Thursday, December 18, 2008

NBA Rumors - 12.18.08 Update

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Thursday, December 18
Boston Celtics

Rivers Confirms Interest In Mutombo

Coach Doc Rivers confirmed yesterday the Celtics were interested in free agent center Dikembe Mutombo.

But he predicted Mutombo would return to Houston.

Asked if he had talked with Mutombo, Rivers replied, "Always. He's a good friend. He's going to come back. I talked to him last week - he will come back. ... We're over the [salary] cap so it's tough for us to do a lot of stuff, but we're looking at everybody."

Mutombo said he plans to sign with a team after Christmas. -- The Boston Globe

Warriors Want Felton

Raymond Felton | Bobcats
Could Raymond Felton end up a Golden State Warrior, in a trade that might acquire Anthony Randolph or Brandan Wright?

The Warriors and Bobcats have had discussions about Felton, an NBA source told the Observer, and the Warriors appear open to giving up either Randolph or Wright to make a deal work. -- The Charlotte Observer

Golden State Warriors

Transaction Today

The Warriors will announce a transaction today, either a trade or a waiver. They have to make room on the roster for Monta Ellis, who has to come off the suspended player list before Friday's game in Atlanta.

A source close to Marcus Williams said the little-used point guard has not reached a buyout agreement, and a Warriors source said the team doesn't want just to waive Williams and get stuck paying his entire $1.26 million salary. So unless he's part of a trade in which the Warriors give up more players than they receive, Williams likely will stay.

The most likely candidate is rookie forward Richard Hendrix, the second-round pick currently in the NBA Development League with a non-guaranteed minimum contract. -- Contra Costa Times

Chicago Bulls

Paxson Trying To Make A Deal

GM John Paxson has been talking trade with teams recently and he will travel with the team to Boston for the game against the Celtics Friday.

"I'm trying right now, honestly," Paxson said of swinging a deal. "We've had a lot of conversations as a lot of teams are. But there's nothing right now that we've been able to lock in on.

"We're trying to find some things that fit [with Derrick Rose]. The fact of the matter is he's very, very good and we're lucky to have him. When you look at the big picture, our goal is going to be to try and get this thing built with Derrick in mind and what fits him. That's going to take a little bit of time here to try and move some pieces." -- Chicago Sun-Times

  • Not all of the Bulls' pieces are in play. Ben Gordon cannot be traded without his permission,Kirk Hinrich is out until mid-February with a thumb injury and few teams are likely to take onLuol Deng's $71 million contract. -- Arlington Heights Daily Herald
  • Prepared For Trade Rumors

    Shawn Marion | Heat
    Because Shawn Marion is in the final year of his contract, the veteran said he entered the season prepared to deal with being mentioned in various trade scenarios.

    ''The reality of it is if somebody wants to say something one day they can say it,'' Marion said. ``How far is it going to carry? It can go all way the way up to the [general manager] or president. But is it true? It's not guaranteed it's true. Do I listen to everything everybody says? No.'' -- The Miami Herald

  • Coach Erik Spoelstra downplayed the latest Marion trade rumor and said he felt no need to pull aside Marion to discuss it.

    "I don't pay attention to that and I don't think these guys do either," Spoelstra said. "There's so many rumors all the time. Guys joke around about other rumors from other teams." -- The Miami Herald

  • Philadelphia 76ers

    Flip To Sixers Denied

    Sixers president/general manager Ed Stefanski reacted quickly to a posting last night on an internet site that former Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons coach Flip Saunders was the likely next coach of the team, attributing it to a source.

    "I have no idea where that is coming from," said Stefanski, who repeatedly has said that he talked to no coaching candidates outside the organization. "Tony DiLeo is our coach. We will evaluate at the end of the season." -- Philadelphia Daily News

    Gordon: Drug Use Wrecked IU Season

    Eric Gordon | Clippers
    Coach Kelvin Sampson was embroiled in a recruiting scandal that led to his ouster, but Eric Gordon said there was another key reason for the rift in the team.

    "It was the guys that were doing drugs that were separate," Gordon told The Indianapolis Star in an exclusive telephone interview earlier this week.

    Gordon didn't say which players used drugs, but he said D.J. White and two others still on the team were among those who did not.

    Gordon said Sampson "tried to stop it," but the coach "was just so focused on basketball and winning and everything." -- The Indianapolis Star

    Too Sensitive

    Stephon Marbury | Knicks
    Though Queens native Lamar Odom and former teammate Trevor Ariza gave Stephon Marburyhugs, none of the Knicks came over to Marbury to say hello, as if doing so would be a violation of team policy.

    To further demonstrate the Knicks' discomfort, the James Dolan-run MSG Network made the decision not to interview the banished Marbury on camera, though it had brought along a special sideline reporter in Mike Crispino. Marbury instead was interviewed on the Lakers' Fox Sports telecast.

    "Too sensitive," one MSG official said. -- New York Post

    Phoenix Suns

    Search For The 13th Man

    The Suns have until Wednesday to sign a player, likely a point guard, and reach the 13-player roster minimum.

    Suns General Manager Steve Kerr scouted an NBA Development League game involving Eddie Gill and Smush Parker on Tuesday. The Suns have an eye on other options in the D-League, where Walker Russell Jr. is the leading assist man.

    Suns Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin is organizing a Monday workout for four to six point guards. The group will include a mix of D-League and ex-NBA players, possibly including Troy Hudson and Damon Stoudamire. -- The Arizona Republic

  •  Despite Internet rumors, Kerr said the Suns have "zero" interest in bringing Stephon Marbury back to Arizona even if he was available at a minimum salary. -- East Valley Tribune
  • Houston Rockets

    Alexander Committed To The Plan

    Determined after last season and heading into this season to build around the Yao Ming andTracy McGrady foundation, owner Leslie Alexander said Wednesday he remains committed to the plan.

    "I am committed to them being healthy and building a team around Yao and Tracy," Alexander said. "Nothing's changed. ... The plan really depends on Yao and Tracy's health. Yao looks like he's gotten healthy and is well. Tracy had the leg problem, which he seems to be overcoming. You can see how great he is. I mean, the guy isn't playing at his full capacity and he gets 20 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists (Tuesday against Denver). Try to replace that with somebody at one position."

    Alexander said there have been no efforts to even test the market to consider a trade involving one of his stars and that the Rockets have received no inquiries.

    He said the Rockets would still like to bring back Dikembe Mutombo but will not unless they can first move enough salary to avoid paying a luxury tax. -- Houston Chronicle

    Will Bosh Ever Be A Maverick?

    Chris Bosh | Raptors
    So how does Chris Bosh feel about joining his hometown team that he grew up cheering and loving? It might be great, if he actually grew up that way.

    "I just wanted to play in the NBA," Bosh said. "Back then with the Mavericks, it wasn't like the Celtics or the Bulls, to be honest. I don't think there were a lot of kids in Dallas [saying] 'I'm going to grow up and play for the Mavericks one day.'"

    Said Bosh of someday being a Maverick: "I'm not sure, maybe when I'm real old and almost out of the league. You never know. I'm sure they're going to have people on their free-agent list. It's just something you got to pay attention to when the time comes." -- The Dallas Morning News

    Cleared To Practise

    Nathan Jawai | Raptors
    Nathan Jawai was cleared to practise with the team last night, though don't look for the big Australian from Sydney to be suiting up until well into January.

    "I was a pretty tough time. I'm glad it's over. I hope in two, three or four weeks to be ready," Jawai said last night. -- Toronto Sun

    Howard Will Practice Less

    Dwight Howard | Magic
    Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said he doesn't plan to reduce Dwight Howard's minutes in games, but the team will monitor how hard it works the 6-foot-11, 270-pound Howard in practice.

    "It will be a day-to-day thing with Dwight. There's a plan in mind," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. "There will be some days that he doesn't practice at all and there will be some days he does a little stuff. And there may be some days he does everything. It will depend on how he feels and what we've done on the previous days. The plan is to manage the injury and not pound it more than you have to." -- Florida Today

    Portland Trail Blazers

    Interesting Decisions

    You could wind up with plenty of room under the salary cap to sign free agents next summer. You also have decisions to make, both with Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract before the Feb. 19 trade deadline, and with potential extensions for Roy, Aldridge, Blake, Sergio Rodriguez andTravis Outlaw.

    Paul Allen: "We were just discussing some of those things. Given the economy, the salary cap and (luxury) tax, numbers may be down for next year, so that might give us less room to do something. Our window is this summer before we extend players. We'll have some real interesting decisions then, and also as we look toward the trade deadline.

    "All those options are open, but we have a lot of talent and potential for the future with our present club. We have to be very careful about adding another player on top of what we already have." -- The Portland Tribune

    Dunleavy Glad To Be Free Of Warriors

    Mike Dunleavy | Pacers
    Mike Dunleavy put up career numbers last season and said Wednesday it wouldn't have happened if he still were a Warrior.

    "That wasn't possible out there," said Dunleavy, referring to Oakland. "It's no coincidence so many guys who come from Golden State go elsewhere and succeed. The proof is in the pudding. I take responsibility for certain things. You look at guys who went elsewhere after leaving Golden State, they found a way. Whatever that means or says, you could read it through." -- San Francisco Chronicle

    Successful Surgery

    Corey Brewer | Timberwolves
    Wolves forward Corey Brewer underwent what the team said was "successful" surgery Wednesday to repair the anterior cruciate knee ligament he tore Nov. 29 against Denver. The surgery was scheduled nearly three weeks later to allow all the swelling in his knee to subside. He will miss the rest of the season.

    Kevin McHale said he wants Brewer to remain around the team while he rehabilitates his knee "as much as he's comfortable with."

    "After you have surgery, those first few weeks are always hard," McHale said. "It's a time where mentally you've got to get yourself wrapped around it. It's hard to do." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune

    Diminished Role

    Anthony Parker | Raptors
    One consequence of Jay Triano's arrival is Jason Kapono starting at shooting guard andAnthony Parker playing, and contributing, less.

    "I don't look at it as (Parker's) numbers being down since he shifted to the bench. I think they've been down since he missed a couple of games with the ankle injury." Triano said. "He is trying to come back and I don't know if he's 100%." -- Toronto Sun

    Phoenix Suns

    Gentry Open To Being Head Coach

    Alvin Gentry he is open to another stab as head coach. He has coached 20 years in the NBA and was a head coach for Miami, Detroit and the Los Angeles Clippers. His teams went 177-226, including a 29-21 lockout-shortened season in Detroit and a 39-43 season that was the Clippers' best in nine years.

    "I'd like to be a head coach again, but only in the right situation," Gentry said. "I don't want to be a head coach just to be a head coach, if it's not a situation where you think you can be successful. I've got a great job right here. I could stay right here the rest of my career and be more than satisfied." -- The Arizona Republic

    Farmar Seeks Clarity About His Role

    Jordan Farmar | Lakers
    On Wednesday after practice, Jordan Farmar sounded more disillusioned about his role when he talked about his meeting in Phil Jackson's office at the team's practice facility.

    "He didn't call me up there, I asked to talk to him -- to vent," Farmar said. "Just trying to get some things across."

    "I asked them what they wanted me to do so I can go out there and do it and not be confused about my job," Farmar said. "They're not looking for me to do anything personal -- just run our offense. It affects my performance and what I do.

    "I'm a guard coming off the bench playing limited minutes so I got to make those minutes count and do what the coaching staff and the organization wants." -- Los Angeles Times

    Sacramento Kings

    Ex-Kings To Get Royal Treatment

    Chris Webber and Vlade Divac, two of the players most responsible for transforming the Kings into one of the NBA's most entertaining and successful franchises of the late 1990s and early part of this decade, will have their jerseys retired later this season.

    Webber's ceremony is Feb. 6, either at halftime or after the Utah Jazz game. Divac's ceremony is March 31, a date he requested so friend and former teammate Peja Stojakovic can attend while in town with the New Orleans Hornets.

    "We have a great deal of respect for Vlade and Chris," Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof said Wednesday. "We really appreciate their efforts and what they did for our franchise nationally and internationally." -- Sacramento Bee

    MLB Rumors - 12.18.08 Update

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    Thursday, December 18

    Cameron deal to Yankees is off

    Mike Cameron | Brewers
    The proposed trade of Mike Cameron from the Brewers to the Yankees for Melky Cabreraapparently is off, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

    "I haven't heard from (Yankees general manager) Brian Cashman, and I haven't called him," Melvin told the newspaper. "I'm very happy having Mike Cameron with our ball club."

    At the end of the winter meetings last week in Las Vegas, it appeared the sides were on track for an exchange of Cameron for Cabrera, with left-hander Kei Igawa possibly thrown in as well by New York. Melvin said at the time he considered it a strong possibility the deal would get done this week. But Cashman never called back and various reports claimed the Yankees were shifting their focus to Manny Ramirez.

    Not thrilled about being left dangling, Melvin withdrew and said he wasn't sure he'd resume talks even if the Yankees re-established contact, the newspaper reported.

    "I'm not sure if I even want to do that," said Melvin.

    Agent issues could impact Wolf

    Randy Wolf | Astros
    Don't look for a Randy Wolf signing announcement with the Atlanta Braves anytime soon, reports's Jerry Crasnick.

    Wolf is represented by the Arn Tellem's Wasserman Group, which also represents shortstop Rafael Furcal. The Braves thought they were on the verge of signing Furcal earlier this week, only to watch the negotiations suddenly unravel and Furcal reach agreement on a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    The relationship between the Braves and agent Paul Kinzer is now so strained, one person with knowledge of the Braves' thinking said it would be "next to impossible" for Atlanta to turn around and pursue Wolf.

    Red Sox in lead for Teixeira

    Mark Teixeira | Angels
    The Red Sox appear to be in the lead heading down the stretch in the race to land Mark Teixeira, the Boston Globe reported.

    A general manager not associated with any of the Teixeira contenders is quoted by the Globe with the view that the Red Sox are now the frontrunners to land the free agent first baseman.

    "I think they're in the lead and ahead of where everyone else is right now," the GM said. "I'm not sure who's bidding against them at this point."

    Asked if he thinks the race is almost over, the GM replied, "You just never know where Scott Boras and the Red Sox are involved." He added that he didn't think any team would go to 10 years on a Teixeira contract.

    According to various reports, Boston's biggest challenges appear to be from the Angels and Nationals at the moment.

    The Orioles, meanwhile, could be out of the picture unless Teixeira, a Maryland native, agrees to a hometown discount, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reported.

    The Orioles have resisted upgrading their initial offer, believed to be seven years and about $150 million.
    Pittsburgh Pirates

    Pirates to sign Doumit, McLouth talks stall

    The Pirates are on the verge of signing catcher Ryan Doumit to a multiyear extension but negotiations with another core player, center fielder Nate McLouth, have not gone as well, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported.

    McLouth's agent, Mike Nicotera, told the newspaper that the chance of achieving a multiyear extension is "close to dead." The parties now are working on a basic one-year contract, the type most commonly arranged for players eligible for salary arbitration.

    Doumit, McLouth and starter Paul Maholm each is first-time eligible for arbitration, but the Pirates -- in keeping with management's precedent for core players -- decided instead to pursue multiyear extensions, the Post Gazette reported.
    San Diego Padres

    Padres to play waiting game with free agents reported that the Padres have interest in several free agents, particularly veteran middle infielders Omar Vizquel and David Eckstein among others, but likely won't make any moves until late January or early February.

    "Most of our free-agent shopping is going to be done in late January, early February. ... We just don't have the wherewithal to be aggressive in the free-agent market," general manager Kevin Towers told the website. "And we don't have the trade pieces to make a deal.

    "We'll wait this market out, and hopefully there will be some bargains, especially with middle infielders, that are good financial fits for us. I think there's quite a few teams in the same position we are. We don't have any other choice. We're forced to wait."

    Reds discuss Bradley

    Milton Bradley | Rangers | Interested: Reds?
    Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told the Cincinnati Enquirer that his team has discussed signing Milton Bradley, but have not contacted his agent. Various reports have listed the Cubs, Rays, Reds, Angels, and Nationals as possible suitors for the free agent outfielder.