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NBA Rumors for Monday, April 13
InsideHoops NBA rumors updated 2:00 p.m. ET. More stories and other news also appears on the InsideHoops basketball blog.
Depleted by injuries, the Los Angeles Lakers plan to sign guard Vander Blue for the season’s final two games, a league source told Yahoo Sports. Blue has averaged 23.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists for the Lakers’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Los Angeles Defenders. Yahoo Sports
Atlanta (Ga.) Police will not press charges of child abuse against Rockets center Dwight Howard, according to Atlanta Police spokesman Sgt. Gregory Lyon. “We have investigated this case and are not moving forward with charges,” Lyon said via email. Houston Chronicle
Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas and the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, April 6, through Sunday, April 12. Thomas led the Celtics to a 3-0 week, which included a pair of wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and one win over the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 22.7 points (fourth in the conference), 5.7 assists (10th in the conference), and 2.7 rebounds. Thomas poured in a season-high 34 points on 10-of-17 shooting, and added six assists during a 113-103 win over the Pistons on April 8. Inside Hoops
The NBA has rescinded a technical foul against Russell Westbrook, meaning the All-Star will not face an automatic one-game suspension while the Thunder battle for a playoff spot. The league's decision will allow Westbrook to play against the Trail Blazers on Monday, one day after he was called for a technical foul in Oklahoma City's loss to the Pacers. ESPN.com
This is Westbrook's second technical foul in the last seven games that was rescinded by the league after the fact. A technical he received on April 5 against Houston stood as his 15th of the season, but techs at Phoenix on March 29 and again Sunday night at Indiana were later ruled incorrect by the league office. ESPN.com
Rod Thorn, on his second run as the NBA's president of basketball operations, plans to leave the league office and retire in August, sources told Yahoo Sports. Thorn is highly regarded around the league, a figure who commands respect among executives, coaches and players. Thorn, 73, returned to the league office in August 2013 to oversee the league's daily operations under commissioner Adam Silver, an appointment that had been planned to be a two-year bridge to a longer-term successor, sources said. Kiki Vandeweghe, the NBA's vice president of basketball operations, is a strong candidate to be promoted to take Thorn's job, sources said. Yahoo Sports
The Sacramento Kings announced today that the team has signed David Stockton through the 2015-16 season. The Kings had previously signed Stockton to a 10-day contract on February 20. A day later, Stockton made his NBA debut at the STAPLES Center against the Los Angeles Clippers. He recorded one point (0-2 FG, 1-1 FT), two rebounds and one assist in seven minutes off the bench in his lone appearance with the Kings. Inside Hoops
The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Jerel McNeal through the 2015-16 season. The Suns had previously signed McNeal to a 10-day contract on April 1. McNeal, whose first name is pronounced Jah-rell, made his NBA debut with the Suns on April 2 and has appeared in four games with the team since initially signing. In 27 games with the Bakersfield Jam this season, McNeal averaged 18.5 points, 4.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals. The 6-3 guard scored a season-high 40 points on 16-of-23 shooting for the Suns’ NBA Development League affiliate on March 7 at Austin. Inside Hoops
For most players, though, those few precious seconds between free throws have become festivals for the high-five. James Jones, a guard with the Cavaliers, suspects that the practice is rooted in youth basketball. When Jones was growing up, his coaches preached the importance of tactile encouragement. “We’d even high-five the opposing team,” Jones said. “For us now, I know it slows the game down. But it’s a big part of the fabric of team sports.” NY Times
Isiah Thomas, a two-time champion with the Detroit Pistons, said high-fives at the free-throw line were highly uncommon during his playing career. “People weren’t thinking about it,” he said. “You really were just playing the game, and the foul line was a place for concentration and trying to make the shot.” NY Times
Thomas said he could at least appreciate why players today would offer high-fives after successful free throws. As for reaching in and providing consolation after a miss? “I don’t understand that,” said Thomas, an analyst for Turner Sports. “They reward you now and clap for you when you miss. You get congratulated when you miss a free throw! Everybody comes in, and they slap your hand and say, ‘Hey,’ or whatever they say. What are you high-fiving him for?” NY Times
Kanter has become a WWE fanatic. His favorite wrestler is The Undertaker. During UK’s yearly Big Blue Madness, he walked through fog during his introduction, wearing a Cowboy hat (the Undertaker’s trademark) to a raucous ovation. His nickname at Kentucky became The UnderKanter. As he fought for his college eligibility, the campus started up a “Free Enes” movement. “This slogan was written on hills, bridges, pubs, T-shirts, shoes,” his father Mehmet remembers. Oklahoman
But the NCAA isn’t easily swayed. As his freshman season began, Enes was allowed to practice with the team, but not play. He was ineligible, but his appeal was still being heard. Enes was flying back and forth to Chicago for lengthy meetings with the NCAA. His father flew in from Turkey to help explain the situation. The issue in question was the compensation Enes received during his time with Fenerbahçe. He’d never signed a contract, but as a member of the senior team, he’d had some expenses paid for — housing, transportation, food, etc. Enes’ camp argued that it was no different than a U.S. prospect getting tuition and board taken care of at a prep school. Oklahoman
University of Virginia junior forward Justin Anderson plans to enter the 2015 NBA draft, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Anderson is in the process of setting up agent meetings for later this week in Virginia, sources said. As long as he doesn’t formalize an agreement, he could still change course and return for his senior year of college basketball before the underclassman deadline of April 26. Yahoo Sports
PepsiCo has signed a five-year NBA deal, making it one of the league’s largest sponsors and ending a 29-year relationship between Coke and the NBA. The deal includes Pepsi’s extensive portfolio of salty snacks, like Doritos and Ruffles, and packages rights to the WNBA, NBA D-League and USA Basketball. The sponsorship takes effect July 1 and covers North America and China, where Master Kong, an herbal ready-to-drink tea brand, will be the lead. SportsBusinessDaily
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