HoopsHype rumors

94 Feet: Russell Westbrook can't win NBA title

April 24, 2014 | 10:49 PM ET Update

Though Nocioni loves the European lifestyle for his family, which has three young children, he may revisit interest that several NBA teams showed in him last summer. "Europe is a great, great place to play basketball," Nocioni said. "I came back here because I sat on the bench a lot in Philly and that was frustrating for me because all my life I have played. But my situation has changed a little bit. I don't need to play as many minutes. I'm too old. So maybe I go to the NBA and try to enjoy a good organization and try to help young guys and the team to win games. I think about playing more like a veteran helping with fewer minutes and more experience. But I have no decision now. I'm not thinking long-term." Chicago Tribune

As for the off-season, King smiled as he said, "I love to make trades. It's one thing I love to do. And having a coach like Jason, he knows what he needs to win now. So I said, 'I look forward to having this off-season with you because now there are guys you're going to want and we can go get, that I know you'll make them successful because you believe in them and they'll believe in you." NetsDaily

Pete D'Alessandro: “When you’re doing a trade, a deal isn’t done until it’s done. I’ve had probably five other deals done this year that weren’t ever completed, but they were right there, and at least one of them that got done was done quickly and out of nowhere. So trades are really difficult in terms of trying to manage the moving parts.” NBA.com

In an interview published Tuesday, Billy King recounts the process that led him to hire Jason Kidd, admitting that he was reluctant at first when "ownership" suggested Kidd as coach, then after one meeting changed his mind. King also reiterated that he now knows what kind of player Kidd wants and will be pursuing them (no names) this off-season. "One thing I knew, I wanted a leader," King told Isiah Thomas of NBA TV. "because most people look for guys (with) x's and o's. That's great, but if you can't lead, then x's and o's doesn't work. And ownership said, 'what about Jason Kidd?' And I said, 'Nah, he just finished playing. We can't hire him.' They asked 'Will you meet with him?' I said, 'Yeah, I'll meet with him.' So I'd known Jason. I liked him. I did know he's a leader and he's won everywhere. So we had our first meeting and I walked away from our first meeting and called them and said, 'He might be the one. We're going to meet again.' But I just walked away uplifted." NetsDaily

King described his thinking on the "reassignment" of Lawrence Frank, saying first priority was to make Kidd successful. "I had to make a decision, so I said, 'let's reassign him.' He does his report -- I got it this morning -- and he's helping from afar. But I believe in Jason and to give him the ability to be successful, I knew I had to make that decision." NetsDaily

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April 24, 2014 | 07:52 PM ET Update

The sample size remains too small to make any big-picture assessment. And for that reason, Dwyane Wade tempers his enthusiasm and carefully measures his words when analyzing an encouraging start to his playoffs after missing 28 regular-season games for rest and recovery from chronic knee soreness and an assortment of other injuries. “I’m not going to look too far ahead,” Wade said. “I’m just going to continue to take it day to day and game by game in these playoffs, knowing that things could change from each game. The playoff games are very hard on the body, so we'll see. I’m feeling good right now, and I just want it to continue.” ESPN.com

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he has "no expectation" that players will opt out of the collective bargaining agreement in 2017, potentially leading to another lockout. The 10-year deal that the league and players agreed to that ended the 2011 lockout gave either side the right to opt out after six years. ESPN.com

Donaghy, who was excommunicated by the league after his conviction for wire fraud and transmitting betting information about games,then contacted the News and fired back with charges of hypocrisy. “I laugh at the idea that the NBA conveniently uses my felony conviction to routinely dismiss me,” Donagy said. “The NBA need look no further than some of the men on their own payroll to find felons. In fact, Don Vaden, the current Director of Officials, is a fine example (Vaden was one of eight referees charged with tax evasion in 1998 for downgrading first-grade plane tickets and not reporting the refunded money. He was found guilty and served six months' of home confinement and two years of probation.). New York Daily News

Nick Young threw out a ridiculously inaccurate first pitch earlier this week. To help commemorate the errant throw, the Lakers posted this video on Vine. Full of swag. Young is a free agent this summer, but he joked last week that Mitch Kupchack was going to resign him for $100 million. The Lakers should consider it a hometown discount. The Big Lead

WHICH COLLEGE HAS THE RICHEST NBA ALUMNI? Getty Images
Players from college basketball powerhouses like Kentucky, Duke, UCLA or Florida are raking it in in the NBA.

 

April 24, 2014 | 06:16 PM ET Update

After many complicated months, Spencer Dinwiddie has decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NBA draft. Dinwiddie tore his anterior cruciate ligament while driving to the basket against Washington in mid-January and missed the rest of the season for the Buffs. The setback – and the promise of the next year as the Buffs are projected to be top-20 team – made the decision all the more difficult. 9news.com

I've talked to Kerr about his basketball philosophies. He believes in playing through the big men with a more traditional inside-out offensive system like the triangle. Remember, he did trade for Shaq as the GM in Phoenix. I do believe he would be a good match to work with Jackson because of their history together and the way they see the game. Also, because Jackson has little executive experience but lots of coaching experience and Kerr has little coaching experience and lots of executive experience, this would be a nice fit. Kerr is also smart enough to rebuff the Knicks for a while; everyone in the league knows the more you say no to them the more zeros get added to the offer. ESPN.com

Ramona Shelburne: Some background on the Dan D'Antoni hiring at Marshall. That is his absolute dream job. Has no connection to his brother's status in LA. Regardless of whether Mike D'Antoni was on solid or shaky ground in LA, Dan was taking the Marshall job. Yes, Mike D'Antoni did consult with Marshall administrators on their search. He recommended his brother, Dan. Twitter @ramonashelburne

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April 24, 2014 | 05:34 PM ET Update

Jabari Parker — the former Duke forward who will almost certainly be one of the top three picks in the NBA Draft this year — swung by the Dan Patrick Show to talk going pro. Parker called the idea of a two-and-done rule “ridiculous” but added that he thought he needed a year in college, that he wasn’t ready for the NBA straight out of high school. Parker said that the Duke loss to Mercer and being out of the tournament that early almost had him staying another year at Duke (at least that’s what Parker is smart enough to say publicly). NBCSports.com

Parker also says he loves being compared to Carmelo Anthony. When Dan Patrick says “but you pass” Parker responds “but I have a team.” Ouch. NBCSports.com

SOCIAL MEDIA PICTURES:
PHOTOS PLAYERS POST
Instagram

Just like everybody else, NBA players are spending more and more time on social media sites and photo-sharing services. Check all the pictures they are posting on Instagram, Twitter and more here.

   

April 24, 2014 | 03:04 PM ET Update

So if not New York, what landing spot did Robertson see fit for ‘Melo? “If he goes to Houston, they’re gonna win everything,” Robertson said. “You look at LeBron, LeBron’s got a great game, Durant’s got a great game – they can’t out-shoot Carmelo.” SiriusXM

NBA superstar Joakim Noah has sued his former shoe sponsor -- claiming Le Coq Sportif makes TERRIBLE SNEAKERS that may have damaged his feet ... TMZ Sports has learned. Noah quietly declared war on the French company in a D.C. court back in November ... claiming LCS signed him to a 6-year $6 million deal back in 2007, only to screw him out of more than $1.65 million. TMZ.com

Noah says despite the negative energy, he held up his end of the bargain -- and wore Le Coq shoes in every NBA game he played even though he claims they were "not well designed and likely contributed to [my] development of plantar fasciitis." Noah says his medical condition likely linked to the crappy shoes "caused him to miss several games during the 2012-13 Chicago Bulls NBA season, including key games in the NBA playoffs." TMZ.com

Whether Vogel would still be "safe" if the Pacers lose this series to the Hawks or fail to at least get back to the conference finals remains to be seen. Sources told ESPN.com this week that coming back to win this first-round series -- with Game 3 and 4 looming in Atlanta -- would not automatically ensure Vogel's return next season. ESPN.com

After taking a 40-12 record into All-Star Weekend -- which put Vogel in charge of the Eastern Conference All-Stars -- Indiana posted a mediocre 16-14 mark after the break. The Pacers then opened the playoffs with a humbling home loss to the Hawks after saying for days that they were looking forward to the postseason as a chance to wipe the slate clean. The decision on whether to retain Vogel at season's end ultimately rests with Bird, but sources insist that frustration throughout the organization has been mounting thanks to a nose dive that began in February with a loss in Orlando just before the All-Star break and has shown few signs of abating. ESPN.com

Another change that is likely coming in the NBA under Silver is the placement of corporate sponsors on team jerseys. Though an official timetable wasn't discussed, Silver said "ongoing discussions" are taking place. "It's inevitable that there will be some sort of branding on our jerseys. We're a global league and we have a unique opportunity to help extend the coverage that our business partners can receive," Silver said. USA Today Sports

Silver declined to state specifics, but said that sponsorships would likely be in the form of a patch on the jerseys. "I can tell you that there's a lot of interest from companies that want that kind of participation with our teams," deputy commissioner Mark Tatum added. USA Today Sports

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 24, 2014 | 01:50 PM ET Update

One league executive said the problems that have arisen—the public ones, remember, not the behind-the-scenes ones—with Stephenson will cut deep into his value on the free-agent market, and that a deal worth $7 million-$8 million per year is more likely to be Stephenson’s range now. “You hear things, for sure,” one general manager told Sporting News this week. “Stephenson is a guy who has talent, but if you have a young team and you’re building up a culture, you have to consider that before you pursue a guy who might affect your locker room negatively. You have to do your due diligence. But that sort of thing is going to affect the market for him, for sure. If a guy has issues, you better know about them and you think twice about going after him.” Sporting News

Jeff Zillgitt: On DC sports radio 106.7, Gilbert Arenas said he went over Nick Young's house to make fun of him for terrible first pitch at Dodgers game. Gilbert Arenas also said he wants to give an NBA comeback one more shot. Twitter @JeffZillgitt

Eric Dawson will continue his career in China NBL with Heilongjiang Zhaozhou Feng Shen. The player has spent the season with Austin Toros scoring 14 points and pulling down 9.8 rebounds per game. Dawson has also played in Iran with Petrochimi recording 11 points in his only game. Sportando

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 24, 2014 | 11:55 AM ET Update

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley has won the NBA's Joe Dumars Trophy for sportsmanship. Conley received 77 first-place votes of a possible 334 and earned 2,335 points overall. He was followed by Boston's Jeff Green, Phoenix's Channing Frye, Washington's Bradley Beal, Portland's Damian Lillard and Chicago's Mike Dunleavy. USA Today Sports

Don’t expect a Utah Jazz coaching decision — or even interviews — to happen anytime soon. For one thing, Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey and assistant GM Justin Zanik are on a scouting trip in Europe through the end of next week. For another, Jazz president Randy Rigby reiterated that the organization is just beginning the process of establishing requirements for Tyrone Corbin’s replacement. “It will be an exhaustive search. We'll be expeditious, though,” Rigby said Wednesday during an interview on The Zone Sports Network. “But we'll be sensitive to taking the necessary time, so that we get it right and it will be the right selection for the Utah Jazz.” Deseret News

The independent Atlantic League team, coached by former major leaguer Gary Gaetti, signed McGrady on Wednesday. The Skeeters begin their season on Thursday. The 34-year-old McGrady joined the Skeeters last week during training camp and flashed enough promise to warrant the team giving him a chance to realize his dream of playing in the major leagues. "It's an honor to be a part of this club," McGrady said in a statement. "To be a part of the team means everything to me and it's a dream come true. I look forward to coming to the ballpark not only to play the game, but to be in the clubhouse building camaraderie with these guys. I am excited to start the journey we're going to take this season." Local 10 Miami

Former referee Tim Donaghy, who served 15 months in prison for fixing NBA games, says the NBA is pressuring officials to side with the Nets in their series against the Raptors. "(The Raptors) are not only going against the Brooklyn Nets but going against the league office," Donaghy said in a radio interview in Canada. "They have a very talented team and have to be that much better than the Brooklyn Nets." FOXSports.com

Why would the NBA want the Nets to advance? Donaghy says it's all about television ratings. "In this situation, Brooklyn would be put at an advantage. A Brooklyn-Miami matchup (in Round 2) would bring great ratings and that's what this is all about for the NBA and the league offices -- bringing in as many dollars as they can. ... Some of the things that the league does and continues to do puts these teams at a disadvantage -- like the Toronto Raptors -- because moving forward they won't bring in the big dollars for the league. It's terrible for the fans (of) Toronto. They go and support that team but really they're going to have trouble moving on based on talent and what takes place on the floor when they're really going against the refs and the league, along with the Nets." FOXSports.com

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 24, 2014 | 09:10 AM ET Update

Suddenly, the NBA’s fifth-leading scorer in the regular season (25.4 points per game) has become a major concern for the Rockets, who find themselves in a 2-0 series deficit after two home losses. When a reporter from a national organization asked him about his struggles, he got short. “It’s basketball – making shots,” Harden said before moving onto the next question. But when his media session in the Rockets opulent locker room ended, Harden went back at the reporter, asking if he had ever seen a player not play well before. The reporter answered that the struggle seemed unusual for Harden and was coming on a major stage, the playoffs. Oregonian

The two went back and forth for a while, with Harden asking the reporter if he’d ever seen a basketball game before, then demanding to know whom the reporter was. The exchange got testy enough that team officials stepped in to usher Harden out. Oregonian

The Hall of Fame coach also didn’t sound overly concerned when asked if he believed it would be “a disaster” if Anthony leaves the Knicks to sign elsewhere. “I’m all about moving forward,” Jackson said at the team’s practice facility in Greenburgh. “Just deal with what is and move forward. If it’s in the cards, man, are we fortunate. If it’s not in the cards, man, are we fortunate. We’re going forward anyway.” New York Daily News

A key Lakers star has pressed on the organization to make “significant changes.” His name is not Kobe Bryant. His name is Pau Gasol, who will become a free agent in July and could leave the Lakers on his own after pleading endlessly for them to keep him the past three years amid never-ending trade rumors. “Re-signing for the Lakers is a possibility, but I’m not sure whether to say it’s a remote one,” Gasol wrote Wednesday on his personal Web site. “If there’s anything or anyone who could make me stay it’s Kobe Bryant. I’d stay for him, but there’d have to be significant changes. I’ve said it many times: I want to be in a team that has a solid chance to win another tournament and where I can be an important factor in the game.” Los Angeles Daily News

Kupchak said last week “there’s great interest in re-signing Pau.” But Gasol is unlikely to make the $19.3 million he made this season. Gasol’s future with the Lakers also hinges on who they draft with their first-round pick and who else becomes available on the open market. “Money isn’t important to me,” Gasol wrote. “I have other priorities. A contract lasting several seasons, the make-up of the team that signs me: I’ll need to think long and hard. I won’t just go to the franchise that offers me the biggest salary, I know that.” Los Angeles Daily News

He has become the star of the NBA playoffs, and as LaMarcus Aldridge dressed Wednesday after another playoff marvel, he was asked whether he wanted to do his postgame press conference alongside fellow standout Damian Lillard, or wait to do his separately. “Same time is fine,’’ Aldridge said, his socks not yet on, his jewelry yet to be carefully administered. Then he remembered something and quickly changed course. “Nah, nah, nah. He goes first. I don’t want to overshadow,’’ Aldridge said. “Remember the time when you all put me up there with Brandon (Roy) and I didn’t get no questions?’’ Oregonian

Has he not felt that before during his eight years in Portland? “No. I haven’t. I haven’t felt it like this before. Never,’’ Aldridge said. “This is the first time I felt where 1 through 15 on the roster is happy for me. And this is the first time where 1 through 15 knows when I’m going, they want to ride that wave. ‘’ Oregonian

“I came from poverty and a tough household where we didn’t have enough money to really eat, to where I am now,’’ Aldridge said. “I know it was God giving me the guidance. I am one of his children and He’s let me glorify His name with my game.’’ His mother, Georgia, has beaten her cancer, and was in Houston to watch his historic performances. She has fostered his faith from a young age, when she established the mantra: “God first, everything else second.’’ “I think this season has been a blessing for him,’’ Georgia Aldridge-Young said. “I think he’s playing a different game. He’s just more comfortable and he’s more of a leader.’’ Oregonian

The only thing missing from the scene was the Rocky theme song, which would have been the ideal soundtrack as Blair’s former club was unable to match his energy in a 113-92 Mavericks victory that evened the best-of-seven series at 1-1. “He had a physical impact,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “He gave us a huge lift. He was on the boards, he got deflections. The only way we win a series against a team like this is to have guys play at full capacity, and he did that.” San Antonio Express-News

Blair played only 14 minutes on Wednesday. But the 6-7, 265-pound forward made the absolute most of his limited court time, amassing eight points, seven rebounds, four steals and, every bit as important, three fouls. “That’s my whole plan,” said Blair, who went scoreless in five minutes in Dallas’ 90-85 loss in Game 1. “We don’t have nobody on this team that can do that, and I know that if I play, I can come in and bring that physicality and just do what I do, play my game.” In doing so, Blair appeared to get under the Spurs’ skin. Tony Parker stared Blair down after he wrapped his ex-teammate up on a layup attempt. (Blair promptly fouled him again on the next possession.) Blair even got Tim Duncan to engage in what appeared to be — gasp! — a brief bout of trash talk, an accomplishment in and of itself. “Timmy’s a good friend of mine,” Blair said, “so it’s cool.” San Antonio Express-News

Calderon's response from Game 1 to Game 2 shows that he got the message. As things appeared to be coming apart at the seams, Calderon and the team regrouped and got back on track. "Sometime when it's low, everybody gets so crazy too quickly," Calderon said. "I've had some bad games or could have done better, but we're 15 guys. Coach makes the decision. It doesn't [matter] who plays more minutes. Whoever is in there is going to try to do the best for our team to win. "That's what everyone has to understand. It's not about who got more points on our team. It's about who got more points as a team. That's what basketball is about." ESPN.com

While Calderon will be the consummate teammate and gladly step to aside for a teammate if he's not delivering, he's still a proud guy who wants to have a positive impact on his team. He was able to rise to the occasion and display some shooter's amnesia as his third-quarter performance was instrumental in Dallas' ability to steal the home-court advantage. "I always try to go out there and play the best basketball I can and make every shot possible, but there's nights you're shooting and the ball isn't going to fall. I'll keep being aggressive and hopefully they can keep falling." ESPN.com

After taking the shot from McRoberts, James said his only objective was "trying to catch my breath" after getting "elbowed in the throat," so he could make his free throws. "I had no idea what the call was," James said. "I knew it was a foul, but I didn't know if it was going to be a flagrant or not. I haven't seen it again. I don't need to see it again. The most important thing is we win the game." His coach, Erik Spoelstra, said that he received an explanation from the officials for forgoing the flagrant, but "nothing that seemed rational to me." Bleacher Report

Emiliano Carchia: Nikola Jokic will enter the 2014 NBA draft sportando.com/en/usa/nba/117… (via @Jonathan Givony) Twitter @sportando

What if you held a seniors only NBA draft tournament and no one came? That's basically what happened to the PIT. Seniors are already not much of a hot commodity in the NBA Draft. And then when you factor in that virtually every senior in our Top 100 declined an invite -- it's a D-League, international scouting event. Not a NBA Draft event. There will be a few guys who get a second round pick. Western Michigan's Shayne Whittington drew some praise and as a center, could sneak into the second round. Langston Galloway and Akil Mitchell also played well. But this was an exceptionally poor group of seniors. ESPN.com

Are the Magic the team that is highest on Exum? Seems that way based on mock drafts. Chad Ford: They want a point guard. They experimented with Victor Oladipo there, but preferably they get a young player that is more of a true point. Exum and Marcus Smart are the guys for them. They would've taken Smart No. 2 last year, but I think Exum has moved ahead. Lakers also really like Exum. So do the Jazz and Bucks. ESPN.com

Jackson was talking about wanting Carmelo Anthony to take less money in free agency in order for the Knicks to have more flexibility. He cited Tim Duncan, who has done it in San Antonio to help keep the Spurs together and contending. But right after Jackson praised the Spurs, he retracted his statement and gave them a little zing. “Tim Duncan making the salary he's making after being part of a dynasty - not a dynasty, I wouldn't call San Antonio a dynasty -- a force, a great force,” Jackson said. “They haven't been able to win consecutive championships but they've always been there. San Antonio has had a wonderful run through Tim's tenure there as a player. He's agreed to take a salary cut so other players can play with him so they can be this good. And that's the beginning of team play.” Newsday

Herb Kohl tapped the NBA’s revolving loan fund twice in 2009 and three times in 2010, according to personal financial filings from his final year in the U.S. Senate that shed light on his statement that he spent “well over $100 million” keeping the Bucks afloat. “I went into debt,” Kohl told me in an interview. “The league has a credit facility and we got to the limit of what we could borrow. It turned out fine. I have no complaints on the money side.” Business News

After the news April 17 that Kohl agreed to sell the Milwaukee Bucks for $550 million, I asked him about the return on his initial 1985 investment of $18 million to $19 million. Kohl pointed out that he had spent “well over $100 million” keeping the Bucks in business and went into debt with the NBA, but would not give a specific dollar figure. “I didn’t invest for the money and it doesn’t take into account the money I’ve put in over the years to keep the team afloat during the times when the (NBA’s) economic model was broken,” Kohl told me. “It was well over $100 million, so you can just start subtracting from what I received here.” Business News

Kohl’s last day in the Senate was Jan. 2 after 24 years. His sale of the Bucks, of which he is the sole owner, still requires NBA approval. The buyers are New York City investment executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens. “Some people will look at it and say, ‘Herb Kohl is making $550 million on this,’” Kohl told me. “I’m saying, ‘Hey, that’s not true.’ It’s a business that has risks. When I bought the team, the NBA was a very small, shaky enterprise. There were many problems in the NBA when I bought this in the middle-’80s. Some of my investments have turned out better, some worse.” Business News

This will be one of the most memorable nights of Shawn Marion's life. His massive contributions to the Dallas Mavericks' first playoff win since they popped champagne bottles in Miami a few years ago were a mere footnote. Marion wasn't available to the media after the Mavs evened the series with a 113-92 rout of the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, but he had a really good reason for bolting out of the AT&T Center visitor's locker room after the win. He rushed to the airport to hop on a private jet to get to his hometown of Chicago for the birth of his first child, a source confirmed to ESPNDallas.com with the approval of the proud new father. ESPN.com

Which Eastern/Western dynamic duo will get it done?

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