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NBA Five Stories: Rookie of the Year goes to...

April 18, 2014 | 02:59 PM ET Update
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April 18, 2014 | 02:22 PM ET Update

The only murky part is Bledsoe has not committed himself publicly to the idea of wanting to come back to Phoenix. He deflects repeated questions on the matter, providing answers about spending time with his family and working on his game in the summer in Birmingham, Ala. He makes slight occasional references to a Phoenix future, as he did when talking about missing the playoffs: "It was a failure that we didn't make it. We've got a little bit of experience going into next year to know what it takes." Arizona Republic

His teammates seem to have a better feel, especially his neighbor this season on team flights. "He wants to be back," Smith said. "He likes it here." Arizona Republic

Former Knicks player Larry Hughes was walked out of the Trump SoHo hotel in handcuffs Friday after a night of partying at the club Greenhouse. Police knocked on Hughes’ door at the luxury building around noon, and he agreed to go with them to be interviewed about an earlier incident, sources said. As Hughes, 35, walked out of the hotel he told a Post reporter, “It wasn’t me.” Hughes – who is six-foot-five and was listed as 184 pounds when he played – was the 8th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft and was traded to the Knicks for the 2009-2010 season before finishing his career with the Orlando Magic in 2011-2012. New York Post

Buzz Meter: Who's trending in the NBA Twittersphere? USA TODAY Sports Images

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   

April 18, 2014 | 01:40 PM ET Update

Humphries, 29, who left town on Thursday to travel, says that Boston has been the right place for him, both professionally and socially. He was able to make a home for himself near Chinatown. He shopped at Restoration Hardware and became a regular at restaurants such as Trade and Scampo. He spent much of his free time at home watching “American Pickers” and “Pawn Stars.” Boston Globe

According to Humphries, who finished his season with the Celtics on Wednesday night, Boston was a place for normalcy, anonymity, and sports. Locals were interested in what he did for the team and little else. An injury kept him out of the lineup late in the season but he was praised by the coaching staff for his effort all season long. He averaged 8.4 points per game. “He always stays positive,” McCarty said. Boston Globe

Once Boston fans trust that you’re working for them on the court, “they embrace you,” Humphries said after a team practice, as the season wound down. “It’s also easier to stay focused here. It’s not New York City,” he added. “There’s something going on in New York every single day. It’s just harder to focus on basketball.” Boston Globe

Duke sophomore Rodney Hood will enter the 2014 NBA Draft , as announced by head coach Mike Krzyzewski Friday. Hood, a second team All-ACC selection, averaged 16.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in helping the Blue Devils to a 26-9 record and the program’s 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Duke University Blue Devils Official Athletics Site

Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser is the newest co-owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder after buying out the ownership interest of Tom Ward. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett announced the changes Friday after Kaiser received approval from the NBA Board of Governors to buy the stake in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City basketball franchise. “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said in a statement Friday. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder. Oklahoman

REAL ESTATE: WHERE DO PLAYERS OWN HOMES? Getty Images
NBA players spend a lot on real estate. But where and how much exactly? Find out here.

 

April 18, 2014 | 10:54 AM ET Update

If there was any doubt as to which side of the Kenneth Faried fence Nuggets coach Brian Shaw currently sits, there isn’t any more. “I definitely want to have him back,” Shaw said. “And expect to have him back.” Denver Post

Speaking at the team’s locker cleanout day Thursday, Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey stopped short of promising the team would bring Hayward back. But Lindsey made it clear Hayward is in the plans. "We look forward to him being a career Jazz member," Lindsey said. Salt Lake Tribune

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound power forward is the only no-brainer among a list of eight Kentucky players on the NBA’s radar. He averaged a double-double of 15 points and 10.4 rebounds, but was second-worst on the team with 101 turnovers. “What teams like about Julius is that he’s got an NBA-ready body,” one source said. “He doesn’t have the wing span that some guys do, but he’s strong, quick and a very powerful player. He’s a nice ball-handler for his size and he’s very agile for someone so big.” 247Sports.com

Randle, sources said, could improve his value by developing a consistent 15-foot jump shot. “It’s going to be a work in progress. He is not going to come in and set the world on fire because he’s going to go to a bad team,” the source said. “But if he develops to where he can knock down that jump shot, he’s going to be tough.” 247Sports.com

Jabari Parker: There is one other thing tugging at me to remain in Durham. Next year my good friend Jahlil Okafor is coming, along with three other top recruits. The prospect of playing with such a talented big man is pretty tempting. Together we could help put up another banner in Cameron. I haven't consulted many people during this process. I talked to my parents, though. They simply said it was my decision and they would stand behind me either way. They just want me to be happy. Ultimately, I boiled my decision down to two simple questions: Which environment -- college or the NBA -- offers me the best opportunity to grow as a basketball player? Which environment -- college or the NBA -- offers me the best opportunity to grow and develop off the court? The answer to both questions is undeniably the NBA. SI.com

Williams said he hasn't had any discussion about his future with vice president Mickey Loomis general manager Dell Demps. "That's not something we talk about at all," Williams said. "Mickey and I have those conversations. He's the only guy that I answer to when it comes to that kind of stuff. It's not something that comes up. We are in a production business and you have to produce. And we all know that. "(But) I don't wake up everyday worried about if this is going to be the day (he gets fired) or anything like that. I have to do my job. I think you guys (media) think about it and write about it more than anybody else. When you are in management or leadership you are always trying to help your team get better and that's about the extend of it." New Orleans Times-Picayune

Jeff Zillgitt: I won't pretend to "know" Craig Sager but have spent time around and with him. Good guy. Doesn't big time. Has good questions in interviews. Sager patiently waits around for players like the rest of us and not only does he like to tell stories, he's interested in hearing yours. Twitter @JeffZillgitt

Ex-L.A. Lakers player Smush Parker is adamant ... he did NOT slug a 16-year-old high school kid in the face during a pickup game in NYC this week -- claiming it was just a hard foul. Parker has been under fire after reports surfaced that he got into it with prep star Wolfgang Novogratz last week -- and punched the kid in the face during a heated exchange. But Parker's manager James Hunt says it's all B.S. -- claiming there WAS a hard foul between the two ... but no punch was ever thrown. "Smush did not punch him in the face. It wasn't no assault or anything like that. It was a hard foul. He didn't hit anybody." TMZ.com

April 18, 2014 | 07:48 AM ET Update

Jackson coached Gasol with the Lakers from 2007-10. Since being hired as the Knicks' president, Jackson has signed former Lakers forward Lamar Odom to a contract and met with former Lakers forward Metta World Peace. The Knicks would be interested in Gasol in free agency, a source said. Yahoo! Sports

Gasol, however, also said he had "misunderstandings" with D'Antoni the past two years and was uncertain if the status of the coach would affect his decision. D'Antoni has one more year and a team option remaining on his Lakers contract, but his future with the organization is in question. The Lakers might also want to part ways with Gasol to save money for better free agent classes in 2015 and 2016. Yahoo! Sports

Pau Gasol felt nostalgic in what he admitted might have been his last day with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. He's also excited about his impending free agency and is open to a reunion with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who now runs the New York Knicks' front office. "I'm happy for him and the position that he got," Gasol said. "I'm always going to be a big fan and a friend. I would listen." Yahoo! Sports

Expect Rubio’s side to push for a contract closer to a maximum salary than the four-year, $44 million extension Golden State’s Stephen Curry received, which the Wolves just might view as beyond their limits. “No, it’s something I’m not worried about,” Rubio said Wednesday. “It’s something my agent is going to talk with Flip. It’s something I don’t have to be worried. I just worry about playing. I just want to have it being on a team that’s winning and I think this team is growing up and we can do it and I want to play in a playoff, you know?” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

He also intimated that a fat contract extension might help him endure more seasons of insignificance, since he and his family have become well-settled in Philadelphia during his seven NBA seasons. Young is under contract for next season, which is certain to be another 6 months of building and learning and losing, but he can opt out the following season; in fact, he wielded that option like a theatrical dagger. "Anything's a possibility. I have a player option next year. I could ask to be traded. I could say, 'I'm all for it, I want to stick around,' " Young said. "I have to put my GM hat on . . . I've had five coaches, four GMs and two ownership groups . . . I just want to win . . . I just want to see how this draft plays out . . . It depends on where we're going and what we're trying to do . . . I'm 26 [in June]. After next season, I'll be 27. A player hits his prime in certain points of his career." Philadelphia Inquirer

Is 40-year-old Steve Nash confident he will be ready for the Los Angeles Lakers' training camp? Or might his beaten body have a different opinion? "That's a good question," Nash said. "I think in my mind, yeah, I will be in camp. Who knows? I don't take anything for granted nowadays. I want to work as hard as I can to put myself in a position to compete, succeed and sustain it. At the same time, I got to prove it to myself every day." Yahoo! Sports

Nash said he expects to be healthy in about three to four weeks. He said he had fun when he played this season and wants to continue to play, though he's also fine with a lesser role mentoring young guards. He expects next season to be his last. "They can't rely on me, frankly," Nash said. "Hopefully, I come back and play 82 games next year and the sky is the limit. But they can't rely on me if they don't know what I'm going to bring, so they got to evaluate those guys for next season." Yahoo! Sports

Naturally, Hibbert's play will be crucial for the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed in the postseason, and Hibbert's play is usually linked to his state of mind. So, inquiring minds tried to tip-toe their way to the topic following Thursday's practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. A few softballs were lobbed before Hibbert was gently asked about his confidence level. Ready to roll? “Yeah, ready to roll,” he said. “I said that before ...” Tired of being asked about that? “Tired of you guys asking that, yeah,” he said. “I'm ready to go.” No added pressure because it's the playoffs? “No. I've been doing this for like six years now, so I'm ready to go,” he said, clearly irritated by the line of questioning. NBA.com

“He’s going to be huge for us; he’s got to be huge for us on the offensive end, which I know he (will be),” Paul George said. “Last year he took that step in the postseason and really was dominant. So we all feel like we’re going to get that same Roy this time around.” NBA.com

Michael Jordan’s Bulls swept the Wizards in three games in 1997 (after a nine-year drought for Washington). The Wizards beat Scott Skiles’ grimy Bulls in six games in 2005 (after an eight-year drought). And now, the grimier Tom Thibodeau Bulls will host the Wizards in Sunday’s Game 1 (after a six-year drought). “Mind-set is to go in there and win the series; that’s the only mind-set you should have,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “We’ve played this team the last two years extremely well; we are 2-1 against them this year. They came in and smacked us pretty good last game so that should be a good fresh wound on our guys, the message that they sent us last we played them.” Washington Post

Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose is progressing in his rehabilitation, and the team expects him to return at 100 percent, general manager Gar Forman said Thursday night. "He's making great progress," Forman said on ESPN Chicago 1000's "GameNight." "When he had the injury, we were very lucky that the meniscus could be repaired. He'll come back and be 100 percent -- there's no question in any of our minds. But because it was able to be repaired, he'll have great stability in that knee and it will take away the chances that it becomes arthritic towards the end of his career." ESPN.com

Gallinari will bounce back and forth between Denver and Italy most of the summer. He's not sure whether he will practice with the Italian national team. Doctors would like him to do that to help him prepare for Denver's training camp. "When we talk about the schedule, I'll be ready for training camp," Gallinari said. "By the end of May, I'll be able to do most of the activities that I can possibly do. So in the summer I'll be able to practice a little bit with the national team just to get a feel." Denver Post

In the dispute over what should be done about age limits for players coming out of college basketball and entering the draft, expect the NBA's D-League to become a major battlefield. According to multiple sources, a proposed plan that is circulating now would see the age limit extended from its current position — one year after high school graduation — to three years, essentially barring most players from entering the NBA until they are 20 or 21. Sporting News

Phil Jackson’s first real imprint on the Knicks organization will come when he names a new head coach or stuns the basketball world by retaining Mike Woodson. Among those waiting on the news is Steve Kerr, the former player and general manager turned broadcaster for TNT. According to a source close to the situation, Kerr “absolutely expects” to be offered the job. “And if he’s offered the job he’s definitely going to do it,” the source told The Post. New York Post

Phil Jackson didn’t have time for Mike Woodson during the season, and now it appears that the head coach doesn’t have time for the Knicks’ new president. The standoff between the coaching legend and the coach in limbo is apparently underway with Woodson, according to a Knicks source, informing the organization that if Jackson plans on firing him there is no reason to meet formally. New York Daily News

According to another team source, Jackson and Woodson will talk over the phone on Friday and will either plan on meeting face-to-face next week or work out of the terms of Woodson’s dismissal. Either way, Woodson almost assuredly coached his last game with the Knicks on Wednesday and will represent the first of many significant changes in the Jackson era. New York Daily News

It is obvious that Woodson didn’t appreciate being shut out by Jackson once the Zen Master joined the franchise last month as the Knicks’ newest savior. Former Knicks coach Larry Brown, Woodson’s mentor, raised that precise issue last week on SiriusXM NBA Radio when he said that Jackson is “not talking to” Woodson. “I’m sick about what’s happening with Michael,” Brown added. “He’s out on the limb and that’s not fair. For a guy that really turned that franchise around and made people proud of the way they played I don’t think he’s been treated fairly and that really bothers me.” New York Daily News

Swaggy was spotted outside a club with his Target-loving girlfriend Iggy Azalea, and he wasted no time drunkenly telling the TMZ cameras about his lady’s posterior (hint to the fellas out there: don’t do that). When the TMZ videographer asked Young what he thought about people calling for Mike D’Antoni‘s job, his eyes glossed over and he slurred out, “Damn, it’s a shame what happened to D’Antoni.” Dime

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban considers the sale price of approximately $550 million for the Milwaukee Bucks to be a bargain, suggesting the true value of NBA franchises is north of $1 billion. Longtime Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced Wednesday that he had reached an agreement to sell the team to hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, a deal subject to approval by the NBA and its board of governors. "I think they got off cheap," Cuban said. "I think that was a bargain. I think it's worth a lot more. I think it's worth a lot more than that. I think someone got a bargain. You can't look backwards. You've got to look forward. You don't value teams based off what happened in the past." ESPN.com

What happened to the Lakers was inevitable: The nucleus that won five titles from 2000-2010 got old. What happened to the Clippers is a miracle, like seeing democracy break out in Russia under Vladimir Putin. A lot of Clipper people lived in the hope this day would come. As one of their front office people said once during their dark ages, “Everyone is here for one reason, to be here on the day it’s cool.” Of course, like almost everyone involved, he was gone by the time it got here. Forbes.com

Under appreciated no more. Mitch Richmond's greatest accomplishment of his career happened in his retirement. Richmond, the former Sacramento Kings legend, who was a 6-time All Star during his seven seasons with the team, returned to Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday to be recognized as a Hall-of-Famer during the season finale. "That's truly amazing, it really is," Richmond told News10. "And I can say I accomplished this (before) turning 50. I still feel like a young man and this is just an unbelievable accomplishment." news10.net

Playing in Sacramento, a smaller market away from the lime-light of the NBA's elite cities like Los Angeles and Chicago surely contributed to his lack of stardom. Because of that, Richmond felt he may never become a Hall-of-Famer. "You have those thoughts," Richmond admitted. "The main thing is you try to look at the body of work. I think when you look back at it, I wasn't just a scorer, I tried to play the overall game. "I want to thank the (Hall of Fame voters) for looking beyond that, because I felt like I won everywhere I went, I just had a stumbling block here in Sacramento." news10.net

Former NBA star turned convicted felon Jayson Williams made an impassioned plea for “another chance” yesterday at a prison re-entry conference organized by Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. Williams, 46, who spent more than two years in prison in connection with the fatal 2002 shooting of his chauffeur and an unrelated drunken driving charge, said his time in prison was hard, but his life after his 2012 release was “more difficult,“ particularly as he attempted to find a permanent place to live. “People who live in these high-rises,“ he said, gesturing to the skylines of Jersey City and Manhattan behind him, ”who once paid a significant amount of money to watch me play, didn’t want me living next door to them.“ Newark Star-Ledger

Buzz Meter: Who's trending in the NBA Twittersphere? USA TODAY Sports Images

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   

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