Not to take away from the people out there to do it, but the fact Steve is on board makes it more enticing." Los Angeles Daily News

After the departure of Alvin Gentry as Suns head coach Friday morning, the Suns front office is using the team’s five-day break to interview internal candidates for the interim coach position. Suns assistant coaches Elston Turner, Igor Kokoskov and Dan Majerle and player development coordinator Lindsey Hunter are believed to be the candidates for the job of running the 13-28 team for the season’s second half. Suns officials have not disclosed information on the process today. Suns players still reported to the arena today to work out with some expressing a desire for Majerle to take the helm. As one of the most popular people in Suns history, Majerle would be a public hit. He has served as an assistant coach since 2008 and was a Philadelphia head coach candidate when Doug Collins was selected. Majerle, a Suns Ring of Honor member, has been the head coach of four NBA Summer League teams for the Suns. Arizona Republic

Former NBA executive Andy Dolich said the owners will weigh Sacramento's past success and loyalty to the NBA against Seattle's ample wealth. The board of governors will insist on seeing revenue projections for the team in its proposed new home. "You have to be pretty specific," said Dolich, who was president of the Vancouver Grizzlies when they moved to Memphis in 2001. "The building, demographics of the marketplace, broadcasting." Dolich said NBA owners want the Kings located in whatever market enhances the overall prosperity of the league – and their own franchises. "The blood of this is green – it's money," he said. Sacramento Bee

Dolich said the NBA doesn't take relocation lightly – "stability is important." But the league is also wary of picking a fight with one of its owners, especially if it could spill into the courts. When the Maloofs went to the board of governors last year to explain why they were abandoning an arena project for downtown Sacramento, they brought with them a lawyer specializing in antitrust cases. Sacramento Bee

As for Seattle, the ownership group led by Chris Hansen has made an offer to the Maloofs, but NBA sources said the amount is short of the reported $525 million. According to Forbes Magazine, the Kings are the 23d most valuable NBA team at $300 million, so it’s highly unlikely the Hansen group would offer nearly twice that. Boston Globe

Whether Hunter remains as executive director will be determined by the powers in the executive committee and Board of Representatives. According to a league source, there are two factions in the union — those who are supportive of and loyal to Hunter, and those who are not and believe he has lost the past two labor negotiations to commissioner David Stern. There are other accusations against Hunter in the report, such as getting paid for an excessive amount of vacation time, mishandling union money with investments, and buying gifts for committee members with union money. In a statement, Hunter said, “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. Boston Globe

In his role as vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, Spurs forward Matt Bonner has been part of the process of reviewing the organization’s business practices, including those of executive director Billy Hunter. Hunter was criticized for poor business practices, including nepotism, in a recent report that was issued by a law firm hired by the union. “We’re in the process of reviewing the report and trying to figure out what our next steps are,” Bonner said. “It’s not up to any one person. We’ve got to collectively figure out what we’re going to do.” San Antonio Express-News

Paul, a graduate of Benedictine High School, has begun a working relationship with Cleveland agent Mark Termini, who will oversee contract negotiations for Paul’s clients. Termini founded Mark Termini Associates Inc. in 1986 and has negotiated more than $400 million in pro sports salaries. He has represented 15 first-round picks in the NBA and served on the Agent Advisory Committee to the National Basketball Players Association for the 1993, 1997 and 2003 NBA collective bargaining negotiations. Morning Journal

In a media gathering two days ago with Karl, KCNC-4's Vic Lombardi asked the coach, "Do you still support him?" "That's a hard question," Karl said, "and a little bit of an unfair question. Do I support him as a person who's done a tremendous job for cancer research and cancer navigation? (Heck) yes, I do. I want Livestrong to survive. I don't know if he's going to be a part of that or not, but I want his mission to continue. And if I can help Livestrong do that, I will do that. I think the scenario you're asking me to define, as a coach in athletics, is sad. But it's the era that we have to live in." Denver Post

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