HoopsHype rumors

February 21, 2013 | 09:04 PM ET Update

Briefly considering trying to reach a buyout with the Suns so he could join a contender in the dusk of 17-year-career, O'Neal told USA TODAY Sports in a text message that he will not seek a buyout. O'Neal was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in January, and his 13-year-old daughter, Asjia, will undergo heart surgery in early March. "I have a tough situation coming up with my daughter," O'Neal told The Arizona Republic last week. "She's having heart surgery in Boston on March 5. She has a leaky valve that has to be corrected because her body is having to work too hard. She is having chest pains. "For me, it's one thing after another. ... Every time I think about basketball, real life tends to talk to me a little bit. My focus is to finish my job and what I signed up to do." USA Today Sports

“Joakim Noah is a great player. Luol Deng is a great player. But you need more than that. You have to put together pieces to your main piece. The players can only do so much. It’s up to the organization to make them better. … It’s frustrating to see my brother play his heart and soul out for the team and them not put anything around him.” Coincidentally, the Rose-less Bulls host the Heat tonight at the United Center after already beating them in their first meeting of the season, 96-89, back on Jan. 4. “We’ve had great communication with Derrick, and we’ve never heard anything like that from Derrick,’’ Paxson said prior to the meeting with Derrick. “And that’s all that matters. Chicago Sun-Times

As far as what Thibodeau felt about Reggie’s comments, he dismissed them as one man’s opinion. “Obviously Reggie and Derrick are very close, and we share the same concerns about Derrick’s health,’’ Thibodeau said. “So that’s not anything new, and Reggie is entitled to his own opinion. “To me it’s not a big deal. Hey, we all want the same things. We want Derrick’s health and we’re trying to pursue winning a championship, so we share that in common. That’s his opinion. He speaks for himself, not a big deal.’’ Chicago Sun-Times

Deonte Burton’s two predecessors as the Wolf Pack’s point guard both left school after their junior seasons. Burton could follow suit. For the first time this season, the talented 21-year-old spoke this week about his future at Nevada and said there’s a chance he turns pro after this season, following in the footsteps of Armon Johnson and Ramon Sessions, who both entered the draft after their junior seasons to mixed results. “It’s definitely a possibility,” Burton said on Monday of potentially turning pro after the season. “I want to keep all of my options open. But right now, I’m just focused on this season and finishing strong.” Reno Gazette-Journal

February 21, 2013 | 07:04 PM ET Update

Now they’ll turn their focus to free-agent center Greg Oden, who could sign a deal within the next week even though he isn’t expected to play until next season. Cavs General Manager Chris Grant confirmed the team’s interest in Oden and a league source confirmed the team is expected to offer him a two-year deal with a team option for a third year. Then it’s up to Oden and his agent, Mike Conley, to decide if he wants to sign this season or wait until the summer when they can perhaps drive up the bidding since more teams will have cap space. Akron Beacon Journal

Marc Berman: Was told yesterday Kenyon Martin has been working out diligently. Hadn't stopped waiting for a call. Twitter @NYPost_Berman

In the hours and days leading up to today’s NBA trade deadline, J.J. Redick attempted to prepare himself for a possible trade from the Orlando Magic. He thought he was ready. He wasn’t. At least not completely. “I think you can prepare yourself as much as you think you can,” Redick told the Orlando Sentinel in a phone interview after he received the news. “But when the moment comes, there’s certainly an initial shock, and I was shocked. The most difficult part was definitely saying bye to everybody, people that I’ve spent a lot of time with over the last seven years and built relationships with and built friendships with. That was difficult. “There’s no really easy way to handle it,” he added later. “Trading is tough, tough. It’s my first time experiencing it: It’s tough.” Orlando Sentinel

February 21, 2013 | 05:41 PM ET Update

On Thursday, Smith said Atlanta will be on his list of teams he considers when he becomes a free agent. However, all politics is local. The Atlanta native does not want to irritate the home fans, but a person familiar with Smith's plans told USA TODAY Sports that it is "highly unlikely" that Smith re-signs with Atlanta. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the private nature of the negotiations. USA Today Sports

"What have you pieced together? Have you made any moves? Have you made any trades to get better? You know all roads to the championship lead through Miami," Reggie Rose told ESPNChicago.com. "What pieces have you put together for the physical playoffs? "Joakim Noah is a great player. Luol Deng is a great player. But you need more than that. You have to put together pieces to your main piece. The players can only do so much. It's up to the organization to make them better." ESPN.com

Reggie Rose believes Derrick Rose is close to playing this season, but he has to be ready in all facets before that happens. "We can't give a timetable on it," Reggie Rose said. "It's up to Derrick. ... It's a possibility [he could miss the season]. It's about Derrick's career. If he plays in the first game and aggravates the injury, what are they going to say about him coming back too soon? "This isn't a quick decision. This is a career decision. It's not about just making the playoffs. It's about my little brother's career. He has to be ready physically and mentally. I want him to be in a position not to fail and let everyone down." ESPN.com

February 21, 2013 | 04:41 PM ET Update
February 21, 2013 | 04:20 PM ET Update

Source: Atlanta Hawks blow up deal at last minute that would've sent Josh Smith to Milwaukee. Hawks would've re-ceived Ekpe Udoh, Luc Mbah-Moute, Beno Udrih and a protected No. 1 pick. Can't imagine the Bucks are happy having invested so much time in trying to make it happen. Leaves big question now if Hawks can do better this summer. Sulia

Al Iannazzone: Knicks are sending Brewer to OKC for a pick. It clears a roster spot in case the Knicks want to sign someone. Twitter @Al_Iannazzone

Sam Amick: The Magic are expected to waive Hakim Warrick, who they received in the deal with Charlotte that sent Josh McRoberts to Bobcats. Twitter @sam_amick

The Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to a deal that would land Eric Maynor in Portland in exchange for the draft rights of Giorgio Printezis, Yahoo! Sports reported. The Trail Blazers have 15 guaranteed contracts and in order to make room on the roster for Maynor, CSNNW.com has learned that Ronnie Price will be the player waived. CSNNW.com

Anthony Morrow: Looks like I'm officially a Mav! Thank you for all the welcome tweets! Can't wait to feel that AA center energy soon!!!! Twitter @MrAnthonyMorrow

February 21, 2013 | 03:23 PM ET Update

With the prospect of losing guard J.J. Redick to free agency this summer the Orlando Magic traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The Bucks sent the Magic Doron Lamb, Tobias Harris and Beno Udrih for Redick. Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith were sent to Milwaukee as part of deal for Redick. Yahoo! Sports

Alex Kennedy: Text from one Western Conference player: "That's it?" Yes. Unfortunately, that's it. Not a very exciting trade deadline. Twitter @AlexKennedyNBA

February 21, 2013 | 03:16 PM ET Update

Adrian Wojnarowski: The Redick deal is part of a three-way trade with Charlotte. As @Marc J. Spears reported, Hakim Warrick goes to Magic for Josh McRoberts. Twitter @WojYahooNBA

February 21, 2013 | 03:10 PM ET Update

Adrian Wojnarowski: Josh Smith will stay in Atlanta, league source tells Y! Sports. No deal. Twitter @WojYahooNBA

February 21, 2013 | 02:57 PM ET Update

Set to host his own event next month at SXSW, it only makes sense that renowned music head Matt Bonner would enlist the services of teammate/rapper Stephen “Stak 5″ Jackson to fill out the set list. Jackson will be one of six acts performing at Bonner’s Sneakers and Speakers extravaganza, to be held March 13 from noon to 6 p.m. at Club Deville. The event will serve as a fundraiser to help launch the nonprofit organization Bonner recently founded with his brother Luke, the Rock On Foundation. San Antonio Express-News

February 21, 2013 | 02:52 PM ET Update

Brooklyn or bust! ‘ That’s what J.J. Hickson was telling the Portland Trail Blazers today in the hours leading up to the NBA trade deadline, league sources told SheridanHoops.com. Hickson made it known that he would only waive his trade veto if he was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets, but a trade between the teams [ SheridanHoops

February 21, 2013 | 02:42 PM ET Update

Now with the Celtics, Lee could be heading to Minnesota, where he would be reunited with one of his former coaches, Rick Adelman, if the T-wolves and Celtics can agree on a deal by today's 3 o'clock NBA trading deadline. Sources say the Celtics could get Brandon Roy from the T-wolves, whose season has fallen apart after another injury to All-Star forward Kevin Love. New York Daily News

Sam Amick: Been told Brooklyn is not currently progressing with anything. Mavs waiting on Bucks/J-Smith situation to try to try & land Beno Udrih. Twitter @sam_amick

February 21, 2013 | 02:27 PM ET Update

Arash Markazi: Haddadi had hoped a trade to Phoenix would work. He'll have to hit up the Persian Room in Scottsdale when he gets there. Twitter @ArashMarkazi

Evan Dunlap: Hearing that right now the Magic are "quiet." Situation is fluid and it could change. But for the moment, that's the word. Twitter @BQRMagic

Joan Nielsen: Terry Porter said that he expects Adelman on the trip, just uncertain whether he'd be flying with the team to OKC or going later on his own. Twitter @JoanNiesen

February 21, 2013 | 02:07 PM ET Update
February 21, 2013 | 02:01 PM ET Update

Say what you want about D'Antoni, but at least he has a way of saying things that are brutally honest sometimes ... "If he goes one-on-one and tries to play an 'And-1' kind of game, then he is very normal or bad," Mike D'Antoni said, describing Steve Nash on Wednesday. The coach wasn't taking a dig at his point guard. He was stating what he believes to be fact. But he praised Nash in the next breath. "I don't think he's lost anything ... I know it's easy to say he's 39 and whatever; I don't see it. I just think we haven't played well and it's hurt his game." Sulia

Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo admitted that Deron Williams is going to be playing at less than full strength for the rest of the season. "He's not gonna be 100 percent," Carlesimo said during a Thursday interview on ESPN New York 98.7 with Mike Lupica. "The reality is he's not gonna be 100 percent this year, and I think that's the thing that a lot of people are having difficult grasping. "He's playing dinged up. His ankles are not good at all. And that wrist has been a problem for him all year." ESPN.com

February 21, 2013 | 01:43 PM ET Update

That’s why San Antonio is trying to move him before the deadline, even if it’s just for a draft pick. While no clear suitor has emerged yet, San Antonio seems confident that they can find a taker for Blair and it could be the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks are, of course, focused on their Josh Smith plans. However, Blair landing in Atlanta after a Smith deal is complete is a possibility, according to league sources. HoopsWorld

Smith, the subject of so much trade speculation as he will become an unrestricted free agent following the season, has been peppered with questions about his future of late. He is eager for it all to be over. The forward admitted to trouble sleeping Wednesday night on the eve of the deadline. “Compounded with the trade rumors and the loss (to the Heat Wednesday),” Smith said. “It was a very disappointing loss. I went to sleep kind of late last night. It was definitely hard to sleep.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hugh Hefner joined ESPN Los Angeles with Max and Marcellus to discuss his relationship with Dr. Jerry Buss, whether or not Buss was a playboy, seeing the legendary Lakers owner at a lot of playboy parties and the personality of Buss. What can you tell us about your relationship with Dr. Jerry Buss and who he was to you? “He was a very dear and very special man. He had many, many friends here and around the country and abroad. I was caught before this interview trying to remember exactly how our paths initially crossed and I suppose it was probably Playboy parties. That’s where most of my social gatherings are connected to at the mansion. I was also repaid the pleasure by going to a number of Lakers games over the years as a guest of Jerry’s and sitting in his box. To say that he will be missed is really an understatement — as a human being, but also what he brought to the game. He brought in a very unique way a bit of Hollywood to the basketball game and as I say he will be truly missed.” Sports Radio Interviews

From being around Dr. Jerry Buss did you ever get a sense of where his business drive came from? “Not really from that sense, but that is why we probably were friends. The common connection for us was not publishing and it was not sports. It was not basketball. The common connection was the socializing, and as I said before, I don’t remember how exactly we met, but I think it was probably at a Playboy party and we threw a lot of them and he was at a lot of them.” Sports Radio Interviews

February 21, 2013 | 01:22 PM ET Update

Ken Berger: A person involved in prior iteration of Clippers-Garnett talks said he's detected no renewed push from Clips to revisit deal. Twitter @KBergCBS

Ken Berger: League source involved in J.J. Redick talks now believes there's a strong chance Redick stays in Orlando beyond deadline. Twitter @KBergCBS

Early Tuesday morning, Metta World Peace was awakened to a bizarre scenario. "I'm in my underwear and my son says, 'Hey dad, there's police at the door,'" World Peace said in an interview with The Times after the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics on Wednesday evening. "So I jump out, I'm nervous. I see these police with rifles and scopes. "I'm like, 'What happened?' I don't know what's going on at this point. 'What happened, what happened?' And then the police was like, 'The building is being taken over by guys downstairs.'" Los Angeles Times

The men explained the situation to the police, who then knocked on World Peace's door to verify their story. "At first when I seen the police, I was like, 'What the hell is going on?'' World Peace said. "I just got finished watching 'Zero Dark Thirty' or whatever that movie is. I'm like, 'I'm dreaming, I'm dreaming. Is there a terrorist in the building? Do y'all need my help?'" After a brief conversation with the police, World Peace put on his Cookie Monster pajamas and accompanied them outside. World Peace was shocked by what he saw. "Like 20 cops' cars are outside, like 10 more police," he said. "My brother had his hands behind his back and [there were] helicopters. The whole Wilshire [Blvd.] was shut down. The street shut down. No cars nowhere." Los Angeles Times

February 21, 2013 | 01:09 PM ET Update
February 21, 2013 | 12:59 PM ET Update

Shams Charania: Raptors appear close to landing Sebastian Telfair, who'll provide depth but isn't expected to immediately supplant John Lucas III as backup. Twitter @ShamsCharania

Adrian Wojnarowski: So far, Spurs don't have a deal in place for expiring contract of DeJuan Blair, league sources tell Y! Trade deadline is 3 PM ET. Twitter @WojYahooNBA

Sam Amick: In case there was any confusion from before (when all I did was spark confusion), the Rockets are in love with Thomas Robinson. Twitter @sam_amick

This is how one long-time NBA scout summed up trading deadline day, just as the noon hour passed:"It's dead. There's talk. But a lot of teams are scared about the luxury tax.''The Lakers and Warriors are among the teams looking to shed money off their cap to lower their tax bill. If they can move a bench player or two by the 3 p.m. deadline, they'd love to do it."The Lakers might even offer a pick to get a guy off their cap,'' said the scout. "That's how much they want to cut down their salaries.' New York Daily News

February 21, 2013 | 12:18 PM ET Update

Chris Mannix: Boston shopping Pierce, but not just looking to offload him. Asking for expiring contracts and draft picks. Move unlikely at that price Twitter @ChrisMannixSI

Adrian Wojnarowski: Milwaukee has fallen back in pursuit of Redick, league sources tell Y! Sports. Bucks aren't out of it, but "less likely," one source says. Twitter @WojYahooNBA

Jared Zwerling: Some notes: Shump won't be traded. Brewer most tradeable. No issues w/ Woody, but less freelancing. Some want White starting at the 3 for D. Twitter @JaredZwerling

Howard will be a free agent this summer. While he would get less money from any other team if he leaves, part of Howard's decision will be based on nonmonetary factors. "Me and Mitch have talked" about trade rumors, said Howard. "He just told me to trust him, so I’m going to trust him and go out there every night, play as hard as I can." Los Angeles Times

Ultimately, Kupchak's relationship with Howard may be more crucial than how well he bonds with Bryant and Nash. Bryant has hinted he has one or two years left in the league. Nash just turned 39 years old. Howard needs to believe in the long-term future of the team if he's going to invest the next five years of his career in Los Angeles. That's what Kupchak has to sell Howard on. There are no guarantees, but Kupchak isn't going to cash out Howard in February because there's a chance he might lose him in July. Los Angeles Times

February 21, 2013 | 12:05 PM ET Update

Steve Bulpett: Have avoided reporting every hiccup because much is slim sourced. But hearing of a new push within the Clippers to do something w/Celts. Twitter @SteveBHoop

Suns forward Jared Dudley told Markieff on Wednesday that there was a rumor Marcus was being traded before Thursday’s 1p.m. league deadline. Markieff called Marcus, not knowing that the Suns were the possible destination. “I’m super excited,” Markieff said. “It can’t get no better for me. This is what I definitely wanted from the beginning, to be the same as college. I’m just excited to be able to play with him again. Honestly, all of this has been a dream to me. God is blessing it to be better and better for me and him.” Arizona Republic

At All-Star weekend, LeBron James made his presence felt in places other than the arena. One such place was a meeting room, where James, according to reports from The New York Times, turned in a “spectacular” performance “cross-examining” lawyers who had prepared an audit of activities related to embattled Players Association executive director Billy Hunter — with that performance playing some role in Hunter’s firing. Which raised a question: How did James, with all his other endeavors, find the time to educate himself on the issues? “Me and J.J talked about it,” James said, referring to the team’s union representative and Players Association secretary James Jones. “I’ve also been reading a lot of articles. My team does a good job of sending me e-mails of what’s been going on, and I try to stay on it as much as I can. I’m not as far in it as J.J. is, but I’m far enough to know what I’m talking about, the situation that was going on. So it’s my opinion, and I felt like my opinion needed to be heard.” Palm Beach Post

February 21, 2013 | 11:36 AM ET Update

There's also been trade speculation the Hornets had exploratory discussions with the Indiana Pacers, which would be Gordon's top choice because Indianapolis is his hometown. But sources indicate there have been no serious trade discussions between the Pacers and Hornets involving any type of trade deal. New Orleans Times-Picayune

February 21, 2013 | 11:30 AM ET Update

Jason Jones: Also hearing Kings could revisit dealing Tyreke Evans. His knee injury slowed talks when he might have been traded earlier this season Twitter @mr_jasonjones

Jeff McDonald: Spurs in mix for JJ Redick. Makes some sense. He fits what they do. Twitter @JMcDonald_SAEN

The reality is that Griz brass is trying to be opportunistic today in hopes of getting something for nothing at the 11th hour (Orlando has made it clear Redick can't be had for anything less than a first-round pick). As of this morning, the Griz were looking at their exceptions one of three ways: 1) acquiring a guard/swingman they like from the end of another team's bench 2) grabbing an established big man only if he's accompanied by a second-round pick 3) not using the exception at all. Memphis Commercial Appeal

Ken Berger: Bulls have cooled on J.J. Redick. Due to luxury tax, Chicago unlikely to pay him as a free agent this summer so reluctant to give up pick. Twitter @KBergCBS

Alex Kennedy: Magic don't want late first-rounders. In fact, they prefer early second-rounders to late firsts since those contracts aren't guaranteed. Twitter @AlexKennedyNBA

Adrian Wojnarowski: Miami has expressed interest with Denver center Timofey Mozgov, sources tell Y!, but hard to see a path to a deal there. Twitter @WojYahooNBA

February 21, 2013 | 10:50 AM ET Update

Sources close to the situation say that talks with the Magic regarding a Redick for Shumpert deal have all but died. In addition, several sources from teams pursuing Shumpert have said that they believe New York will hold onto him for now. HoopsWorld

February 21, 2013 | 10:30 AM ET Update

Ryan Wolstat: Haddadi for Telfair remains likeliest if that gets done. Suns love saving money and that would save them $200K or so. Might want a 2nd too Twitter @WolstatSun

February 21, 2013 | 10:04 AM ET Update

"Most likely, it's not going to be through trade," Morey told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. "Most likely, it's going to be through the use of our cap room where we have max room this summer. "I think (the time between now and the deadline) is going to be quiet. Of course a year ago, if you would've said, 'James Harden – what about him?' I would've said, 'No way. They won't trade him.' You never know. You stay opportunistic. But I would guess that this trade deadline is going to be quiet." USA Today Sports

Rick Pitino said the best thing for Gorgui Dieng would be to go to the NBA after this season. He didn't say that because he wants the junior for Senegal out the door. He likes Dieng so much he named a horse after him. But Pitino is looking at the realities. Dieng turned 23 in January, and professionally speaking, if he could get into the first round of the NBA Draft, now is the time for Dieng to try to strike. WDRB

Dieng, of course, has his own way of looking at things. I asked him what he thought when Pitino made those comments. (And Pitino, for the record, noted that if Dieng isn't a sure first-round pick, he definitely should return). Dieng's response, as always, was thoughtful. "I'm not worried about the NBA right now," Dieng said. ". . . I'm worried about the next game. When the season is over I'll sit down with coach and talk. But I consider myself that I still have a four-year scholarship, and I feel I am a student-athlete, so I'm not just trying to jump ahead of anything." WDRB

February 21, 2013 | 09:29 AM ET Update

Ken Berger: As teams wait for the Hawks to sift through offers for Josh Smith, the Nets have "pulled the plug" on Ben Gordon talks, league source says. Twitter @KBergCBS

Laker fans may not want to hear it, but the Lakers are not players during the deadline. Dialed in Lakers sources say if anything is done at all it will be more about the luxury tax and shedding a few dollars than trying to make a major change within the team. The Lakers have been talking, but sources say there just is no desire on the Lakers part to make a major change and that barring something earth shattering, the Lakers are going to hold the line. HoopsWorld

February 21, 2013 | 08:35 AM ET Update

One league source Wednesday night said of Gordon, "nobody wants him." The most prevalent speculation on Wednesday centered around a possible Gordon deal to the Golden State Warriors in return for Klay Thompson. But Ric Bucher, the Warriors sideline television reporter, wrote Wednesday night that a trade wouldn't be forthcoming before the Thursday deadline, but it could be revisited during the summer. New Orleans Times-Picayune

A specialist in the NBA, his sports gambling success (was almost completely the result of a kind of studied perspicacity, born of a talent for pattern recognition and the stamina to watch uncountable hours of televised basketball. In betting parlance, the man could suss out an edge -- and in 2002, he discovered one that would line his pockets for years. It all had to do with how most bookmakers set their halftime totals, the predicted number of points scored in each half of the game. Each half, of course, is its own discrete period of play, and the fourth quarters of close games can end in elongated foul-clogged stretches of free throws, timeouts, fast play and, hence, a burst of scoring. But incredibly, bookmakers at the time didn’t account for this fact; they simply arrived at a total for the full game and cut that figure roughly down the middle, assigning some 50 percent of the points to (the first half and 50 percent to the second. ESPN.com

And that’s when Voulgaris started to lose. And lose big. He lost a third of his bankroll in the final month of the 2003-04 season alone. Exasperated, his patience gone, he started to “tilt,” boosting the volume of his wagers in an effort to win back what he’d already lost. He won’t quantify exactly how much he gave back to the bookmakers all told except to describe it as a catastrophic time. He took the second part of the 2004-05 NBA season off. Mulling things over, he realized he needed a new approach. In essence, he decided he could no longer rely on his ability to suss out edges by his wits alone. He needed the help of a new machine. ESPN.com

In the summer of 2007, Voulgaris and the Whiz took Ewing on a dry run, testing the simulator against games from the previous season to see how accurately it could retroactively “predict.” But something funky was happening. Every score the model spit out was higher than the average lines produced by the bookmakers -- the standard by which they would be judging themselves. The model, in other words, was recommending that Voulgaris bet the over in every single game. After weeks spent poring through code, Voulgaris finally caught the flaw. When assigning variables in the model, the Whiz had somehow assumed that the league-average free throw percentage was 88 percent, when in fact it’s around 75 percent -- an absurd mistake (on the part of the Whiz, whose basketball knowledge at the time was practically nil. In more advanced versions of Ewing, they would jettison this primitive free throw method. Now, says Voulgaris, they’ve adjusted Ewing so that it predicts the player most likely to be fouled on any given individual possession, then uses that player’s specific free throw percentage to run its simulation. ESPN.com

By 2009, once they’d added this mysterious additional model to Ewing’s inner workings -- version 2.0 -- they started making bets based on the scores it produced after the All-Star break. “We just, like, crushed the second half of the season,” Voulgaris says. Since then, as each subsequent season has passed, Voulgaris’ confidence in Ewing has increased. So too has the frequency of his wagering. In a season, he now regularly puts down well over 1,000 individual bets. “I mean, I don’t want to sit here and brag,” he says. “But this is literally, like, the greatest thing ever when it comes to sports betting.” ESPN.com

“This is going to sound really arrogant,” he says. “But the whole process” -- of studying the game of basketball with the end of beating the books -- “has led me to believe that I’d be able to put together a better team than almost any general manager in the league. If not maybe all.” In pursuit of this, in 2010 Voulgaris broke one of the cardinal rules of the sharp sports bettor: He sought publicity, conducting interviews with gambling and NBA-centric blogs. As with everything Voulgaris does, it was a calculated move. He wanted to burnish his bona fides as a quantitative basketball expert. And it worked. Despite the fact that he was giving up a yearly income that he says would dwarf all but the highest-paid executive in the NBA -- who is Jerry West of Golden State, Voulgaris is quick to point out -- he stopped gambling and signed a contract during the 2009-10 season with one of the co-owners of an NBA franchise to consult on matters of player acquisition and roster assembly. The owner, according to Voulgaris, made certain alluring pledges. “He was like, ‘You could be my GM someday; we can do this together.’ It was this whole spiel.” ESPN.com

Voulgaris spent five months working for the NBA franchise. He says he advised his co-owner client on several trades. But he also felt excluded, held at arm’s length. “It was like if someone put a puzzle in front of you and said, ‘Solve this.’ But then, in order to solve it, you needed this special key that they weren’t going to give you.” He feels now that for all the momentum of the quant revolution in the NBA, there may be a glass ceiling for its true practitioners. “There’s a real disconnect between the basketball people, the business people and the -- for lack of a better word -- stats nerds. The stats nerds have no chance of ever becoming general managers. They’re just being used as a resource to mine.” At the end of the contract’s term, in the summer of 2010, Voulgaris decided to end his NBA flirtation and go back to being a gambler. ESPN.com

“It’s good to have goals in life, no matter how unrealistic,” Voulgaris says with a wry grin. And with enough gambling winnings, he says he would have only one goal. “I would buy a basketball team.” ESPN.com

February 21, 2013 | 07:50 AM ET Update

The Atlanta Hawks inched closer to Thursday's 3 p.m. trade deadline more determined than ever to trade Josh Smith, according to sources with knowledge of the Hawks' thinking. They've still got to find a suitable trade partner, though. The consistent word circulating in front-office circles late Wednesday was that Atlanta has yet to find a deal it likes for Smith in a down market, despite the determined pursuit of the Brooklyn Nets and consistent (but conditional) interest from Milwaukee and Boston. ESPN.com

But the Rockets still had a game and came from behind to take down one of the league’s best teams in the Thunder. But after the game, they were still in the locker room trying to process the thought of four friends missing from the locker room. “That was just pretty much the worst thing,” Jeremy Lin said. “It sucks because we’re a close-knit team and we actually really, really care about everybody that got shipped off and it was just really emotional for me. “To be honest, I was like ‘I don’t even want to play. I don’t even want to play tonight.’ It was really emotional. I wish them the best. It just sucks to see them go and I guess that’s a part of the business but that’s a tough part for me.” CSN Houston

But before Gay can join really join the fun, he has to be given the chance to let go of the past. He wasn’t happy with the way Memphis pushed him overboard, mainly since it took months. He’s plainly still smarting over that. “It’s not about proving people wrong,” Gay said Tuesday. “It’s about proving yourself right.” And about proving people wrong. “We don’t have time for all that emotional stuff,” Gay said Tuesday. “It’s going to be emotional,” coach Dwane Casey said early Wednesday. Toronto Star

Nets point guard Deron Williams said after Wednesday night's 97-94 win over the Bucks that he will be getting a cortisone shot in each of his ankles Thursday, a continuation of the plasma rich platelet treatment he received on them last week. "Pretty good. I felt pretty good," Williams said after scoring 23 points to go along with eight assists in Wednesday's win. "I’m actually going to get cortisone shots tomorrow. I never got the cortisone shots. "They didn’t want to do them at the same time, because you want to see what the PRP does, and then from there you have the cortisone to just calm everything down. That will be another big plus for me." New York Post

February 21, 2013 | 06:56 AM ET Update

Adrian Wojnarowski: Orlando is still discussing deals for guard J.J. Redick, but league sources don't rule out the Magic holding onto him for rest of season. Twitter @WojYahooNBA

Would he consider re-signing long-term with the Magic, who are clearly in a rebuilding period and have now lost 26 of their last 29 games? “I haven’t thought about the long-term, to be honest with you,” he said. “This whole season has been about trying to get better as a player and trying to put myself in a position for the deadline to be healthy and to be playing well, to be helping my team. And if I come back, I come back. If I get traded, I get traded. I’ll be the same guy. I’ll worry about the long-term after the season.” Orlando Sentinel

Source: Rockets have not abandoned their hope of landing Dwight Howard and the deals made today, which could clear even more cap room for Houston, are part of a plan to continue their pursuit of him. Nothing will happen before Thursday, but this summer is a different story. The question still remains: will DH change his mind about playing there? The success of James Harden in particular, and the Rockets in general, certainly can't hurt. Sulia

Dwight Howard has been coy about his upcoming free-agent status, often dodging reporters' questions about it, but he provided his latest insights Wednesday. Does he see himself as the Lakers' cornerstone after Kobe Bryant's career ends? "Yeah, I do. That's what we've always talked about since the first day I got here," he said. Los Angeles Times

So he's signing with the Lakers when free agency starts in July? Not quite. He backed off slightly. "The only thing that matters is right now. Nobody can control what happens this off-season," Howard said. "There's no need for me to make the decision right now to where I'm going to be in the future, but my goal hasn't changed. I want to win a championship and I want to win one here. I'm here right now." Los Angeles Times

Whatever trade talk is out there, Pierce said it hasn't filtered its way into his thoughts or attention. "I really don't think about it," Pierce said. "I really don't let it ... I really don't even read about it." CSNNE.com

The rebuilding Suns are desperate enough to make a play for Smith. Last week they weren’t interested. But this week, they quietly had some of their personnel people call around to get reports on the ninth-year forward. When a team begins to try to get a handle on a player through other GMs and scouts, that usually means they’re serious. “Phoenix is definitely interested in Smith,” said one scout. “Whether they can pull something off, we’ll see.” New York Daily News

The Wizards had been rumored as a possible destination for Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, but three league sources all denied that the team was a serious contender for his services. Smith is a talented player whose skillset matches with the Wizards’ desires to be a more up-tempo team, but his salary demands – a maximum contract worth $94 million over five years – and what the Hawks sought in return forced the team to cool on its pursuit, according to a league source with knowledge of the team’s plans who spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation. Washington Post

The fact that Gordon did not play in Wednesday night's 105-100 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers would likely tend to scare off any potential interest from other NBA teams who might have concerns about his current and long-term health. And Gordon's four-year, $58 million contract could also dissuade suitors because of the more penal luxury tax in place in the new collective bargaining agreement. One league source Wednesday night said of Gordon, "nobody wants him." New Orleans Times-Picayune

If the Wizards make a trade before the deadline, reserve shooting guard Jordan Crawford is the most likely candidate to be dealt but they might not get much in return. When asked what the Wizards could possibly get for Crawford, one rival Eastern Conference executive replied, “very little.” According to the league source with knowledge of the team’s plans, the Wizards have been making and fielding calls to possibly deal Crawford, who has fallen out of Coach Randy Wittman’s rotation and doesn’t appear to be a part of the franchise’s future plans. Washington Post

Jason Jones: I'll be on my flight to ATL when trade deadline passes. Hearing there's a chance the Kings could make another deal. We shall see. Twitter @mr_jasonjones

"We never do anything,’’ Carlisle said. "We’ve made one big deal (with the Washington Wizards in 2010) in five years, and it was an important deal -- it helped us win the championship. "But look, you (media) guys come in every year and ask a lot of questions. Everybody’s tweeting everything. It’s a lot of nothing, really, most of the time.’’ Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Overall perspective on trade deadline activity: contrary to the pablum put out by the league -- and regurgitated by some in the media -- the new CBA has put a drag on making moves for several reasons. First: fear of super luxury tax has almost every team, including the big market ones, reluctant to do anything that is going to put them in jeopardy of paying it. Big market teams already are kicking in money to smaller markets in the revenue sharing system, so they're apparently loathe to add more to the coffers of their less-wealthy opponents. Second: Because of that fear, first-round picks have become far more valuable and less likely to be used to sweeten deals because they offer the potential of acquiring a talented player at a below-market price. Sulia

The Sacramento Kings today acquired forward Patrick Patterson, center Cole Aldrich, guard Toney Douglas and cash considerations from the Houston Rockets in exchange for forwards Francisco Garcia, Thomas Robinson and Tyler Honeycutt, according to Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. “We are excited about the addition of Patrick, Toney and Cole,” said Petrie. “They will add skill and depth along with the potential for a different look to our roster. We all want to thank Francisco, Thomas and Tyler for their efforts and contributions.” NBA.com

Brandon Knight came back from one injury and when the Detroit Pistons guard was forced back to the bench 45 seconds later, he had a second one. Knight left Wednesday's win over the Charlotte Bobcats with a hyperextended right knee in the third quarter. Upon his return, he quickly incurred a twisted right ankle and hobbled back to the bench again. "I think I was just trying to compensate and wasn't really ready to go back out there, just wanted to," Knight said. "God found a way to sit me down." Booth Newspapers

Bryant delivered a minute-long speech Wednesday about Jerry Buss, the longtime Lakers owner who died Monday. He delivered the speech before the Lakers played the Boston Celtics, a perfect moment in a rivalry Buss helped build. "On Monday we lost what we all know to be the greatest owner in sports, ever," Bryant said. "He was a brilliant, incredible owner, but he was even a better person with a great heart. His vision transcended the game, and we are all spoiled by his vision and by his drive to win year after year after year. "And through our years being here at Staples Center, the one thing we could always count on was the great Jerry Buss overlooking his franchise from his box. I'd like to ask all of you to please join us in a moment of silence to honor the great Dr. Jerry Buss." USA Today Sports

"He made me the man I am today," Johnson said Tuesday night, a day after Buss died. "Forget just the basketball player, but the man that I am. I owe a lot to Dr. Buss. "I think the reason I own the Dodgers today is because of Dr. Buss and his expertise of giving me sound business advice and making sure I took care of my money and things of that nature." NBA.com

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