HoopsHype rumors

February 1, 2013 | 09:23 PM ET Update

Even before the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers turned into one of the most disappointing teams in the modern history of the NBA, there were questions about just how quickly they'd be able to coalesce into a coherent unit (which, you know, hasn't happened yet). While the biggest issue in Lakers Nation has become the degree to which Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol can coexist, the earliest questions concerned how Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash would play together. Both players were used to handing the ball for long periods of time, and if they were going to be a success then one (or both) would need to change his style of play. Through 46 games, it seems abundantly clear that Nash has had to change far more than Bryant. Aside from a recent stretch in which he's been a stellar facilitator, Kobe has been the ball-dominating scorer he's always been. Nash, on the other hand, has rarely monopolized possessions as he did with the Suns, probing defenses with the dribble and creating passing lanes where none existed. Instead, he's been a secondary part of the offense. Yahoo! Sports

Here we are in February and the Lakers aren't quite sure what to do with Nash. He finished Wednesday night's game with 11 points and just two assists. He missed his only shot attempt in the fourth quarter. Review the film and you'll see that not once did Nash penetrate into the paint with the ball during the final frame. In the new pseudo-triangle offense of the Lakers, Nash had been whittled down to just an anonymous spot-up shooter in the Derek Fisher mold. Even with an uptick in minutes per game, Nash has seen his numbers slide from 12.5 points and 10.7 assists last season to 11.5 points and 7.7 assists this season. That's a big chunk of Nash's offense that has evaporated into thin air. Nash shoots just 8.4 field goal attempts per game, which is on par with Boston Celtics defensive specialist Avery Bradley and half that of Philadelphia 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday. The thing is, Nash's shot is about as automatic as they come. He leads all point guards in true shooting percentage (.626) and is currently the only card-carrying member in the .500 FG/.400 3FG/.900 FT club other than Kevin Durant. The Lakers are essentially turning Ted Williams into a pinch hitter. ESPN.com

Pacers coach Frank Vogel says Danny Granger could be back on the court before the All-Star break in mid-February. Granger has been out all season with a patellar tendinosis in his left knee, but was cleared to participate in full contact practice for the first time Thursday. Vogel says he worked for 20 minutes in half-court sets. In early November, the Pacers said Granger could miss up to three months after getting an injection in his injured knee. Granger has been mostly quiet since the announcement. NBA.com

Glen Davis underwent surgery on the fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot Friday, and Orlando Magic officials said afterward that the procedure was a success. Doctors inserted a screw into Davis' foot to stabilize the bone and promote the healing process. The surgery was performed on an outpatient basis, and Davis was resting at home by Friday afternoon. Orlando Sentinel

The New York Knicks will host 150 children, their families and teachers from Sandy Hook Elementary School on Saturday when they play the Sacramento Kings. Twenty or more children from the Newtown (Conn.) Choir from Sabrinas Encore Products will sing the national anthem before the game, the second time this week the Knicks and children from the devastated community about 90 minutes away will be together. USA Today Sports

A Texas jury has sentenced the 22-year-old son of former NBA player Nick Van Exel to 60 years in prison in the shooting death of a longtime friend. Nickey Maxwell Van Exel received the punishment Friday after his father wept on the witness stand and apologized to the family of Bradley Bassey Eyo. The same jury in Dallas County in North Texas found the younger Van Exel guilty of murder on Thursday. Prosecutors had sought a capital murder conviction. ESPN.com

February 1, 2013 | 08:21 PM ET Update

And still, with Evans appearing to be getting back into pre-injury form, his name continues to generate trade speculation. Evans said he’s heard his name being mentioned around teams like the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, just to name a few. Does he want to be dealt? “Not really,” said Evans. “I’m good. I like playing for the Kings. I’d love to be here.” CSNPhilly.com

He therefore said he regards Calderon as having a greater value than just the expiring contract he brings to Detroit, which frees up another $10.5 million in salary-cap space when the eighth-year guard becomes a free agent after this season. "This is someone that we would have some interest in staying going forward," Dumars said. The last time the Pistons saw Calderon, he was dropping 17 assists -- nine in the first quarter alone -- against just two turnovers during a Raptors win Dec. 19 in Toronto. "When you sit there and you watch a guy drop (17) assists on your team, and you see what it does for their team, you look at that and you envision your team having something like that," Dumars said. Booth Newspapers

The New York Knicks will host 150 children, their families and teachers from Sandy Hook Elementary School on Saturday when they play the Sacramento Kings. Twenty or more children from the Newtown (Conn.) Choir from Sabrinas Encore Products will sing the national anthem before the game, the second time this week the Knicks and children from the devastated community about 90 minutes away will be together. The Knicks organization on Tuesday visited Newtown, where 20 children and six adults were shot and killed at the school in December. Oklahoman

February 1, 2013 | 07:18 PM ET Update

Smith came under fire two weeks ago, as he was suspended one game by the team for conduct detrimental to the team because of an undisclosed incident in practice. Still, he's an All-Star caliber talent who will attract even more interest in the coming weeks (although I'm told the report of Phoenix pursuing Smith is not accurate at this time). Smith let it be known recently that he sees himself as a max player, and that sort of plan isn't likely to mesh with the more economically efficient ways of the new Hawks management under general manager Danny Ferry. USA Today Sports

"We're not ready to cave in yet, are you kidding? It's going to take more than that," Ainge said just before Friday's game with the Magic at TD Garden. "We'll just have to win in a different way. Jared's our best rebounder. We don't have to play that way. Last two games, we played without Jared last game and I think our team looked great. The second half and most of the Miami game, we played smaller ball and were able to win. Against New York, they're a small-ball team, we played small against them, had a win against them in New York. "I think we're going to have to win in a different way without Jared and without Rajon. We'll see what we have." WEEI.com

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki will miss his second consecutive game because of a strained right adductor Friday night against the Phoenix Suns. Nowitzki strained the muscle in his upper leg late in Tuesday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, when he scored 12 of his season-high 26 points in the fourth quarter. He does not believe this injury is related to the arthroscopic surgery on his right knee that caused the 11-time All-Star to miss the first 27 games of the season. "It's just Father Time, bro," Nowitzki told reporters after sitting out Thursday's loss to the Golden State Warriors. "Stuff happens. I never pulled a muscle in my whole career. There's always a first one." ESPN.com

Back on the Pepsi Center practice court on Thursday morning was a familiar face – that of former Nuggets assistant coach Tim Grgurich. And if he hadn’t been gone for so long, it really was as if he never left. He bounced around from player-to-player, chatting, rebounding for free throws, talking to coaches and sometimes just standing off to the side and observing. Nuggets coach George Karl has long tried to get Grgurich back into the organization after he left in 2010. And while this is very temporary – a few games – Karl couldn’t be happier to have the calming influence and basketball smarts of one of his best friends in the business. “He gives me eyes, the pulse of the team,” Karl said. “Someone to give me another opinion on where he thinks we need to go and what steps (to take). There’s still two or three small steps of progression this team needs to make and your time in practices gets shorter. So having him prioritize here in the next week or two is important.” Denver Post

The act of placing my client on administrative leave is not supported in either the constitution or bylaws of the N.B.P.A. Furthermore, Mr. Hunter was not given any opportunity to respond to the Paul, Weiss report prior to the time that a decision was made to place him on administrative leave. Simply said, he was never given an opportunity to defend himself or refute the allegations made in the report. In addition to making governance reforms consistent with the report, Mr. Hunter has spoken to various teams and Player Representatives thus refuting the ridiculous suggestion that he was unresponsive to his membership. We believe his contract is valid and we will soon offer a comprehensive rebuttal and explanation with respect to the allegations mentioned in the letter and report. New York Times

Chris Bosh and Ray Allen in new commercial (VIDEO): “The little one likes to be called Rick Springfield.” Palm Beach Post

February 1, 2013 | 06:15 PM ET Update

I continue to hear there's a split opinion internally about whether Pekovic is worth $12 million a year long-term beginning this summer, when he'll be a restricted free agent. League sources remain confident that, if a Pekovic trade comes, there's a better chance it's this summer in a sign-and-trade. 1500 ESPN

In a Thursday afternoon chat with the team's website, Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn volunteered yet again that point guard Ricky Rubio and forward Kevin Love are untouchable in trade talks. 1500 ESPN

If you believe Toronto general manager Bryan Colangelo, multiple teams are keeping close tabs on Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani. Out since mid-December with a right elbow injury, he's expected back before the trade deadline. While Colangelo could be telling the truth, two league sources said they haven't heard the Wolves attached to such a scenario. One scoffed at the mere thought of Bargnani in Minnesota. The other didn't totally dismiss it. The former 2006 No. 1 overall pick has two years and $23 million left on his contract after this season. 1500 ESPN

The Knicks and Sixers are said to have interest in Wolves forward Lou Amundson. He's the expected odd man out once a roster decision has to be made next week. The best the Wolves can expect in a trade is a heavily protected future second-round pick. 1500 ESPN

The Nets power forward, coming off consecutive seasons averaging at least 10 points and 10 rebounds, is on a short leash under PJ Carlesimo, who said Friday that a glut of frontcourt players – albeit a very flawed collection -- has created a “logjam.” Of course, there's one surefire way to get rid of a logjam: roster moves “It’s not a good situation,” Carlesimo said of his power forwards. “You can’t play through mistakes.” New York Daily News

In today’s NBA, this is not quite as true as it once was, due largely to significant rules changes that make real defense hard to get away with. Still, there are a few guys who still revel in the role of the bad guy, and one of those is Oklahoma City Thunder star Kendrick Perkins. “I love it,” Perkins tells HOOPSWORLD. “Coming into the opposite building, they’re not supposed to like me. That’s not my job, so as long as I’m good with my team and my coaches and what we do at home, I’m straight with all the boo’s and stuff on the road. So I don’t mind instigating a little bit.” HoopsWorld

That doesn’t mean Perkins sees himself as the leader. Like most of the NBA’s instigators, Perkins defers to better players when it comes to leading the team. He has been particularly impressed with the way Kevin Durant, already the NBA’s best scorer, has stepped up his defensive game. “Absolutely. He’s been phenomenal,” says Perkins. “Just the way he’s been carrying himself, the way he’s been in the locker room outside of basketball, he’s been a true leader. Sometimes we have to get on KD about not shooting enough. He’s a special talent; probably one of the best scorers you’ll probably ever watch or see playing the game, seriously.” HoopsWorld

Wade, who has input on whom the NBA selects to take part in the popular events, tried to get James to re-consider his long-standing policy of saying no to the slam dunk contest, which will take place Feb. 16. "I tried to convince LeBron," Wade said Friday before the Heat took on the Indiana Pacers. "On the dunk contest?" James said when Wade asked him. "Oh no, that's out." "I told him I'd throw him a lob and we'll win," Wade said. "He turned me down; I think he got nervous." ESPN.com

The Boston Celtics announced forward Jared Sullinger underwent successful lumbar disc surgery today at the New England Baptist Hospital. Surgery was performed by the medical staff at the New England Baptist Hospital which is under the direction of Celtics Team Physician, Dr. Brian McKeon. Sullinger is expected to be ready in time for training camp for the 2013-14 season. NBA.com

Sullinger's agent, David Falk, said Sullinger is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for next season's training camp. "He had (back) spasms on Wednesday night (in a home game against Sacramento), was in pain and went to the hospital," Falk told USA TODAY Sports by phone. "There were alternatives...He could've tried medication, steroids or cortisone. But he's 20 years old. We all agree that we have to look at this long term and that the benefits of fixing it now and having him come back 100 percent in training camp and being ready to go far outweighed potential short term benefits of trying him to play." USA Today Sports

Mason, among the five committee members who voted to place Hunter on leave, told CBSSports.com's Matt Moore Friday that Hunter is "a man of integrity." "Personally, a lot of respect for Billy," Mason said. "I know he's a man of integrity. I know this is a tough time for our union. We have to get the facts. Obviously, the report came out, and he's on an indefinite leave of absence. We'll get to the bottom of everything and everything will come to light at some point." CBSSports.com

Jared Dudley, the Phoenix Suns' alternate player representative, told CBSSports.com that he's advising teammates and other players to read the report on Hunter and be prepared to take action at All-Star weekend. "I think it's time for a vote," Dudley said. "I think before, there was never a chance. I think because of what's going on, it's time now. It's like when we had to decide do we take the deal during the lockout or not take it? We voted on that and we had options. … I think now it's come to the point where guys, after taking a look at this information, should have an opportunity to vote: in or out." Dudley characterized the report's findings on Hunter as "shady," and said, "Stuff under the rug has been going on." "Any time the president and the union are colliding," Dudley said, "something needs to be checked up." CBSSports.com

The bigger question was how, and by whose motivation, the players would get organized and take the steps Tellem and others have requested. "I feel like guys feel like there is something wrong," Dudley said. "I just don't know if guys know how to take action and what is the process for doing that. ... The people like the Chris Pauls and the [Maurice] Evanses and the [Keyon] Doolings, you felt like they and Billy were so close and tight. If you had a problem, you'd feel like you go to them and then it goes right back to Billy." CBSSports.com

February 1, 2013 | 06:08 PM ET Update

Howard said he has not had any conversations with his agent, Dan Fegan, or other advisors about his future with the Lakers beyond this season or about any desire to be traded. "I'm here to win; I want to win," Howard said. "I want to continue to play basketball. I don't want to talk about being traded. I don't want to talk about anything except what I can do to help this team win." CBSSports.com

"A lot of times last year, stories would come out and I would have no clue what was going on and I'm being talked about like I'm doing all this bad stuff and I'm just sitting at home finding stuff out just like everybody else," Howard told CBSSports.com this week. "I don't want it to be that way. I'm going to enjoy my opportunity here to play, to be back on the court. I'm just going to continue to be who I am and get back to being the player that I am and not let anything take away from who I am throughout all the drama and all that stuff, and still be the same person." CBSSports.com

What if Howard leaves, I asked Bryant this week? "Then he does," Bryant said. "The organization will always figure itself out. It always has." CBSSports.com

From a player who has played every minute of his 17 seasons for the same franchise, but who was never averse to playing the trade-me card, Bryant is not alarmed that Howard hasn't proclaimed his intentions to stay. "He doesn't have to," Bryant said. "It's his right. It also shouldn't be a big deal. As players, you have the liberty to become a free agent. It's just part of what it is. Ever since the LeBron situation or the Dwight situation, every time a player is a free agent it's kind of like this big ordeal that's looming over the organization." CBSSports.com

A league source said that West might be in the process of dumping agent Dan Fegan and that could be complicating him joining the Legends. There was some speculation that another NBA team could be kicking his tires, but that has gone unsubstantiated. Wherever Delonte is and whatever he is doing, he'd be wise to report to a basketball court -- NBA or otherwise -- sooner rather than later. Sulia

After being away from the NBA since 2008, former Timberwolves guard Troy Hudson was trying to make a comeback by playing in the NBA's D-League for the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Things were going relatively well as Hudson averaged 11 points through the team's first 12 games before foot and hip injuries kept him out for a month. He returned to play two games, but then told the team he was finished. Sioux Falls coach Joel Abelson said that Hudson "texted me that he thinks he can still play and wants to still play, but he just wasn’t going to play anymore, He felt his body couldn’t do it.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Aron Baynes earned the first of what will likely be multiple assignments with the Austin Toros on Friday. (AP) Australian center Aron Baynes has been assigned to the Austin Toros of the NBA Developmental League, the Spurs announced Friday. It is the first of what will likely be multiple assignments for Baynes, who has played in two games for the Spurs since signing on Jan. 23 from Union Olimpija in Slovenia. San Antonio Express-News

Jose Calderon becomes the Detroit Pistons' starting point guard as soon as he is acclimated, which primarily involves resolving a work visa issue which will prevent him from playing tonight's 7:30 p.m. game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Calderon reported to the Pistons for today's game-day shootaround but could not participate. He said he hopes to have the visa problem resolved in time for Sunday's home game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Booth Newspapers

"I'll try to help everybody," Calderon said. "That's what I try to do as a point guard. I try to get everybody involved in the game, get them in the right positions, get them involved at the right times. I just need a few practices and games." Calderon is shooting a career-best 43 percent on 3-pointers this year but his forte is playmaking, as his 4.4 assist-to-turnover ratio attests. "I think you've got to be able to make sure your guys get the ball where they're really comfortable getting that ball," Calderon said. "It's a team sport. You can't win by yourself. There are only one or two Kobes and LeBrons. At the end of the day, it's really about team. Everybody has to do the right thing. Booth Newspapers

“I was kind of sad, being eight years in the same place, working with a lot of people all those years, so it’s a sad part there” Calderon told the media at the practice facility this morning. “It’s kind of a weird feeling like I never had before. “But I’m excited. I know Detroit has tried to trade for me awhile, and I’m happy to be in a situation with a team that really wants you. I’m ready to start a new part of my career. I’m really happy.” Detroit Free Press

James and teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all took less than the maximum salary when they signed three years ago. That should enable the Heat to keep them together next season, even with the new tax rules. James doesn't believe they have gotten credit for that decision. "I have not had a full max deal yet in my career -- that's a story untold," James said. "I don't get (the credit) for it. That doesn't matter to me; playing the game is what matters to me. Financially, I'll sacrifice for the team. It shows for some of the top guys, it isn't all about money. That's the genuine side of this, it's about winning. I understand that." ESPN.com

The Heat, however, would be subject to what is known as the "repeater" tax starting in 2014-15 if they keep James, Wade and Bosh together because they would be over the luxury tax for four years in a row. In that case, the Heat would pay a tax rate that is currently more than four times the current dollar-for-dollar rate. James, Wade and Bosh do have opt-out clauses in their contracts in summer 2014, however. "I think teams understand that you need three guys to do big things; the "big three" thing is pretty cool if you can get it," James said. "To keep teams like this together, you may have to take even less because of the new CBA. I guess we'll find out." ESPN.com

Yes, that deserved a suspension — you go at a guy’s neck, you get ejected and suspended for a game. The league officially suspended the Clippers Matt Barnes one game for his flagrant foul II on Gregg Stiemsma of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. Barnes will sit out the Clippers game Friday night against Toronto. The incident happened with 8:26 left in the second quarter. Barnes ran into a screen set by Stiemsma and took offense at… I don’t know what. That looked like a pretty standard NBA high screen. But Barnes went at his neck and the second he did you knew he would get suspended. NBCSports.com

Boston Celtics rookie forward Jared Sullinger will undergo surgery on his injured back and miss the rest of the season, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Sullinger had moved into the Celtics' starting lineup recently, and had become a pivotal part of the team's nucleus. After experiencing pain in the past two weeks, Sullinger had to leave Wednesday night's victory over Sacramento in the first quarter and missed the Celtics' practice on Thursday after the back pain worsened. Yahoo! Sports

Lakers star center Dwight Howard will not play in Friday's game against the Timberwolves and will return to Los Angeles to undergo the increasingly popular platelet-rich plasma therapy on his ailing right shoulder, the team announced. Howard had aggravated the torn labrum in his right shoulder in the Lakers' loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. "He said there was pain in there, so he'll play when there's no pain," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said after shootaround Friday. ESPN.com

One executive, on the growing draft chatter for UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett: "I've had people tell me... he would be their No. 1 pick." There is the obvious disclaimer. Because someone from another front office says something, especially related to the draft, does not make it so. But honesty-based networking does happen. Players are discussed, especially if the conversation involves scouts and execs from teams that won't be picking in a certain range. Sulia

Lance Blanks on working in two different departments within the Spurs organization: “It was a very fun and great learning experience. I was exposed to many different portions of the organization. I worked with very good people while working with the broadcasting department. Dick Stockton mentored me and I was able to call games and watch games from that perspective. R.C. Buford did a great job with the scouting department and the front office. I was in coaching meetings with Coach Pop and that group, just learning from everyone. It was great training and enabled me to move along with my career and be at a place I am now.” NBA.com

It’s not in Brooklyn, but Brooklyn Nets star Deron Williams’ new trophy apartment is just over the Brooklyn Bridge in TriBeCa. Williams has purchased a 6,800-square-foot penthouse loft at the uber-posh 35 North Moore St. for $15.8 million. The six-bedroom, 4 1/2-bathroom residence in the Merchant’s House condo conversion, a building that dates back to 1905, also features a sprawling 3,000 square feet of outdoor space. New York Post

“How often do you get a chance to have the Super Bowl take place in the same city where you live?” said Hornets center/forward Jason Smith, explaining his decision to buy tickets. Smith is joined by Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Robin Lopez, Roger Mason and Greivis Vasquez among Hornets players who bought Super Bowl XLVII tickets. Kick-off in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome – which is literally across Girod Street from the Hornets’ home arena – is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Central, giving players plenty of time to rest after a roughly three-hour flight from Minneapolis. Like several of his teammates, Smith said that his preference would have been to root for the Hornets’ NFL brothers, the New Orleans Saints. With no obvious reason to cheer for either participating team, Hornets players are split evenly between Baltimore and San Francisco. NBA.com

“The characters talk boldly about sex, but their actions are often shy and unsatisfying. The contrast of the generation that’s been taught that pretty much anything goes sexually trying to act cool while struggling with their vulnerabilities is generally fresh and original and insightful about this generation.” That’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Hall of Fame basketball player, reviewing the HBO series “Girls” for The Huffington Post. He doesn’t love the show, but he does appreciate it. His review has a number of interesting observations about the show, and some laughs as well. Perhaps this is not surprising from a guy who was so funny in the 1980 movie “Airplane!” (scene below): New York Times

February 1, 2013 | 01:18 PM ET Update

Adrian Wojnarowski: Billy Hunter's leave of absence is paid, source tells Y! Sports. Twitter @WojYahooNBA

Hunter was notified of the decision Friday morning, sources said. In a memo circulated Friday to players, union president Derek Fisher said: "This organization has been disrupted and we will no longer tolerate it. Immediate action was necessary and taken to protect you." The NBPA also announced that it has formed an interim executive committee and advisory committee "to move the organization forward" in the wake of a damaging report by the independent firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP hired to look into the union's business practices under Hunter's leadership. The interim executive committee will consist of the five active members of the most recent executive board, according to union bylaws. ESPN.com

In a statement released Friday, Fisher said that because of the ongoing investigations being conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. attorney's office, the players wanted the executive committee to take steps to protect them. "Unfortunately, it appears that union management has lost sight of the NBPA's only task, to serve the best interests of their membership. This is the reason I called for a review almost a year ago," Fisher said. "The findings of that review confirm this unfortunate truth and we must now move forward as players. Immediate change is necessary and I, along with the committee members, are committed to driving the process as difficult as it may be." ESPN.com

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have assigned Aron Baynes to the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League. This is Baynes’ first assignment to the Toros since being signed by the Spurs on January 23. He has appeared in two games for the Silver and Black, averaging 3.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 9.5 minutes. NBA.com

Harrington, who will turn 33 later this month, has been steadily increasing the intensity of his workouts in hopes of getting back on the floor as soon as possible for the Magic. He started playing three-on-three pick-up games three weeks ago and he’s since worked his way into practice sessions with the Magic. Harrington said on Friday from Boston that he was unsure about his exact return date, but he’s closer now than he has been at any point. ``I’ve only had a chance to go through two hard practices where I went full speed and I feel good. I feel like I’m really close now,’’ said Harrington, a 15-year NBA veteran. ``I’m just going to keep working and rehabbing. I feel like there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not exactly sure when I’ll get to go out there, but I feel like it should be soon.’’ NBA.com

Al Harrington said he is making progress as he attempts to return from issues in his right knee after a staph infection took hold in the joint last May. “It feels pretty good,” Harrington said after the Magic finished their shootaround at TD Garden this morning. “I’m getting in better shape. My wind is getting better. So I’m thinking now it’s just a matter of time. I’m just trying to get a couple of practices in; our schedule is not allowing that. But I feel good with everything I’m doing so far. “I feel like I’m really close now. I’m just going to keep working, keep rehabbing. I feel like there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not sure exactly when I’ll probably get an opportunity to go out there, but I feel like it should be soon.” Orlando Sentinel

February 1, 2013 | 11:18 AM ET Update

The Wizards team hotel in Memphis is directly across the street from the FedEx Forum, a simple walk that makes boarding a team bus seem unnecessary and pretentious. Teams still take bus rides to the arena, but on Thursday, the Wizards didn’t give the players the option of walking over for practice. Within minutes of departing the hotel, the Wizards players began to understand why they all needed to be on board. After making the initial left toward the arena, the bus diverted and took another left turn to a main street headed elsewhere. “I was like, ‘Where are we going?’ ” said Martell Webster, who was familiar with the drive to the arena. A few minutes later, the Wizards realized that they were headed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where the players would visit with children battling traumatic diseases. Washington Post

“It’s an amazing place. I got chills when the lady was telling us about it,” Garrett Temple said. “To put a smile on some kids faces, going to the hospital and being able to talk to some kids and understand you have a little bit of influence and make their day better than it was, was just a blessing to be able to do that.” Webster has his own foundation to work with inner-city kids and is also a father of three daughters. He said the visit was an invaluable experience. “Every living moment, it should be cherished, because you never know when life could be snatched away. Seeing these kids definitely reminds me of how important it is to love your family and children and to love other children,” he said. “The whole time, all I wanted to do was pick up one of those kids and give them a hug. Going into some of the inpatient rooms, we couldn’t come in and have parents come out with their kids to take pictures with me and the team, was amazing.” Washington Post

February 1, 2013 | 10:51 AM ET Update

While performing a move in the first 20 minutes of the workout, he felt something in his right knee that he has felt far too often. He tweaked it, eliminating any possibility of him returning to action before the All-Star break. “As soon as it happened, in my head, I said 'I quit. I just quit,” an emotional Roy told CSNNW.com. “That was my first thought, that I couldn't do this anymore. CSNNW.com

A Pistons source said the team is open to trying to re-sign Calderon over the summer, adding that the team thinks his playmaking skill would be a major boon to rookie center Andre Drummond. Detroit Free Press

If the Bulls could acquire any player that might be acquired by the trade deadline and make a solid impact to help push the Bulls and Derrick Rose into the playoffs and make them a legitimate contender whom might that player be and who do you think the Bulls would have to give up if anyone in return? Forrest Wagner Sam Smith: LeBron? Durant? Mozgov? I don’t expect the Bulls to make any moves before the trading deadline. NBA.com

Q: I have the feeling this February will be pretty active with trades. If you were in Pat Riley's shoes, would you try to make some moves, or do you think this will be it for the season with maybe a free-agent pickup later? -- Tony, Oceanside, Calif. Ira Winderman: I think the Heat might be proactive at the deadline when it comes to the impending boost in the luxury tax, which could leave Joel Anthony vulnerable, and possibly even Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller, who otherwise almost certainly will be amnestied in the offseason. With Chris Andersen and Jarvis Varnado in place, it leaves Anthony exposed. And with Rashard Lewis playing well of late, it leaves Miller in a tenuous spot. Of course, if the ultimate commitment is to victory instead of payroll, then the Heat rides out the season, places the priority on repeating, and deals with the bookkeeping in the offseason. South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Sam: Well, let’s just say Mirotic is doing OK. His averages are good, but he’s a very young player there and hardly dominant. He has the chance to become a very good player, but is at least two years from whether he’ll come to the NBA. The fact is there aren’t that many great players there, teams have done this for years, and have you forgotten Dalibor Bagaric, Kornel David, Chris Ansret and Dragan Tarlac? And there was an Orlando lottery pick, Fran Vazquez, who never came to the NBA, so there’s risk as well with second round picks having value now the way guys like Chandler Parsons have come on. NBA.com

DJ White said he liked Shanghai and CBA would always be a option of him. If he decides to return to the CBA the next season, Shanghai Sharks will be his first option. hupu.com

Memphis coach Lionel Hollins explaining why the Grizzlies traded away five players, including leading scorer Rudy Gay: “When you have champagne taste, you can't be on a beer budget. It's a small market and I understand the economics of being in a small market. I've been with the Grizzlies for 11 years in Memphis. Rudy Gay has been a big part of our success. I've known him as a kid as a rookie coming in. He's a big part of my success as a coach here and I feel I was a big part of his success and I wish him the best as he moves forward into the second chapter of his career.” Oklahoman

Just 18 games from being the Raptors' all-time leader in games played, it was understandable Jose Calderon would be a little emotional about leaving Toronto, the only NBA franchise he has known. "It's hard," Calderon said after learning he had been traded to the Pistons. "It's been my home for eight years. I've done everything possible for this team. The fans have been with me since Day 1. It's tough." Detroit Free Press

But the numbers tell only part of the Calderon story. There’s a lot more. He became the soul of the Raptors — “the spirit of our program” according to head coach Dwane Casey. “A wonderful human being and a class act through his many years here,” in the words of Bryan Colangelo. The consummate professional, accepting stints on the bench at times behind T.J. Ford, Jarrett Jack, Jerryd Bayless and Kyle Lowry when coaches (and those in the media, this corner included) felt that was the right call. Toronto Sun

For a few days we didn't speak to each other, but the following week I approached Prince after a game to try to get a better understanding of his issue. He told me he had dropped it and there wasn't anything to discuss. "You can ask me some questions, though," he said. I declined, and we slapped hands, signaling we were cool. Detroit Free Press

The Nets power forward, appearing on SiriusXM’s “Off The Dribble,” said he didn’t knock the fact the Heat claimed last season’s title at the end of a lockout shortened season before Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Heat. “I didn’t say it didn’t prove anything,” Evans said. “Those were not my exact words. I said they won a championship in a lockout season. That’s what I said. That was really about it. “I never said they did not prove anything. I just said they won a championship in a lockout season. That was it. I guess people just took it out of proportion, that’s all.” New York Post

Royce White said it doesn't matter if he's 100% comfortable with the agreement he reached with the Houston Rockets regarding concerns for his mental health. What matters to the rookie forward, who has an anxiety disorder, is that "(the Rockets) acknowledged I have a disorder, and it does have to be reasonably accommodated," White told USA TODAY Sports. USA Today Sports

White has become an outspoken and passionate advocate for mental health and the rights of those who suffer. "I have a voice and people know me," White said. "I can reach out to people and make a stink that most people can't." USA Today Sports

Nick Collison sounded like he was practicing his lines in the mirror before defending Westbrook. As soon as he was asked about the incident, he was ready. “We lost a lot of veteran guys here. We lost Derek (Fisher). We lost Nazr (Mohammed) and Royal (Ivey). And the reason we’ve been able to keep up and go — we made a big trade earlier in the year — is because of what Russell and what Kevin have done as leaders. They’ve been great this year. They’ve grown up a lot, their voice with the team and they’ve done it with their play, too. I didn’t see what happened tonight. But I know those guys deserve a lot of credit, Russ in particular. He’s grown up a lot. We’re going to be fine. He’s had a great year.” Oklahoman

After declining to comment following the NBA office's admission that referees blew a critical call against the Mavericks earlier this week, owner Mark Cuban fired a quick jab at officiating Thursday night, and coach Rick Carlisle added his own criticism of late-game officiating in the league. "Cant wait to see what the NBA says about this no call with 2 secs left. #2gamseinarow," Cuban tweeted with seconds remaining in the Mavs' 100-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors. ESPN.com

"I'm disappointed and I'm very concerned," Carlisle said. "Concerned about what's happening at the end of games with the officials. I can only be honest." Moments later, Carlisle added: "I've never been one to make it about the officials. So I don't want to wallow in this too much. But it's a fact that two nights in a row, miscalls have really hurt us, and I'm disappointed by it." ESPN.com

“Yeah, definitely,” Beasley said as to whether Hunter has added confidence in him. “He understands how hard I work, he understands how much I want to be great and how much I want my team to be great. He believes in me. “Even if I try to get my teammates involved, he’s so big on me shooting and not passing up shots so that’s definitely going to help me in the long run,” Beasley explained. “Especially going into next season. That’s what our team needs is for me to score the ball for us to even have a chance to win.” HoopsWorld

"I came to L.A. for this," World Peace told ESPNLA 710 Radio's "Max & Marcellus Show" on Thursday. "I could have went to Memphis or New Orleans where the media market is low and you're not going to get as crucified. "I came here for this. You don't come to L.A. not to want to be crucified when you lose. You come to L.A. for that pressure and that's why we're here. You got to really enjoy it. This is a beautiful time, like I kept telling my teammates. We can't be in a better situation. We can write world history. This is world history that we can write and we have the chance to do it." ESPN.com

"Nothing's changed as far as the way I'm thinking," World Peace said. "I still believe 100 percent that we're the best team. I think the team that we have is very unique. I don't know if there's ever been a team put together like this, first off. Even those old Bulls teams, obviously you had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, but on this team there's like six All-Stars. So, that's not an easy task to coach. "Coach (Mike) Brown tried early on and it's hard to get everybody's egos on one page. So, that's a difficult job. Obviously, when Bernie (Bickerstaff) took over, Bernie just said, 'You guys, go figure it out.' And then when coach (Mike) D'Antoni came in, he had a little bit more structure but he's grabbing, he's getting ahold of it right now as we speak. So, it's not an easy thing to do, to coach these really good players." ESPN.com

Evans speaks somberly about growing up in Chester. He was lacing his black Nike shoes, size 15, when the topic of his childhood came up. Tucked into a corner of the visitors' locker room here at the TD Garden, Evans froze. He kept his head down, staring at his still-untied shoes. His fingers, wrapped around his black laces, stopped moving. He took a breath and scanned the locker room. "It was tough," he said quietly. "I'm glad to have had the opportunity to get out of there. I had to work hard." Philadelphia Inquirer

The Minnesota Timberwolves chose Derrick Williams No. 2 before last season. In December, the coaching staff told him he had a choice to make. He could throw himself into extra work with assistant Shawn Respert and the rest of the staff to try and establish himself in the NBA. Or he could keep doing what he was doing and join that long list of ''Terrible Twos'' who never panned out in this league. ''I don't want to say any names, but there have been a lot who haven't worked out,'' Williams said. ''A couple have sky-rocketed and a couple have been pretty decent. My whole life I never wanted to be a decent player.'' Yahoo! Sports

The Wolves assigned Respert to work with Williams every day after practice, both in the film room and on the court. But the most important challenge for Respert was reaching Williams on an emotional level to spur the kind of growth in his mental toughness that the team saw as the primary problem getting in the way of his development. ''Even watching him in timeouts, he was so frustrated, like a young man who was insecure about 'Is this where he is supposed to be?''' Respert said. ''I saw him get so frustrated where he started to tear up and his eyes started to water because he has no answer to fix this problem that he has.'' Yahoo! Sports

Stoudemire said it didn't take any soul-searching to embrace his new role. "I didn't really put much thought into it at all," he said. "I had confidence in coach Woodson to know what it takes for this team to win. These guys study the game twice as much as any player does, and he understands what it takes for us to be successful. Once the coaching staff presented me with the opportunity to better the team, I was totally open to it." Newsday

On the final possession of the first half, Carter missed a jumper that was rebounded by teammate Elton Brand to give the Mavericks the last shot. Carter appeared to come down in pain, stayed in the corner, and eventually waved off point guard Darren Collison so that he could be considered out of the play. Rookie wing Harrison Barnes then sloughed off Carter to help in defending the Mavs' able-bodied players. Except it turned out that Carter was only faking out the rookie, and he cut to the hoop as soon as Collison passed to Brand in the high post. Carter completed an easy dunk to cut the halftime deficit to 55-53, and Barnes surely learned never to trust him again. In fairness to Carter, he did come down from the rim a bit gingerly, so it's possible that he was feeling some discomfort. Either way, though, he greatly exaggerated the pain to fool Barnes, and it worked. Yahoo! Sports

James Jones talks more trash than anyone on the Heat, but not to opposing players. Jones lets his teammates have it nearly every day the Heat plays a game. Ever since the Heat’s first road game of the season, a small group of the team’s reserves have played a series of three-on-three before games. For the most part, the teams remain the same for every pregame session: veterans against nonveterans. It’s during these games that Jones lets the young bucks have it. Miami Herald

Brook Lopez sat down with Alyonka Larionov of Barclays Center TV after Wednesday's game against the Miami Heat to talk about his being selected to the 2013 All-Star team. Naturally, Lopez credits his success to his teammates, but is genuinely excited to have been selected by commissioner David Stern. NetsDaily

“More than ever, I have different cultures around me,” (Roy) said referring to himself, Dante Cunningham and Derrick Williams being the only full-time players on the roster who are black. “I'm used to playing on a team with all black guys so things were always pretty similar in the locker room. But now I'm in the locker room joking with Pek (Nikola Pekovic) in the weight room and he's playing Serbian music and I'm like, 'Dude, turn this off.' So me and him over there compromising over that kind of stuff. I'm like, 'Look, you get the first 20 minutes and I'll get the last 20 minutes,'” Roy said, laughing. CSNNW.com

So that's where Roy is at this point. His body won't allow him to play the game that he loves. “My biggest struggle through this whole knee process is that I probably can play just games,” Roy said. “But when a guy just plays games, his jumper is not right and his timing is off. I've always been able to be good because I prepared. If I struggle in a game, I can't go work on it tomorrow. I can't improve like other players can. “Other players can get in the gym the next day and work on what they want to work on to get better. I haven't been able to do that the last couple of years. I've been going out there the last couple of years just willing it on emotions. So that's where my frustration is.” CSNNW.com

But there is a date he's shooting for: Mar. 2, when the Timberwolves make their final appearance in the Rose Garden this season. “I'll say it's a 50-50 chance I'll play that game,” he said with a smile. “If I'm in decent physical condition, then I think I'll play that game. Right now I'm not close enough to getting back on the floor to say that's a possibility. As much as I want to play that game in the Rose Garden, really I just want to play on that floor again. I can't do it as a Blazer, but I feel like if I am able to get on that court again and play in front of those fans, that would be pretty special for me.” CSNNW.com

It took some time for Roy to find himself beyond playing basketball, but he says that thanks to prayer, family and friends, he has received a new calling. Post-playing career, I now introduce you to Coach Roy. “Now, I think there's something in me that I can offer to basketball. There's a message that I can bring to basketball. I wasn't the fastest, the highest jumper, but my knowledge of the game helped me be an effective player at a high level,” Roy said. “Coaching at the NBA level is where I see myself. If this season is it for me, I'm not staying away from basketball. I would want to get in as soon as possible.” CSNNW.com

On the Trail Blazers' bench? “Maybe one day,” he said. “My knowledge of the game and understanding of chemistry, I think that stuff, I can offer. These young kids today are good, but they lack those things.” Roy has been talking to Lorenzo Romar, his former college coach at the University of Washington, asking him what it feels like to get a win as a coach oppose to playing? Roy says Romar's response was 'you won't know until you give it a try.' CSNNW.com

Granted, the term "throwback uniform" tends to be a bit of overstatement for a team only now in its 25th season, but the Heat are going retro on Friday night in Indiana. As part of the NBA Hardwood Classics Nights program, the Heat are one of seven teams that will wear retro uniforms this season, including against the Pacers, in the game on both Sun Sports and ESPN. The classic uniforms will be worn periodically from Jan. 30 through March 30. South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Mark Cuban: CWebb = great guy. Horrible analyst. Got nothing to add at all. You can tell he does no homework before the game Twitter

In the tidal wave of Super Bowl media coverage, of course we're going to have people asking who Beyoncé identifies with most in the sports world. In fact, I'm surprised it took this long. From the video interview with ESPN: I definitely identify with Kobe Bryant, as far as his work ethic. I can always see that he's focused. He works harder than I could ever imagine. It's just like he's in the zone. He's just undeniable as far as his talent and his gift. SB Nation

A North Texas jury has found the 22-year-old son of former NBA player Nick Van Exel guilty of murder in the shooting death of a longtime friend. A Dallas County jury deliberated about 2½ hours before returning its guilty verdict Thursday against Nickey Maxwell Van Exel. The penalty phase begins Friday. Prosecutors had sought a capital murder conviction. They say Van Exel fatally shot Bradley Bassey Eyo in December 2010 and dumped his body at Lake Ray Hubbard on the eastern outskirts of Dallas. Van Exel's attorney had said the two were playing with a shotgun at Van Exel's Garland home, and that Van Exel didn't know the gun was loaded. Washington Examiner

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