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March 27, 2015 | 03:06 PM ET Update

The Oklahoma City Thunder released the following statement on behalf of Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti regarding Kevin Durant: “As we communicated last week, Kevin was going to use this time to engage in consultation and evaluation regarding the persistent soreness in his right foot at this stage of his rehabilitation. As part of this process, Kevin and Thunder personnel traveled to two additional specialists this past week; Dr. Martin O’Malley in New York City and Dr. James Nunley at Duke University. These in-person consults were designed to further supplement the previous evaluations of Dr. Bob Anderson. Several conference calls and discussions amongst the specialist team concluded that, while the majority of the soreness in Kevin’s foot was related to continued inflammation of the cuboid bone and would subside with rest, the evaluation process also determined that the Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal, which had shown significant healing previously, was now demonstrating signs of regression. With the focus of this process being aimed entirely on Kevin's long term health and stability, it was the consensus of the specialists team, in addition to a collective decision by Kevin, his representation and the Thunder, that to address the setback of the fracture site, a bone graft procedure would be the most proactive and recommended approach. The bone graft is the standard procedure for the five to eight percent of Jones fracture surgeries that do not initially have success or experience setbacks sometime within the recovery period. While everyone is disappointed that Kevin falls into that group, we are encouraged that the bone graft procedure has historically demonstrated long-term health and stability. NBA.com

Dr. O’Malley will perform the bone graft surgery early next week in New York. He has extensive bone grafting experience amongst athletes and has been consulting on the case throughout. Kevin will miss the remainder of the 2014-15 season and is expected to return to basketball activities in the next four to six months.” NBA.com

University of Nevada-Las Vegas freshman guard Rashad Vaughn has plans to enter the 2015 NBA draft, league sources told Yahoo Sports. A formal announcement is expected in the near future, sources said. The 6-foot-6 Vaughn has a chance to ascend into a first-round draft choice with a good pre-draft process, but most teams see him currently as a second-round pick. Yahoo! Sports

March 27, 2015 | 02:50 PM ET Update

Royce Young: Scott Brooks says the Thunder will release an update on Kevin Durant later this afternoon. Scott Brooks would provide no hints about the forthcoming release. I even asked what the first word was. Wouldn't say. Twitter @royceyoung

Former St. John’s and NBA legend Chris Mullin, Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley and Manhattan coach Steve Masiello are among the leading candidates to replace Steve Lavin, sources told SNY.tv. It could be an old-school vs. new-school thing where the old-school guys want Mullin, and the new-school guys prefer Hurley, or possibly Masiello. ZagsBlog.com

One source said Mullin would have an edge, but it remains unclear if he wants the job. “He’s the most famous person in the school history, he’s going to have a decided edge on whatever name comes up,” the source said. “Whether he takes it or not, I don’t know. At one point there was mutual interest but that guy’s got a pretty good damn life.” ZagsBlog.com

NBA A TO Z PODCAST

USA Today Sports' Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt talk with Kevin Spain about the reasons why Cleveland is so good right now and also reminisce on how fantastic Steve Nash was.

   
March 27, 2015 | 01:25 PM ET Update

Pistons forward Greg Monroe said he will play again for the Pistons this season. He just doesn't know when. Monroe was expected to miss his sixth consecutive game Friday night when the Pistons face the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. "It's definitely something I will be fine before end of the season," Monroe said following the Pistons game-day shootaround. "I am not there yet obviously, but it is definitely something that should not take a month for me to get over." Detroit News

Former Rockets assistant coach Brett Gunning on Friday began working with Rockets players on an informal, unofficial basis, a person with knowledge of his work with the team said. Gunning will not be added officially to the Rockets coaching staff because it is so late in the season with just 11 games remaining, but is considered a top assistant coach who was a candidate to join the Rockets staff last off-season before opting to remain with the Orlando Magic. Gunning left the Magic and returned to Houston when Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn was fired last month. Houston Chronicle

Four men from the metro Atlanta area are headed to federal prison for stealing more than $4 million from the Bank of New York Mellon and using it to buy vehicles and a suite at Atlanta Hawks games, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Thursday. In addition to prison time, Zachary Vaughn, Derek Spinks, Harry Cobb and William Leese must also pay restitution in the amount of $4,387,598.57, acting U.S. Attorney John Horn’s office said in an emailed statement. “In 2009, Defendant Vaughn brazenly stole more than $4 million and for years manipulated bank accounts to cover his tracks, all for the benefit of himself and his co-conspirators who enjoyed the fruits of the theft,” Horn said. “Citizens trust financial institutions with their money every day and have the right to expect that bank employees handling their accounts have the utmost integrity. Those who enrich themselves by stealing someone else’s money will be caught and prosecuted.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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March 27, 2015 | 12:45 PM ET Update

Rod Boone: Earl Clark said he's surprised to be with #Nets. Said he was home working out when his agent called him and told him to come to Brooklyn. Twitter @rodboone

As Khimki announced, Petteri Koponen extended his contract with the club for two more seasons. The Finn guard has the option to stay in Russia until the summer of 2017, however his deal includes also NBA out clauses. EuroHoops.net

Despite scoring 24 points, Davis wasn't pleased about his 6-of-14 performance from the free-throw line in Wednesday night's 95-93 loss to the Rockets. So he went back out to practice. He put up enough free-throw shots until he made a 100 before heading to the locker room to shower. There were no Pelicans coaches around, just one of the Pelicans' attendants retrieving the ball after Davis put up his shots. New Orleans Times-Picayune

Walker, 18 at the time and now 27, was playing in an AAU tournament when his cousin Edrick called and asked if he wanted to attend Edrick’s 18th birthday party that night, about 45 minutes away. Walker declined because he thought basketball needed to be the priority that day. The next morning, Walker learned Edrick, a friend and two others were killed overnight in a quadruple homicide on the streets of Huntington. “It was a sign that basketball saved my life,” Walker said. “I think about it every day. Just looking at my daughter, I think this wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been playing basketball.” Miami Herald

When he played his final game for the Celtics in April 2012, he had no idea it would take two years and 10 months to make it back to the NBA, his return coming last month when the Heat signed him to two 10-day contracts, and eventually for the rest of this season, with a team option for 2015-16. “I had to understand it wasn’t about basketball for me,” he said. “It was the mental aspect, my preparation, how seriously I took my job, how I treated people. My coach at Kansas State, Frank Martin, used to tell me you can be a tough guy without being an [expletive] to people. That’s something I had to take to heart. “When he told me that at 17, 18, I had no clue what he was talking about. Now as you get older, I’m thankful for those talks with Frank. It finally started to click for me.” Miami Herald

“There are not too many people I know from that area whose fathers had been in their lives, so that was a common bond we all had growing up,” Walker said. “All raised by their mothers, bleak situation. An environment with a lot of violence, a lot of drug dealing, a lot of people without a positive mind-set because they feel like they don’t have any options. Then you have people clawing to get out. It makes for a bad environment. “Down the street from me was a 24-hour dope house. You would have junkies, dealers. It was an everyday thing. These people were my neighbors. I didn’t realize how crazy it was until I got out and see how other people live.” Miami Herald

Jeff Teague has been ruled out for tonight’s game against the Heat with due to a tender ankle. Hawks coach Mike Budenholder did not say whether Teague would miss additional time. Dennis Schroder will join the rest of the Hawks regular starters in place of Teague. “Jeff is tender and will not play tonight,” Budenholzer said. “He is not able to go. We will just wait and see how it goes and err on the side of caution. We’ll see how he does today.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

But the Wizards have an almost uniquely sad regional map. There are more Wizards Twitter followers than for any other team in just three areas: Montgomery County in Maryland, Fairfax County in Virginia, and Alexandria. What does that leave out? Well, the District of Columbia, where the Lakers lead the way. Also Prince George’s County, the team’s former home, where the Wizards finish third in Twitter followers, behind the Lakers and Heat. Also Arlington, where the Wizards are behind the Lakers, Bulls and Heat. That’s three teams! Washington Post

Little did they know that Byron Scott spent a whole week coaching while privately grieving his mother, Dorothy, who died March 15 at the age of 72. Lakers forward Ed Davis learned about Scott’s mother dying on Twitter. Lakers guard Wayne Ellington found out shortly before the Lakers left for their seven-day, five-game trip. Lakers assistant Paul Pressey briefly took over head-coaching duties. Scott will return when the Lakers (19-51) visit the Toronto Raptors (42-30) on Friday at Air Canada Centre after missing contests in Oklahoma City and Minnesota this week to attend his mother’s funeral services. Los Angeles Daily News

“Coach is a tough guy,” Ellington said of Scott. “He checks the personal things at the door. At the same time, it’s something that is very hard to do.” Ellington would know. He took an 11-day leave of absence after his father was shot and killed earlier this season. Although Ellington said basketball served as a refuge, he admitted his mind often wandered to his dad. Through the first week of his mother’s passing, Scott’s friendly and honest demeanor with reporters went unchanged, too. Shortly after the Lakers announced his mom’s death, Scott teared up while reflecting on her before politely ending a pregame news conference. Los Angeles Daily News

Scott expounded more on his thoughts the next day. “I know she’s in a much better place because she’s not in pain anymore. That’s one thing I have some comfort in,” Scott said. “Being with my coaching staff and the players have made it a little bit easier. But those moments that you’re alone or with your significant other, it pops in your mind.” Los Angeles Daily News

But Carter-Williams will also acknowledge his mind hasn’t been totally on basketball. His grandfather, Leroy “Mike” Carter died Sunday in Hamilton , Mass. , from an apparent blood clot. He was 86. Carter-Williams said he and his grandfather had a special bond and spent a lot of time together over the years. Leroy was a veteran of the Korean War before becoming the owner of Carter’s Stables in Hamilton . He was an equestrian who trained race and show horses. “When I found out my grandfather had died, it hit me pretty hard,’’ Carter-Williams said. “It still hurts. I was very close to him. He lived next door to my family my whole life. “It was a tough loss for me and my family.’’ Racine Journal-Times

BEST PLAYERS THAT DIDN'T GET THEIR NUMBERS RETIRED

There's no shortage of great players who don't have their jerseys hanging in the rafters at the arenas of the teams they starred for.

   
March 27, 2015 | 10:15 AM ET Update

What it’s like to be negotiating Draymond Green’s extension with your former boss, Arn Tellem (Green is represented by B.J. Armstrong, who works for Tellem)? Bob Myers: I mean, it's good, (negotiating with) anybody you respect like Arn and B.J. Yeah, I look forward to it. I like those guys. I know them. I think the hardest thing to do is negotiate with somebody that you don't have any prior relationship with. It's much easier to negotiate with somebody you have a history with, that you have a respect for and appreciation for, that you know you're going to get the truth. ESPN.com

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford believes center Al Jefferson’s right knee soreness will linger the rest of the season. “Al is not going to be 100 percent here the rest of the year. He is just not,” Clifford said at shootaround Wednesday morning. Charlotte Observer

Has it ever. In four months Russell, 19, has evolved from a highly touted prospect without a defined position—ranked No. 18 by Rivals.com last May—to the nation's best freshman point guard and one who has the tools to star at that spot in the pros. If you asked NBA general managers about D'Angelo in November, they might have thought you were talking about the R&B singer or the sub-shop chain; today they can't stop gushing about a likely top five pick who averaged 19.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists. "He's the total package," says a GM. "His court awareness is as sharp as any freshman's I have ever seen." Sports Illustrated

Last summer Russell reviewed most of Ohio State's games from 2013-14; in his free time he can often be found dissecting film. That studiousness paid off on Dec. 2, when the Buckeyes faced their first true test, at Louisville. Ohio State fell behind by 19 early in the second half, and with senior guard Shannon Scott struggling to run the offense, Matta turned the team over to Russell. The Buckeyes cut the deficit to three before losing by nine, but Russell had made a statement. "When he is out there, he owns the court," says Matta. "It's his gym." Adds an NBA scout, "When he speaks, everyone listens. He is their leader." Sports Illustrated

I want to bring up a couple of guys and you can tell me what they mean to the team. First, Alvin Gentry. Andrew Bogut: He’s been huge. Basically he’s our offensive coordinator, like it would be in football. His main role is with reads and spacing and putting in sets, little tweaks. He’s highly responsible for that and does a great job. Unfortunately for us, I hate to say it but there’s a high chance we lose him in the offseason because he’s just too talented of a coach to not be head coaching. CBSSports.com

NBA A TO Z PODCAST

USA Today Sports' Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt talk with Kevin Spain about the reasons why Cleveland is so good right now and also reminisce on how fantastic Steve Nash was.

   
March 27, 2015 | 08:57 AM ET Update

Stevens knew he would have to absorb a carousel of roster moves and prolonged stretches of unsuccessful basketball. Yet understanding that in theory and actually experiencing it daily has been grueling. Asked how much he fretted about his coach's morale this season, Ainge replied, "Oh, it was maybe my No. 1 concern. I just tried to talk him through it best I could, knowing it wasn't going to be easy. One thing is for sure: Brad is our future -- and our present.'' ESPN.com

Murry, 25, appeared in three games for the Wizards and there were discussions about signing him for next season, according to sources. But the guard sprained his ankle one day after signing his second 10-day contract, tweaking it in the fourth quarter of Monday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors. Washington Post

''Now, the mentality is different from when I was younger. I always had the street mentality, but when you're older you get more mature. When you play angry you can't focus. I've got five more years to have a great time, so I will be playing with a lot of fire but not anger, just passion.'' Cantu, which called signing World Peace ''the coup of the century,'' was 10th in the 16-team Lega A, with 17 games remaining. The top eight qualify for the playoffs. Cantu last won the title 34 years ago. NBA.com

"I'm enjoying the whole process of these last (few) games, just trying to win games," he said. "That's what I've been doing since Dwight has been out. I don't really keep track of the other (MVP candidates) or what they're doing. Obviously everybody knows that Russ is going on a triple-double rally. He's playing extremely well and they're fighting for the eighth spot. But all those guys you named (Curry, Westbrook, James, Davis and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers) are very good players, or very talented players. For me, I just focus on what I can control and going out there and doing the best I can do every single right." USA Today Sports

Yeah, there’s LeBron James and Kevin Love and a terrific supporting cast that includes three ex-Knicks J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov. But Irving, the Australia-born, West Orange, N.J.-reared guard, has been at the forefront as much as anyone. “He’s just grown every single day. Each month has been a learning experience for him,” James said. “He’s got more serious, understanding what this moment can be for himself, for us as a team and like I said he’s the head of the snake for us being the point guard, being the catalyst, starting it all defensively.” New York Post

‏@EDHCal: Love Demarcus, hope he's on the Kings for a long time but he's got to stop complaining... @boogiecousins @EDHCal let me abuse u for 48 min and let's see how u handle it Twitter @boogiecousins

Hodges, meanwhile, is a Jackson disciple. Hodges, a 3-point specialist, played for Jackson with the Bulls, winning two titles. Hodges also was a Lakers assistant under Jackson, winning two more titles. There’s speculation Hodges could be Westchester’s head coach next season. According to a source, Hodges left the team for at least a game early in the season. New York Post

The state Board of Regents approved a five-year contract worth $2 million Thursday for new Nevada basketball coach Eric Musselman, a two-time former NBA coach who says he's already on the recruiting trail and is planning to run a high-octane offense. Nevada athletic director Doug Knuth formally introduced Musselman at the Lawlor Events Center on the Reno campus shortly after the regents in Las Vegas approved the deal that offers additional incentives, including $10,000 for winning the Mountain West Conference title and another $10,000 for making the NCAA tournament. Morning Journal News

Were you surprised at how harsh or severe the punishment was? Daniel Orton: The fine, not so much. I mean, the fine is OK because I said something about the refs, which I didn't lie about that either. But I said something about the refs. But just to get kicked off the team was a little crazy. And then for the president of our team to compare Manny Pacquiao to Martin Luther King was just absurd, really. And I kind of just left it all alone. I didn't really want to say anything because I thought it would die off. But I'm starting to learn now that it's really not. It was on SportsCenter (a few days ago). It was just incredible to me. Oklahoman

Buyers looking for a piece of property with a scenic view of the canyons and hills in Southern California need not look any further. Miami Heat player Chris Bosh has been looking for a new owner to take care of his Pacific Palisades mansion and he even sweetened the deal by slashing off $1.5 million to the price. Realty Today

His Cantu shirt bears the name The Panda's Friend. Cantu fans greeted him at Milan's Malpensa Airport with toy pandas, and chants of ''Canturini Ale'' (hooray for Cantu fans). He joined in the singing. ''The panda is a funny, loveable animal, which defends its territory well,'' World Peace said. ''It's strong but calm. It suits me perfectly. ''People who have followed my career still call me Ron and that's OK, most of the young kids call me Metta, and then everyone in China calls me Panda. In the Middle East they call me World Peace,'' he joked. NBA.com

Dan LeBatard and Bomani Jones have been on a quest to get to the bottom of the story and even made some headlines last year when they got Deke to go on record and address the rumor. Mutombo at the time dismissed it as “crap,” but now we’re hearing otherwise. Former longtime NBA center Alonzo Mourning joined “Highly Questionable” and was asked about the “Who wants to sex Mutombo?” line, and the man couldn’t keep from laughing. After a little bit of pressuring, he did concede that Mutombo used to say it and actually used it as a pickup line. Best part of all? He says it worked! Larry Brown Sports

The woman who recorded Donald Sterling's racially offensive remarks says she loved him and called him her hubby, but they never had a romance. V. Stiviano testified Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court in her effort to retain more than $3.5 million the billionaire's wife says he lavished on Stiviano. Stiviano says she and Sterling vacationed together in Dubai, Paris and Las Vegas, but she never got more intimate than puckering up next to him in photos. ESPN.com

WHERE ARE NBA PLAYERS BORN?

We research the most common birthplaces of current NBA players. So many Californians...

   

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