HoopsHype rumors

February 24, 2013 | 07:44 PM ET Update

Yahoo.com's Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported inaccurately that Paul is "planning to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, punctuating his pick-and-roll partnership with Griffin with a maximum contract extension and final say about every move their franchise now makes." It sounds good to the Clippers, and might happen. And DeAndre Jordan still might become a force at center for the Clippers. But Paul said, "No, I haven't decided what I am going to do next season, and no, I haven't told anyone what I'm going to do." Los Angeles Times

Cuban said before Dallas' game against the Lakers on Sunday that he made it clear during a radio interview Friday he was speaking hypothetically, and he was just trying to use an example to explain new restrictions in the labor agreement. The Lakers called the remark inappropriate but didn't plan to pursue a complaint. "Amnesty THAT," Bryant tweeted after scoring 38 points in a 103-99 victory over the Mavericks. NBA.com

The amnesty clause allows teams to avoid a contract counting against the salary cap, although the player is still owed the money. "If you look at their payroll, even if Dwight comes back, you've got to ask the question: Should they amnesty Kobe?" Cuban said in the radio interview. "You just don't know, right? It's the same reason I wouldn't get rid of Dirk, I'll take a hit for a season rather than get rid of Dirk. "So I'm just saying that hypothetically. When I say amnesty Kobe, I don't think they'd do it, but they've got some choices to make. Now, they're in a big market, but they're still limited. The Knicks, the same thing. Boston, same thing." Cuban said Sunday he wasn't alone in citing specific players. "Whenever the commissioner or any other team talks about the CBA, they talk about Dallas and Tyson Chandler, or Dallas and Dirk and what's going to happen," Cuban said. "You've got to use examples. I was clear in saying it was hypothetical and I expected him to be in LA, but he was a good example because they have the highest payroll in the league." NBA.com

Former NBA star Yi Jianlian grabbed MVP award to lead the South edge the North 120-117 in the All-Star game on Sunday. "I should attribute the award to my teammates, who kept passing me the ball so I could get so many wide open shots opportunities," Yi said. CRI.cn

February 24, 2013 | 04:40 PM ET Update

Detroit Pistons guard Will Bynum is facing a possible suspension and/or fine after being ejected Saturday for throwing a punch at the Indiana Pacers Tyler Hansbrough. Bynum was hit with a Flagrant Two foul and automatic ejection with 8:39 remaining in the Pacers' 90-72 victory at The Palace. Bynum appeared to hit Hansbrough in the groin. "It wasn't (done) intentionally but it kind of happened through the course of the game," Bynum said in the empty Pistons locker room. "The game was kind of physical. It was during the heat of the moment. "It was nothing intentional, though." Booth Newspapers

Coach Lawrence Frank, who hadn't seen a replay of the incident when he met with the media, agreed with Bynum. "I don't know but I think it's probably the competitiveness of it," Frank said. "I don't know if necessarily on that play he was provoked. I think Hansbrough was going to screen him. I don't think Will did anything intentional. I think (Bynum) swung his arm. To me, from the naked eye, it didn't look intentional. Booth Newspapers

Wolves forward Kevin Love said he is still pointed towards a return that would allow him to play in “15 to 20 games’’ this season. If that is the case, that would mean a mid- to late-March return. He is going to have a checkup with the surgeon either late in the first week of March or early in the second week. Love fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand Jan. 3 at Denver. It was the second time he had sustained such a break, the first coming during the preseason when he broke two bones doing knuckle pushups at his home. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

As for his return? He doesn’t have a specific date yet. He’ll know more after he sees the doctor. But he did say it was very important for him to play as much as he can this season, both for himself at the team. Both Love and forward Chase Budinger, who is coming back from knee surgery, are expected back in March. “It’s very important,” he said of playing this season. “Just to get back with the full team, Chase included. Having a full roster, that’s the biggest thing for us.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

An MRI on Brandon Knight's hyperextended right knee came back negative, but the second-year Detroit Pistons point guard will be out for an undisclosed period of time. Pistons doctor Ben Paolucci visited Knight before Friday night's game with Indiana, but coach Lawrence Frank said he's day-to-day and won't play again until he's 100%. Knight suffered an injured knee and ankle in the victory against Charlotte on Wednesday and missed Friday night's game. The MRI showed swelling but no damage. USA Today Sports

Kabongo can make up ground in pre-draft workouts that can dramatically alter a draft standing, in another sign of how much scouts and executives value entire seasons of college ball, but for now there is doubt whether he can even break out from the NCAA pack, let alone the NBA. “I don’t know if he’s shown people enough,” one front-office veteran said. “I really don’t.” NBA.com

February 24, 2013 | 01:41 PM ET Update

For tenth year veteran forward James Jones, the 2011 three-point contest champion, another championship ring on his mantle could possibly signal the end of his playing career. Jones has battled injuries throughout his career but says he’s fine physically. Ultimately, the decision to hang up the high tops may come down to a desire of going out on top. “I feel good this year,” Jones told HOOPSWORLD. “I’m not playing as much, so physically I feel good. I feel better than I have the last couple of seasons. Right now I‘m concerned with winning a championship this year and if we win it this year [retirement] will be a great conversation to have.” HoopsWorld

Jones nearly retired last summer but ultimately decided to remain in Miami. Jones, who has a player option for the 2013-14 season, said retirement, was truly a serious consideration after the HEAT won the title in 2012. “There was,” Jones said confirming the retirement reports from last summer. “Last year it was a serious consideration. It was one of those things where you understand that you’re at your peak and physically after a grueling season like that your mind tells you a lot of things but your body speaks to you differently. So after having a summer to recover and heal from my various injuries, I felt good physically and I wanted to give it another chance.” HoopsWorld

Paperwork still had to be finalized yesterday on White, with an outside chance he could join the Celtics starting today on a 10-day contract. White, who had split five years in the NBA between Oklahoma City and Charlotte, most recently played for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. As of yesterday, the CBA was still processing his release. Boston Herald

Coach Keith Smart asked his leading scorer last season, Marcus Thornton, to go from a starter to a reserve. Thornton has struggled to adjust to the role, while Smart has tried to figure out the best way to work Thornton into games. "It's still hard for him," Smart said. "I give him 100 percent credit because the young man has done everything I've wanted him to do, and I know it's hard for him. But I have to look at what can be best for our basketball team going forward." Sacramento Bee

According to a Nike source, Wang Zhelin will get to the U.S. in March, train with a local trainer, then participate in a few events, including Nike Hoop Summit in April. Wang played in 2012 NHS, led the World Team with 19 points in a win over the U.S. Select Team. Bifenpai

In an interview with Bifenpai, Stephon Marbury admits that he wants to coach the Chinese National Team one day: "If they gave me the oppotunity, I would accept it. They have to continue to work hard, I think especially on their strength and conditioning. But the strength part is more important because the skills are there, I think they have to add more things. You don't have to take away things, because I think they're on the right path in China." Bifenpai

February 24, 2013 | 08:59 AM ET Update

He had the opportunity to be an Olympian last year, but Kyrie Irving passed on playing for Australia to preserve his chance of playing for Team USA in the future. In a few weeks, he’ll get a little closer. Irving will be one of about two dozen players invited to Las Vegas at the end of July in preparation for the 2014 FIBA World Cup team (formerly known as the FIBA World Championship). No invitations have been formally extended yet, but USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo confirmed in a phone interview on Saturday that Irving will be among those invited. “You can be assured that he’ll be one of the invitees,” Colangelo said. “He’s already established himself as one of the top three or four point guards in the league.” Akron Beacon Journal

Whether or not Irving follows with similar success remains to be seen, but Colangelo is anxious to see what he does in the coming years. “Kyrie is special,” he said. “He’s put himself in a little bit of a different class already.” Akron Beacon Journal

“Physically, I feel like I can play. The one thing I understood, especially with Lindsey [Hunter] taking over [as coach] is I am in a place where you can really fit your piece, like [Jason] Terry coming to [the Celtics]. People were concerned about whether he fit or not. Systems really matter. “Seventeen years is a long time. And physically, this is the best I’ve felt in a long time.” Boston Globe

O’Neal said he is going to return to Germany this summer to have the Regenokine procedure again on both knees and will prepare as if he is returning next season. “You finally get a healthy body and it’s family, family, family and you don’t really think as much about basketball,” he said. “When those guys came to me after the Golden State game [last Wednesday] — and that was in the course of me going to New York, and I knew [the chances] were fairly high — and when they asked me, ‘JO, are you leaving us?’ that means a lot. “That means more than anything, and I’d rather stay with them those 27 games and fight with them.” Boston Globe

Contrary to widespread rumors that the Pistons had talks with Oklahoma City regarding Will Bynum, the source said conversations with the Thunder never happened. Booth Newspapers

In essence, Maynor got in on the ground floor as the Thunder were beginning a run, now in its fourth season, in which they would become one of the NBA’s elite teams. So there was a bittersweet aspect of Maynor joining the Trail Blazers, who acquired him Thursday in a trade-deadline deal involving a trade exception and the draft rights to a Greek player. “It was tough, but it’s a business,” said Maynor, who spoke to Portland reporters for the first time after the Blazers’ practice. “You talk to all those guys when you leave, and it was like we started something special over there, and some stuff comes to an end. But I’m excited to be in Portland now.” Oregonian

Maynor can become a restricted free agent this summer, if Portland opts to sign him to a $3.35 million offer sheet. In announcing the trade Thursday, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey said he wants to see how Maynor fits in before he decides on that, but said it is possible the Blazers could try to keep Maynor as a long-term piece “I think I’m going to cross that (bridge) later,” Maynor said. “I think just concentrate on the rest of this season. Hopefully, maybe we can get something done.” Oregonian

"I'm not even close. I used to play 45, 48 minutes without really getting tired. Now I have five possessions, I’m winded. I know I’m not there, but all that stuff will come. . . . I just know how much more effective I will be in better shape and that just comes with time. Unfortunately, it cost us a lot of games but we've got an opportunity to make history. I'm going to try and do whatever I can to help this team win." Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Lakers already have lost more games this season (29) than they have in any full season since 2007, and big man Dwight Howard says he knows his inconsistent energy and struggles with conditioning have cost his team some of them. "You've got to have energy and I want to bring that energy every night," Howard said in a revealing interview Saturday afternoon. "That's my job. They count on me to be that guy. I just know how much more effective I will be when I'm in better shape. And, unfortunately, it's cost us a lot of games." ESPN.com

Harvey never talked to Popovich but did report: "Spur assistants who were in the All-Star Game huddle in Houston say the incident has been overblown." Howard said Friday night that what Smith had told everyone "just never happened." "Pop was diagramming a play for me, and then as he showed us what to do he kept saying, 'Blake.' So Blake and I are confused, but he keeps saying Blake, so Blake takes off his jersey and goes into the game. "Pop sees me and wants to know why I'm not in the game running the play, so I tell him he kept saying Blake so Blake went in. He wasn't swearing at me." The report by Smith provided more ammunition, though, to those who insist Howard isn't as intense as he should be. "It hurts me, but what can I do about it?" said Howard, who has averaged 19 points and 12.6 rebounds the last five games. "I can't fight ESPN." Los Angeles Times

Bryant said he has an idea of what he wants to do after his playing days, although he wouldn't share. "Yeah, I know what it is," he said. "It takes away from my personal challenge and you guys will criticize if I can do it or not." While he'll continue his work as a philanthropist, Bryant said that's not enough. "Besides doing things that are humanitarian efforts, you've got to find -- you have to have a job," he said. Los Angeles Times

"I think finding the area before you retire ... I think that's really the biggest challenge for any athlete is to find something that you really want to do," said Bryant. "A lot of us wait until the last year until you retire trying to figure that out, then it takes five or whatever years and some never figure it out." Bryant is currently in his 17th season. He'll turn 35 in August. "I'll be 35-36 years old," said Bryant, perhaps giving a hint to his plans. "I'll need to find something that I can obsess about." Bryant admitted that he has an "obsessive personality" and that he'd need to "find something to put my ego into." Los Angeles Times

Kenyon Martin went through his first workout Saturday with the Knicks, but didn’t lose his temper or get on anyone’s bad side by saying the wrong thing after signing a 10 -day contract. So he’s off to a good start and vows to continue, and plans on getting signed for the remainder of the season. “People have misconceptions about me,” the former Net said in Greenburgh. “That’s why I’m here, to change those now.'” New York Daily News

As Martin admitted, he’s done little since last season, except for some running and shooting as he’s waited at his Los Angeles home for a team to call. “The treadmill is a lot shorter than this court,” he said. “I think I’m in decent shape. But basketball shape and game shape are something that’s totally different. But I’m a vet. Throw me out there and I know when I can get my breaks. I’ve got fresh legs.” New York Daily News

Ellis just missed a driving layup with Harris draped on him at the buzzer and the Hawks could celebrate the start of a six-game road trip. Following the game, Sanders grabbed Zaza Pachulia from behind as the team’s came together at midcourt. The Bucks were upset after Pachulia was called for a Flagrant Foul I earlier in the fourth quarter on John Henson. Pachulia would not discuss the post-game issue other than to say, “They are mad because they lost.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Warriors center Andrew Bogut didn’t fly with the team from Oakland as it started its final extended road trip of the season Saturday because of a disc protrusion that is causing back spasms, according to team officials. The 7-foot, 260-pounder played only 12 of the team’s first 54 games because of left ankle surgery and missed Friday’s overtime win against NBA-leading San Antonio after his back started acting up. He missed 43 games with a stress fracture in his lower back in 2008-09, a game in 2009-10 with a mid-back strain and five games in 2010-11 with a sore back. The Warriors say there is no real timetable for Bogut’s return, but they’re holding out hope that he can join the team at some point during their five-game trip. San Francisco Chronicle

Speaking before the 76ers hosted the Miami Heat on Saturday night, Collins said Bynum's brief 5-on-5 workout only showed how far away he is from being able to play, and hinted at just what a lost season this has been for the team. "He looked like a guy who hadn't played in nine months," Collins said. "I don't think any bells and whistles should be sent off that he's close to playing." ESPN.com

Collins said watching Bynum go through a little practice only left him disappointed considering just how much the team's big plans have been ruined by Bynum's constant knee issues. "It's amazing seeing him standing out there; he distorted the whole practice," Collins said. "You get visions of what might've been ... He's said that he's going to play, but this season is slipping away. We've got 24 games after (this weekend). We're eight (games) under .500, and we've got to play the Miami Heat four times." ESPN.com

As additional subtext for Doug Collins' depressingly pessimistic take on how Andrew Bynum looked in his first team practice this season -- Collins basically said Bynum's absence killed the 76ers' season and he sees little chance of Bynum returning to change that based on how he looked -- sources say that Collins has been consumed (does he do anything any other way?) with tracking the boxscores and performances of Moe Harkless, the rookie forward the Sixers sent to Orlando as part of the deal that netted them Bynum. I can't say I've watched a load of Magic games this season or have a feel for the kind of season Harkless has had, but he's 19 and more or less has been in the rotation making a contribution all season long. That's more, obviously, than Bynum has done and it's not hard for me to imagine Collins torturing himself (and, quite possibly, others) with that fact. Sulia

Former Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley is hospitalized in a Chicago-area hospital after recently suffering a stroke. Heisley was stricken last weekend soon after returning home from Houston, where he attended the NBA All-Star game. “The family appreciates all the thoughts and prayers,” Heisley’s wife, Agnes, said Saturday in a statement that requested respect for the family’s privacy. Memphis Commercial Appeal

“I’m speechless. This really bothers me,” said All-Star forward Zach Randolph, who visited with Heisley in Houston. “He’s a good guy and a man of his word. He took care of us and believed in us. I’m praying for him.” Griz coach Lionel Hollins broke the news to the team Saturday afternoon after a practice in FedExForum. The Griz then left to board a flight for Brooklyn, where they will play the Nets on Sunday night in the new Barclays Center. “It’s sad,” Hollins said. “I send my prayers out to the family. Mike Heisley has been good to me. It’s sad to see this happen and for him to be in this situation. We’ll continue to pray for him and wish him a speedy recovery.” Memphis Commercial Appeal

Bucking a global trend of rising prices and diminished value for a dollar, particularly in the sports industry, the New Orleans Hornets next season will reduce ticket prices across 81 percent of New Orleans Arena, a move aimed at increasing ticket sales and product satisfaction. Team president Dennis Lauscha said the team has listened to the desires of its current and former ticket buyers and responded to what surveys indicated was fans' primary motivation behind purchasing tickets: value. To that end, 13,598 of the seats in the arena, which currently has a capacity of 16,769, will go down in price for the 2013-14 season, the first with the new nickname of Pelicans, as the team continues to re-brand all aspects of the operation. New Orleans Times-Picayune

Syracuse retired former star Carmelo Anthony's No. 15 jersey during halftime of its game against Georgetown on Saturday in the Carrier Dome. A sellout crowd of 35,012, the largest to see a college basketball game in an on-campus arena, watched a large replica of Anthony's jersey get unveiled in the rafters. The New York Knicks' star was presented a framed jersey at center court. Anthony, who played only one year of college ball and helped lead the Orange to their lone national championship in 2003, was greeted with a rousing ovation when he entered the Carrier Dome before the game. "Wow," Anthony said, his wife and young son standing at his side. "This is one of the most memorable days of my life, my career." ESPN.com

As a coach, George Karl is generally a general, but he's also a soldier — he has fought cancer twice, and he continues to fight it with his passionate voice, albeit strained from radiation. Karl is helping the NBA, ESPN, The V Foundation and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in a crusade against cancer. From Sunday until March 4, the NBA will raise awareness and money. The V Foundation, which funds breakthroughs in cancer research, is raising funds to support the research at St. Jude, according to the league. And 100 percent of donations to The V Foundation from this campaign will go directly toward cancer research benefiting St. Jude's patients. Fans can go to stjude.org/hoops or jimmyv.org/nba, or text HOPE to 50333 or JIMMYV to 80888 to make a $10 donation. Denver Post

With all that was scary about cancer for Diane Johnson, breaking the news to her only child seemed just as terrifying as coming to grips with the fatal disease. So Diane kept it from Joe Johnson for over a year. She waited until she couldn’t wait any longer, until the physical effects of the steroid treatments were too obvious to hide. “I didn’t want him to know because at the time I was diagnosed the season just got started,” Dianne says. “And I knew he was getting ready for that. “I kind of had to come clean and tell him exactly what was going on. I told him I had a blood disorder.” New York Daily News

Diane broke the news at All-Star weekend in Dallas in 2010, when her feet were so swollen that she couldn’t walk because of the steroids. Joe was a member of the Atlanta Hawks, still more than two years from joining the Nets and being celebrated at a pep rally in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall. Diane, 54, had been diagnosed in 2008 with multiple myeloma — a cancer of bone marrow plasma cells — following a routine physical. It’s a rare and typically incurable cancer. “When you hear cancer, you immediately think of death,” Diane says. “But I didn’t. I mean, I thought of death but the thing was, I want to see my son get married, I want to have grandbabies. New York Daily News

Diane says her son was always well-behaved and respectful, although she’ll never forget that he extended Senior Skip Day to two days. Humility is not a surprising description considering Joe’s current role as Brooklyn’s even-keeled, calming force on and off the court. “It’s just been her,” Joe says. “My pops was never around. It was just me and her. So to see her go through cancer. It’s just tough.” New York Daily News

But not too long after his Bronx cameo, Joe flew to meet his pneumonia-stricken mother at an Arkansas hospital. Johnson stayed over a week with his mother, while his teammates were assembled for pre-training camp workouts at the Nets practice facility. “My son really stepped up. He was there. I can tell he was hurting and I couldn’t help him,” says Dianne, fighting back tears. “He was there. He’s been there for me all through this and continues to support me in anything and everything I do. “I think it is (hard on him). But Joe will never tell me. He’ll be strong. He’s always been my backbone, my heart. So he would never tell me, ‘Mom, I can’t handle this.’ Even if it bothered him, he wouldn’t tell me.” New York Daily News

Joe carried a heavy heart to training camp in the fall, begrudgingly leaving his mother at the hospital. He kept his pain to himself. “It was difficult because of the fact that I knew it was tough times for her,” Joe says. “The last thing I wanted was to lose her. Mentally I wasn’t there. Obviously I kind of kept it to myself and didn’t really express it because I knew coming here was a big deal and I wanted to be ready. But I couldn’t really work out like I wanted to. I just didn’t have the focus. She had all my focus, my attention.” New York Daily News

Meanwhile, she’s trying to take multiple myeloma in stride, hoping she’ll get to see her six-time All-Star son get married. “I did research and stuff on multiple myeloma,” she says. “They say I have 1-to-10 years. Well, I’m just going to go on my strength, and my faith, and stay strong.” Joe won’t let himself consider timelines. “I just try not to. I just try to enjoy the times we had together,” he says. “What happens, happens. I’m not in control of it. She’s pretty much not either.” New York Daily News

Former Celtic Antoine Walker, who recently attended his old team’s win over the Bulls at TD Garden, was one of the winners of a charity card tournament at All-Star Weekend in Houston along with NFL defensive lineman Travis Johnson. Walker, who has had well-publicized financial issues, donated his $5,000 prize to the Tamara Jolee Children’s Cancer Foundation. Walker has begun to return to the public spotlight after settling a lawsuit with a Las Vegas casino. Boston Globe

Since he has been contributing — 7.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 17 minutes per game off the bench — it has been more pleasurable to play. During his two years in Boston, O’Neal was usually injured and sulked. Asia would sit next to him in the locker room and provide support. “She’s a real warrior, and I believe God is going to make her better,” O’Neal said. “And she’s going to have a fantastic career and she wants to go to UCLA [to play volleyball] and I’m sure between now and then it’s going to change 30 times.” The surgery will cost Asia two months of volleyball, but O’Neal is more concerned with her long-term health. He will take a few days off next month to visit her in Boston, all the time praying for her health. Boston Globe

Dr. T. O. Souryal, who operates out of Texas Sports Medicine, was named president of the NBA Team Physician Association during All-Star weekend in Houston. The Mavericks’ team doctor will serve a two-year term. Interestingly, the Mavericks also have the president of the NBA coaches association (Carlisle) and the president of the NBA trainers association (Casey Smith). Also, when Derek Fisher was with the Mavericks, they had the head of the NBA players’ association. Dallas Morning News

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