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May 30, 2015 | 11:26 AM ET Update

Several confidants of Thibodeau have encouraged him to take next season off, collect his Bulls salary and survey potential jobs for the 2016-17 season. According to three people who spoke to Thibodeau, Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf's stinging statement on his firing hurt but otherwise he sounded buoyed and optimistic about his future. One Thibodeau confidant even said he talked appreciatively about his five-year run in Chicago, a city in which he loved to coach with a roster he also admired. Chicago Tribune

The timing may be different, but the conclusions from conversations with people familiar with the Bulls' pursuit of Fred Hoiberg are the same. Hoiberg will accept and be introduced as Bulls coach next week before the NBA Finals begin Thursday to allow Iowa State to begin its replacement search formally and break its recruiting stalemate. Hoiberg will accept the Bulls job next week but not be introduced for a few weeks for family schooling considerations. Chicago Tribune

Whatever the case, sources continue to indicate that Hoiberg, barring an unexpected negotiation snag or change of heart, will replace Tom Thibodeau as the 19th coach in franchise history. Some have even speculated the Bulls and their former guard have an oral agreement in place, with only the contract details and introduction to be finalized. Chicago Tribune

Hoiberg understandably has kept a low profile since undergoing his second heart surgery in 10 years April 17, this time to replace an aortic valve. Doctors expressed confidence to Hoiberg that he wouldn't need another procedure, a source said. Chicago Tribune

The rookie NBA season of Kostas Papanikolaou is clearly divided in two parts. In the first part of the season everything seemed ideal for him, but in the second part, after the addition of Josh Smith in Houston, things were different. Still the Greek forward isn’t eager to return to Europe. On the contrary he is ready to fight for an other chance in the NBA either in Houston, or somewhere else. During his first season Papanikolaou appeared in 43 games, 37 of them until January. With Smith on the roster and after injuring his ankle “Pap” had very little chances to play. However he is just 25 years old, he believes that he can be a contributor on the NBA level and a return to Europe is not on his mind at this point. That’s why even if Houston doesn’t extend his contract using the team option – a more than possible scenario since “Pap” will be paid 4,8 m. $ for next season, if the team extends his current deal – he will be willing to hear every NBA offer. EuroHoops.net

Nets Daily: Each team has its own mock draft suited to its needs, whether by position or emphasis on character traits or other biases. In the past and presumably this year #Nets put emphasis on maturity, (seniors/juniors) and big programs. Told last year they had Markel Brown at 22, Xavier Thames at 31, Cory Jefferson at 36. They went 44, 59 and 60. Cost Nets $1.9m. Twitter @NetsDaily

May 30, 2015 | 08:52 AM ET Update

Yet, when Rockets general manager Daryl Morey puts together his shopping list, Harden had a suggestion. He said he “definitely” would like to see the Rockets add another playmaker to take some of that responsibility out of his hands. “That’s one of the conversations me and Daryl are going to have (and) the coaches,” Harden said. “That’s one of the pieces to add, but that’s later conversations. We’ll be all right. We’re very confident in the group we have. This summer we have to work hard and be ready for next year.” Houston Chronicle

But Irving couldn't fully appreciate James' genius until they came together in July and he learned what was required to build a foundation of greatness. "I was just speechless," Irving admitted. "I became a fan to be honest with you. It's a different feeling when you're on a team with someone you've watched for so long." In their first season together, Irving and James averaged 47.0 points per game as a tandem -- more than the 45.5 points by Golden State's Splash Brothers, or anyone else in the NBA. James' uncanny talent has been on display for years. However, his rare combination of strength and athleticism, jaw-dropping talent, offensive prowess, stifling defense and on-target passes aren't the only qualities that wowed Irving. Cleveland Plain Dealer

Arizona’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Virginia’s Justin Anderson are among the players expected to work out for the Celtics next week. Hollis-Jefferson, projected to go anywhere from the middle of the first round to the early 20s, is arguably the most defensive-ready wing player in this year’s draft. And during the Chicago pre-draft combine last month, the 6-foot-7-inch Hollis-Jefferson said he is familiar with the Celtics and some of the current players. “I know Evan Turner, (Marcus) Smart,” said Hollis-Jefferson who is from Chester, Pa. “When Evan Turner was with the Sixers, I grew a relationship with him. He’s a real good guy.” CSNNE.com

He played five seasons at the University of Stanford. So you know senior small forward Anthony Brown is not blowing smoke when he described himself as a “high IQ basketball player.” That’s usually what happens when you attend one of the country’s most prestigious schools. Hence, Brown sounded fully aware of what his strengths could become in the NBA after finishing his last two seasons with the Cardinal shooting at least 44.1 percent from three-point range. “I’m a great shooter,” Brown said on Thursday after working out with the Lakers at their practice facility in El Segundo. “That’s the number one thing I hang my hat on, shooting the basketball. I’m also going to defend you. I’m a three-deep player.” Los Angeles Daily News

The Washington Wizards will conduct a pre-draft workout on Monday, June 1 - at 11:00 AM on the practice court at Verizon Center. Media will be invited to watch a portion of the workout, with player availability immediately following the workout. The following players are currently scheduled to participate in Monday's workout: Jerian Grant, Darian Hooker, Cady Lalanne, Stefan Nastic, Juwan Staten and Delon Wright. NBA.com

Workouts are expected to continue Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, before Ainge departs for a player showcase in Europe. Expect bigger names — players more likely to be taken with the 16th pick — to come in as the draft draws closer. Thus far, with the exception of Arkansas power forward Bobby Portis, the Celtics have spent a lot of time looking at second round and free agent possibilities. “We joke every year that there’s 60 guys going in the top 30 picks,” Ainge said of players who envision themselves as a higher pick than the team asking them for a workout. “But players . . . believe in themselves. Outside of the top 10 picks it gets really hard. We see every year a guy who is projected 45 goes 15, and a guy who’s projected 15 goes 45. There isn’t a ton of separation. There’s a lot of players between pick 20 and pick 40 who aren’t that different. It’s hard to distinguish.” Boston Herald

Skiles said he’s “very interested” in making Borrego a member of his coaching staff. Skiles-coached teams have been known for their defense. Since the 2000-01 season, his teams ranked in the top 10 in defensive efficiency in seven out of 12 partial or full seasons, according to the NBA’s official statistics database. Orlando Sentinel

The Suns coach is entering the final season of a three-year contract, which screams "lame duck" in the coaching universe. If management wants to first distance itself from a disappointing season, that's understandable, but an extension, or at least picking up Hornacek's fourth-year option, should be on the team's offseason agenda. Speculation that Iowa State will pursue him if the Chicago Bulls hire Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg makes sense. They love Hornacek, a four-year player in Ames, and know that just a year ago he was runner-up for NBA Coach of the Year. The rumors have picked up enough steam that Hornacek addressed the issue again Friday. "As far as I know, Fred's still the coach and they've got some great assistants there," he said. "It would be an honor and it'd be fun to coach your alma mater, but Ryan (Suns GM Ryan McDonough) and I came here with a purpose and the purpose is to get the Phoenix Suns back on track. Arizona Republic

But in looking at how she spent this past year, it does seem that she's been looking for a way forward while preserving the parts of the past she never wanted to let go. "It was very difficult for me to lose the team," she says. "It was like my family. I've seen them [the Clippers] grow for 33 years. The coach [Rivers] used to be our player. And now to see his son [Austin Rivers] play, it's like part of your family. "I never wanted to sell it, and we never would've sold it. But I didn't want to see it being dismantled. I mean, maybe they wouldn't even play for the whole year. I didn't know what the league was going to do. The only thing I knew is that I had to keep the team from being dismantled." ESPN.com

"My family didn't talk to me for a while, because I was selling the team. They were all against me," she says over a late-afternoon snack around the small table in their airy, beach-facing kitchen. The Sterling family had owned the Clippers for 30 years. It's who they were. And in a little over a month, that life was finished. Shelly hasn't given any interviews in the year since she sold the team to Steve Ballmer for a record $2 billion on May 29, 2014. When people ask to take pictures with her, she politely declines. "That's not my role," she explains. "My role is to not be known." ESPN.com

She's dressed casually in a loose-fitting, black shirt with a white collar. Her hair is done, but not perfect. It's the weekend, and she's comfortable enough with everyone in the house to go without makeup. At 80, she's long since made her impressions on the world. "I don't call it a 'Clipper Curse,'" she says. "Look at the Lakers. Kobe's been hurt the last two years. What about Oklahoma [City]? They lost Kevin Durant, they didn't get into the playoffs. Is that a curse? I just call it part of the game." ESPN.com

If you are a fan, the idea is to get as close to the basket as possible. And on Thursday, $596 won’t get you very close. That’s the cheapest price the Warriors were selling — or, more accurately, re-selling — a ticket to the opening game of the NBA Finals. For that money, you get a seat as far away from the basket as it is possible to get while still being, at least technically, inside the arena. It’s in the 16th row of the upper deck, back in the corner. And that doesn’t include the “service charge” of $98.34. The most expensive seat currently on the market, at courtside, is close enough for Stephen Curry’s sweat droplets to be included at no additional charge. The selling price is $32,315. Few people on planet Earth could even afford the $5,331.98 service charge for that one, let alone the actual ticket. (It was not immediately clear why it would cost 54 times more money to “service” one ticket over another.) San Francisco Chronicle

The Las Vegas Dealers semipro basketball team has offered up to $1.2 million for at least one 2015 McDonald’s All-American and has garnered interest in having several play for the fledgling team, a source close to the team told SNY.tv. “[Dealers head Cerruti Brown] is offering some lofty money,” the source said. “There’s people actually considering it now, don’t think people aren’t considering it.” ZagsBlog.com

“He’s throwing out $700,000 and he’s going up to $1.2 million on some kids,” the source said. “He’s offering a three-year deal with the first year as a team option and the second- and third- year as a player option. “All of them [the players Brown has contacted] have interest in getting paid right now.” Said one NBA scout: “Obviously, you want that money up front and guaranteed because they’re coming out of nowhere because who are these masked men?” ZagsBlog.com

The thinking is that if a player doesn’t make it in the NBA, he will have a level of security with the Dealers, who are aiming to play 35 games in Las Vegas (possibly at the Cox Pavilion) and then 15 games in Europe against to-be-determined competition. Brown said he was in contract talks with former college assistant Scott Adubato about coaching the team. Adubato was not immediately available for comment. “You would get some security if you don’t get drafted,” the source said of the players. “You can come back and play on the team and be at the same salary level.” ZagsBlog.com

A Newport Coast home owned by Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant sold Friday for just over $6.1 million. The home, which had been under contract since mid-April, topped Pelican Ridge’s previous record of $4.78 million, according to Steve Thomas of ReportsOnHousing.com. Orange County Register

We asked 10 active NBA players (all of whom wanted to remain anonymous) ... and they all made it very clear -- it's time to legalize it!!! One player told us, "How can you tell a guy with a prescription not to use it?? They should be allowed to have their medicine." Another said ... "The NBA shouldn't advertise for it, but I don't see an issue if a player uses [with a prescription]." TMZ.com

According to the book, Drazen had decided to return to Europe and his first choice was Panathinaikos, even if he had many more offers. He wanted to stay for one or two seasons in Greece and then return to the NBA in order to sign with the Celtics. It’s been said that he had a soft spot for teams which had the shamrock as their emblem, like Panathinaikos, Notre Dame and the Celtics. EuroHoops.net

Police say NBA star John Wall was kicked off a flight in Las Vegas on Tuesday after a disturbance was reported. Las Vegas police said Friday that the Washington Wizards' All-Star point guard was with a group of people on an American Airlines flight around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Police say one of the people with Wall got into a verbal fight with another passenger who was unrelated to the group. USA Today Sports

Ex-NBA player Chris Gatling -- a former All-Star -- was arrested in Scottsdale, AZ yesterday ... with cops saying he was the kingpin in a massive illegal credit card and I.D. theft scam. TMZ Sports has learned ... one of Gatling's alleged victims is a woman he met on a dating website who owned a fitness studio -- who he allegedly screwed out of $90,000. TMZ.com

Long story short ... cops say Gatling set up Internet businesses to gather credit card information from people. Once he got the numbers, he would take them to the fitness studio ... convinced the lady to run the cards for various dollar amounts (she believed they were legit) ... and asked her to front him 90% of the payment in cash. For example ... if the woman ran a $100 credit card charge for Gatling, she would give him $90 in cash and keep $10 for herself. TMZ.com

WEIRD NBA NICKNAMES

Sauce Castillo beats them all, but there's many other amazing NBA player aliases.

   

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