HoopsHype rumors

February 16, 2013 | 09:52 PM ET Update

The Boston Celtics can discuss a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers or any other NBA team all they want, but Kevin Garnett says it won't matter. Asked Saturday if there was any circumstance or team that could entice him to give up his no-trade clause and leave Boston, Garnett said, "No." Even so, the Clippers still believe they can get Garnett to accept a trade if the Celtics tell him they want to make a deal, a source told Yahoo! Sports. Yahoo! Sports

While there had been no communication between the Clippers' and Celtics' front offices as of two weeks ago regarding a deal that would bring Garnett to the Clippers, a person with knowledge of the situation said Boston has initiated the talks but nothing substantial has come of them. The Clippers, the person said, are considering this possibility and a number of others as the deadline approaches. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the discussions. USA Today Sports

Garnett said on Saturday morning that he has no intentions of waiving his no-trade clause, though the notion of playing for the Clippers could eventually be intriguing to him not only because it's a chance to contend for a title but because he lives in Malibu, Calif. during the offseason. A person with knowledge of Garnett's position said he's unlikely to change that stance on the no-trade clause unless the Celtics trade small forward Paul Pierce and it's made crystal clear that the Celtics as he knows them are done. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his situation. The fact that the Celtics pursued the Clippers is telling, too, as Boston general manager Danny Ainge is clearly contemplating a major move before the deadline. USA Today Sports

Pau Gasol: Sometimes in these moments of anxiety is when you finally know some people. Kobe Bryant needs no introduction. He is one of the best players ever. I want to thank the support I have received from him all these years. I have been five seaons with the Lakers, but in the last two, the most difficult for me, he supported me a lot, both in public and in private. Significantly, the other day he said he missed me. It is significant because he does not suck up to anyone, it's not his style. Other players on the team have been injured, but he just remembered me. Marca.com

With the Rockets’ retooling exceeding his expectations, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said he will not let the contract of general manager Daryl Morey expire after next season. Though he typically has not worked on one contract until the previous deal is complete, Alexander said he intends to re-sign Morey. Houston Chronicle

“His contract is up next year, I believe,” Alexander said. “We’ll re-up him. Daryl knows that I judge him all the time. I’ve told him. He’s not shy about it either. He just knows that’s the way I operate. Why wouldn’t I? The general manager is the one person in your organization you can really judge. He can make good moves or bad moves. This year, I think he’s made three terrific moves.” Alexander said the decision to trade for James Harden, along with the moves to acquire the pieces that set up that deal and free agent additions of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik convinced him to keep Morey beyond his current contract. Houston Chronicle

Kevin Johnson deems Sacramento's arena deal, vetted by NBA, a competitive advantage in effort to keep #SacKings: Does the mayor think Sacramento & Seattle are essentially on the same track as far as their arena projects are concerned? "Absolutely not. Our deal was approved a year ago, No. 1. So that’s one year right there. No. 2, we in our community don’t have lawsuits coming at us and other challenges. And again, I’m not - this has nothing to do with Seattle from my vantage point - but I feel the fact that we have land that we control is another important (point). We have two sites that we’re considering where they’re both controlled either by the city or private. Sulia

February 16, 2013 | 08:24 PM ET Update

At their press conference Saturday night during NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston, NBA Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed that the arenas for both the Nets and Knicks have entered bids for the 2015 All-Star Game. And it's going to come down to one of them. "There are two applications in, one from Brooklyn, and one from (Madison Square) Garden," Stern said. "And I think Commissioner Silver is going to have a lot of fun with those applications. I asked him to send me a postcard to tell me how they go." CBSSports.com

February 16, 2013 | 07:27 PM ET Update

Mark Woods: Adam Silver says D-League "second best league in the world." Hmm. But Says teams will play more international games Twitter @markbritball

Besides being a perennial All-NBA performer for the Atlanta Hawks, Wilkins had several legendary dunk-offs against Michael Jordan on All-Star Weekend, including their 1988 showdown in the old Chicago Stadium. “I did the dunk contest at All-Star Weekend five times. Won it four times and got credit for two. Yes, I’ve heard over the years how I beat him in Chicago and Mike and I have talked about it a lot. He says that if it was in any other arena but Chicago Stadium, it would have turned out differently. I would have won. Back then, we did it for the fans. That’s all that mattered. We did it for the fun and the only way a guy didn’t do it is if he was banged up and couldn’t go. Don’t get me wrong, Michael wanted to win all of them, just like I did. But we always congratulated each other and were glad we did them. I didn’t really care if I got beat by Michael. It was just a joy for both of us, being out there dunking. And when I played against him, I knew that if I didn’t raise my level of play that night, we’d be in big trouble. I had to for Mike. He brought it every night. And that’s what we loved about going at each other. We worked hard and we went at each other every minute of every game. It was about competing on the highest level, on the biggest stage. There will never be another. I don’t care what anybody says. People can build their own name and build their own brand. But Michael Jordan is in a class all by himself." New York Daily News

The tournament was organized by Bigg City Bouree, a company that's trying to standardize the Bourré rules and take the game mainstream in casinos from Las Vegas to Macau, a process that will possibly involve a reality show along the way. (Yep, that sentence exists). The "celebrity" part of the tournament didn't quite materialize Friday, but Antoine Walker and Clipper Darrell were prominently involved, so I call it a success. SB Nation

February 16, 2013 | 06:31 PM ET Update

Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBPA player rep vote on Billy Hunter's ouster was 24-0, sources tell Y! Apparently, six teams weren't represented at meeting. Twitter @WojYahooNBA

The Clippers say they are not calling around the NBA shopping point guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan. But for the second time this month reports have circulated connecting the two Clippers with speculation about a trade involving Boston star Kevin Garnett. Gary Sacks, the Clippers' vice president of basketball operations, didn't mention any names, but said "every team has called me" and that "it's my job to call them back and to listen." "I haven't called anybody to say, 'Hey, we have Eric Bledsoe and would you like him?' Or, 'We have DeAndre Jordan or we have anybody and would you want them?' That's not where I am right now with this team," Sacks said in a phone interview from Houston on Saturday. "That's not where we are." Los Angeles Times

Sacks said other NBA executives believe Chris Paul will sign a five-year, $110-million extension with the Clippers this summer and that's why L.A. might be willing to trade Bledsoe. "You've got the best point guard in the NBA on your team and you've got the best backup who is ready for a bigger role, potentially," Sacks said. "So, of course, they are going to call. But that doesn't mean we should just trade him. That's crazy. "I like our team. I think we have a chance to be in the mix at the end whether we do something or not. Look, I'm not saying that five days from now that we wouldn't change our mind if there is a deal that makes sense for us. I'm never going to say never. But I'd be thrilled if we had the same roster as we move forward into the rest of the season. I like who we are." Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chis Paul was asked on Saturday if his team needed to upgrade their roster for the short term while possibly compromising the long-term outlook. "I don't think we need to (make any trades)," Paul said. USA Today Sports

Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro has a good relationship with team owner Donald Sterling, but he is also a coach in the final year of his contract who has, to this point, been unable to land more security for his future. According to a person with knowledge of his situation, Del Negro's representatives have had ongoing talks with Sterling about a contract extension since training camp, but a new deal has yet to be agreed on. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the talks. USA Today Sports

February 16, 2013 | 05:18 PM ET Update

Despite the stern denials that emerged in the wake of Sporting News' report that the Los Angeles Clippers had approached the Boston Celtics about the possibility of a trade that would bring Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles, the possibility of a deal lives on. More than two weeks ago, the Clippers’ proposal centered around Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler for Garnett, but, as reported by Yahoo! Sports on Friday, the Clippers have upped the deal to include Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan. A source told SN that the original offer was a “starting point,” and the Clippers have always been willing to increase their bid. Sporting News

Randolph said the trade rumors didn't affect him; he understands it's business. But he also made it a point to describe just how much he identifies with blue-collar Memphis and that he'd prefer to stay, long-term. "I love the city of Memphis, the people, the community, giving back, interacting with the kids, and the charity," Randolph said. "I'd like to retire a Grizzly, but, you know, that's my home. I just bought a house there. My daughters go to school (there). I'm always going to be in Memphis if they trade me or if they don't. That's my home." Memphis Commercial Appeal

Sager: I just want to make sure everything's cool with you guys. Garnett: Come on, man. Come on, man. Come on, man. You gonna come in here with that outfit and ask that type question? Sager: Speaking of outfits, why are you tucking in your pants into your socks? Garnett, grabbing Sager's arm: Yo, man, let me check this out. Anthony: What's that, aqua? Sager: Yeah, or turquoise. Garnett: Teal? Turquoise. Let me ask you this: What was your motivation for wearing this today? Sager: To wake up. Garnett, walking away: What kind of answer is that, fool? Sager, turning to Anthony: Well, great to have you and good luck in the second half. Anthony: Always. Thanks a lot, Craig. USA Today Sports

February 16, 2013 | 04:18 PM ET Update

Paul and Griffin were no strangers to the rumors as they sat down next to Garnett. "I think people are just talking," Paul said. "At the end of the day, who wouldn't want to have Kevin Garnett on their team? I talk about that guy all day, every day, his intensity to the game and how he plays the game. He's a special player. That's a guy right there that I looked up to for a long time. Me and Chauncey (Billups) are really close and he and Chauncey are really close and everything I know about him is that he's a very loyal guy." ESPN.com

Paul believes the Clippers have a championship team as they are currently assembled and wants to see the current group, which has been healthy for only four games this season, make a title run together. "Everybody knows I love our team and love the position that we're in right now," Paul said. "We've been playing great basketball. Right now I'm focused on who we have and what we're doing because we're not playing bad ... Whatever we have out there, we're going to fight with. We're like brothers. I love our team and we're moving forward." ESPN.com

In a video by Nike Basketball with former NBA guard Damon Jones acting as interviewer, Bryant responds to Jones’ question about how much time he has left by saying: “Probably two years max. Two years max. Next year might be it. It’s one of those thing I think I’ll wake up and I’ll know. And if it’s it for me that’s it and there’s no looking back.” Dime

After the report the Warriors inquired about Eric Gordon, I checked in with some sources. Here is what I learned... The Warriors like Eric Gordon's talent. What they don't like is his injury history, especially the cartilage damage in his knee, especially already having two injury-prone starters. And they don't like his huge contract, which pays him $29 million the next two seasons with a $15.5 million player option for 2015-16. And they don't like what it would take to get him (probably Klay and Barnes). So, basically, there are no talks for Eric Gordon. At least none with the Warriors involved. At least not now. Sulia

Q: On Michael Jordan’s comments about taking Kobe over LeBron: Bryant: It’s something we all know. In terms of winning championships, it’s the most important thing. That’s what it all comes down to. That’s why we all make sacrifices. That’s what I knew coming into the league. You have to win titles to sit at that same lunch table as Magic (Johnson) and Michael (Jordan) and so forth. LeBron (James) knows that and it’s a challenge he’s willing to accept. Lakers.com

After the Super Bowl was delayed by a 34-minute power outage earlier this month at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the NBA took extra steps to make sure nothing like it occurs during its All-Star Saturday events or Sunday night’s All-Star Game at the Toyota Center. But in case something unforeseen occurs, the NBA and the Toyota Center have put in a number of contingency plans, NBA officials confirmed earlier this week. ``We are prepared with contingency plans for a myriad of potential scenarios,’’ NBA spokesman Tim Frank said. ``In the very unlikely event there is a power outage at the Toyota Center, there is a back-up system that restores power immediately.’’ New Orleans Times-Picayune

Jay Cicero, the CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and the executive director of the Super Bowl XLVII host committee, said they met with NBA officials and they didn’t express a high degree of concern about the possibility of another power outage occurring. But it’s likely the NBA will have contingency plans similar to what they put forth at the Toyota Center this weekend. ``They’ve done enough events and understand that sometimes stuff happens,’’ Cicero said. New Orleans Times-Picayune

February 16, 2013 | 03:28 PM ET Update

Doug Smith: Yes, there has been chatter about Bargnani-Boozer around here but I’m not sure if it’s just people catching up the first one or what. But my information remains as it was a week or so ago, there is no interest in taking on either Boozer or his more-costly contract. Toronto Star

When told that it is up to him because of his no-trade clause, Garnett responded, "OK, then. So what are we talking about?" Garnett said Celtics team president of basketball operations has not approached him recently to discuss any potential trades. He said he has not talked to coach Doc Rivers about any impending trades, either. "Why would I come back and make the provisions to ride with this team to go further, only to set up to go change?" Garnett asked. Boston Globe

The New York Knicks are still open to the possibility of trading second-year guard Iman Shumpert despite coach Mike Woodson’s declaration that the player he still calls “Rook” isn’t going anywhere. SheridanHoops

Still, with a captive NBA TV audience watching on Saturday, Sager had to ask. "In the heat of the regular season, obviously, tempers fly and there's a lot of heated arguments," Sager said. "One time during the year, you and Kevin Garnett got into it. As his teammate right now, have you been sharing lockers, sharing stories, getting along with one another?" Melo immediately turned to call Garnett over. "I just want to make sure everything's cool with you guys," Sager told Garnett. "C'mon, man. C'mon, man. C'mon, man," Garnett replied, taking a long hard look at Sager's predictably garish and colorful outfit. "You gonna come in here with that outfit on and ask that type of question." Yahoo! Sports

As Anthony laughed and Garnett tried to walk away, Sager responded in kind. "Speaking of outfits, why are you tucking in your pants [into your socks]?" he asked. "Man, me tucking in socks is nothing compared to this right here," Garnett answered. "What is this, aqua?" Anthony asked, touching Sager's jacket. "Yeah, or turquoise," Sager responded. "What was the influence today? What was your motivation for wearing this today?" Garnett asked. "To wake up," Sager said, eliciting loud laughter from both Melo and KG. "What kind of answer is that?" Garnett asked. Yahoo! Sports

“There are major concerns (from people close to Shumpert) over how the Knicks are developing him,” a source from another team told SheridanHoops.com, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “They feel he’s being played out of position (at small forward) and his confidence is suffering because of it. They understand the team is having success and it has to be the right deal, but they’d prefer Iman in another situation… And soon.” SheridanHoops

Ken Berger: If tenor of agent meeting today is any indication, it's over for Billy Hunter. "Hunter is done," one person in meeting said. Twitter @KBergCBS

With the proposed sale and relocation of the Kings to Seattle progressing through the NBA's committee process, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has descended on the All-Star city to begin making his final pitch for the team to stay. Johnson arrived in Houston on Friday and immediately embarked on a series of discussions that sources characterized as "positive and productive." Johnson is using his formidable political skills to lobby members of the league hierarchy and owners on a joint committee formed to navigate the Kings issue. CBSSports.com

Johnson traveled to Houston with two members of his arena task force and is attempting to persuade owners to give Sacramento a chance to present a final plan that would include local ownership, investors and an arena funding deal to keep the team in northern California. Johnson's hope is that his past success with brokering an arena deal -- one that the Maloof family agreed to and walked away from -- will compel owners on the committee to give the city a chance to present an alternative to Seattle. Johnson was said to be "encouraged by [the] progress" made Friday in his first full day of meetings, a league source said. CBSSports.com

February 16, 2013 | 01:28 PM ET Update

The players association will meet Saturday afternoon, at which time representatives of every team are expected to voice their vote about whether Hunter should be removed. Hunter insists he has been banned from making a statement to the players at that gathering. “We have been asking for two weeks if we can come. The message from the interim executive committee was you are not coming,” said Michael Carlinsky, one of Hunter’s attorney’s. “On every call I have raised this issue of attending with their lawyers and they have said consistently you can continue assuming you are not coming. How convenient it is for the lawyers now to be suggesting they have not definitely told us one way or other, where for two weeks we’ve been asking. This is just convenience on their side because we understood their message to be you can’t come.” Boston Globe

Several years had passed since Rodney Rogers, a 12-season and seven-team NBA veteran, suffered a devastating injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Life had become a succession of some good — and many not so good — days. So Rogers’ wife, Faye, made a tough-love call. No more pity, Rodney. Get out and do something. “I remember I didn’t want to leave the house,” Rogers said. “She grabbed me and told me I had to make the best of it and get out the message of my life.” New York Post

During All-Star weekend, there’s another game, the Original Legends Classic, featuring former players such as Anthony Avent, a driving force behind the classic, Dominique Wilkins, Steve Francis and Shawn Kemp. It is set for today at the University of Houston’s Hofheinz Pavilion. Part of the proceeds of the game go to Rogers’ foundation and another ex-NBA player’s charity, the Brian Grant Foundation, which battles Parkinson’s Disease, in addition to local charities. (Donations can be made at TheRodneyRogersFoundation.org and Briangrant.org.) Rogers made the 20-hour trip from North Carolina by van to be here because “it’s so important for Rodney to be at the game and let people see him,” his wife said. Rodney and Faye relate to the feelings of other families coping with spinal injuries. They have lived it since the fateful day of Nov. 28, 2008, when Rogers rode his dirt bike at high speed into a curve in North Carolina. The accident left him with a broken neck. New York Post

His NBA career ended after the 2005 season. Late that year, his new life was beginning. He met Faye. They were engaged in April 2008, seven months before the accident. “I fell in love with him that first night, and I’ve been in love with him since,” she recalled. She has provided the strength Rogers required to survive catastrophe. “Some days are good, some days are not good,” Rogers said. “But I survived and I feel blessed. I can’t keep going around being all sad and depressed. I’ve got a loving wife I thank for that. “She has never complained. She’s been there every step of the way, and I love her to death,” Rogers added. “Now I’m trying to get out there more on my own with the help of my nurses.” New York Post

February 16, 2013 | 07:26 AM ET Update

The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers have been discussing a deal to trade forward Kevin Garnett for guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. There are differing factions within the Celtics and Clippers on the prudence of the deal, but the two teams have been in regular contact about the possibility, sources said. Yahoo! Sports

The Clippers had expressed reluctance to several teams about parting with Bledsoe until they were certain that Chris Paul would re-sign this summer to a long-term deal, sources said. The organization has become increasingly confident that Paul will stay, but every franchise decision is made within the context of how it will impact Paul, and how he feels about it. Yahoo! Sports

Sources speculated if Garnett were to agree to a trade, the Celtics would then aggressively attempt to move Pierce before Thursday’s trading deadline. Garnett is in his 18th season and averaging 15.1 points on 50-percent shooting and 7.7 rebounds. He said earlier this week Sunday’s All-Star Game in Houston will be his last. Garnett will start for the Eastern Conference. FOXSports Ohio

Sources suggest James already has the ear of Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving about the potential of teaming up for an entire season (and beyond). James can opt out of his contract in 2014, and Irving will only be 22 years old. Earlier this week, Irving said he hasn’t given the idea of pairing with James much thought. Then, in the next breath, he indicated he can afford it at least a little. “The potential is endless if it ever did happen,” Irving said. “Obviously, I’d be 22 and still a young guy.” FOXSports Ohio

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak denied a CBSSports.com report that the Lakers and Celtics were in preliminary talks to trade Dwight Howard for Rajon Rondo. "I haven't talked to Danny Ainge in weeks," Kupchak told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard. "I made the statement a week or two ago that we're not going to trade Dwight Howard and that hasn't changed." ESPN.com

Randolph was asked if he agreed with team chairman Robert Pera, who this week said his new-look Grizzlies are better equipped for playoff success after a trade that sent Rudy Gay to Toronto. "I definitely do," Randolph said during a media session in a ballroom at the posh Hilton Americas hotel here. "I think once we get our identity together and continue to play, get some more games under our belt as a unit and come together, I think we can surprise a lot of people." Memphis Commercial Appeal

One team that hasn’t been publicly mentioned in the Smith Sweepstakes is Milwaukee, although there are whispers the Bucks are interested. The Bucks are in position to offer the Hawks as good of a deal as anyone for Smith, especially if Jennings or Ellis is involved. Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova, whom the Nets seriously courted during free agency last summer and are still interested in, could also come into play. Racine Journal-Times

I’ve heard for a few weeks now that Boston is salivating over Atlanta forward Josh Smith and would be receptive to unloading Brandon Bass and Jeff Green to obtain him. It’s no secret Brooklyn wouldn’t mind Smith, either. The Nets, some league officials insist, apparently are offering forward Kris Humphries and swingman MarShon Brooks. Racine Journal-Times

Contrary to an ESPN report, the Bucks didn’t make a formal offer to Brandon Jennings while he was negotiating for a contract extension. According to two individuals, Bucks officials and Jennings’ former agent, Bill Duffy, did nothing more than exchange ideas. Racine Journal-Times

With the NBA trading deadline Thursday, the Bucks have been exploring their many options. Some league officials claim the Bucks are willing to deal virtually anyone on their roster, although they say Monta Ellis, who has an opt-out after this season, and center Samuel Dalembert, who has an expiring contract, appear the most likely candidates to be traded. Racine Journal-Times

Does your team need an explosive scorer on the cheap? It appears Wizards SG Jordan Crawford is eminently available now that Bradley Beal is in full bloom and the Wizards' management and coaching staff are looking to finish the season strong (they're 11-8 since John Wall returned) to prove this roster, when healthy, is a playoff-caliber one to owner Ted Leonsis. Crawford can fill up a boxscore -- he averaged 19 points, six assists and five rebounds a game in December when he was playing 35 minutes -- but I can't tell you how many scouts and other basketball heads grind their teeth watching him play, in large degree because of a perceived selfish streak. In any case, he's averaged 12.5 minutes in February so far, even with Beal battling a wrist injury. Sulia

So when the GOAT, Michael Jordan, said he would take Kobe Bryant over LeBron James because "five [rings] is better than one," his teammates have his back. At All-Star media availability, Chris Bosh commented and said that what the best NBA player of all time thinks? Not so important. So that's kind of amazing. Zach Harper of CBSSports.com has more on Bosh's comments. "I think everything is going to get blown up," Bosh said. "Everybody has an opinion. And if he takes a guy, then that's fine. He's entitled to that, but it doesn't really mean much at all." CBSSports.com

Forty-five seconds into one of his least favorite All-Star weekend activities, Tim Duncan’s response was interrupted from afar during a mandatory Friday morning session with reporters peppering him with questions both perceptive and inane. “How are you doing, old man,” former Spurs forward Robert Horry shouted across a hotel ballroom overflowing with inquiring minds. “What’s up?” Duncan shouted back to “Big Shot Rob,” the seven-time NBA champion who helped the Spurs win their third and fourth NBA titles in 2005 and 2007 before retiring in 2008, at age 37, after five seasons in silver and black. “Can you still walk?” Horry said, punctuating the question with a cackle. “A little bit,” Duncan said. “Just a little bit, but I’m still younger than you, buddy.” San Antonio Express-News

Duncan also credits rigorous adherence to a program of healthy eating and offseason conditioning that has made the 36-year-old lighter and quicker and taken some of the strain off the creaky left knee. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has held him out of games in recent seasons, even when healthy, because he wants him at optimal health for the playoffs. “The only thing we really do, and we’ve done it for a lot of years, is we usually sit down and pick a number for (average) minutes,” Popovich explained. “That’s what we try to stick to for the season. We’ve done that with Timmy, Tony (Parker) and Manu (Ginobili). That’s the one thing we do before the season starts, and we see how close we can stay to that. “As far as what games they play and what games they don’t play, that depends a lot on the nicks and bruises they have and how quickly the games are coming. If there are a lot of back-to-backs or four in five nights or seven in nine days, five in eight days, we try to put some money in the bank for later in the season, so to speak.” San Antonio Express-News

For LeBron, however, it’s really not that simple. “[Jordan] said he would take Kobe over me because five rings is better than one,” James said. “At the end of the day, rings don’t always define someone’s career. If that was the case, I would sit up here and say I would take (Bill) Russell over (Michael) Jordan. “But I wouldn’t take Russell over Jordan,” he added. “Russell has 11 rings; Jordan has six. And I wouldn’t take Robert Horry over Kobe. I wouldn’t do it. It’s your own personal opinion. Rings do not define someone’s career. You look at someone like Jud Buechler, who has multiple rings. Charles Barkley does not have one ring. He’s not better than Charles Barkley. Patrick Ewing is one of the greatest of all-time. Reggie Miller is one of the greatest of all-time. Sometimes it’s about the situation you’re in.” HoopsWorld

Therefore, one reporter asked Payton about David Falk's recent criticism that Wall will never be a franchise player. Wizards Extreme caught the exchange on video: "I disagree with that. We talked today, we talked yesterday when I first got here. I told him a lot of things that he needed to work on this summer. He's on board. He's going to be with me. So I don't care about that," Payton said. Then, Payton said something that should resonate with many here. "The guy reminds me of myself. He's very long. He can score. He's got a good knack for the basketball. He just needs somebody that can teach him how to play defense," he said. Bullets Forever

NBA commissioner David Stern said Thursday that despite suggestions to the contrary, Royce White’s recent dispute with the Rockets does not represent the first time the league has been involved with mental health issues. “Of course it’s not. We’ve been dealing with this situation for years,” Stern said during a meeting with local media on the opening day of the NBA Jam Session at the George R. Brown Convention Center. “Does anybody remember (Metta World Peace, the former Ron Artest) thanking his therapist at the Finals when the (2010 Lakers) won the championship? Dealing with mental health issues or problems as part of our player programs’ agenda goes back, well, two decades.” Houston Chronicle

Deron Williams was out of shape before aggravating an ankle injury in the Olympics that has hindered his first season in Brooklyn, USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo told the Daily News. The Nets have maintained their injured point guard’s body is worn down because of nonstop playing over the last two summers — which led to PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections in both ankles this week — but Colangelo indicated Williams needed the work to lose weight. “Deron Williams, for the Olympics, was not in the best shape,” Colangelo told The News on Friday. “He was a little overweight, and I told him that at the time.” New York Daily News

It’s unclear when Williams aggravated his ankle injury at the Olympics, but he left London with his second gold medal while averaging nine points and 4.6 assists and shooting 39%. “I feel close to Deron, both from being from Illinois, and (from when) he was playing at Illinois . . . so I think I know him pretty well,” Colangelo said. “He’s a heck of a player, great guy, made a real contribution to USA Basketball and if he decides that he can’t participate because of his own health conditions, I’ve got a list a mile long of people who want to play. “We take care of our players,” he added. “Nobody is going to get hurt because they play for USA Basketball. Just the opposite.” New York Daily News

Since his ouster in Milwaukee last month, ex-Bucks coach Scott Skiles has been hanging out in Bloomington, Ind., where Indiana University is located. Interestingly, when Skiles became the Bucks coach five years ago, he bought his house from Tom Crean, Indiana’s head coach. Racine Journal-Times

In other matters, Stern said the NBA is awaiting delivery of a proposal from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson to keep the Kings in Sacramento and to build an arena that would forestall the franchise’s proposed move to Seattle. He said he will leave the resolution of that issue to NBA owners but added, “It’s a very good situation to have two world-class cities that would like to have one team that is available.” Houston Chronicle

Saturday afternoon, at the annual NBPA All-Star Weekend meeting, the Paul-Weiss law firm would be available to answer the players’ questions about Hunter, Fisher wrote in an email obtained by Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Daily. The prosecutor will answer questions in defense of the defendant. “I give (Derek) a round of applause for being able to pull off this stunt and pull the wool over everyone’s eyes,” former NBA veteran Maurice Evans told me late Thursday night. “If he wants the union that bad — let him and Ron Klempner and Jamie Wior — they can have it.” FOXSports.com

Evans, 34, was an executive vice president at the NBPA. He was perhaps the player and union rep closest to Hunter during the 2011 lockout and its aftermath. Evans is Hunter’s staunchest defender. After nine NBA seasons — he played last year with the Wizards — the career-long role player couldn’t find a job this season, which meant his role in the union ended. “Without a doubt, I know me not being in the league has something to do with my support of Billy Hunter,” Evans said. “I’m fully comfortable not playing in the NBA ever again.” FOXSports.com

In November of 2011, Fisher threatened to sue me for writing that members of the union confronted him concerning his relationship with Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver. “Of course (the players) have questions about Derek,” Evans said. “But Derek has done a great job of being on the offensive and only pointing the finger at Mr. Hunter. (Derek) has been busy throwing darts and throwing dirt at (Hunter) that nobody has ever taken the time to stop and ask what is Derek’s motive. What really went on in Dallas that he left to go and say now all of sudden he has family issues, he misses his family? “Now all of sudden what really happened? We voted him out 8-0 as president and yet he still stayed on, didn’t blink twice and came back with Paul-Weiss, and now they’re running the union.” FOXSports.com

Lakers forward Metta World Peace spent Friday in Washington D.C. talking with members of Congress about the Mental Health in Schools Act, which would provide funding for more therapy services in schools. The former Ron Artest also did the same thing two years ago. "We need to build confidence in kids and have a stronger support system for them," World Peace said. "It'll make them stronger with education." Los Angeles Daily News

For Bernard King, maybe the sixth time is the charm. The Brooklyn product and former Knick great was revealed as one of 12 finalists for the 2013 Hall of Fame class Friday, joining notables such as Gary Payton, Rick Pitino, Jerry Tarkanian and Tim Hardaway. King, 56, who has been nominated six times, received strong support from Dominique Wilkins — a 2006 inductee — who played against King until King’s retirement in 1993. The 2013 class will be announced at the NCAA Final Four in April. “Is Bernard King a Hall of Famer? He should be a first ballot Hall of Famer,” Wilkins said. “I never feared anybody whenever I played them. Nobody. He’s the only guy that scared the hell out of me. He’s a machine. Here’s a guy he could put 40 in the book and there’s nothing you can do about it. And he did it consistently. He should have already been a Hall of Famer.” New York Daily News

Dominique Wilkins today reflected on his time with USA Basketball: "That was a great time. Dream Team II was unbelievable. That was an unbelievable team and to be with a lot of those guys, who I call characters now, Shaquille was a character. That was an unbelievable team and that was a great time to be a part of USA Basketball, to stand on that podium, to receive those gold medals pretty much killing everybody. There was nobody even close to us in that World Championship series. It was fun." Facebook.com

When the NBA released its rosters for All-Star Weekend's Celebrity Game, one name stood out above all others: Usain Bolt, legendary Jamaican sprinter and six-time Olympic gold medalist. As Kelly Dwyer noted last Friday, Bolt loves to play basketball, even if he's pretty bad at it. In the Celeb Game, we could see one of the world's best athletes in an unfamiliar setting. Bolt was not particularly impressive in his East squad's 58-38 loss, but he did contribute the highlight of the night. In the final minute of the first quarter, the 6-5 Bolt streaked down the court and took a long-range pass. After collecting himself (read: committing and uncalled traveling violation), Bolt rose up and finished a two-handed slam. Check it out in the video above. Yahoo! Sports

Kobe Bryant remained stoic and the reasons went beyond more important matters than the Lakers' loss Thursday to the Clippers. He sounded understandably concerned about Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who has been treated for cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "Out of respect, they obviously don't want us saying too much about it," Bryant said. "But I think we all feel the same as far as his health goes and trying to maintain a positive outlook." Los Angeles Daily News

Buss has owned the Lakers since 1979, when he purchased the team along with the Forum, the NHL's Kings and a 13,000-acre ranch in Kern County for $67.5 million from Jack Kent Cooke. The Lakers have won 10 of their 16 NBA championships under Buss. That's only one shy of the Lakers' rival, the Boston Celtics. "He's extremely, extremely intelligent and extremely patient," Bryant said. "He knows exactly what he wants to do and how he wants to construct a ballclub. He's extremely smart going about it. It's very rare to find that kind of owner who can seemingly not make any mistakes." Los Angeles Daily News

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