HoopsHype rumors

March 30, 2013 | 03:34 PM ET Update

"These last two seasons have been the toughest of my career," he said before Friday's game with San Antonio. Since coming back from the Achilles' injury Nov. 28, he's missed extended time because of injuries to his back, foot and, now, a groin muscle. After playing more than 13 minutes in the Clippers' victory over New Orleans, Billups re-injured a right-groin muscle, and it kept him from suiting up Friday. Orange County Register

While frustrating, the injuries haven't been unexpected, he said. "I had prepared myself for the fight back. These little knick-knack things, my rehab people were really honest with me," Billups said. "'You really won't be all the way back to yourself until the next season.' With that in my mind, I was just honest with myself, knowing there were going to be some of these little setbacks." Orange County Register

There were bright spots for the Hawks, who continued to fight despite not defending the dribble, iso-game very well. Mike Scott scored 19, Anthony Tolliver was 4-7 from three-point range and Jeff Teague was somewhat effective in a 17 point, seven assist effort. Josh Smith played directionless offensively without his 6'10 partner in frontcourt crime Horford and seemed to be the target of some comments from Hawks coach Larry Drew afterwards, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Drew said the Hawks’ issues were again compounded by poor shots. “If you are not taking good shots, it’s as good as a turnover,” Drew said. “That is not anything we’ve haven’t talked about every road game we’ve played. We talk about our shot selection. We talk about not turning the ball over. We talk about limiting them to one shot and coming up with the rebound. When you take bad shots it’s as good as a turnover and tonight we took quite a few.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Several factors could have put Mavericks center Chris Kaman potentially into play for the Heat this offseason in free agency. Foremost, we know Pat Riley has had interest dating to the 2003 NBA Draft, when he had to be talked into instead selecting Dwyane Wade. Then there's the matter of whether the Heat will be able to retain Chris Andersen, therefore possibly opening a door at center. Beyond that, Kaman's price tag likely will plummet based on his uneven 2012-13 season. South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Except . . . not going to happen. Not after this during a Dallas radio interview, "I'm actually a LeBron James fan. I'm not much of a Dwyane Wade fan." That was followed by, "I just never really got along with [Wade]. I guess I just don't like his style or whatever. I didn't like the year the Mavs lost when he got all the foul calls. I didn't like that." This time if he has to choose between Wade and Kaman, an impending free agent, we can guess which way Riley would lean. South Florida Sun-Sentinel

As for the Indianapolis-based brothers, aged 27 and 25, that the Morris Twins will be dueling Saturday night, Marcus playfully added: "We're twins. So we're a little bit better than them." Said Markieff, who told ESPN.com that the twins were fearful Marcus was about to be dealt to Boston instead of Phoenix on the night of the trade: "It's been unreal, man. Dream come true. We thought this could maybe happen later (in their careers) -- we were definitely going to try to push for it -- but it's crazy how it went down." The Hansbroughs know the feeling. Tyler Hansbrough admits that he never bothered "to dream about it before" because the notion of playing on the same NBA team with your brother is so rare. They likewise try not to think about how long it'll last. ESPN.com

And if history is any guide, it won't be for long. One season has been the norm for brother duos, apart from Caldwell and Major Jones spending two seasons together in Houston in 1982-83 and 1983-84, and three sets of siblings in the prehistoric era of the forerunner to the NBA known as the Basketball Association of America (see accompanying chart) back in 1946-47. "As things start to sink in a little bit, you realize what a year and what an opportunity this is," Ben says. "It's been great for our relationship as brothers also." Said Tyler: "We don't really talk about (the future) that much. We're trying to enjoy the moment right now, embracing the position we're in." ESPN.com

Q: How much did you celebrate when Miami fell short? Jim Cleamons: Nah, nah, nah. I give them credit. They had a lot of stamina. A lot of heart. And I know they will appreciate what the '71-72 team did, because you've got to be lucky and good to do that. Their 27 [wins], I take my hat off to 'em. And if they would have gotten to 33 or 34, I would have taken my hat off to 'em then. Sooner or later, one of these days, somebody's gonna get it. But 33 ... it's gonna roll on for another year. ESPN.com

Q: Which of the two records will last longer? The 33-game winning streak or the Bulls' 72-10 season? Jim Cleamons: I've got two things out there I've been a part of that I think are going to live for a while. Obviously the 33 in a row has been out there for a while, but the 72-10 ... that one might go on for a really long while. That 33 is not a cakewalk, as time begins to testify for me. But 72-10 ... it's going to take a real juggernaut to top that one. ESPN.com

Cleamons: Believe you me, traveling on a charter is a lot easier. Traveling in those days was pretty horrendous. Don't get me wrong: It was better than the guys before me had. But just to show you how compacted it was: I was home by Mother's Day that year. We had gone through all of our playoffs and the championship round and I was able to drive from Los Angeles to Columbus, Ohio, and get there prior to Mother's Day. But I'm not trying to cry foul. Each team can only do the best they can do what with what's in front of them. ... Once we got past the record -- Milwaukee had it before us with 18 (wins in a row) or 20 or whatever it was -- every game we won we were setting a new record. So we were really able to enjoy it. We weren't trying to catch anybody. We were just taking care of our business. ESPN.com

Sources close to the situation say D-Rose hasn't ruled out deciding to give it a shot in the playoffs even if he doesn't play a single regular-season game. And he'd actually be the fourth former MVP in league history to start a season so late after missing at least the first 50 games, joining Bill Walton (1979-80 and 1986-87), Moses Malone (1992-93) and Michael Jordan (1994-95). ESPN.com

Reserve guard Manu Ginobili has been officially ruled out for Sunday’s home game against the defending champion Heat with a strained right hamstring, the Spurs announced Saturday. A timetable for his return was not immediately provided. Ginobili has already missed 13 games this season with back spasms, a thigh bruise and now strains in both hamstrings. He is averaging 11.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds in his 11th season. San Antonio Express-News

Zaza Pachulia may have played his last game with the Hawks. He has definitely played his last game this season. Pachulia, plagued by a sore right Achilles for two months, will undergo a surgical procedure and miss the remainder of the year. The center and fan favorite, who spent the past eight seasons with the Hawks, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Details of the surgery, a procedure to repair the sore Achilles, and the recovery period are to be determined. “After thoroughly reviewing the possible options with Zaza, we all felt this was the best decision to ensure Zaza’s complete recovery so that he can be at 100 percent going forward,” Hawks President of Basketball Operations and General Manger Danny Ferry said. “Zaza is a professional with a strong work ethic. The Hawks will continue to be completely supportive as he tackles the return to play process.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Should Alex Len decide to forgo two years of college eligibility and declare for the NBA draft, he will likely be among the top big men selected, a virtual lottery lock by most projections. Scouts love his athleticism and raw talent, particularly that feathery touch on mid-range jumpers. “As far as the things that he would probably need to improve on,” said one Eastern Conference executive, speaking on condition of anonymity because of NBA policy, “Number one, I don’t think his body is quite ready to go up against NBA starting centers yet. I think that will be a big transition for him.” Washington Post

Think I’'ll stick with what one league insider told me this week when asked about all of Johnson’'s efforts to assemble an ownership group to challenge the $525 million valuation of the franchise that the Maloof Brothers negotiated in their sale agreement to the Seattle group headed by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer: Sacramento is undeniably “gaining momentum” in terms of keeping the Kings. Reason being: All the recent signals emanating from New York, as one source aptly put it, describe how “really hard to call” this has all gotten. ESPN.com

That sentiment, though, also has to give Sactown hope, given how widely it was assumed heading into the All-Star break that the Kings were all but Seattle-bound already. The NBA Board of Governors will vote on the proposals from the two cities April 18-19 after the Sacramento counter offer is formally presented to league officials next week. ESPN.com

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who has been trying to get out of business and into politics, looks like he is setting his sights a bit lower after coming a distant third in last year’s presidential election. The 47-year-old tycoon now says he plans to run for a seat in the Moscow city legislature next year. “When I do something, I always work only to win,” he said in an interview aired Wednesday on state-run television channel Rossiya 24. Wall Street Journal

March 30, 2013 | 10:11 AM ET Update

The Nets are calling up Kris Joseph from Springfield, filling the 15th spot open since Josh Childress was waived in December. Joseph, a 6'7" swingman, was acquired by the Armor in a trade last month. At the time, Joseph and Armor Coach Bob MacKinnon said the trade was made on behalf of the Nets so they could scout him. NetsDaily

The Nets will call up forward Kris Joseph from the Springfield Armor sometime next week, according to a source. Joseph, who was a second-round pick by the Celtics in last June's draft, has averaged 19.4 points in 14 games with Springfield -- the Nets D-League affiliate -- before scoring 12 points in a loss to Erie Friday night. New York Post

Brooklyn Nets guard Jerry Stackhouse is likely to retire after this season. But he won’t be done with basketball. The 18-year veteran said it’s “highly unlikely’’ he will play next season. He then anticipates having a role with the NBA Players Association. “It’s not completely sold that I don’t get the bug (to play) again,'' Stackhouse told FOX Sports Florida before Friday's game at Denver. "But, really, I think this is an opportune time to kind of step to the forefront to do something with the union and try to make sure we select the right executive director.’’ FOXSports Florida

The numbers are pretty depressing: A post-All-Star-break record of 3-16, 44 days since the Pistons' last home victory Feb. 13, an average margin of defeat of 26.3 points in their last efforts at the Palace and 24-49 record that puts the franchise on pace for its worst record in years. After the team's 99-82 thumping by the Toronto Raptors on Friday, coach Lawrence Frank was asked whether the team has quit on him. "We haven't quit and I think that would be totally unfair and not right," Frank said. "Because if you quit, (we'd) quit right from the beginning of the game." Detroit Free Press

The same day Derrick Rose had surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee, his older brother Reggie Rose told me how a similar knee injury adversely affected his college basketball career. No doubt Reggie's unfortunate experience is influencing Derrick's decision to be extra cautious about when to return to the Bulls. Reggie never has said he was or could have been as good as Derrick, but he was not too shabby. He led the city in scoring as a 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior guard at Hubbard High School. Reggie was set to accept a scholarship offer to play at Cincinnati, but poor entrance test scores ruled out that possibility, according to news reports. Miami Herald

"When (Derrick) jumped and fell down, I could see him pressing his knee like he was trying to push something back in," Reggie told me then. "I was with my friend and I looked at him. He said: 'What? He twisted his ankle?' I said: 'Naw, I think he tore his ACL.' As soon as he did it, I kind of figured that was what it was. Just looking and knowing what happened to me ... I tore mine in '94. "Now, today with the medical stuff they have now, I think he has better physicians, better equipment and everything so he can come back strong." Miami Herald

Reggie told me Derrick's friends call him "The General" because "when I come around I am always nagging and fussing." Reggie said he simply wants Derrick to take care of his body and watch what he eats. "You can't put 80-cent gasoline in a Ferrari," Reggie preaches. "I think sometimes ... he's young, he can do that. But now I think he is going to eat right and listen a little bit more and just come back bigger, faster, stronger." Miami Herald

Adelman said he would like to see Love back on the floor, even if it is for only a week or 10 days. “I’d love to see him get out there and play,” Adelman said before Friday’s 101-93 victory over Oklahoma City. “He certainly would help us. And we’d get to see guys play together who haven’t played together all year. I think it would be [enough time]: Have him on the floor and put guys together. It will effect our rotation again, but it’s a nice effect to have.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Though Amar’e Stoudemire wasn’t definitive whether he’ll make it back for the playoffs, Woodson sounded confident. Stoudemire had knee-debridement surgery March 11. The six-week timetable would have him back for Game 2 of the first-round series. “If anyone’s going to make it back, it’s Amar’e,’’ said Woodson, “I can promise you that.’’ Woodson said he could have done a better job on Stoudemire’s 30-minute restriction policy, but admits he had never dealt with such edicts. Stoudemire wasn’t the only one on restrictions. Iman Shumpert was on one coming back from his knee injury and Marcus Camby still is. “I never dealt with minutes restrictions,’’ Woodson said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever done that. That’s a challenge, slotting guys in certain positions. I haven’t always been great at it.’’ New York Post

Steve Kerr had left the Phoenix Suns a few weeks before the club elected to let Amar’e Stoudemire walk to New York. But the former Suns general manager agreed with ownership and the club’s medical staff that Stoudemire was a medical risk not worth taking. “Yeah,” Kerr said. “I was on board with it.” As Stoudemire recovers from yet another knee surgery and questions swirl over whether he’ll ever return to his All Star form, Kerr said he feels “sad” for his former player because “Amar’e just loves to play basketball.” New York Daily News

“What I remember is our orthopedic surgeon Tom Carter saying that generally after six to eight years after a player has a microfracture there could be problems,” Kerr told the Daily News. “We calculated he had a couple of good years left and that the back end of the contract could be a problem. “You never know for sure but you go with your experts and in this case it was Dr. Carter.” New York Daily News

Zeller has the tougher decision to make. He entered the college season rated by many as the potential No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s NBA draft. But that talk died down as the season progressed because Zeller “lacks toughness and rarely took over games” this season, according to an NBA general manager. Zeller struggled against physical big men in college and big men in the NBA are leaps and bounds ahead of those in college. “What you saw against Syracuse is exactly why his stock has fallen,” said one scout who has watched IU play throughout the season. “He couldn’t get his shot off and he played passive against a physical, athletic team. That’s not the way to show you’re ready for the NBA.” Indianapolis Star

Cavaliers assistant coach Joe Prunty is expected to coach the Great Britain senior men's national team in the EuroBasket competition this summer, The Plain Dealer has confirmed. The appointment was first reported by the website mvp247.com. Prunty declined to comment on his appointment before Friday's game against Philadelphia, but an NBA source confirmed it. Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The deal's done," Thibodeau told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday night. Nevertheless, he wouldn't acknowledge that it had been signed because that still hasn't happened, several sources with direct knowledge of the contract told Y! Sports. Yahoo! Sports

Stu Jackson has long overseen basketball operations for the NBA, but he's begun the pursuit of returning to the front office of a team, sources told Yahoo! Sports. The restructuring of the league office could ultimately be dramatic, and those within the NBA are watching closely to understand how it'll eventually trickle down to the product on the floor. Yahoo! Sports

Jerry West is a slam dunk for best dad ever ... dropping $1.3 mil on a condo for his 24-year-old son. No justice. The 3,000-square-foot condo sits on a golf course in the exclusive MountainGate complex on L.A.'s Westside. And speaking of West and side ... the condo is 5 minutes from Jerry's estate. TMZ.com

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