HoopsHype rumors

February 22, 2013 | 07:32 PM ET Update

Steve Nash, Mike D'Antoni and Dwight Howard stood behind Kobe Bryant's guarantee that the Los Angeles Lakers will make the playoffs and be a factor when they get there. "That's great," Nash said on Friday. "You love it when your best player has that confidence and that challenge. In a way, he's put it out for us to go get now." ESPN.com

At Thursday's memorial service for Jerry Buss, who died on Monday, Bryant also encouraged his teammates to look at the players and coaches in the room and make the most of this season in the memory of the former Lakers owner. "It would be great if we could use that as motivation," Nash said. "I'd like to think that regardless of Dr. Buss passing that we'd have the toughness to find it in ourselves to rally. It's been a tough year obviously, and trying, but we've made some progress and we have to continue to make progress the rest of the way. It would be a beautiful thing to do it for Dr. Buss." ESPN.com

Bench-dwelling and inconsistency haven’t cracked the confidence of MarShon Brooks, whose two-year career has traveled through the NBA wringer – from rookie revelation to sixth man to bench warmer to trade chip. “I still believe in myself,” Brooks said. “I still believe if I got the minutes I could score 20 points per game.” Brooks should get minutes tonight against the Rockets because Joe Johnson will miss his first game of the season with a sore ankle. New York Daily News

The Seattle contingency hoping to build a new arena and relocate the Sacramento Kings to the state of Washington received good news today in a King County Superior Court room. Judge Douglass North ruled in favor of the group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, explaining that the lawsuit filed by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19 was meritless at this time, while granting a dismissal of the case. The suit, which was filed under the state of Washington’s Environmental Policy Act, claimed that the Hansen-Ballmer group’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build a new arena in the SODO District of Seattle, constituted an agreement, which circumventing the environmental review process, including a mandatory environmental impact study (EIS). Behind the initial argument is the a concern by Local 19 on what they feel would be an adverse effect on traffic and cause additional environmental issues detrimental to the Port of Seattle. Cowbell Kingdom

The Hansen-Ballmer group still face a second law suit claiming that the deal in place violates Seattle’s Initiative 91, which requires the city to make a profit on any public financed sports facility. But the court date for that suit isn’t scheduled until May of 2013, after the NBA Board of Governors are scheduled to make a decision on Seattle’s bid to purchase and relocate the Sacramento Kings to the Pacific Northwest. It is unclear at how the NBA will approach the SODO arena MOU, which has now been deemed a non-legally binding agreement by Hansen-Ballmer, King County, the city of Seattle and Judge North. While today was a victory for the Hansen-Ballmer group, this is just one more page in a long-winded narrative that will play out on April 18-19 at the NBA’s Board of Governors meetings. Cowbell Kingdom

February 22, 2013 | 04:48 PM ET Update

That two-year, $20 million contract he signed with the Wolves last summer has a player’s option next season. Of course, that would mean walking away from $10 million guaranteed in a summer when the NBA is heading into Year 3 of a tightening luxury-tax situation, but… “I’m going to wait until the offseason, right now there’s no point to make any decision,” he said. “Wait until summer, analyze the season, and see what you want to do next. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“When I signed the contract with agent, we wanted to have all kinds of options,” he said. “I didn’t know what I was stepping into when I start the season. I heard a lot of good stuff, but you’re always a little bit worried how it’s going to go. So far, it’s going great. I like Rick’s system. We have a lot of injuries. The result is a little bit not what you expect, but we’re working on it. “So far, I like everything here except the results. We need to try to fix it. In the summertime, I will sit with my agent, my family and look at it.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Charlie Villanueva laughed when asked about his future with the Detroit Pistons. Specifically, he was asked if he was going to pick up the final season of the five-year, $35-million deal he signed in the summer of 2009. He has the option of declining the $8.5-million player option by June 30 and becoming an unrestricted free agent. Villanueva, 28, said there’s no decision. “It’s obvious what I’m going to do,” Villanueva told the Free Press before the Pistons topped the Bobcats on Tuesday night. “Would you let that money go?” Detroit Free Press

"The Clippers coaching staff wanted to do it, and a lot of executives and coaches among the elite in the Western Conference, and some of the elite in the East, they were terrified of KG going to the Clippers. They thought that made the Clippers the team to beat out there. But ownership was reluctant to this deal, and … they never agreed in principle to that package. I think that's one [Boston] may have pulled the trigger on." WEEI.com

"Kevin Garnett, the feeling was, out there and around the league, he would have spread the floor, he would have cleared out the lane for Griffin, he kind of would have played that stretch-4 power forward position. And a guy who's won, who steps in. Listen, nobody in San Antonio, nobody in Miami, nobody in Oklahoma City wanted to see that deal happen." WEEI.com

On the Celtics regretting Garnett's no-trade clause: "I don't know how hard KG pushed for that no-trade in his contract. Obviously organizations don't like to give it out … but once they gave it to him, they knew it was going to be difficult. I do think this, though: If Boston had wanted KG to waive that, they would have just traded Paul Pierce out from under him. If they sent Paul off to Brooklyn or anywhere else, KG may have looked at not waiving that thing very differently. WEEI.com

Reports of another proposed Celtics deal, which would have sent Pierce to Brooklyn for Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and the Nets' first-round draft pick, also surfaced. That didn't happen, and Wojnarowski said he doesn't think it was urgent for the Celtics to make a deal like that. "I think that Boston can revisit it in deals around draft time," he said. "Brooklyn's draft pick is not going to have a great value. They're a playoff team, you're getting a pick that's not going to be really high, in a pretty bad draft. And you've got to try and get one good player back. Humphries and Brooks, you're not really getting either. Humphries is fine, he has a purpose, but not if you're trying to get younger and rebuild. I have no problem with the Celtics not doing that Brooklyn deal." WEEI.com

On when the potential trade of the Hawks' Josh Smith fell apart: "I was talking to the guys in Milwaukee and Orlando, and they had been talking about that three-way deal with Orlando, Milwaukee and Atlanta, and finally it was 10 minutes to 3 — it was 2:52 p.m., and Atlanta had pulled out and said, 'Forget it, we're not doing this.' And that's when Milwaukee and Orlando did the two-way deal for [J.J.] Redick. Atlanta took it down to the wire, rejected the last offer Milwaukee made, and Milwaukee said, 'We're not giving you any more for Smith.' " WEEI.com

Q: What made you go after Ronnie Brewer, and how long have you had your eye on him? A: I think the opportunity to add a player like Ronnie without dipping into our immediate player rotation was something we feel like we needed to pursue. He brings a defensive mind-set, versatility as a perimeter defender, and he comes in with over 300 games started. But more impressive to us is the fact that he’s played for some organizations that we really have a lot of respect for. In addition to that, he’s a high-character, hard-working individual that we feel like is going to fit well with our current group. Oklahoman

Q: What can you tell fans about the trade exception that you got in the Eric Maynor trade? A: Well obviously Eric is someone that we think very highly of, and I think he’s going to be a very productive player in the NBA for years to come. But we also recognize that he was going to have opportunities at the end of the season as a free agent, and we had to figure out the best way to maximize that situation given that he wasn’t playing on a consistent basis with us. The trade exception essentially gives us flexibility in terms of roster building, again, to try to make additions to our core group without infringing on that group. It’s going to give us flexibilities during the draft and also as we head into free agency. We’ll try to be as creative as possible, but we’re also going to be very disciplined with it. Oklahoman

Bryan Colangelo: On not trading Andrea Bargnani: “Once the injury occurred, his return, as late as it was in the process, as near to the trade deadline [as it was], it probably did not leave enough runway with respect to a deal being made now. That didn’t stop us from having dialogue with other teams or teams expressing interest. I believe it did affect some of the deals that we were probably discussing in advance of the injury, and even some that we were maintaining connection or dialogue over the course of the last couple months.” National Post

On revisiting a trade for Bargnani in the off-season: “The summer is the next potential opportunity to engage in trade discussions with respect to our entire roster. And with 27 games left in terms of us looking at where we are and how this group can come together and what the chemistry looks like. Continuity is obviously something nice to look at going forward. I think a lot of the pieces we do have in place are pieces we want to keep and hang onto and we’ll see how it all plays out.” National Post

On whether he is concerned about negative press and boos affecting Bargnani: “Well, if you keep writing bad things about him, probably. But that’s a reality of our business. People criticize me, people criticize the coach, people criticize the players all the time. Andrea has show … he’s affected by it, obviously. I think we all are. But he’s a man and he has to strap on his shoes and play basketball. I think him just even getting the trade deadline behind him and all the uncertainty about whether he will be here or not will probably help a bit. But he’s here, he’s part of the team and we are going to try and get the most out of him.” National Post

The Mavs ended up only making a minor deal, sending Dahntay Jones to Atlanta for Anthony Morrow. At one point, however, Cuban says he thought the Mavs would be pulling the trigger on a blockbuster deal at the deadline. “It was crazy,” Cuban said Friday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “Ben and Skin Show.” “We thought we had a bunch of things done, literally a bunch of things done. We had teams get cold feet at the last minute. … Things that would have used cap room next year, would have had money next year, that were high-dollar guys, difference-maker guys.” ESPN.com

Ernie Grunfeld on what changed after acquiring Crawford two years ago from Atlanta: “Jordan, nothing really changed. He had some good moments, but the way we’re playing now is a lot different than then. Now we’re a defensive oriented team and our numbers especially over the last 20 games have shown that we’re one of the top defensive teams in the league. The ball movement has been really good recently and that’s helped us win some games. The players are playing the right way and trying to execute. They’ve been supportive of one another and it just seems like it wasn’t the perfect fit for Jordan at this time.” Washington Post

On the role improved health has played in the turnaround: “I think it’s shown that when [we] got healthy our record got a lot better. Not only our record, but the way [we] played got better and our competitive attitude and the way we played the game got better. Twenty games is a short sample, but it shows you something. For a guy like John to come back after not having played four months, he still has a little bit of rust on him and he’s getting that off of him. He’s been very competitive and he’s made players around him better. Bradley is going into the second half of the year. He has 40, 50 games under his belt, His game has risen a little bit, he’s been more consistent, he’s learning. But he still has a lot of work ahead of him just like all our players do. Nene still having a little nagging injury here and there, but he’s been out there battling. [Emeka] Okafor’s been consistent. A lot of positive things have happened but by no means are we satisfied with where we are.” Washington Post

Hornets General Manager Dell Demps said there were offers made for players, but he decided to stay the course with his young team that is 19-36 heading into Friday night’s game against Dallas. “I usually don’t like to talk about actual trade details but what I will say is we got a call on a number of guys but we really like our core, we like our young group and we want to see them grow,” Demps said following Friday morning’s shootaround. “It’s a good sign when players call on your team, it means they have value but we like our young group right now. It will be interesting to see how we finish out the season.” New Orleans Times-Picayune

The point guard revealed Friday that the cortisone shots Thursday were the third of such treatments since training camp started. He also plans to have another round of injections before the playoffs start. Still, Williams understands that the only real cure is rest – even though his competitive side won’t allow it to last very long. He took off more than a week after getting PRP injections in his ankles before the All-Star break. “I don’t want to (take a month off),” he said. “I’ve gotten frustrated some nights where I can’t do anything, can’t go anywhere, it’s frustrating and that’s how you want to think, but I can’t do that.” “It’s tough because we’re in a position where we are right now in the polls we lose a couple games we slip to sixth or seventh. We win a couple and we’re up to second so I need to be out there as much as possible. That’s what my focus is and I’ll continue doing things in the training room and the weight room just to stay as healthy and fresh as possible. We haven’t been practicing that much any way so it’s not like that’s where it’s hurting.” New York Daily News

“Once they (allowed zone defenses), they took a lot of the (one-on-on) game out, which was boring to watch. One guy would dribble five or six times on one side. I love Charles (Barkley), but he was backing up for 10 seconds until he was a foot from the basket. I don’t think that was a style people wanted to see. They put the zone in, which makes the iso(lation) and one-on-one game harder. Now it’s back to five-on-five. It’s more of the European game, passing game, all teams run motion now. All teams are passing and cutting and playing off each other. “It’s a fun way to play. Push the ball up and open guys got to be able to shoot the ball. These days, even the four and five men are shooting the ball. That’s where the league is going.” Barkley, of course, was the first to suggest last season that Nowitzki was entering the twilight of his career, mentioning that Father Time is undefeated. Dallas Morning News

And on stepping away from the Russian national team after leading it to an Olympic bronze medal last summer in London… “It’s not connected to playing time, I’m not tired, I’m not tired of playing for the national team,” he said. “I want to be a better dad. I want to be with my family a little more. I think I already give a lot, play 12 years on the national team. There is time.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

He said he has thought about this decision for the last two, three years but got serious about making it after the Olympics. “I was thinking in summertime I don’t have enough time with my kids,” he said. “My wife and kids, I want to be around them. I don’t want to be dad who’s spending two hours and then you don’t see your kids. It’s a hard decision. “It’s kind of a dilemma: Going around the globe, playing basketball, have fun or spend your time with your kids and have fun and see how they’re growing. You want to be around them at this kind of age when they’re growing, they start playing hockey, start playing basketball. You want to see the improvement, not only in sports but the person. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

One source with intimate knowledge of the situation speaking to PBT under conditions of anonymity spoke about Sacramento’s pair of proposed locations: “Both potential Sacramento sites are complimentary to the existing downtown commercial uses, and unlike the fight in Seattle the downtown proposals are being welcomed as a revitalization project. Both are efficient reuses of developed property, and both sites qualify under the expedited state AB 900 CEQA process, which limits the delay from any potential lawsuits. Having already approved a deal structure a year ago with no lawsuits filed, Sacramento has a big advantage to deliver a timely arena facility.” NBCSports.com

That AB 900 CEQA process is an interesting wrinkle to Sacramento’s effort to keep their team, as the bill creating that process was recently signed into law and co-authored by Think Big Sacramento supporter and California Senate President pro Tem Dan Steinberg. According to law firm Stoel and Rives: “The (bill provides) an incentive for applicants to move forward with their projects because any challenge to a leadership project Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) will be venued immediately in the Court of Appeal. The court will then have a maximum of 175 days to issue its decision on the challenged EIR” NBCSports.com

Hansen’s current plan calls for a potential Sonics team to play in Key Arena (with modest improvements) for as little as two years, while arena opponents believe that timeframe could be extended to as many as four years if lawsuits hold up the process. While Sacramento could face similar lawsuits, they didn’t face any during the 2011 arena deal, and the expedited review process and potential for less environmental concerns at the city’s proposed sites have sources pointing at the issue as a point in favor of Kevin Johnson’s expected proposal. While Seattle’s lawsuits aren’t likely to be the defining factor in this saga – Sacramento’s production of an actionable offer will be that factor –the fact that the Emerald City can’t say with certainly how long they’ll be locked up at Key Arena could be the starting point for their bid to take the Kings to unravel. NBCSports.com

Have the Warriors given you any one thing to focus on this season? Harrison Barnes: Coach just keeps telling me to be aggressive. I remember one game, I was at the scorer's table, checking in, and Coach came up and said, "Go out there and be aggressive." And I was like, "OK coach, I got you." And he said, "Be aggressive. I'm not going to cuss you out." It's interesting to have a coach with that much confidence, that much belief in you, just telling you go out there and just play. I've been surprised at how well you guys have played this season. I think most people thought it would take you guys another year or two to come together, but you guys are a six-seed in the West right now. Harrison Barnes: Other than the little slide we had just before All-Star, it's been great to just be involved with it. I think if we can just continue to chip away, continue to improve, we'll be all right. You know, if someone told us we would lose five straight games and still be sixth in the West, that's unbelievable. We had an edge early on, and then it kind of weighed on us a little bit. We kind of got complacent, didn't play much defense these last five games. So this will be a good time for us to regroup and get back to what we were doing. GQ.com

What do you do when you have some time off? I've been watching a little bit of soccer. Been watching more of that, actually. What's your team? I'm Barca for La Liga, and then also Man United. But really I've been watching "Being Liverpool." Have you see that? The TV show with Clive Owen narrating? That show is great. Crazy good. I'm also a TV show addict. Reality TV? (disappointed) Not reality. "Homeland," "Breaking Bad," "Scandal," "Boardwalk Empire." We take so many flights that it's easy to watch an entire season in a few days. GQ.com

The Milwaukee Bucks' guard duo of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are featured in the NBA's newest "BIG" advertising spot. The video is a spoof on Milwaukee's famous duo from the late 1970s, TV icons Laverne & Shirley, set to the background music "Making Our Dreams Come True." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

February 22, 2013 | 01:30 PM ET Update

Crawford was the Wizards’ third-leading scorer this season, averaging 13.2 points and 3.7 assists, but had recently fallen out of the rotation and did not appear in any of the past four games. He was serenaded with chants during the third quarter of the Wizards’ last home game, a 96-88 loss on Tuesday to the Toronto Raptors in which he slouched over and wrapped a towel over his head on the bench. After the game, Crawford tossed his jersey and shooting shirt into the stands with disgust before heading to the locker room. “He never came in and said” he wanted a trade, Grunfeld said, “but his actions and the way he has been, he hasn’t been the happiest person, but he’s a good player and we wish him luck in his new situation.” Washington Post

Can you get this done? And is it hard that after winning five championships you're battling to make the playoffs? Bryant: It's not a question of if we make the playoffs. We will. And when we get there, I have no fear of anyone -- Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Denver ... whoever. I have zero nervousness about that. SI.com

Wizards Kevin Seraphin has managed to combine two of my addictions into one package: Harlem Shake videos and athletes doing silly things. Here is Seraphin’s contribution to the Harlem Shake phenomenon. Adorable. Washington Post

Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace put on his Cookie Monster pajamas and came to the rescue of his nephew and brother who had been detained by police outside his condo complex earlier this week, according to the Los Angeles Times. Unknown to World Peace, three men working for his Artest Media Group were shooting a scene about life on the streets and were staging a shootout with fake guns when the police showed up. "I'm in my underwear, and my son says, 'Hey Dad, there's police at the door,'" World Peace told the Times on Wednesday. "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.'" ESPN.com

Cans of beer dot the grass outside the home. A bullet hole pierced the garage window at some point. "Cars that don't look like they've moved in a long time," she noted. Water festers in buckets outside of what was once a million dollar home in a wealthy Eastside suburb. "And found out who the lovely, previous owner was," the owner said. KOMO

KOMO News tried to speak with Swift on Wednesday, and a woman who said she was his girlfriend said he couldn't come out because he was sleeping. The new owner has gone to court and, according to records, Swift has gone past his grace period to leave. He has one final deadline at the end of the month. After that, he faces possible eviction by force. "He will have to respond to the sheriff I'm sure," the new owner said. KOMO

February 22, 2013 | 09:11 AM ET Update

According to several accounts, though, talk between Ainge and the Clippers continued right up until the final hours yesterday. Garnett said during All-Star weekend that he would not waive his no-trade clause, and held true to his vow despite added pressure from Clippers guard Chris Paul. According to a league source, Paul called Garnett and said that if he was open to joining the Clippers, then Paul would make it happen. Garnett, though, declined, expressing a desire to remain a Celtic. Boston Herald

The deadline passed without Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce being moved, although their names were discussed. An NBA source said that, despite rumors, the Clippers never made a formal offer for Garnett, who has a no-trade clause. Ainge also discussed a deal for Atlanta’s Josh Smith, but the price included Pierce and was too steep. Boston Globe

Crawford will be an interesting option in that way. Though the third-year player has clear offensive talent, he also fell out of Washington’s young rotation. His last game was a six-minute appearance on Feb. 6 against the Knicks. “I know he can score. That’s something we needed,” said Rivers. “Losing Barbosa has hurt us. He was a wild card off the bench, and I hope (Crawford) gives us that. Hopefully with our staff and veteran players around him he can grow. “(Crawford) wasn’t playing,” he said. “The good thing and the bad thing I hear about him is his confidence. It was tough for him there to buy into a role, because he looked around and said, ‘I’m better than them.’ I’m hoping we don’t have that issue here. If we do, then it will be a problem.” Boston Herald

According to someone who spoke with him Thursday, Smith wasn't surprised or disappointed he wasn't traded, but simply "relieved it was over." The chance of him re- signing with Atlanta this summer isn't zero -- we don't know who the coach will be, whether Jeff Teague will be back, what other upgrades Ferry can make to the roster -- but it's close. "That's the conversation that will be had," the person said. "That's what it's going to boil down to. Josh is motivated by winning, not just by money." CBSSports.com

The surprise trade sent Patterson, along with Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas were shipped to Sacramento in exchange for Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt on Wednesday. "For me it was a big surprise, I had no idea or any clue that I was going to get traded," the 23-year-old Patterson told News10 from Houston on Thursday afternoon. "I had a belief that I was still going to be wearing a Houston Rockets uniform, but obviously it didn't work out that way. "I was definitely surprised, shocked and caught off guard," he said. news10.net

The Mavericks didn’t have to go far to get the lowdown on the player they finally settled on to help them at the trade deadline. When Don Nelson coached at Golden State, he was there for Anthony Morrow’s first two seasons in the NBA. When Nelson’s son, Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson called to get a scouting report, he liked what he heard. “Next to Chris Mullin,” the former Mavericks coach said, “[Morrow’s] probably the best pure shooter I ever coached. You’re going to love him.” Dallas Morning News

What Stern, Hunter, Adam Silver and the rest accomplished two summers ago became as clear as daylight Thursday. They turned the NBA into the NFL -- the No Fun League -- when it comes to the trades and in-season player movement. No more stars forcing trades to the markets of their choosing with the reward of max dollars forming the cherry on top. "This is a pure CBA deadline," one general manager said Thursday after the dust settled. "If you can't get a first for J.J. Redick, this is a different world. That guy is a surefire lock to garner a first round pick in the past." CBSSports.com

Reggie's unexpected, critical comments overshadowed the Bulls' 86-67 loss to the Heat at the United Center and resonated so loudly that Derrick Rose felt compelled to issue a comment before tipoff. "I have always felt that the Bulls organization's goals have been the same as mine and that is to bring another championship to this city,'' Derrick said. The Bulls released the succinct, 25-word statement after team officials John Paxson and Gar Forman stopped Derrick in a hallway after a pre-game shootaround and ushered him into a private room. Five minutes later, D-Rose emerged but declined to comment as he breezed past reporters. Reggie Rose sat in his usual courtside seat behind the west basket and bristled when I approached him during a first-quarter timeout to discuss his inflammatory comments. Chicago Tribune

"Reggie, do you have anything you want to add to your comments today?'' I asked. "No comment,'' he answered. "Do you regret anything you said?'' "What would I regret?'' "That you put Derrick in an uncomfortable spot.'' "That's my brother. That's my brother who you say I put in an uncomfortable spot.'' Reggie's eyes widened and he paused. "Remember that!'' he said. "No comment.'' Chicago Tribune

With that, Reggie Rose turned away to watch his brother's Bulls teammates he disrespected get blown out by the defending NBA champs. It would be wrong to say Bulls players were distracted. It would be exaggerating to say Paxson or Forman were miffed; Paxson even tried making a joke. Frustrated or not, both officials stressed what everybody in the Bulls organization suggested: Those comments sound like Reggie but not Derrick, who Paxson said never has complained about the roster. Remember, Derrick was the guy who embraced the status quo enough to lobby publicly to keep Keith Bogans before the 2011-12 season. Keith Bogans. Chicago Tribune

Reggie Rose, the older brother of Derrick, did acknowledge the team's two all-stars, Deng and Joakim Noah, but suggested the Bulls should have made a move before the trade deadline. “I don’t know if it did (distract any players), but we didn’t talk about it as a team," Deng said. I don’t think that was the problem." Arlington Heights Daily Herald

Asked about Stoudemire’s odd status as a $100 million player playing 20-plus minutes, Grunwald said, “Salary doesn’t matter. We need to come up with a formula that will be successful. If that’s Amar’e coming off the bench, that’s great. If Coach Woodson decides to change that, it’s all about trying to win here. Amar’e has been wonderful in that regard, a true professional and great teammate. ... I think he’s moving as well as ever.’’ New York Post

The motivation remains murky, partly a money deal and partly an admission of guilt or what has become chronic franchise incompetence. Sources close to the Kansas Jayhawks insist that, in contrast to other organizations with high lottery picks, the Kings were the least inquisitive. While Robinson's stay in Sacramento was surprisingly short, a few things quickly stood out, among them his exaggerated 6-foot-10 size, his raw offensive skills and a temperament that contributed to an already dysfunctional locker room. Surely the former Kansas standout is to be admired for overcoming personal tragedy and adversity, but he maintained a sense of entitlement fueled by his lofty draft status as was often noted by Kings coach Keith Smart. Charlotte Observer

Toronto Raptors forward Linas Kleiza has not had much luck with injuries the last couple of years and bad turned to worse as the Lithuanian player might have to undergo a knee surgery once again. The 28-year-old Kleiza has been sidelined for the last couple of months and has appeared in only 20 games this season. According to Asta Zukaite of 15min.lt, this number is unlikely to change. It is claimed that the player could not only be done for the season, but the future of his career in general is in doubt. lithuaniabasketball.com

According to the former head of the Lithuanian national team’s delegation and a good friend of Kleiza, Antanas Guoga, it is likely that the surgery will need to be repeated. “I’ve heard that the surgery didn’t go right, there were some mistakes [in the rehabilitation process] after the injury. It’s not good that he underwent surgery in the United States. You can’t turn the clock back, but things might have been different, if it had been Lithuanian medics,” Guoga told 15min.lt. lithuaniabasketball.com

It's like poetry in its way. Smith with the briefest of answers, always waiting a few hours before replying to her. Smith, out of nowhere like a fallback J at the buzzer, cutting to the chase. Smith, with the unironic use of "the pipe." We don't know if anything happened after the game. We do know that Smith went 0-for-8 that night. We do know that the girl in the Twitter conversation is a senior in high school. We do know that the age of consent in Pennsylvania is 16. Deadspin.com

Returning to the game he loves and the team he considers family, Spurs swingman Stephen Jackson suited up Thursday for the first time since learning last week that his wife, Renata, had lost the child she had been carrying for 6 1/2 months. Though Jackson said nothing can salve the pain of losing a child that would have been the first for the couple, who married in 2011, he believes playing basketball and being around teammates will be therapeutic. “I’m as good as I can be,” Jackson said before Thursday’s Spurs-Clippers game at Staples Center. “I’m happy to be back with the team. I need to be back with the team, just for my own sanity. Basketball and being around these guys helps me a lot, so it’s definitely something I needed.” San Antonio Express-News

Jackson learned of the loss while the Spurs were on the first phase of the rodeo road trip. He left the team after it arrived in Chicago for a game Feb. 11, missing games in Chicago, Cleveland and Sacramento. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told Jackson to take as much time away from the team as he needed. “It was an unfortunate situation,” Jackson said. “Very frustrating and emotional and I’m nowhere close to being over it. “My wife is not doing too well, so I’m happy I had a coach like Pop who gave me the time to be with her. In order for me to help her I also have to help myself because this was a baby we were definitely looking forward to having. Being back with the team hopefully is going to help me be able to help my wife even more.” San Antonio Express-News

Jackson said daily phone calls from Tim Duncan and support from other members of the Spurs’ family, including owner Peter Holt, general manager R.C. Buford and broadcaster Sean Elliott, have helped him cope. “The family atmosphere of this organization is one of a kind,” he said. “Luckily, I’m on this Spurs’ team while I’m going through this situation because it’s definitely helpful being around these guys.” San Antonio Express-News

Johnson recalled how he knew Buss would always be there for him in the moment he told the world stunning news in 1991. "When I announced I had HIV, we cried for hours," Johnson said "He was thinking he would lose an adopted son. He picked up the phone and started calling hospitals to make sure I had the best health care and best doctors possible. "He'd ask, `You OK? You taking your meds?' That's when I knew this man loved me and cared about me outside winning championships and outside making no-look passes. That's who Jerry Buss was." Los Angeles Daily News

Bryant had a wonderful anecdote about when Buss called him in to his office to discuss the possibility of bringing Phil Jackson back, even after Jackson and Bryant had their issues. "I don't know how I feel about that, Dr. `B,"' Bryant said, grimacing and contorting his body. "He just looked at me and just said, `Trust me,' and I did. "That has taken us to a whole other level in winning another two championships. That came from his vision. He knew what he wanted to do and how to go about it; He also had that ability to convince you to follow him. That's what he did for me that day." Los Angeles Daily News

Stern also shared an insightful memory about Buss, The Forum and its high profile patrons. Obviously, the Forum Club's A-List guest list, parties and glitz remain the stuff of legend. But as the Commissioner also recalled, the arena was used by its owner in more substantive ways. "I've heard the word 'flamboyant' used [to describe Buss], but I experienced Jerry as modest and inquisitive. He used to use The Forum as a kind of salon, where he would tell us that he invited authors whose works he admired so he could ask them questions that he sought answers to. "He was trading tickets for knowledge. We loved it and he thought it was great." Sulia

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