HoopsHype rumors

March 9, 2013 | 06:37 PM ET Update

Mayo insists he isn't looking past the last few weeks of the season, but if you think he isn't looking forward to his future and re-establishing himself as one of the game's best young players, you've got another thing coming. "Man, I haven't looked that far down the road," Mayo said. "I'm just looking at Detroit, to see if we can finish this season on a high note." Detroit News

Give a team a series where they can scheme to attack those older legs and pound the Heat on the boards and it could be costly. "They can't afford to have long series' in the early going and I don't see them running the table," said one GM. This is not to downplay the Heat's terrific winning streak as much as to point out that inside the league regular-season domination isn't considered a harbinger for the post-season. How a team is built and weighing its strengths and weaknesses means more than streaks or records. Sulia

March 9, 2013 | 04:52 PM ET Update

Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman denied Saturday that there is any kind of communications rift between Derrick Rose’s camp and the organization regarding the return date for the all-star guard from his knee injury. “We talk all the time. We have been in communication throughout the whole process. High-level communication,” Forman told the Tribune before scouting the DePaul-Pittsburgh game at Allstate Arena. Chicago Tribune

He's at career highs across the board this year (17.4 points, 46.2 percent shooting, 4.4 assists), having carried the struggling Mavericks while franchise mainstay Dirk Nowitzki recovered from knee surgery. That was a pleasant surprise, to be sure. "Yeah, I just got the chance to open up my game," said Mayo, one game off a career-high 12 assists. "Make some plays for myself and my teammates." It's not only that he's entered into a second tier of shooting guards behind Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and James Harden, but it's also the manner in which he's done it that will look attractive to the Pistons' brass. Detroit News

The Mavericks have waived Dominique Jones. The third-year guard has not played much in the last two months and by jettisoning him, they have opened up a roster spot. No word yet on who might be coming in, if anybody. But it seems obvious that they want to have the flexibility to bring in another player Dallas Morning News

Veteran Mike Dunleavy will start at small forward and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will slide over to the power forward spot if Ersan Ilyasova is unable to play Saturday night at Golden State. That was the word from coach Jim Boylan following the Bucks shootaround Saturday morning. Ilyasova stayed on the stationary bike for most of the shootaround and Boylan said his status will be a game-time decision. Ilyasova suffered a left knee bone bruise in the Bucks' loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Aran Smith: Talking to NBA scouts: Alex Poythress & Archie Goodwin no longer locks for 1st round. On Goodwin "What good is a SG that cant shoot?" Twitter @nbadraftnet

March 9, 2013 | 01:36 PM ET Update

Sure there are still moments when Nash will bring up the ball depending on defensive adjustments by the opposition, but more often than not, Nash is patrolling the perimeter and waiting for Bryant to get him the ball. "It's a big adjustment for me and I am trying to embrace it," Nash said. "I'm trying to do what I can to help the team. It's not something I'm accustomed. It's been a difficult transition in some ways, but at the same time I love being here and I really want to help the team the best I can." ESPN.com

Neither Carmelo Anthony nor Amar'e Stoudemire took part in the Knicks shootaround Saturday, raising the possibility that the team will have to find a way to generate offense and beat the Jazz Saturday night without either of them. Anthony is "still day-to-day," Mike Woodson said, adding that in a conversation this morning the player said the situation in his sore knee is "so-so." The coach said Anthony's status for the game at the Garden will be a gametime decision. Stoudemire missed the morning practice session because he was getting treatment on both knees, which are sore, the coach said. The Knicks officially listed him as "questionable" for tonight. Newsday

Doug Collins is endorsing Spurs coach Gregg Popovich or Celtics coach Doc Rivers to be Team USA coach. “My feeling is the two guys who should be in the mix are Pop and Doc,’’ Collins said. “I think those two guys, what they’ve done. Pop, the years he’s put in, what he’s done and plus he has a military background a lot like Coach K, and what he’s done in San Antonio. And then I think Doc. “Those two guys are the cream of the crop. They’ve won championships.'' Sulia

March 9, 2013 | 09:15 AM ET Update

Yet word is that Milwaukee has some interest in bringing back free-agent-to-be Samuel Dalembert separate from sorting out the futures of its backcourt trio. The veteran center had fallen completely out of favor under Scott Skiles and was widely regarded as a near-lock to be dealt this trade season before re-emerging as a contributor behind Most Improved Player and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Larry Sanders under interim coach Jim Boylan -- with Boylan's ability to stick around beyond this season remaining a matter of debate. ESPN.com

Oden attended the Cavs’ game Friday as a guest of Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley Jr., his best friend since childhood – yet wound up in Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s baseline seats adjacent the Cavs’ bench. Gilbert wasn’t in attendance Friday, so arena personnel invited Oden to move down from his original seats five rows behind the Cavs’ bench. It was a fascinating scene, given the negotiations between the Cavs and Oden’s agent – who also happens to be Conley’s father. Oden was showed on the video board twice during the game as fans cheered and said he is still interested in playing for the Cavs despite not signing a contract yet. “I live in Ohio. It’s home now,” Oden said. “They have a great organization and I really do think they’re up and coming.” Akron Beacon Journal

“Obviously the longer it goes, the more it looks like that” he won’t sign until summer, Oden’s agent, Mike Conley Sr. said Friday. The game against the Grizzlies was Oden’s first Cavs game as a casual fan. He lives in Columbus again and said the organization’s partnership with the Cleveland Clinic will be a factor in his decision. “With my process, one of the top two things I have to think about is the medical staff and how is it going to help me,” Oden said. “I want to play and I want to play for some time. Not just come in and see what happens. I want to be able to have a career.” Akron Beacon Journal

Wright is hopeful that Nelson and Cuban also will figure out a way to keep him in a Mavs uniform. Meanwhile, he noted that he and the other Mavs’ soon-to-be free agent don’t even bring up the subject of free agency. “We know what the situation is,’’ Wright said. “We know we’ve got a lot of free agents and we’ve got guys that might leave and probably will leave, and we’ve got guys that probably will come back. “That’s just part of the business. It’s rare to see that many free agents on one team, but we’re doing the best we can.’’ Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Martin signed his second 10-day contract with the Knicks on Tuesday. After his performance against the Thunder, it would be surprising if the Knicks don't sign Martin for the rest of the season. They've already lost Wallace to foot surgery. There also will be games when the Knicks, who didn't practice Friday, need more athleticism against some quicker teams, and Martin is a better fit than Camby or Thomas. Martin could be an asset if the Knicks meet the Heat in the playoffs, whether it be guarding LeBron James or Chris Bosh or committing a hard, playoff-type foul. "You've got to let them know it's basketball, it's a contact sport," Martin said. "We're going out there not trying to hurt anyone, just letting them know it's not going to be easy tonight. That's how I've always approached the game. That's how I'm going to continue to play." Newsday

Have you already got in mind who you want back here next year? Rick Carlisle: I've got an idea, but there's a lot to be determined. For example, Beaubois has been in and out of this year. But he's had some good days in practice recently, in shootaround he was real energetic this morning. I take not of that, and if there's an opportunity to play him in an upcoming game in some meaningful minutes, I'm not going to hesitate. He's showing me that he's ready. There have been other guys who have done that too. Brandan Wright got back into it with that sort or daily approach. Dallas Morning News

The persistent whisper into Stein Line HQ, according to sources with knowledge of the talks, is that Josh Smith-to-Milwaukee is the trade scenario Atlanta came the closest to consummating before the Feb. 21 trade deadline. Reports this week that the Sixers and Hawks were close on a deal that would have sent Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes to the Hawks in a package for Smith were dismissed by one source who insists that the Hawks' talks with Philly were never as serious as the discussions with the Bucks. ESPN.com

Spencer Hawes says “name of the game’’ he was in trade talks & “you never really know’’ if he’s with Phil next year Hawes, Philadelphia’s center, was linked to going to Minnesota and to Atlanta in possible deals before the Feb. 21 trading deadline. But any possible deal feel through and he stayed with the 76ers. “I hear about them afterwards, that one (Minnesota), the Atlanta one,’’ Hawes told FOX Sports Florida. “That’s the name of the game. If you’re around long enough, your name gets tossed around.’’ Sulia

Hawes, who signed a two-year, $13 million deal with the 76ers last summer, was asked if he thinks he’ll be with Philadelphia next season. “I do, but you never really know,’’ Hawes said. “I just got to see how it goes and keep an open mind and see how it is.’’ Sulia

It's believed that the Hawks, like many teams over the past few years, had internal questions about how serious Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge really was when it came to surrendering Pierce or Kevin Garnett at the deadline. Although Pierce, Garnett and Rajon Rondo have all been openly mentioned in trade speculation since the Celtics' crushing defeat to the Lakers in Los Angeles in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, with Ainge known to aggressively call around the league to see what's available in potential deals, there remains considerable skepticism about his willingness to actually go through with dealing with Pierce or KG after those 30-somethings helped end Boston's two- decade championship drought. ESPN.com

What's indisputable is that the Hawks, given their druthers, had hoped to send Smith to the Western Conference if they found a workable trade. Sources say that Dallas was among the teams that rejected those overtures, with the Mavs unwilling to add a draft pick to a package that would have cost them Vince Carter and Chris Kaman's expiring contract in addition to rookie Jae Crowder and the expiring deals of Brandan Wright and Dahntay Jones. The Mavs simply weren't prepared to give up Carter, Crowder and a pick for an undeniable talent but longtime enigma who A) could leave after the season via unrestricted free agency, B) reportedly wants max money and C) wasn't guaranteed to fit well alongside Dirk Nowitzki since both play the 4. ESPN.com

General manager Bob Myers said he had cordial talks with Jackson daily about who might fit and reiterated that it didn’t make any sense to bring in a player to sit on the bench. There was some talk about guards Maalik Wayns and Chris Douglas-Roberts, forwards Josh Childress, Dominic McGuire and Chris Wright and center Mickell Gladness. But the Warriors agreed that Thomas was the right guy, because he’s a defense-first wing who is athletic enough to finish in transition – some of the very attributes the Warriors lost when Brandon Rush tore his anterior cruciate ligment in the season’s second game. San Francisco Chronicle

Kobe Bryant hit the tying 3-pointer with 5 seconds left in regulation, then dunked for the go-ahead basket with 10 seconds left in overtime, helping the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Toronto Raptors 118-116 on Friday night for their second straight come-from-behind win. Two nights after rallying from 25 points down to win on the road at New Orleans, the Lakers came back from a 15-point deficit in regulation and a slow start in overtime to gain ground on Utah for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth. They also moved a game above .500. Bryant finished with 41 points and 12 assists, making 14 of 16 free throws, and Dwight Howard had 24 points and 13 rebounds. USA Today Sports

Their excellence made it easy to forget a momentary lapse in overtime when Howard committed a three-second violation, prompting Bryant to shake his head in frustration. "We're just trying to play off each other," Howard said. "We know how well the two-man game is working with me and him. We do our best to play out of that and in the in fourth quarter it's Kobe time." They are starting to become a tandem to behold on a nightly basis for all the right reasons. Bryant fed Howard for five of Howard's six baskets in the second half Wednesday in New Orleans as the Lakers rallied from a 25-point deficit. Perhaps the only reason Bryant didn't make it six for six was that Howard's other basket was a put-back dunk. Los Angeles Times

Van Gundy believes Howard wasn't trying to bad-mouth any of his former teammates. "He did not, in my opinion, mean to say 'I didn't play with good players in Orlando,' " Van Gundy, currently an analyst for NBC Sports, told the L.A. Daily News. "The question was about his demeanor. He's been criticized for his demeanor on the court. He was basically trying to defend himself in his demeanor saying he can be smiling and still be serious about winning. What he meant to say is, 'We had an underrated or under the radar team in Orlando and we won a lot of games and I was the best player on that team and this was my demeanor. So what's the problem now?' " ESPN.com

The Lakers travel to Orlando to play the Magic on Tuesday, marking Howard's first trip to Amway Center since being traded to Los Angeles in August. "I understand that we're about to play Orlando," Howard said. "They're just trying to get everybody riled up for the game and it's understandable, but I love that city. I had eight great years there. We accomplished a lot, but that's over with. It's in the past. We all have to move forward. I know people are getting upset, but we all have to move forward." ESPN.com

Magic fans who plan to attend Tuesday's game, which is sure to be a sellout, and want some inspiration for creative ways to voice their displeasure with Howard need look no further than the team's official website. Magic scribe Josh Cohen has some suggestions for what Cohen calls "acceptable and amusing chants" to rankle the Lakers center. Before posting that list, Cohen makes the following disclaimer: For those attending the game, please keep your emotions in check and do NOT do anything that could cause harm to anyone. Amway Center is a safe environment for everyone, regardless of your team affiliation, to enjoy a fun and entertaining sporting event. Orlandoinstripedpost.com

This went unnoticed during Thursday night’s closer-than-expected contest between the Knicks and the Thunder, but you can bet that the league will be reviewing it in the days that follow. With about 5:20 remaining in the fourth quarter, J.R. Smith takes an aggressive swing with his right elbow to the head of Thabo Sefolosha. Thankfully for everyone involved, he missed. But it was a violent attempt, and the intent was clear. NBCSports.com

After the Celtics improved to 14-4 since the season-ending injury to his friend and Celtics teammate Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett faced questions about whether the season has taken on a special feel in recent weeks. “Special?” he asked. The question — a legitimate one given the circumstances — was asked again. “We haven’t given in to the [expletive] critics,” said Garnett, who finished with 17 points and seven boards in the 107-102 overtime win over the Hawks. “We’re working hard. We’re grinding. We’re showing our character. Our coach is a grinder himself, and his team is just that. We’re not looking for any handouts or sympathies or anything like that. We don’t expect anybody to give us nothing. We’re going out, working hard and gaining everything we’re getting. We’re giving ourselves a chance every night. We’re leaning on each other. We’re playing together. “I could probably better answer your question later on in the postseason to see where were at. It’s still early. Everybody’s fighting for positioning. Everybody pretty much has the same road at this point, so it’s kind of early.” WEEI.com

Thibdodeau was noncommittal when asked if he expects Rose to play this season, saying the Bulls are prepared either way. "I just want him to do what he has been doing, which is put everything you have into each day," he said. "He's practiced well. He's got to keep doing it, and when he goes, he goes. We can't wait on him. We have to find ways to win now. Hopefully, at some point, he'll be ready to go. He's put a lot of work in. No one wants to play more than he does. We have to trust him." USA Today Sports

Pau Gasol ran on an "anti-gravity" treadmill Friday, another step in his return from a tear in the bottom of his right foot. He missed his 14th game with the injury and will be out at least another 1½ weeks. D'Antoni thinks about his return often. "About every day," he said. "When he comes back, he's obviously going to be a big part of what we do and getting him back to the level he was at when he got hurt. If he does that, he's going to help a heck of a lot." So he could start in place of Clark? "We don't need to go there yet, do we?" D'Antoni said. "We can have that [discussion] later on." Los Angeles Times

Griffin said he wants to play for the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Griffin, who will be 24 on March 16, was unable to play on the gold medal-winning 2012 team in London because he suffered a left knee injury during a U.S. team practice that required surgery. "Yeah, absolutely, it's something that I want to do," Griffin said. "Obviously it's a great honor. I was really looking forward to playing last year. It was very disappointing not being able to be there. I kind of turned my sights to getting back healthy. So my next goal for that is 2016." Los Angeles Times

Griffin said he hasn't been approached recently by anyone from the USA Basketball, but figures it will happen soon. "They talked about it last summer when I got hurt, about me coming back and being involved in the process over the next four summers," Griffin said. Los Angeles Times

Doug Collins is throwing his name in the mix to be an Olympic coach. But not as the head coach, as an assistant coach. “I’d be thrilled if they’d let me be an assistant coach,’’ Collins told FOX Sports Florida on Friday night before his Philadelphia 76ers faced the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena. FOXSports Florida

“My feeling is the two guys who should be in the mix are Pop and Doc,’’ said Collins, whose 76ers play at Orlando on Sunday. “I think those two guys, what they’ve done. Pop, the years he’s put in, what he’s done and plus he has a military background a lot like Coach K, and what he’s done in San Antonio. And then I think Doc.’’ FOXSports Florida

NBA Commissioner David Stern said Friday night that the counteroffer to keep the Sacramento Kings from moving to Seattle needs to be increased financially before the league's owners would even consider the bid. Speaking to reporters before the Golden State Warriors hosted the Houston Rockets, Stern said the Sacramento group's offer has some "very strong financial people behind it but it is not quite there in terms of a comparison to the Seattle bid." He added that "unless it increases, it doesn't get to the state of consideration." USA Today Sports

Speaking to the news media before a Golden State Warriors game in Oakland, the commissioner delivered a bombshell, saying a Sacramento group's counteroffer to buy the team does not measure up in dollars to a tentative deal the Kings recently signed with a group that hopes to move the team to Seattle. "The counter bid has got very strong financial people behind it, but it is not quite there in comparison to the Seattle bid," Stern said. "There is a substantial variance." Sacramento Bee

"I didn't hear what the commissioner had to say, but we're excited about the Kings, we are going to be aggressive," he said. "We are aiming to win the bid, but it is a long process. We have a long way to go. We are going to continue to work with the NBA." Sacramento Mayor Johnson, attending the Kings game Friday night in Sleep Train Arena, took the commissioner's comments in stride. "I said at the State of the City (speech last week) that we have a strong bid and a competitive bid and I still stand by that," he said. "We know how to grind wins out, and this is no different." Johnson said Stern knows Sacramento is serious and will put together a solid bid, including an arena financing plan. Stern made a point at his news conference to laud the "herculean effort" Johnson and his group are making. Sacramento Bee

Despite an Internet report that stated the two sides are close to an agreement to test players’ blood for the first time for HGH, a person with direct knowledge of the talks said on Friday night, “Nothing is close.” New York Daily News

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