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Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James have grown into NBA superstars and global icons. They've grown their games and their families. Their 20s have come and gone and their 30s have dawned. But as the two prepare for their 31st head-to-head meeting in the NBA — the first since Anthony joined the Thunder in September — one thing has remained constant. Anthony and James still share a bond, and people still ask if they can be real friends and cutthroat competitors. “We've heard that our whole career,” Anthony told The Oklahoman on Friday. “Not supposed to be friends, not supposed to like each other, supposed to want to beat each other. We've always heard that.” Oklahoman

So early on, Anthony said, he and James made “a vow to each other.” No matter what happened in their careers — what successes or failures came, what rivalries might develop between their teams — the two promised that they'd “never let anybody come between us,” Anthony said. A decade and a half later, nobody has. Oklahoman

rumors The Hornets are ready to blow it up and start over, starting with their biggest star. reported Friday that the Hornets are ready to entertain trade offers for point guard Kemba Walker, an All-Star last season who is averaging 21.7 points per game this year. The website also reported the Hornets are willing to trade other players like Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, Dwight Howard and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. NY Post

Interest in those other four players is limited, ESPN reported, because they are all on expensive contracts. Walker, who is making $12 million this year and is under contract through next season, is on a team-friendly deal and is a valuable asset. Charlotte will likely try to get another team to take at least one of those other four players as part of a package deal with Walker to unload salaries and try to reset. The Hornets/Bobcats have not won a playoff series and not finished higher than sixth in the Eastern Conference since returning as a franchise in 2004-05. NY Post

rumors Pistons forward Jon Leuer tried to exhaust every option before he gave in. He reached the end of the line on Thursday. After suffering a sprained left ankle on Oct. 31, the condition worsened, as a later exam revealed bone fragments and other issues. Leuer has missed the last 35 games and has decided to have season-ending ankle surgery, he told The Detroit News on Friday. Detroit News

Leuer, 28, has scheduled the procedure for next Friday and will have a four-month rehabilitation process. “It’s extremely frustrating. Disappointing, anger, all those emotions … we were trying to do whatever we could to avoid this,” Leuer told The News. “I knew even a month and a half ago when I saw the specialist that he kind of suggested (surgery) right away, but we wanted to see if we could try to manage the pain and hopefully get through the season. Detroit News

rumors With James Harden back, the Rockets did what they had while he was out. Eric Gordon and Chris Paul dominated stretches of the game, pulling away with runs of 3-pointers. Gordon had his third 30-point game of the month. He had reached 30 twice in his first 109 games with the Rockets. Chris Paul had nine assists, sending passes to rim and 3-point line. The Rockets offense, after a poor start, rolled even with Harden misfiring through his 26 minutes. Houston Chronicle

James Harden shot badly, but moved well. He played just 26 minutes, and was not happy to be limited to 10 fewer than he averages, but he played with energy. He was active and effective, getting his shot and shots for others easily, but also getting his hands on the ball on the other end. The Rockets would have no complaints with that. They assume Harden will be able to score. He would figure to be able to work the rust off his shot if his body and the rest of his game were up to it. Houston Chronicle

rumors Rockets guard Chris Paul, the president of the National Basketball Players' Association, would not share his position or the union's on the idea of having the draft of All-Star teams to be made by captains Steph Curry and LeBron James public. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been opposed, despite the clamoring to have the selections Asked if he expressed his opinion, Paul said, "Yup." Asked if he would share what he said, Paul said, "Nope." Houston Chronicle

Paul is considered as influential among union membership as any player, but would not say if the Players' Association was opposed to making the selections public, or even televising them, or if it followed his recommendations when the format was changed. "I don't know," Paul said. "They know (his opinion.)" Houston Chronicle

rumors No Oklahoma City Thunder players will start in the All-Star Game. Russell Westbrook finished third in the overall voting amongst Western Conference guards. Paul George finished fifth amongst Western Conference frontcourt players. Carmelo Anthony finished ninth amongst the West frontcourt. Oklahoman

The NBA will change its format this year so that the top vote-getters from each conference, James and Curry, will be captains and will select teams. James and Curry must pick from the other eight players voted as starters for the first four rounds of the draft. James, the overall votes leader, will make the first selection. Oklahoman

Carmelo Anthony tagged a new descriptor after the Lakers win. He said the acceptance is making basketball “fun again.” "Once you accept something, regardless of what it is, I think you become comfortable with it," he said. "You start putting your all into it. You start working on that role and on that acceptance, and it becomes fun. Oklahoman

The Warriors ruled out rookie forward Jordan Bell for at least two weeks, after an MRI taken on Thursday confirmed he had inflammation in his sprained left ankle. According to that timetable, Bell will miss at least the next five games beginning when the Warriors (37-9) play the Houston Rockets (31-12) on Saturday. San Jose Mercury News

Donovan Mitchell, 21, didn’t mention rookie of the year, but he’s in the hunt. In the NBA’s Kia Rookie Ladder, the former Louisville guard is ranked second this week after Ben Simmons. So actually, Mitchell is the top-rated player from the 2017 draft class, averaging 19.8 points per game on 45 percent shooting, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists. The former New Milford, Conn., resident scored 34 points Wednesday in Sacramento — his fourth 30-point game. He bested LeBron James on The King’s 33rd birthday in December, leading the Jazz to the win and finishing with 29 points, six assists and four rebounds. James should have derided the Knicks for not taking Mitchell rather than them passing on Dennis Smith Jr. NY Post

Fan Question: Do you think the Mavs should look to unload Wesley Matthews before the trade deadline? Cowlishaw: Unless you can get something of real value moving forward, I don't see the point. His contract, once viewed as an albatross, is not that bad in the league right now. He's their best defender. Now if you want to start making a push DOWN in the standings rather than up, you can consider it. Not sure where the Mavericks are on that path right now. As well as they have played at times, they remain very close to the bottom of the West. Dallas Morning News

Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas has been a roll since the New Year rolled around. In nine games in January going into Friday’s outing against the San Antonio Spurs, the 7-footer averaged 11.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game while shooting 58 per cent from the field. The Raptors were 6-3 in those nine games. Toronto Star

Sebastian Telfair -- former NBA point guard -- has been ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from his estranged wife and kids after she claims he went on a violent window-smashing rampage at their home. Samantha Telfair filed court docs, obtained by TMZ Sports, claiming Sebastian showed up to her home in Irvine, CA on Jan. 12 and went nuclear on the doorbell when he realized she wasn't home. TMZ Sports

Dennis Rodman has checked into rehab ... again ... in the wake of a drunk driving arrest, his rep confirms. TMZ Sports broke the story ... Rodman was busted in Newport Beach, CA over the weekend -- after cops say he was swerving all over the road and blasting loud music while intoxicated. TMZ Sports


Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 Basketball Rumors
Updated 8:00 a.m. ET

rumors After starting in four consecutive All-Star games and arguably cementing himself as the NBA’s best shooter ever, it never became a question of if Warriors guard Stephen Curry would start in the 2018 NBA All-Star game. Instead, it became a question of who Curry would select on his team. So once he was named captain on Thursday after collecting the most fan votes among Western Conference guards (2,379,494), Curry will have to figure out how he will assemble his roster. San Jose Mercury News

Curry said on Thursday evening that component “will dominate my mind” once the NBA announces its reserves as voted by the league’s coaches on Tuesday. Until then? Lots of it hinges on what LeBron James does, since he has the first pick after collecting the most fan votes in the NBA (2,638,294). Then, Curry said he and James and the All-Star candidates will connect through a conference call to complete the process. The NBA will announce the teams next Thursday for the 2018 NBA All-Star game on Feb. 18 in Los Angeles. San Jose Mercury News

rumors In an appearance on “The Damon Bruce Show” on 95.7 The Game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that an MRI taken on Thursday revealed that Bell’s injury “doesn’t appear to be more than a bone bruise” in his left ankle. Kerr added that the MRI was “pretty good” and “nothing glaring.” “But bone bruises can be tricky to heal,” Kerr said. “So we’ll see what happens. But so far, all the news has been good.” San Jose Mercury News

The Pistons will seek a disabled-player exception for forward Jon Leuer, who has played just nine games this season after suffering an ankle injury on Oct. 31. The DPE is a provision that allows teams to get a break in their salary-cap numbers in the event of a catastrophic injury. Leuer missed 34 games and was projected to be a major part of the Pistons’ rotation. Since the injury he has been limited to light shooting, but because of complications, he has had fluid injections in the ankle joint and is considering season-ending surgery. Detroit News

The Boston Celtics have played a lot of great games this season, but Wednesday night’s matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden certainly was not one of them. The C’s trailed by double-digits most of the night and ultimately fell to the 76ers 89-80, giving Boston back-to-back losses at home for the first time all season. NESN

On Wednesday night, Steven Adams and Alex Abrines were a confused pair, leading to an uncontested Julius Randle dunk. It wasn't the first time the Lakers had a free run to the rim in a frustrating first half for the Thunder. Adams was left mouthing expletives into the open space Randle just vacated. “What the f*** are we doing?,” Adams said — half-laughing but 100-percent serious about the confusion. The Lakers' offense was spraying points all over Chesapeake Energy Arena with little resistance. Oklahoman

Since Dec. 18, the Thunder's offense is third-best in the NBA (111.5 points per 100 possessions), but its defense has experienced what Donovan and players acknowledged as “slippage.” It started when ace defender Andre Roberson was in the lineup and was exacerbated when he missed eight games with left patellar tendinitis. Oklahoman

Bulls guard Kris Dunn has had a rough couple of days. After more evaluation today (Thursday, January 18), the Bulls say that Dunn’s two dislocated front teeth have been stabilized and are now splinted with braces. He was also re-evaluated for concussion symptoms, and the results weren’t good, so he’s been placed in the NBA Concussion Protocol. Inside Hoops

Sacramento Kings rookie forward Harry Giles won’t participate in an NBA game this season. Therefore, assuming he plays next season, officially he’ll be a rookie in 2018-19. The team released a statement today that Giles has made major progress in the four months since starting a plan designed to improve physical strength in his knees. The Kings say Giles is currently “entirely healthy,” and that participation in team practices, skill and strength training have not caused any setbacks. Inside Hoops


Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 Basketball Rumors
Updated 8:00 a.m. ET

rumors Pistons: The phone is ringing for Bower, but even with the earlier NBA trade deadline of Feb. 8, there nothing tantalizing to this point. “I don’t think (the volume) picked up any more,” Pistons president Stan Van Gundy said Wednesday. “Jeff’s always talking to people and people are calling. I don’t think it’s changed a whole lot.” Detroit News

On Tuesday, in Reggie Hearn’s first Pistons practice after signing a two-way deal on Monday, he was getting a crash course in the offense. Dwight Buycks, signed to a fully guaranteed contract last week from his two-way deal, is playing a bigger role as well. Hearn’s sense of urgency in getting up to speed was brought on by Kennard’s injury and though he warmed up and looked ready to play Wednesday. Van Gundy and Bower each said that they spate of injuries haven’t ramped up their desires to get a deal done. Detroit News

rumors Rockets guard James Harden returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured Dec. 31 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Harden, who is coming back from a strained left hamstring, stepped onto the court, nailed a couple of corner 3-pointers and got quickly into the flow of warmups. Star Tribune/AP

The Rockets have gone 4-3 without Harden, who is averaging 32.3 points per game this season. "What's exciting now is that James is coming back," Rockets guard Trevor Ariza said. "He's been out for a long time. I know he's been itching to get back on the court and we're excited to have him back." Star Tribune/AP

rumors The NBA suspended Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza and guard Gerald Green two games each without pay for entering the Clippers' locker room "to confront a player from the opposing team'' following the game at Staples Center on Monday night. Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA's executive vice president of basketball operations, issued the announcement Wednesday after the league conducted more than 20 interviews with executives, staff, coaches and players from both teams and Staples Center personnel. LA Times

VanDeWeghe told the Los Angeles Times that James Harden and Chris Paul followed Ariza and Green into the corridor to act as "peacemakers" with their two teammates and the Clippers and not to take part in any other situation. The Clippers defeated the Rockets 113-102 in a game that featured two angry on-court exchanges. LA Times

"It was collaborated from both sides that Ariza and Green entered the Clipper looker room in order to confront somebody, an opponent or several players, whatever it is," VanDeWeghe told The Times. "When you have circumstances like that, tense game, very passionate, emotional game — and obviously Trevor had been ejected — that behavior is completely inappropriate and could lead to a potentially very dangerous situation. So we have to draw a bright line there." LA Times

VanDeWeghe said there was no security camera of the back corridor that the Rockets players used to go to the Clippers' locker room, but said it was crowded with Rockets players along with staff from both teams and the Staples Center and that the league conducted interviews with more than 20 witnesses. Houston Chronicle

"Obviously, Ariza and Green go in first," VanDeWeghe said. "Harden and Paul were in the back area. It's pretty common. Everybody knows about it. Players come in and out. (Visiting) team has the food there. Equipment, X-rays and MRI machines are back there. Chris Paul and Harden are in the hallway. That's where they are heard trying to get their players out, saying, 'We don't need this. C'mon guys, get out of there.'" Houston Chronicle

VanDeWeghe said he had reviewed footage from a security camera in the main hallway and it showed that no player attempted to enter the Clippers' locker room from the front entrance the team generally uses. "It was reported that (Clint) Capela was out there," VanDeWeghe said. "We have no video evidence that Capela was out there." Houston Chronicle

Then the Knicks lost their cool. With 25 seconds left, Tyreke Evans lost the ball and a jump ball ensued after a scramble on the floor. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Evans were set to jump. After false starts and mass confusion before the tip, Courtney Lee — who had set a franchise record streak for consecutive made free throws earlier in the game — was called for a technical foul for yapping at Dillon Brooks after several warnings. Evans hit the technical for a four-point lead. The Knicks lost the tip on the jump ball anyway and the game. NY Post

Kyrie Irving reported left shoulder soreness to the team following Tuesday’s loss to New Orleans. He received treatment Wednesday and went through the Celts’ afternoon walkthrough, but he is listed as questionable for Thursday evening. Also in that designation are Marcus Smart and Guerschon Yabusele, who missed the session with illness. Boston Herald

The Mavericks got confirmation Wednesday of what they already knew. They fouled Will Barton twice in the backcourt with under 10 seconds to play and trailing by a point at Denver on Tuesday night. Neither hack was called by the referee crew of Tony Brothers, Rodney Mott and Jonathan Sterling. Dallas Morning News


Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors The NBA is expected to complete its investigation Wednesday into the incident involving the Clippers and Rockets in which several Houston players entered i the Clippers' locker-room area following Monday night's game at Staples Center, according to several NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly on the on-going matter. The league still was interviewing all the subjects that took part, members of the two teams and security. LA Times

Rockets forward Trevor Ariza has been considered the "instigator" and could face the harshest punishment when the league makes it decision on whether to fine or suspend players, according to the officials. LA Times

The officials said Ariza led teammates James Harden and Gerald Green down a hallway that connects both teams' locker room. All three of them got into the Clippers' training room before they were stopped by security from entering the locker-room area where the Clippers were sitting, according to the officials. LA Times

rumors Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, rehabbing from the fractured left ankle that he suffered on opening night, has started some light spot shooting and even got thrown into a pressure situation at a recent practice. Celtics coach Brad Stevens called on Hayward to attempt a free throw at the end of a recent off-day workout to determine if the team would engage in a final drill. Hayward made the free throw, shortening the session for his teammates.

The Celtics have stressed they don’t expect Hayward back this season, but Stevens has said that the team will not put limitations on what Hayward tries to do. Every milestone is greeted with increased speculation about whether Hayward could return this season.

The Celtics were awarded an $8.4 million disabled player exception that must be used by March 12. Even if the team uses the exception to add a player, Hayward would be eligible to return should he regain full health before the end of the season.

rumors Celtics legend Jo Jo White, a two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP, passed away Tuesday at the age of 71. White, a seven-time All-Star, averaged 17.2 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds over 12 NBA seasons. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.

White underwent life-threatening surgery to remove a brain tumor in 2010. With many vocal supporters, he earned induction into the Hall of Fame after a long wait in 2015 and gave a moving speech as part of the induction week where he reveled in the honor.

Glenn Robinson III chilled courtside, watching his Indiana Pacers teammates participate in pregame warmups ahead of the Utah Jazz game Monday. The 24-year-old, Gary, Indiana native inches closer to returning from left ankle surgery, but for now he can only enjoy the action from the sidelines. As NBA All-Star weekend approaches Feb. 16-18, the reigning slam dunk champion won’t be back in time to defend his crown but would like to see Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell participate in Los Angeles just like the rest of the world. Deseret News

Glenn Robinson III: “Unfortunately I can’t do it this year because of my ankle but I would love to get back in it but it was a helluva experience for me,” he added. “Last year, going down there I was kind of the underdog and people didn’t expect for me to win it or didn’t know what I had in storage but (Donovan’s) got some bunnies so he will come up with something.” Deseret News

While the Utah Jazz are preparing to face the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, locker room leader Thabo Sefolosha will be back in Salt Lake City. After meeting with his agent and weighing his options, Sefolosha has elected to undergo surgery to repair a torn MCL in his right knee. The surgery is likely season-ending for the 13th-year pro. Team physician Dr. Travis Maak will perform the procedure on Jan. 17. Deseret News

Evan Fournier scored a season-high 32 points to help the Orlando Magic break a seven-game losing streak with a 108-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night. D.J. Augustin added 11 points and three assists in the fourth quarter, when the Magic scored 35 points after trailing by two through three. Jimmy Butler had 28 points and seven rebounds for the Timberwolves, who had won five straight games by an average of 18.8 points. Star Tribune/AP

Winners 12 times in their last 15 games before Tuesday, the Timberwolves lost 108-102 to an Orlando Magic team that had won just once since Dec. 6. The Magic did so after shooting guard Evan Fournier scored a career-high 32 points and after it outscored the Wolves 33-18 on three-point shots. Star Tribune


Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors Carmelo is at his breaking point with officials. Russell Westbrook was ejected from Monday's game against the Kings after the refs gave him two quick technical fouls. Carmelo Anthony wasn't happy with how his teammate was treated and he spoke out against officials to ESPN following the 95-88 win. "I'm done with them," Anthony said. "I'm done with the refs. No disrespect, but I'm done with those guys." NY Daily News

Melo to ESPN recently: "And now, the trigger is too quick. You look at somebody wrong, you get a technical foul. You say one wrong thing, you get a technical foul. So I think that's the difference from when I came in, the dialogue and communication and the relationship the players and officials [had] when I first came in and from now is a lot different." NY Daily News

Cleveland tried too late to cool off the Golden State Warriors. After the Warriors' 118-108 win Monday night over the Cavaliers, they found a less-than-rewarding postgame experience awaiting them in the Quicken Loans Arena visiting locker room. When they turned on the taps for a relaxing shower, ice-cold water spewed out. ESPN reported they could hear the players "screaming in discomfort" and most could only tolerate a quick rinse before jumping out. SF Chronicle

Enes Kanter is still perplexed by his erratic playing time and rejected Jeff Hornacek's reason for gluing him to the bench during Monday's victory over the Nets. "I guess coach said I played a lot of minutes (the day before), so he thought that I was tired. But I was pretty good, and I didn't really feel tired. It's my job, I cannot be tired," Kanter told the Daily News. "It's my job so whenever he gives me minutes I just go out there and play hard. But I think he thought I was tired so, whatever. I just didn't play. We won the game, we're good. But if we lost, it would be a problem." NY Daily News

"It feels weird. I'm ready. I don't make any excuse and say, 'Oh I'm tired,'" said Kanter, who logged 36 minutes in Sunday's home OT loss to the Pelicans. "If he gives me a chance I'll go out there and play my hardest. But like I said, he just said I played a lot of minutes (Sunday) so he's just going to keep subbing guys out. But I wasn't tired or anything during the game." NY Daily News

In a league where the traditional center has become greatly diminished, Hornacek has four of them on the roster eating up 40 percent of the team's overall salary. NY Daily News

rumors The Rockets will sign Markel Brown, a guard with the Oklahoma City Blue of the G League, to a two-way contract, releasing guard Brianté Weber from his two-way deal with the Rockets and Rio Grande Valley Vipers, a person with knowledge of the move said. Brown, a 6-3 guard from Oklahoma State, averaged 17.4 points with the Blue this season, making 46.1 percent of his shots, 36 percent of his 3s. He had played 35 games with the Brooklyn Nets in 2015-16 and 2016-17, averaging 5.3 points in 16.2 minutes per game. Houston Chronicle

With the release of Demetrius Jackson, who signed a two-way deal with the Philadelphia 76ers at the end of his 10-day contract with the Rockets, the Rockets have an open roster spot. Jackson had begun the season with a two-way contract, playing with the Rockets and Vipers. Houston Chronicle

rumors Joel Embiid scored a game-high 34 points to go with 11 rebounds. T.J. McConnell added a career-high 18 points off the bench. The game also had its share of heated exchanges. Simmons and Lowry, the Raptors’ all-star point guard, were ejected in the closing seconds after exchanging words. Lowry, a North Philly native and Villanova product, pointed toward the back area, as if wanting Simmons to meet him there. Philadelphia Inquirer

The Miami Heat have applied to the NBA for the $5.5 million disabled-player exception that became available in the wake the decision by guard Dion Waiters to undergo surgery on his chronically troublesome left ankle. Monday was the deadline to file for the exception, which is half of Waiters' 2017-18 salary. South Florida Sun Sentinel

The Hornets don’t play a lot of afternoon games (in part because they play only a handful of national television games). However, it’s pretty common for them to play a matinee on Martin Luther King Day, home or on the road. Charlotte Observer

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili went to the locker room in the first quarter of Monday's game with the Hawks after suffering a thigh injury. Spurs spokesman Tom James said Ginobili has a right thigh contusion and will not return. Houston Chronicle

Hours before their nationally televised MLK Day showdown at Quicken Loans Arena, members of the Warriors and Cavaliers used their post-shootaround media availabilities to promote togetherness in the spirit of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “The state of racism will never die, but what we cannot do is allow it to conquer us as people,” Cleveland forward LeBron James told reporters. “We can’t allow it to divide us. ... (President Donald Trump) has given people and racism, and negative racism, an opportunity to be out and outspoken without fear. SF Chronicle

“You always hear people saying, 'risking their life,’” James said. King “actually gave up his life for the betterment of all of us to be able to live in a free world and for us to be able to have a voice, for us to go out and be free no matter your skin color, no matter who you are, no matter the height and size and the weight or whatever the case may be, wherever you are, he had a vision and he took a bullet for all of us. SF Chronicle

The result was nothing like the sludge he had wallowed in while the Knicks lost 10-of-12. Instead, Ntilikina produced what he conceded was his best game as a pro: 10 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds as the Knicks outlasted and overpowered the smaller Nets, 119-104. “I did a little bit of everything,” said Ntilikina, who got his first NBA double-double and supplied a couple backbreaking moments early in the fourth quarter to help prevent a Biblical proportions collapse for a second straight day. “He looked more comfortable. … He was close to that triple-double I talked about early in the season. I still believe that going forward as he keeps growing as a player, he’ll be that type of player,” Porzingis said. NY Post

Kevin Durant's desire to own an NBA team has intensified since joining the Golden State Warriors, sources told ESPN. Over the past year and a half, sources say Durant and his business partner Rich Kleiman have taken numerous meetings with existing owners and tech CEOs to learn the lay of the land. The two have made a concerted effort of strategically positioning themselves in front of some of the most influential and innovative business figures in the Bay Area. They were guest speakers at the annual TechCrunch Disrupt, a large startup conference that took place in San Francisco last fall.


Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors The 76ers feel good about Markelle Fultz’s progress from his shoulder injury. Fixing a sagging jump shot appears to be a much bigger obstacle. Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft from the University of Washington, has appeared in just four games, the most recent on Oct. 23. Since then, he has been rehabilitating from left shoulder soreness and muscle imbalance and working on his shot.

Brown said he has been pleased with Fultz’s progress at the foul line, but the rest of his outside shooting apparently is a major work in progress. “He needs to feel like he can go shoot a basketball, and I think to just render it that the foul shot is pretty good, and it is, and only go that far without talking about some of the other pieces,” Brown said. “It’s not what we are looking at, and I know he isn’t looking at that.”

Brown doesn’t think that Fultz is 100 percent physically, but it’s the apparent lack of confidence in his shot that appears to be keeping him off the court.

rumors After a lengthy, three-hour practice Sunday morning, all eyes were glued to two big men on the main court at Zions Bank Basketball Center. Utah’s injured All-NBA center Rudy Gobert is still out with a knee injury, but returned to non-contact portions of practice where he appeared lively, agile and energetic in full-court 2-on-2 action against rookie Tony Bradley with the scout guards. Deseret News

Gobert certainly won’t return for Monday’s home game against Indiana, but could be back in the lineup by the end of next week. He’s been sidelined for 13 games with a sprained PCL in his left knee and a bone bruise in his tibia after clashing with teammate Derrick Favors in Boston on Dec. 15. Deseret News

rumors After an uneven start to his comeback from a torn labrum in his right hip, Isaiah Thomas says that his apparent regression his last couple games is not surprising. "I knew it was going to be like this," the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard said after practice Sunday. "I have no legs. So it's going to take some time to get it back, even when I played well those first two games I told Coach (Tyronn) Lue it didn't feel right. It was kind of fool's gold."

"The shots were going in, but none of my movements, none of the things I usually do felt normal," Thomas said. "It's going to be like that for a while. I've just got to be patient. I'm my biggest critic; I'm not a patient person. So it's killing me that ... to be, I'm used to stepping on the court and being special. So now I've got to work. I've got to work my way back and get my legs back and get my legs back to playing at a high level."

While the Cavs' defensive deficiencies have been well chronicled -- defensively, they currently rank 29th out of 30 teams -- Lue says Cleveland's offense can help the team get back on track overall.

Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob has fostered an organizational environment built on empowered employees, open dialogue and nimble management. Now, eight years after Lacob and his group of investors bought a long-dormant franchise for $450 million, Golden State is a world-wide brand valued at more than $2.6 billion. “I personally think it all goes back to the steadiness of ownership, the front office and the coaching staff,” associate head coach Mike Brown said. “These guys have all been here. Everything’s consistent. Everybody’s on the same page. Everybody has the same vision.” SF Chronicle

Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue recently blamed his team’s issues on individual “agendas.” After Friday’s collapse to the Pacers, James seemed defeated, bemoaning that the Cavaliers are “so fragile” and, “I don’t know where it kind of went wrong.” SF Chronicle

In July 2010, when James announced his decision on national TV to leave the Cavaliers and sign with the Heat, Gilbert posted an open letter to the team website lambasting the former face of his franchise. General managers Danny Ferry, Chris Grant and David Griffin have shuffled through Cleveland headquarters without Gilbert extending a second contract. At times during free agency, Gilbert has reportedly bypassed the GM to negotiate directly with agents. SF Chronicle

Police say former NBA star Dennis Rodman has been arrested on suspicion of DUI in Southern California. Lt. Rachel Johnson of the Newport Beach Police Department says Rodman was pulled over late Saturday for a traffic violation. Detroit News/AP


Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors The Miami Heat have confirmed that sidelined guard Dion Waiters will undergo ankle surgery, a procedure expected to sideline him the balance of the season. While the team did not specifically detail it as season-ending surgery, that is more a factor of the Heat rarely offering specific return dates from injuries or procedures, as has been the case following Rodney McGruder's preseason leg surgery and Okaro White's early-season foot surgery. South Florida Sun Sentinel

Waiters said in September he was told last season that the estimated timetable for a return from such surgery would be eight to 10 months. South Florida Sun Sentinel

The Heat are now positioned to apply to the NBA for the $5.5 million disabled-player exception, half of Waiters' 2017-18 salary, but would have to open a roster spot, already at the roster maximum of 15 players, not counting the two additional players on two-way contracts with the developmental-league. South Florida Sun Sentinel

The announcement of the impending surgery formally ends the possibility of Waiters receiving the $1.1 million bonus in his contract for appearing in at least 70 games this season. South Florida Sun Sentinel

The Detroit Pistons signed Dwight Buycks to a multi-year contract today. He had already been under contract as a two-way player, on a deal signed September 17, 2017. Two-way contract players spend the majority of the season in the G League. Signing a standard season contract means Buycks, a 6-3, 190-pound guard, is now a regular member of the Bucks. Inside Hoops

The Indiana Pacers signed 6-8 forward Ben Moore to a two-way contract today. He’ll mostly play with their G League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Moore, who participated in Pacers’ training camp, has spent this season playing for the Mad Ants. Inside Hoops

Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford has been medically cleared to return to coaching the team on a full-time basis. Clifford will officially re-join the team starting with practice on Tuesday, Jan. 16, before returning to the sidelines on Wednesday, Jan. 17, vs. the Washington Wizards. Inside Hoops


Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors The Miami Heat are having a very good season. With a 24-17 record, they’re 4th in the East, which is better than most observers expected. But they’re about to lose a key dose of backcourt scoring. According to a report by Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, guard Dion Waiters, who has been out of action since December 22, “is expected to” undergo season-ending surgery on his injured left ankle. Inside Hoops

Waiters, 25, sprained the ankle Dec. 22, the second time in nine months. The original injury forced him to miss the final 13 games of last season. Waiters opted not to have the surgery last spring because he did not want to go into free agency with teams knowing he would not be available for possibly half the season. Palm Beach Post

Now, he will likely wind up missing the final 52 games of this season, which also affects his contract. Waiters signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the Heat in July of which $1.1 million this season is tied to a bonus that would have kicked in if he played in at least 70 of Miami’s 82 games. That would have raised Waiters’ 2017-18 salary to $12.1 million. Without that bonus, he will make $11 million. Palm Beach Post

rumors Trey Burke, the Jazz lottery pick who fell from grace to the G League, says he’s a lot stabler than the rookie who entered the NBA as a cocky 19-year-old out of Michigan. After attending the final week of Knicks training camp in October, Burke has starred for the Westchester Knicks — and he’s on the verge of being signed to the team’s 15-man roster once the team opens a roster spot. NY Post

The Knicks need Jack insurance in case his knees don’t hold up to starter’s minutes. And Burke is insurance against rookie Frank Ntilikina hitting the rookie wall. He would probably be a spot player at first blush, but he’s still a dazzling penetrator. Scouts who saw him at Westchester said his effort on defense is still subpar, and Jeff Hornacek has made that an emphasis.

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry have taken the lead in their respective conferences in the second fan returns of NBA All-Star Voting 2018. Fans account for 50 percent of the vote to determine the 10 starters for the 67th NBA All-Star Game, which will take place on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, TNT). All current NBA players and a panel of basketball media account for 25 percent each, with every participant completing one full ballot featuring two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference. Voting for fans, players and media will conclude on Monday, Jan. 15 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Inside Hoops

In the second fan returns, James totaled 1,622,838 votes to pass the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (1,480,954) as the top vote-getter in the Eastern Conference and overall. James and Antetokounmpo are followed in the East frontcourt by the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (784,287) and the New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis (640,928). Inside Hoops

In the Western Conference, Curry (1,369,658) has passed teammate Kevin Durant (1,326,059) to become the leading vote-getter. Curry, the Houston Rockets’ James Harden (978,540) and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook (791,332) continue to be the top three guards in the West. Inside Hoops

rumors Marcin Gortat is under contract with the Wizards through next season and as of now he's not thinking much further ahead than that. An 11-year NBA veteran, Gortat was asked this week what he plans to do when his basketball career is over, as he turns 34 next month. Gortat isn't sure yet. "It's still too far. It's still too early to say something. It's still a year and a half before I run out of the contract. At that point, everything could change. You don't know how my life is going to go," he said. NBC Sports Washington

The Wizards are 23-18, just one game better than last year’s pace despite the organization going all in on its belief that continuity with Wall, Beal and Otto Porter Jr. would lead to greater heights. Through the first 41 games, Washington has produced an offensive rating of 106.3, the 11th best mark in the league — the exact same number and ranking the team held at this point in the season a year ago. While the Wizards have shown marked improvement on the defensive end, ranking eighth in the league with a 104.0 defensive rating, that progress has not helped the team win more games. Washington Post

Though they have lost two straight games, there are signs the Wizards are trending up in the big picture. They are 11th in the NBA in offensive rating and ninth in defensive rating. They should keep improving on offense with Wall in the driver's seat and their defense is much better than it was last season when they were 20th in defensive efficiency. Last year the Wizards were 20th in opponents three-point percentage and this year they are first. Based on Basketball Reference's simple rating system, the Wizards have been the NBA's eighth-best team. When Wall is in the lineup, they can score with the best offenses in the NBA and they can play sound defense when they are committed to it. NBC Sports Washington

The rebuilding process for the Knicks has been slower, especially with Tim Hardaway Jr., Steve Mills’ first major signing, sidelined the last six weeks with a stress injury. The Knicks are encouraged by rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina but not enough to promote him into the starting lineup. Not yet anyway. The decision to bury Willy Hernangomez on the bench is a peculiar one but Jeff Hornacek has a log jam at center and power forward that needs to worked out. NY Daily News


Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors C.J. Williams drove in for what appeared to be a routine layup early in the third quarter, but nothing is routine during this season for the injury-ravaged Clippers, and so when he sprained his right ankle on the play, again the routine was not routine. But behind the herculean effort from Lou Williams that netted him a career-high 50 points, the Clippers pulled off a shocking 125-106 victory over nemesis Golden State on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena, beating the Warriors for the first time since Dec. 25, 2014. LA Times

What is now becoming the routine for Lou Williams is what allowed the Clippers to break a 12-game losing streak against the Warriors. "Obviously 50 is a huge number," Williams said after going 16 for 27 from the field, eight for 16 from three-point range. "It's a great accomplishment. For me, it was more important to get a win, try to close that gap to try to get back to .500, especially with the injuries and with guys in and out the lineup and for us to have that opportunity to be in the playoff fold." LA Times

Williams went wild for 27 points in the third quarter, the most points in a quarter by any player in the NBA this season and obviously the most points in a quarter in his career. LA Times

rumors After planning to sign Jamil Wilson to a 10-day contract, the Los Angeles Lakers changed course and won't complete a deal with the free-agent forward, league sources told ESPN. The Lakers reneged on the deal Wednesday after a TMZ report surfaced that a woman had filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging that she contracted a sexually transmitted disease from Wilson while dating him. The report says that the woman alleges Wilson knew he had the STD when they allegedly engaged in unprotected sex and didn't share the information with her.

Just when the Warriors feel again how great life is without Stephen Curry, well this happens. The Warriors (33-8) ruled out Curry for Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers (18-21) at Oracle Arena after spraining his right ankle toward the end of morning shootaround. Warriors general Bob Myers sounded calm about the revelation, though. During his his weekly radio appearance on the Warriors flagship station, 95.7 The Game, Myers said the Warriors currently have no plans for Curry to receive an MRI since the injury is not considered serious enough. San Jose Mercury News

Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Jeff Teague was back in the lineup Wednesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder after missing seven games with a sprained MCL in his left knee. Star Tribune/AP

Joel Embiid has yet to be cleared to play on consecutive nights because of right foot and knee issues. He also has missed several games because of tightness in his back. In all, the center has played in only 60 games since the Sixers drafted him third overall in 2014. Simmons is healthy now. However, the first pick of the 2016 draft missed last season with a fractured foot. Markelle Fultz, the first pick in June’s draft, will miss his 35th straight game as he rehabilitates from soreness and a muscle imbalance in his right shoulder.

The Mavericks have now sold out 660 consecutive regular-season home games, which is an NBA-best sellout streak. After the horn sounded, the party exchanged a bounty of high-fives, and one fan even released a righteous fist-pump. The Mavericks’ next home game is Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Fort Worth Star-Telegram


Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors The Heat could be without Tyler Johnson and James Johnson. Tyler missed Tuesday’s 90-89 victory at Toronto because of a left shoulder strain and will be re-evaluated today. James Johnson and the Raptors’ Serge Ibaka were ejected in the third quarter when blows were exchanged. Johnson threw a forearm at Ibaka. The league will review today to determine if James is suspended for a game. Palm Beach Post

The next step figures to be far more challenging for Heat forward James Johnson: clearing NBA review for his one-two combination during a third-quarter scuffle with Raptors forward Serge Ibaka. Johnson appeared to connect with at least one blow as the two players prepared for a Toronto inbound pass less than four minutes into the second half, which would mandate an automatic suspension, the length to be determined by NBA review. The Heat play Wednesday night against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. South Florida Sun Sentinel

The game ended with Heat guard Goran Dragic having to be separated from Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan. "Nothing special," Dragic said, "just exchanged some words." South Florida Sun Sentinel

A lot of those questions surround Whiteside, who hasn't looked right since returning from a bone bruise in his knee. The Heat play a crisper style with Olynyk at center, and they have left Whiteside on the bench in crunch time of almost every recent game. "It's tough, but I don't want to get caught up in it," Whiteside says. "We're winning. But of course you want to be out there."

rumors Zach LaVine returns Saturday against the Pistons, and while he'll certainly sit some games down the road for rest purposes...this is the last time the Bulls will look this way. Maybe it means David Nwaba or Denzel Valentine getting pushed out of the rotation, or Nikola Mirotic being traded in the coming week. Whatever it is, expect players to come out hard as they give their last audition prior to LaVine returning and eventually eating up plenty of minutes. NBC Sports Chicago

After a bizarre 48 hours, Luke Walton shut down any more talk about comments made by Lonzo Ball’s father that Walton had lost the locker room. “I’m kind of done talking about all that stuff,” Walton said Tuesday morning. “I think we should just get back to talking about our basketball and our games and what I’m actually here to do and that’s coach this team.” It looked as though the Lakers would take the pressure off their coach early on Tuesday. OC Register

Julius Randle spent most of the season using his superior athleticism to get the better of backup centers and power forwards as a scorer. Walton wants him to be just as willing to pass when driving down the lane now that Randle is becoming a more regular presence in the starting lineup. The growing pains were evident, with six assists and six turnovers against the length of Zach Randolph and Willie Cauley-Stein. "Tonight he had moments where he was great at it and there were moments where he over-penetrated and we got in trouble," Walton said. Star Tribune/AP

rumors Russell Westbrook left the arena before the locker room was open to media and did not speak to reporters following the Thunder's loss to the Blazers. It is the second time he has chosen not to speak with reporters in the past week. He left early following the Thunder's win over the L.A. Clippers, as well. Norman Transcript

Carmelo Anthony believes the way players have to interact with referees has changed since he first came into the NBA. “The game’s changed a lot since I’ve come in 15 years ago,” he said. “The players and the officials had that dialogue. Whether it was good, whether it was bad, there was always that point where they would let you get a little steam off, then come to you and say ‘OK, that’s enough, let’s move on.’ “Now, the triggers are too quick. You look at somebody wrong, you get a technical foul. Say one wrong thing, you get a technical foul. So I think that’s the difference from when I first came in: the dialogue and the communication, the relationships that the players and the officials (had) when I first came in to now is a lot different.” Norman Transcript

rumors Wolves starting point guard Jeff Teague practiced with the team this afternoon at Mayo Clinic Square -- 13 days after he sustained a Grade 1 sprained knee MCL in a game against Denver -- and could play as soon as tomorrow against Oklahoma City. He has missed seven games since then while backup Tyus Jones has taken over as a starter. "Each day he has done more and more," Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow and we'll go from there." Star Tribune

Perhaps the happiest person in the gym was Marcus Morris. For the first time this season, after missing 22 games to soreness in his left knee, his minutes restriction has been lifted. “My last game I played 26 minutes, so that was the part of letting me know that it was over with,” said Morris, who admittedly found the minutes restriction trying. “Yeah man, just playing in and out, in and out, trying to build a rhythm and then I had to come out of the game. That was definitely tough for me.” Boston Herald

Dirk Nowitzki went 7 for 7 from the free throw line and is tied with Jerry West for the sixth-most free throws in NBA history at 7,160. Michael Jordan ranks fifth with 7,327. Boston Herald/AP

First, will Kevin Durant play after sitting out three games because of a right calf strain? He is listed as probable. Second, if he does play, will Durant scored the 25 points he needs to reach 20,000 for his career? He would become the 44th player in NBA history to reach the mark and the 48th player in combined NBA-ABA history. For the record, the four players who got their 20,000 points in both leagues combined were Julius Erving (11,662 ABA, 18,364 NBA, 30,026 total), Dan Issel (12,823 ABA, 14,659 NBA, 27,482 total), Rick Barry (6,884 ABA, 18,395 NBA, 25,279 total) and Artis Gilmore (9,362 ABA, 15,579 NBA, 24,941 total). San Jose Mercury News

Kings: Coach Dave Joerger said before the game that he’s been emphasizing a faster tempo and that he’d like to play at the pace the Los Angeles Lakers have made routine. Los Angeles (13-27) leads the NBA in pace (103.91) while Sacramento (13-27) is 27th (96.73). Pace estimates the number of possessions a team has per game. But playing faster isn’t just about running. It’s about the ability to make quicker decisions, see the game faster and take advantage of situations before the defense can settle in. Sacramento Bee

Players bonded over their winding journeys to the NBA. Someone -- Hassan Whiteside claims it now -- nicknamed the D-League "The Jungle," and the players bestowed the same moniker upon their practice court. "That became 'The Jungle,'" James Johnson says. "Every morning before practice, you're gonna see the same thing written on that whiteboard: 'Mouthpiece, knee pads, rib pads.' You wear all of that for practice. The Jungle became our obsession. If you're from The Jungle, no top draft pick should ever get a loose ball over you. If a top pick and Rodney McGruder are going for a loose ball, I'd bet my house on Rodney."

Last week, Derek Harper told The News that his 79-year-old mother, Wilma, was ill and probably wouldn't make his jersey retirement ceremony on Sunday. As it turned out, Wilma watched the ceremony on TV in a hospital room. She died the following morning. She raised Harper and his nine siblings as a single mother in West Palm Beach, Fla. while working two jobs. "I have a very prayerful mother," Harper told the American Airlines Center crowd during his jersey retirement speech. "She prays for me all the time, so, mom, thank you for your prayers, your guidance, but most importantly teaching me to love my enemies." Dallas Morning News


Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors Zach LaVine, who could return as early as Wednesday, was showing promise as an outside shooter before tearing his ACL nearly 12 months ago. If nothing else LaVine will space the floor better for the other four Bulls on the floor. That can only mean more attempts, and more open attempts. NBC Sports Chicago

January 15th is a week away—the first day the Bulls are eligible to trade Nikola Mirotic, assuming he consents to a deal. Although Mirotic has helped the Bulls win games since his return from his incident with teammate Bobby Portis, both Mirotic and the Bulls appear to want the same thing. A separation. NBC Sports Chicago

Mirotic has a no-trade clause due to his restricted free-agent status over the summer, which complicates things to a degree. And the Bulls want future assets over immediate help in return, as in a first-round draft pick. So far, the market for Mirotic has been described as “tepid”, according to a league source. The Utah Jazz have engaged in discussions with the Bulls, but to this point, the Bulls don’t want to take on Alec Burks’ $11.5 million for 2018-19 without the Jazz attaching a draft pick. NBC Sports Chicago

It's been a two-year stretch of records for the Rockets, who have been built to play this way. They shattered every 3-point measurement last season and are rewriting all their own records this year, thanks in large part to the addition of Chris Paul, who had 24 points and nine assists on Monday (including three of those 20 triples). With Eric Gordon (four 3-pointers) and Trevor Ariza (six 3-pointers) on the wings, combined with stretch forward in Ryan Anderson (one 3-pointer), there's always at least four shooters on the floor. NBC Sports Chicago

The Thunder have allowed 11.4 more points per 100 possessions in the four games since Andre Roberson, who made All-Defensive Second Team a year ago, last played. Provided he compiles enough minutes this season, he could have a case for more impressive accolades come the spring. Oklahoma City is fresh off a Sunday performance during which it showed sores against the hapless Phoenix Suns, who dropped 17 3-pointers in a 114-100 victory. The Thunder are now allowing 108.5 points per 100 possessions when Roberson is off the floor this season. They allow a stingy 96.5 points per 100 when Roberson is playing. Norman Transcript


Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors The biggest names on the trade market can dictate momentum, and so far, the sluggish pursuit of LA Clippers veteran DeAndre Jordan reflects the overall morass. Jordan, 29, can decline the player option on his $24.1 million contract for 2018-19, and most teams believe the All-Star center will be willing to re-sign with the team that trades for him -- as long as they're willing to pay him his long-term extension.

Milwaukee has been determined to find a center, and Jordan tops the Bucks' list, but it's unclear if they have a package to eventually make the deal.

Another Clipper with value, guard Lou Williams, is attractive because he's authoring the best offensive season of his career and holds an expiring contract. Bench rentals rarely render first-round picks anymore, but Williams will be a coveted commodity for a contender closer to the deadline.

New Orleans is limited in its tradable assets. No one is taking the moribund contracts of Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca without the Pelicans including a first-round draft pick -- if not more -- in the deal.

rumors The Los Angeles Lakers, needing to shed salary for summer free agency, had been hopeful of waiting until the end of the season to move Jordan Clarkson -- owed $26 million beyond this season -- but there's a mutual desire to find something sooner than later. The Lakers have made it clear that Clarkson, Julius Randle and Larry Nance are available.

Los Angeles has given up hope of unloading Luol Deng's contract in a trade, because it would simply necessitate attaching too many draft assets.

The Bulls are still planning to trade forward Nikola Mirotic, which can't happen until Jan. 15 or without his permission, based on his contract.

Memphis wants to find a first-round pick for Tyreke Evans, but that is likely to prove difficult.

For now, the Thunder are fully committed to playing out the season with impending free agent Paul George. They still have hope that a strong run in the playoffs could convince him to re-sign in Oklahoma City.

rumors Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle responded angrily Sunday after LaVar Ball's claim that the Los Angeles Lakers no longer want to play for coach Luke Walton. Ball, the outspoken father of Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball, made his latest outlandish statement to ESPN for a story published Sunday. He said Walton is too young to coach and "has no control" of the team — comments that Walton said didn't bother him, but ones that clearly angered some of his NBA coaching colleagues. Houston Chronicle

Carlisle, the National Basketball Coaches Association president, called the article "a disgrace" and LaVar Ball's words an "ignorant distraction." "ESPN is an NBA partner, and they've been a great one," Carlisle said. "Part of that partnership is the coaches do a lot of things to help them with access, interviews, all those kinds of things, and in exchange for that, they should back up the coaches. Printing an article where the father of an NBA player has an opinion that's printed as anything legitimate erodes trust. It erodes the trust that we built with ESPN, and our coaches are upset. "Luke Walton does not deserve that," Carlisle added. Houston Chronicle

Draymond Green has had his share of run-ins with NBA officials in the past, but he believes the way referees are going after players around the league this season is getting out of hand. After the Warriors cruised to a 121-105 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, the Warriors star voiced his displeasure with how poorly officials are handling interactions with players. “It’s bad,” Green said. “It’s horrible. It’s really bad. I don’t know why it is. But I think it’s ridiculous. … It should be one of, if not the main priority, to be solved. It definitely should.” San Jose Mercury News

Center Andre Drummond has missed two of the past three games with a rib contusion. The Pistons didn’t practice Sunday, so there was no update on his condition. The team could use him Monday in New Orleans, which has two star big men in DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. If Drummond can’t go, Eric Moreland likely will start because of his defensive ability. He played well in Saturday’s victory over Houston (career highs with eight points and four assists, in addition to eight rebounds), in his first career start. Michigan Live

The Milwaukee Bucks yesterday converted guard Sean Kilpatrick’s contract from a two-way deal into a standard NBA contract. The team also parted ways with Joel Bolomboy, waiving the forward. Since signing a Two-Way contract on Dec. 18, Kilpatrick has played in five games with the Bucks. He’s averaging 5.2 points on 52.6 percent shooting, in 9.2 minutes per game. Inside Hoops

They say everything is bigger in Texas. The cliché certainly holds true when it comes to the massive mansion recently purchased by NBA superstar Chris Paul in The Woodlands, TX, just outside of Houston. The 18,717-square-foot estate has every creature comfort CP3 could possibly require, including a mind-blowing 14 bathrooms. There's no word on exactly how much the perennial All-Star paid for the estate, but TMZ reports it was well below the home's original list price of $8 million. Houston Chronicle


Sunday, January 7 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors Clippers forward Blake Griffin sustained a concussion during the first quarter and did not return to play in a 121-105 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center. Griffin drove into the lane and was struck in the head by the elbow of Golden State center JaVale McGee, knocking the Clippers forward to the court. LA Times

With 2:11 remaining in the opening quarter, Griffin drove the baseline and was challenged at the rim by Warriors backup center JaVale McGee, who inadvertently elbowed the Clippers star in the forehead. Griffin collapsed to the Staples Center floor and grabbed his head while shaking in pain. He stayed there for several minutes before rising to his feet and walking to the locker room under his own power.

rumors Amid chatter that Terry Stotts is on the coaching hot seat and in jeopardy of losing his job, several Trail Blazers players said their coach not only has the team’s attention and respect, but has become a rallying point for the players. NBC Sports Northwest

Stotts, who is under contract through next season, has become a lightening rod for fan discontent as the team has struggled offensively and at times looked unmotivated as it dropped games to bottom-tier teams like Atlanta, Brooklyn and Sacramento. NBC Sports Northwest

On Friday, after the Blazers’ victory over the Hawks, Lillard said the players all hear criticism of Stotts, and just like in November, he says it is unwarranted. The players, he says, are 100 percent behind Stotts. NBC Sports Northwest

“And I think it’s unanimous for a reason,’’ Lillard said. “Like I always say: we play for a great person, and whatever struggles that we have, it’s not his fault. I will tell you that: it’s not his fault.’’ The support from the locker room is not a surprise. In his sixth season in Portland, Stotts has always been well liked by players for his communication skills and his philosophy of teaching through positive reinforcement rather than pointed criticism. NBC Sports Northwest

rumors The Knicks are at their low ebb — three games under .500, on a 1-7 skid, 3-14 on the road and in 10th place, just 2 ½ games ahead of the Nets. But if this season is supposed to be about the future, then the future is now. As in Sunday at AmericanAirlines Center in Dallas. French rookie playmaker Frank Ntilikina vs. Dennis Smith Jr. — the explosive point guard whom ex-Knicks president Phil Jackson foolishly passed up on at No. 8, according to LeBron James. NY Post

Still, the Knicks could use a true penetrator and still have their Westchester Knicks point guard Trey Burke, the G-League’s Player of the Month for December, on their radar. The Knicks would have to cut Ramon Sessions to put him on the roster. Ironically, Smith’s weakness is Ntilikina’s strength — defense. Friday in Dallas, Smith got torched by the Bulls’ Kris Dunn for 32 points, drawing coach Rick Carlisle to remark, “They’re picking on Dennis, going at him.’’ NY Post

On Hardaway: On Saturday, the $71 million man who was averaging 18 points performed halfcourt drills with contact for the first time, going 1-on-1 against Frank Ntilikina, sweating profusely as he came off the court. Hardaway said he will get a bone scan this week to see if the bone inflames after his most rigorous activity — halfcourt scrimmages. At that point, he could be cleared for full-court scrimmages. He has yet to be cleared to sprint full court. NY Post

The Rockets' injury issues have continued to escalate, with center Nene the fourth player and third rotation member that will miss extended time. Nene did not go on the Rockets' road trip to Detroit and Chicago and is scheduled to have his bruised right knee re-examined late next week, which would keep him out of Wednesday's game against the Trail Blazers. Houston Chronicle

Timberwolves: Their bench too many nights remains either underused or incapable, placing a burden on starters Butler, Wiggins and Towns. They’re second, ninth and 13th respectively in minutes played per game this season. They remain far behind in the NBA’s three-point arms race, ranking in the bottom three in three-pointers made, attempted and percentage, while their offense hums along with the fifth-highest efficiency. Minneapolis Star Tribune

Before Saturday’s game, Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy talked about the need to take away second-chance buckets and points in the paint against the explosive Houston Rockets. That task was made infinitely more difficult by the absence of center Andre Drummond, who did not dress Saturday because of bruised ribs on his right side. Drummond returned to the lineup on Friday but took another shot to the ribs during the game in Philadelphia. Detroit News

As the Heat’s offense sputtered and the Knicks rallied to take the lead in the fourth quarter Friday night, a few small sections inside AmericanAirlines Arena could be heard chanting ‘We want Whiteside!’ It’s unclear if Erik Spoelstra heard them. Either way, the Heat’s coach didn’t heed their advice. Instead of putting his starting center and the Heat’s highest paid player back into the game after he went to the bench with 4:01 remaining in the third quarter, Spoelstra turned to Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson in his frontcourt for the final nine minutes and 45 seconds of regulation and all five minutes of overtime in Miami’s 107-103 victory. Miami Herald

Spoelstra said his decision to go “small” was based on trying to prevent Knicks 7-footer Kristaps Porzingis from beating his team on the perimeter after the New York went small themselves, putting Enes Kanter on the bench and moving Porzings from power forward to center. Miami Herald

Stephen Curry: Curry scored 45 points, including eight three-pointers, guiding the Warriors to their second straight win without star forward Kevin Durant. Since coming back from an ankle injury, Curry is averaging 36 points on 58 percent shooting, including 53 percent from beyond the arc. San Jose Mercury News

Famed former 76er Julius Erving has been released from the hospital after falling ill during the Sixers win over the Pistons Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Erving’s management team released a statement Saturday afternoon with an update that thanked friends and fans for their support. PhillyNews

Can you ever see yourself owning another team? Mark Cuban: "I mean, earlier I could have, obviously. I tried to buy a baseball team. But, not anymore. You know, that was either before my kids were born or when they were really, really young. Now that they're so much fun -- I used to go to almost every away Mavs game unless I had something for work. Now, there's my kid's baseball game or softball game or whatever, I'll stay home and spend more time there. My priorities have changed so I don't see it happening." Dallas Morning News

"Lonzo looked good, but he also looked disgusted," LaVar said. "He was ready to play. Four minutes left in the first quarter, he dunked it, getting in a flow and coach sits him down. Sat him down. Now game goes from 4 points to 10 to 15 to 20. I don't know what they're doing. if he's ready to play, let him play. Don't try and monitor no minutes, put on restrictions."

Lavar also said he is confident that LeBron James, whom he has never met, will be coming to the Lakers this offseason as a free agent. "LeBron's coming to LA. I know he's coming to LA," LaVar said. "LeBron is not a fool. What's the only way he can beat Jordan? You can't get more championships. Only one way, to say every team I've gone to I've won a championship. Go to Lakers and win a championship, then you're better than Jordan."


Saturday, January 6 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors The Los Angeles Lakers are releasing center Andrew Bogut, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The move allows the sides to part ways with the Lakers (11-27) out of postseason contention and gives Bogut — a former NBA champion — an opportunity to sign with a playoff team. The Lakers faced a deadline this weekend on the guarantee date for Bogut’s one-year partially guaranteed contract. Yahoo Sports

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who has coached Michael Beasley three separate times, seemed surprised the surging Knicks forward threw a little shade in his direction. “Yeah, geez Beas, you threw me under the bus, man,” Spoelstra said. After the Knicks’ 107-103 overtime loss, in which Beasley scored 20 points in 23 minutes but also was injured after appearing to taunt the Miami bench, he and Spoelstra met on the court for a few words. Spoelstra was trying to clear the air. NY Post

Beasley had three stints with Miami, including his first two years after getting drafted No. 2 by Pat Riley. Asked if he was surprised by Beasley’s comment, Spoelstra said: “No, it’s all good. I probably was crazy the first couple of years. I probably still am crazy.” Beasley told The Post on Wednesday: “I feel I could’ve gotten more out of that organization. I feel Spo could’ve believed in me a lot more than he did. It’s in the past. [There’s] no love lost.” NY Post

Coach Erik Spoelstra sounded mentally and physically drained Friday night after the Heat’s hard-fought overtime win over the Knicks. “Eight o’clock game, overtime, I’m spent,” Spoelstra said to begin his postgame press conference. But when told the Heat launched a franchise-record 42 threes against New York, Spoelstra joked that he might be called into team president Pat Riley’s office before he could leave AmericanAirlines Arena. “What has this organization come to?” Spoelstra said with a smile, as the Heat move on to host the Jazz on Sunday afternoon to close a three-game homestand. “I’m sure I’m going to have to go upstairs and meet with Pat and talk about getting the ball in the post or something. Palm Beach Post

The Clippers (17-20), though, have played well and just had a four-game winning streak snapped by Oklahoma City on Thursday. The still-healthy DeAndre Jordan had 26 points and 17 rebounds in the 127-117 loss. Plus, Blake Griffin has averaged 23.5 points in his four games since returning from a month-long absence with a knee injury. San Jose Mercury News


Friday, January 5 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors The Houston Rockets are withdrawing their protest of a Dec. 22 loss to the LA Clippers, according to the Houston Chronicle. The Rockets initially filed the protest last month based on their argument that Jawun Evans should have fouled out with 3:10 to play but that Lou Williams was instead given the foul. Houston lost 128-118 but were down three with the error was made.

They don't showcase lottery-bound teams when they play, but the Mavericks and Chicago Bulls both are on the up-and-up again. The Mavericks have won five of eight since Dennis Smith Jr. has returned from injury. The Bulls are 10-5 since Nikola Mirotic returned from injury. He's averaged better than 18 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes per game during that run. "He's one of the best plus-minus guys in the league since then," Mavericks' coach Rick Carlisle said. Dallas Morning News

Paul George sank 12 of his 16 shots and went for 31 points against the Clippers. Anthony scored 22 on 9 of 12 shooting. They combined to shoot 8 of 14 from 3-point land. The big three draining just about every good look any of its members find is become a regularity. Clippers coach Doc Rivers spoke before the game about George’s progression, crediting the four-time All-Star taking a more prominent role as the No. 1 reason for why the OKC offense has been so much more successful of late. George decimated L.A. coming off screens, annihilating the Clippers catching and shooting over and over again. Norman Transcript

Ferguson, who had made only two 3-pointers all season coming into Wednesday, sank six triples on a night he received his first career start, entering the first unit in place of the injured Andre Roberson. He finished with 24 points on 9 of 12 shooting after entering halftime with zero points on just one shot. He called it his best game since high school. Of course, high school was only a year-and-a-half ago. He closed the game throwing down a couple of fast-break slams, capping the evening with a windmill he smashed in only moments after banging his wrist too hard on a previous dunk. Norman Transcript

Gary Harris went 9-of-10 from the field in Wednesday’s first quarter against the Suns, unleashing a combination of “easy” cuts and finishes, jumpers from all over the floor and transition buckets. So when Nikola Jokic glanced up at the scoreboard and saw 20 points next to Harris’ name, any initial surprise quickly subsided. “I was like, ‘What?! That’s a lot,’ ” Jokic recalled after the game. “You see how he’s aggressive. That’s how he’s supposed to be.” Denver Post

The first returns of the 2018 NBA All-Star votes are in and Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons rank in the top four at their positions. Embiid currently is third among all Eastern Conference frontcourt players with 433,161 votes. He trails only overall leading vote-getter Giannis Antetokounmpo (863,416) and LeBron James (856,080). Kristaps Porzingis (359,459) and Kevin Love (221,969) round out the top five. In the Eastern Conference guards voting, Simmons (210,085) is fourth behind Kyrie Irving (802,834), DeMar DeRozan (259,368) and Victor Oladipo (251,886). Simmons is one spot ahead of John Wall (175,990). NBC Sports Philly

David West limped out of Warriors locker room Thursday night with a sprained left ankle, leaving him questionable for the game against the Clippers on Saturday in Los Angeles. Which puts Draymond Green on alert. Few guys in the NBA are as good as Green is at sensing what his team needs and finding a way to deliver it. Which is why he is, at age 26, already the Warriors all-time leader in triple-doubles. NBC Sports Bay Area


Wednesday, January 3 Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

rumors Paul George grew up a Clippers fan. He's friends with Baron Davis, his favorite point guard of all time. He idolized Kobe Bryant. His love for Los Angeles is no secret. He also values winning and wants more than just bright lights in his basketball career. “Being out there with Melo, with Russ, the talent we have ... it's crazy to think of where we can get to the more we build,” George said Tuesday in Oklahoma City. “We've only been together a couple of months. “You've got to think of the bigger picture when it comes to a situation like this.” Oklahoman

Yet, as George heads home to Los Angeles for the first time since his blockbuster trade to Oklahoma City, the question of him eventually ending up on the west coast is unavoidable. “This story is always going to be here,” George said “It is what it is. That's not my focus. I could care less about the attention that it draws.” Oklahoman

Andre Roberson is taking a trip west with the Thunder, but he won't be making any stops. Oklahoma City's defensive specialist will miss all three games on a road trip that begins Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers, coach Billy Donovan said after Tuesday's practice. Roberson has tendinitis in his left knee patellar tendon. Roberson's status beyond the next three games — the Thunder plays at the Clippers on Thursday and at the Phoenix Suns on Sunday — will be determined after the trip. Oklahoman

rumors Isaiah Thomas finished with 17 points — one of his 2s was upgraded to a 3 after he left — and three assists in 19 minutes. His plus/minus was plus-17 as he shot 6-of-12 from the field, 3-of-8 from 3-point range and 2-for-4 from the free-throw line. He departed with 8:10 remaining to a standing ovation, which included the Cavs bench, and received a hug from coach Tyronn Lue as he left. Akron Beacon Journal

Thomas’ first field goal was a 14-footer off a James assist with 1:11 to go in the quarter. His most daring play came at the 32.8 second mark when he drove for a layup, somewhat of a prayer heave, and was fouled by Al-Farouq Aminu as he went down behind the basket. Thomas converted the free throw. Akron Beacon Journal

Isaiah Thomas is expected to sit out Wednesday’s game against the Celtics after making his Cavaliers debut Tuesday. As ESPN reported Monday, the former Boston fan favorite is still expecting “all love” from the TD Garden crowd. However, Thomas won’t be getting the customary video tribute from his old team — at his own request. According to MassLive, a Celtics spokesman told reporters Tuesday that Thomas specifically requested the team not honor him Wednesday, but wasn’t able to elaborate on the point guard’s reasoning. Later that afternoon, Thomas himself shed some light on the subject, after a Twitter user accused him of egotism over the request.

The Celtics are still planning to give Thomas a tribute at a later date, a team spokesman confirmed Tuesday evening. The Celtics and Cavaliers play each other just one more time this regular season on Feb. 11 in Boston, a nationally televised game during which the Celtics are already planning to retire Paul Pierce’s jersey number.

rumors There’s still no timetable. For Sixers fans skeptical Markelle Fultz will return anytime soon, that’s the bottom line. But there’s no question Fultz is making progress. According to the team, Fultz is cleared to begin “the final stage of his return-to-play program.” This final stage for Fultz will consist of “gradual re-integration into team practices and training, complemented with additional conditioning work to support fitness readiness for gameplay.” NBC Sports Philly

What exactly does that mean? Tuesday, Fultz played half-court 4-on-4 with his teammates at practice. He also played some 1-on-1 with Jacob Pullen and James Michael McAdoo and did individual skill work after practice, including pull-up jumpers from about 15 to 18 feet. “I think he looked OK,” Brett Brown said. “I think everybody shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves in relation to what does that mean, but it is the most he’s done with me in a while. What I saw today was just encouraging to see him playing with his teammates, and playing live basketball.” NBC Sports Philly

rumors But this time the Clippers were finally able to conquer their considerable foe, pulling out a 113-105 victory behind another outburst from the remarkable reserve Lou Williams and timely baskets from Blake Griffin. Williams took the lead again for the Clippers, scoring 33 points and adding six assists. He made eight of 15 shots and all 15 of his free throws. It was Williams' eighth 30-point game as a reserve this season. Griffin did his part with 21 points, eight assists and six rebounds. LA Times

"We want to make the playoffs," Lou Williams said. "It's really important [to win], right? But we're in a good rhythm right now. We're playing really well. We just want to keep going, keep going with the momentum." LA Times

Austin Rivers sat out a second consecutive game because of a right Achilles tendon injury and when he'll return is uncertain. In fact, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday that the point guard would have the injury checked out again to determine his status. When asked if his son was getting closer to playing, Rivers said, "We thought he was." LA Times

rumors After evaluations Tuesday, the Lakers cleared Brook Lopez and Lonzo Ball to practice. Both players will be questionable for Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Ball and Lopez skipped the Lakers' last trip to focus on treating their injuries. Ball suffered a right shoulder sprain Dec. 23 against the Portland Trail Blazers. LA Times

At 11-25, the Lakers have the second-worst record in the NBA and the worst record in the Western Conference. They rank last in the NBA in three-point shooting at 32.6%. The Lakers are also last in free-throw percentage at 69%. Their 16.5 turnovers per game rank 29th, better only than the Philadelphia 76ers. LA Times

Lopez has been out since Dec. 18, when he left an eventual double-overtime loss to the Warriors with the sprained ankle. Kuzma played just 18 minutes Monday in Minnesota due to the thigh bruise, the same injury he played through last week in losses to the Grizzlies and Clippers. OC Register

The Warriors almost never conduct 5-on-5 scrimmages in the regular season. They did so Tuesday and paid at least a small price. Draymond Green sprained his left ankle when he stepped on the foot of a teammate and is listed as questionable for the game Wednesday in Dallas. NBC Sports Bay Area

With Avery Bradley expected to return from a groin injury Wednesday at Miami (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit), Van Gundy said he hadn't decided if he'll start Bullock or Anthony Tolliver, if he wants a bigger lineup. Bullock, who made only nine starts his first four seasons combined, is averaging career highs in minutes (21) and points (6.8) while shooting a career-best 51.8 percent. Michigan Live

The Kings (12-25) have lost three in a row and five of their last six. Sacramento shot better than 50 percent for the sixth time this season, and Joerger said the offensive pace was improved. But those positives were overshadowed by one of their worst defensive performances. “When you play against us, it’s kind of like pick whatever you want to do,” said Kings guard Garrett Temple. “We just aren’t guarding in the pick-and-roll, whether it’s one-on-one, people get into the paint whenever they want to. We’ve got to defend. Simple as that.” Some of their defensive weaknesses can be attributed to the roster. The Kings lack size on the perimeter, which was exploited again as Nicolas Batum scored a team-high 21 points for the Hornets (14-23). Sacramento Bee

Lauri Markkanen: The Bulls rookie hasn't slowed down since that 32-point outing against the Pacers, as he's shot 54 percent from the field in his last three games. Offense is always going to be there for the 7-footer, but it'll be interesting to see how he fares against Serge Ibaka on the other end. Ibaka can stretch it to the 3-point line, but he's also still a fierce bruiser inside. Markkanen is going to put his weights and conditioning to the test. NBC Sports Chicago

Indeed, the Ntilikina-Kristaps Porzingis pairing has looked good on the analytics front, with the Knicks statistically a better team when they are together on the floor. Hornacek said he believes that to be the case because Ntilikina has longer arms than Jack and can find Porzingis easier in pick-and-roll situations when teams switch a big man on him. Meanwhile, Jack has started since the season’s fourth game when he was promoted over Ramon Sessions. But recently Jack had sputtered, leading Hornacek to give Sessions a shot Saturday in New Orleans after Jack started out poorly. NY Post

San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili expected it. His phone was exploding with text messages. “I saw it coming before the game. When I started getting texts saying, ‘Listen my doctor is coming, can you say hi?’ and ‘a friend of a friend’ and ‘my brother is coming,’ ” Ginobili said after the Spurs downed the Knicks, 100-91, at the Garden on Tuesday. “I said, ‘OK, there’s going to be a lot of Argentinians here.’ I tried to come early.” Ginobili was swarmed by adoring fans pregame. They got autographs. They snapped selfies with the Spurs star. During the game, they chanted “Manu, Manu” among other yells. They gave unbridled support. NY Post

And Kanter who was averaging a 13.5-point, 10.3-rebound double-double overall, certainly did his share of work on the offensive glass. The 6-foot-11, seventh-season pro ranked fourth overall in the NBA in offensive rebounds with 3.7 a game. Only former Thunder teammate Steve Adams (5.0), Detroit’s Andre Drummond (4.6) and Clippers rebound machine DeAndre Jordan (4.5) were hauling in more rebounds off the offensive glass than Kanter. NY Post

Aldridge outplayed Porzingis for the second time in six days, and led all scorers with 29 points. Kawhi Leonard, who missed last week’s game due to “return from injury management,” added 25. Ginobili scored 12, including a strange bucket in the final seconds of the third quarter. NY Newsday

A day after California became the sixth U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr voiced his support for the new law. “I’m a proponent of it,” Kerr said after practice Tuesday. “I do feel strongly that (marijuana) is a much better option than some of the prescription drugs, and I know that it’s helping a lot of people, which is great.” SF Chronicle

Kerr, who has tried marijuana twice in hopes of relieving pain from complications stemming from back surgery, has advocated for the NBA to allow players to use cannabis for medicinal purposes for more than a year. Though the drug did little to alleviate his nagging pain, he still considers it a better option than some commonly prescribed opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin. SF Chronicle

No, LaVar Ball did NOT found the NBA -- despite some Google search results -- and now the company admits they "dropped the ball" when creating an online bio for the Big Baller. Backstory ... if ya searched for "NBA founder" on Google on Tuesday morning, the results kicked back a photo of Lonzo's dad. Kinda funny. The gaffe was reported across the sports news landscape -- and some people were wondering if it was an intentional "Easter Egg" thing, like Google's been known to do from time to time. TMZ Sports


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