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October 20, 2014 | 10:12 PM ET Update

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October 20, 2014 | 08:23 PM ET Update

Marc J. Spears: Bulls @Derrick Rose had a tough fall at end of first half, but he has looked great & quick so far against Cavs with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Was a little nervous about @Derrick Rose after watching him with @usabasketball, but he does looks like his old self against the Cavs of all teams. Twitter @SpearsNBAYahoo

October 20, 2014 | 07:01 PM ET Update

AEK Athens is going to sign American center Derrick Caracter. Caracter has signed just one month ago for Flamengo and with the Brazilian club he won the Intercontinental Cup against Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Caracter will substitute Vernon Goodridge. Sportando

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October 20, 2014 | 05:50 PM ET Update

The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent guard Sean Kilpatrick to a contract, the team announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released. NBA.com

Nick Friedell: Thibs says Butler is out tonight. He will have an MRI tomorrow. Hinrich will start for Butler. Twitter @NickFriedell

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October 20, 2014 | 05:12 PM ET Update

Paul George is less than three months removed from surgery after he sustained an open tibia-fibula practice on August 1, and he’s doing even more on the basketball court. After the Pacers’ practice on Monday, George shot around — moving around loosely and comfortably [VIDEO]. He ditched his boot a couple weeks ago, and is now typically seen wearing two shoes rather than one and the boot. “[His] spirits are great,” head coach Frank Vogel said last week. “He’s encouraged; he’s optimistic that he’s going to try to get back as soon as possible. He’s around the team a lot being a contributor and being a smiling face and contributing to our culture.” Vigilant Sports

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October 20, 2014 | 04:40 PM ET Update

Carter appreciates that the Mavs didn’t pass on him at a time when his stock wasn’t high after disappointing stints in Orlando and Phoenix. “[Mark] Cuban believed in me in the beginning when I guess a lot of people felt like I was just done or couldn’t play anymore,” Carter said. “I just got better and better. A lot of guys think when you get to that age, how can you get better? But I think I got better. I fit with this team. I think it worked and coach made it work. I was just glad to be a part of it.” ESPN.com

Chris Dempsey: JaVale McGee (tibia), however, might make his preseason debut tomorrow. If not, then against Golden State in the preseason finale. McGee has recently been getting through all of practices. The team wants him to get some action before the regular season begins #Nuggets Twitter @dempseypost

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October 20, 2014 | 02:33 PM ET Update

It's becoming more evident with each preseason game. Bucks rookie Jabari Parker is settling in at the power forward position. His quickness is giving bigger opponents plenty of trouble and he is rebounding well. The 6-foot-8 Parker still can switch over to small forward if necessary. But his best fit right now is at the 4 spot and it enables the Bucks to play fellow 19-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo at small forward. "It looks like power forward, yeah," Parker said after the Bucks shootaround Monday morning at Madison Square Garden. "I played some 3 against the Cavs. It depends on the team, I'd say. Mostly my speed (is an advantage), because those guys are a bit stronger down there, those forwards." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Chip Crain: Grizzlies announce new multi year partnership with Horseshoe Casino. The Horseshoe Club will replace Lexus Lounge & feature @kelly_english. Twitter @3Shadesofblue

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October 20, 2014 | 02:14 PM ET Update

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October 20, 2014 | 02:08 PM ET Update

Former Hawks player Dikembe Mutombo has met with a group of investors about joining their bid to buy the Atlanta Hawks. The group, which is made up in part of Atlanta businessmen, has begun the preliminary work to get involved in the process. Talks are ongoing. The group may also consist of other former NBA players. They hope to meet with the NBA commissioner’s office in the near future. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

David Mayo: Pistons release four camp invitees, Hasheem Thabeet, Brian Cook, Josh Bostic, Lorenzo Brown. Bostic/Brown may be D-League assignees. Twitter @David_Mayo

"I've had a lot of clients in the last five years, good players, who didn't want to play with Kobe," says an agent who has had numerous NBA stars. "They see that his teammates become the chronic public whipping boys. Anyone who could possibly challenge Kobe for the spotlight ends up becoming a pincushion for the media. Even Shaq." ESPN.com

"Mitch did his homework," says another NBA exec. "He can't get a marquee player to play alongside Kobe, cap space be damned." As several agents around the league said, it's tough, after so many failed attempts, to convince any player that they'll love playing with Bryant. "He wants to win," says a source close to Lakers decision makers. "But only as long as he's the reason we're winning, as long as the performance is not affecting his numbers. No one works harder than Kobe. And no one sabotages his own efforts more. He's scaring off the free agents we're trying to get. We're trying to surround you with talent and your ego is getting in the way." ESPN.com

The story of the Lakers' losing Howard has been told as one of the big man chafing under Mike D'Antoni's offense. One Lakers source, though, says Howard's issue wasn't really with the offensive scheme but that "he saw one particular player play outside that scheme with carte blanche, with no accountability. These people who say Dwight couldn't handle the pressure of Los Angeles ... that's nonsense. LA was everything Dwight wanted. To be celebrated. To be among stars. To be among women of this caliber. To live, basically, in one big reality TV show. This was a perfect setting for him." Bryant, who declined through a Lakers spokesman to comment for this story, playfully grumbles about today's youth and their newfangled ways, but there really is an element to his play that is from the past. ESPN.com

In the days before LA acquired Nash, sources say, the point guard wanted to hear from Bryant that the Lakers' star was amenable to having Nash control the ball much of the time -- a key tenet of the D'Antoni offense from the Suns days. When Lakers brass asked Bryant to call Nash, Bryant failed to do so, saying he preferred that Nash call him. The pettiness took days to resolve and nearly scuttled the deal. ESPN.com

While the Lakers were going after Anthony in vain, they quietly pursued Chris Bosh as well, but he preferred the carcass of the Heat. Paul George, Angelino through and through, had once been the team's safest choice. But sources say one reason the two-way star had re-signed with the Pacers in the fall of 2013 instead was that he was turned off by the thought that Bryant would police his efforts. ESPN.com

Sessions has been somewhat evasive as to why, but he has been quoted as saying it was "definitely different" playing with Bryant. Internally, the Lakers were rattled by his departure and came to believe that Kobe was the key. It meant little as a transaction but everything as a sign of how players with options view this team. "Peek behind the banners," says one longtime NBA agent, "and it's rotten." "Kobe is like the big rock in their front yard," says an agent who has had a Lakers client in recent years. "You can't mow over it, so you just have to mow around it." ESPN.com

"I just never felt like the Lakers put as much effort into the building-the-team part of it," says an agent who once had a free agent decline a Lakers offer. "I saw some things in the players' parking lot. Conversations between Bynum and his people and some people with the Lakers. It got pretty rough and heated." "It's horrendous. It's evil. It's a hard drug to quit when you're winning," says a front office executive from a rival team who knows everyone involved well. "Kobe has cost the Lakers dearly in human capital. Kobe has hurt a lot of people. In some cases jeopardized careers." ESPN.com

The view in the Lakers' front office is that any real rebuild will have to wait until after Bryant's retirement. "This has finally come home," says a Lakers insider. "Major players don't want to play with Kobe, and Jimmy is waiting for him to leave. ESPN.com

In most ownership groups, nobody is relying on the team as the prime revenue stream; the team is the high-risk end of a much bigger portfolio. In LA, the team is the linchpin supporting six heirs. And there is no more important income than the 20-year, $3 billion Time Warner deal to broadcast Lakers games locally. One well-placed source who has reviewed Lakers team finances says the Lakers' annual income from that deal hinges on ratings, which tend to go up when Bryant is on the court. If the team had jettisoned Bryant and tanked the past season in the name of a high 2014 draft pick, the resulting low ratings would have smacked the business of the Lakers hard. ESPN.com

I know you've moved on. But any disappointment about how things ended in Indy? Lance Stephenson: Nah. I'm here. That's the past, and I'm looking forward right now. I'm happy with where I'm at, and I just want to win here. I think we're going to be good. We have a group of guys that want to be together and want to win and play hard. I think we'll be pretty good this year. NBA.com

James told every player from fellow All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to the guys just hoping to make the team what was expected during the upcoming season. "I was looking like, 'Wow.' That's crazy that he broke down every individual thing he wants guys to do," Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters told Yahoo Sports. "He wrote down every player from the guy in training camp who may be here or may not be here. …It was unbelievable. It was great." Said Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao: "He used to talk individually to the players before, but not like that." Yahoo! Sports

There is an old perception that James wasn't comfortable trying to recruit marquee players to come to Cleveland during his first tenure because he was afraid of how he would be perceived if they declined. James said he simply had a hard time convincing anyone to come to Cleveland. Hughes signed with Cavs, but he could never stay healthy. "I recruited [before] I left here," James said. "I just didn't win nothing so nobody wanted to come with me. I recruited. I recruited Michael Redd. I recruited Joe Johnson. I recruited Chris Bosh. I recruited a lot of guys. I just didn't win. They didn't want to come to Cleveland." Yahoo! Sports

"Here, you have some pretty good players for sure," Turner said. "Most of the guys in Philly are young, young, young, young dudes, unfortunately. Sometimes, we're a step ahead from that aspect in terms of the leadership here. Their leaders over there are MCW [Michael Carter-Williams] and Jason Richardson, who's not really around the team, 'cause he's hurt right now. It's way different." NBA.com

Randle said he isn't concerned about his uneven start with the Lakers. "I'm not frustrated at all," Randle said. "I work too hard. I know eventually I'll have success and I'll figure things out. "Instead of being frustrated and down, when my name is called, [I'm] excited, ready to go, ready to bring that energy, bring good vibes." Los Angeles Times

The idea to shorten the game was conceived in an off-season coaches’ meeting in Chicago. Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle initially made the suggestion, according to Nets coach Lionel Hollins, the NBA jumped at the idea, and the Nets and Celtics were willing to be the test subjects. The league has no plans to try it again this season, although the D-League could be used to conduct further experiments. But even with a small sample size, the NBA hopes to get a better idea of all the potential externalities. “We’re taking a look at a lot of different things regarding our game and if we can find ways that can make it more appealing, or make it better. Then we hope that we’re able to ascertain what those things are,” said NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn, the former general manager of the New Jersey Nets. Wall Street Journal

Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said there's a possibility that Rajon Rondo could be ready for game action on opening night, but the point guard cautioned against setting a firm timeline while he recovers from a fractured left hand. ESPN.com

HoopsHype readers: Play our new daily fantasy basketball game

Daily fantasy basketball with USA TODAY Sports' FantasyScore is almost here. Get a head start with the 50/50 Free Roll​ on October 29: 50 players pick teams, and 25 win real money.

   
October 20, 2014 | 10:44 AM ET Update

According to several sources, Partizan Belgrade started conversation with point-guard Bo McCalebb. The player is still a free-agent after his experience in Turkey with Fenerbahce. Sportando

Before LeBron James opened up one of the most anticipated training camps of his celebrated career, there was a phone call he wanted to make. James might have been preparing for his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he knew that some 2,400 miles away Kobe Bryant was preparing to make a return of his own -- back to NBA action after playing just six games last season because of a torn Achilles in his right leg and a fractured bone in his left knee. "I love Kobe," James said Friday before the Cavs hosted the Dallas Mavericks. "I love his competitive nature. I love competing against him. I talked to him before the season just to say it's great to have him back. Like I said about [Kevin] Durant and a couple of guys, our league doesn't seem right with certain guys not in uniform." ESPN.com

It hasn't been a triumphant return thus far, however, as the Lakers are 1-3 in their exhibition schedule. They dropped their past two games by an average of 37 points. And despite Bryant's positive production, he is shooting just 39 percent from the field. "I know that he doesn't enjoy the rebuilding phase, especially at this point in his career," James said. "But one thing about him -- he's going to give it his championship effort every night, and you have to understand that when you're competing against him." ESPN.com

Farmar’s 13 assists this preseason are second on the team only to Chris Paul. While Farmar would like to continue getting into a groove with his new teammates, his focus is on Oct. 30 and the start of the regular season. “As much as I like to be out there every day, these don’t mean anything at the end of the day,” he said. “I’m really just trying to be healthy and have a long, healthy, productive season.” NBA.com

But Rambis, a former Knicks draft pick, hopes his biggest help to Fisher is getting him to cope with the pressures of coaching in New York. “I’m giving him countless suggestions, even how to monitor his time,’’ Rambis told The Post in his first interview since his July hire. “Even something as small as making sure he works out. It’s important for all head coaches to find that stretch of time. Because the job is very consuming and becomes an obsession. Derek is a perfectionist, constantly thinking about the game. He did it as a player and it’s worse when you become a head coach. I want him to find time to do it.’’ New York Post

Jackson put on a fullcourt press and offered him, as The Post reported, a lucrative package for a lead assistant at $1.4 million per year. “[Jackson] knows my work ethic, knows my understanding of the offense,’’ Rambis said. “He was intent to hire me. He wanted to convince me this would be a great situation. “It’s hard not to imagine being involved in basketball and not having some intrigue for the Knicks and playing or coaching at the Garden. Having an opportunity to work with Phil and Derek, I looked at it as a great opportunity to get them back to the upper echelon where it belongs.’’ New York Post

Cleveland's James Jones, who happens to serve as the secretary-treasurer of the National Basketball Players Association, says he doesn't support the reduction of minutes being that it will have a negative effect on the reserve players. "The structure of the games, the amounts of minutes that are played are working condition issues for us because it limits how much time our guys actually have to work," Jones told Northeast Ohio Media Group. "It's a major concern for us because there is an attempt, or at least an examination to see whether or not you limit the minutes of the games. And that has a direct impact on player's opportunities to work and to provide for themselves." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Jones elaborated on how the reserves would be impacted. "If there's 44 minutes in a game and teams decide to play their starters the same exact way, you limit four minutes a game from a reserve," he explained "If you extrapolate that over a course of a season, you're talking 328 minutes. That's a lot when you're talking about value. I think anytime you start talking about shortening games, extending games, there has to be a thorough conversation between the league and the players. Limiting minutes has a bigger impact on reserve players." Cleveland Plain Dealer

But she also was brought in to try and clean up the mess and dysfunction left behind in the wake of the players forcing Billy Hunter out in 2013 “I do agree that, on one level, I was hired to be a fighter,” Roberts told The Post in a lengthy and candid interview inside the union’s Harlem headquarters last week. “Any executive director needs to understand that’s a part of what he or she is going to be expected to do. “But I think what is equally important, for me, is to repair what has been a foundation that has been subjected to some injury by, unfortunately, my predecessor. What we don’t have, and what we will have, is a management structure that is both able to interact with our counterparties with the league and elsewhere, but a structure that allows the players to do unequivocally what they want to do, and that’s run their own union…. They didn’t hire me, and they were not interested in hiring, someone to run things for them, to simply let them know what’s going on.” New York Post

The party Civil Platform intends to return to active politics and businessman Mikhail Prokhorov may head it again, Rifat Shaikhutdinov, chairman of the party's federal political committee, said in an interview published in Monday's edition of Izvestia. "Yes, he could do it any moment," Shaikhutdinov said, responding to a question as to whether Prokhorov may lead the party again. "But I think a decision on this matter will be made in 2016, when we understand how we will run in the State Duma elections. We are now thinking about it and we are experimenting with various forms," he said. Russia Beyond The Headlines

Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports is looking to hire veteran sports agents as well as buy their agencies, sources said. “We are actively interviewing agents,” Michael Yormark, Roc Nation president and chief of branding and strategy, confirmed. Sports Business Daily

HoopsHype readers: Play our new daily fantasy basketball game

Daily fantasy basketball with USA TODAY Sports' FantasyScore is almost here. Get a head start with the 50/50 Free Roll​ on October 29: 50 players pick teams, and 25 win real money.

   
October 20, 2014 | 08:29 AM ET Update

That’s expected to change this season now that Love is playing for the star-laden Cleveland Cavaliers — the new Big 3 of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Love — and if all goes as expected, Love will be playing deep into May and possibly into June in the NBA Finals. “I’m just looking forward to learning from the guys who have been there and done that before, LeBron included, and all the way through our entire lineup,” Love said. “There’s a lot to be learned. I’m just going to try and be a sponge and absorb as much as possible. Stay grounded and have the humility that a lot of people have taught me. Continue to get better every day.” Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum

Marion blurted out that he would not have signed with Cleveland had James not come back, but he also said he wouldn’t be with the Cavaliers had they not acquired Love in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. “LeBron coming here wasn’t enough,” the ever-honest veteran and NBA champion said. “It was more so finalizing the deal with Kevin Love. That sold it. That made it more realistic like we do have a shot to win the championship this year.” Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum

Carmelo Anthony has declared several times during this preseason that he will fully embrace the Knicks’ new triangle offense, even if it means shooting and scoring less than he has in the past. “I don’t think I’ll be the scoring champ, especially in this system with the way we’re playing and the way it’s going to be well-balanced,” Anthony told reporters over the weekend, the point being that it may not be necessary for him to take as many shots in the triangle. Last year, he was second in the NBA with 1,643 field-goal attempts, many the result of stagnant one-on-one situations. Wall Street Journal

But Gortat’s celebrity status hasn’t been affected by some preseason struggles. He is a star in his native Poland despite basketball’s standing in the country’s sports landscape. “I think I’m quite popular over there,” he said. “But basketball is falling deep right now. Falling deep, deep, deep.” Washington Post

Coach Thibodeau always looks like he’s on the verge of an aneurism. What, if anything, could you do to calm him down? Joakim Noah: He looks like that whether he’s happy or sad. But I’d have him do yoga with me. He could use that. The Daily Beast

The N.B.A. players union has hired Gary Kohlman as its new general counsel, according to a person who was briefed on the negotiations but was not authorized to speak publicly. The union’s executive committee approved the nomination, and a formal announcement was expected as early as Monday. Kohlman, 68, was the lead trial lawyer at the Washington firm Bredhoff & Kaiser, where he represented a number of unions, including the Service Employees International Union and the United Steelworkers. New York Times

Dallas -- nay, America -- has many good reasons to love Mark Cuban. He turned the Mavericks into NBA champions. He's the most accessible billionaire in the universe. He yells at terrible refs on our behalf and feuds with the Perots. He was a disruptor before disrupting was cool. But for all of Cuban's endearing qualities, let's be honest about something: He's really terrible at real estate. Dallas Observer

Four-and-a-half-years on, Cuban's shovel has yet to pierce the earth, and neighbors and everyone else have mostly forgotten about the grandiose promises. Even the government-subsidized apartments haven't been built, thanks to HUD's refusal to support the project. "Nobody's paying attention because that property's been over there vacant for over 100 years," says Betty Culbreath, the district's plan commissioner. She doesn't think Wonderview is dead, but she's never met with Cuban or his reps and there is no sign that activity is imminent Dallas Observer

You’ve hinted that the school’s brass only thinks they have the net from one of your titles: Did you seriously pull a switcharoo on them? Joakim Noah: I honestly don’t remember how I ended up with it, but it’s the real net. I don’t know where the ones they displayed came from, but I have the actual one. The worst part is, I just moved and now I can’t find it! Maybe we shouldn’t print that. The Daily Beast

Turner Sports is trying to turn the opening of the NBA season into a weeklong celebration, complete with an open-air set in Times Square, fan events in New York and Cleveland, and a Kendrick Lamar concert. Sports Business Daily

HoopsHype readers: Play our new daily fantasy basketball game

Daily fantasy basketball with USA TODAY Sports' FantasyScore is almost here. Get a head start with the 50/50 Free Roll​ on October 29: 50 players pick teams, and 25 win real money.

   

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