Culture of Hoops

September News and Rumors

Baller Mind Frame’s official news and rumors page with quick blurbs mixed with personal opinion from our very own Frankie Buckets. Check it often and absorb the NBA goings-on.

For more news and rumors visit our archives – June 2013 I July 2013I August 2013

9/9/2013 – Mekel ready for the NBA Grind: Did you think you would have a shot at playing in the NBA one day when you were playing college ball at Wichita State? Gal Mekel: Back then, to be realistic, I knew that after four years in college I was not going to be in the NBA. Looking back at it, five years backwards, I wasn’t ready for the NBA back then. After my sophomore year in college, when Maccabi Tel Aviv offered me a three-year deal it was very tempting and it was the right time to go for me. So how do you go from being off the NBA radar to become an NBA prospect and now an NBA player in such a short period of time? GM: The most important thing is to work every day and every year to get better. Since I left college I’ve gotten better and better. The big jump for me to get on the NBA radar was last summer when I came to the States and worked with coach (David) Thorpe and I had a very good workout with the Jazz last season, so that was the time that I saw that I could chase this dream. The big key was last season with Maccabi Haifa. I had a very, very good season, we won the championship and I knew that some NBA teams followed me. That was the big key… Last summer and last season. HoopsHype

9/9/2013 – Russell Westbrook the NBA’s cutting edge style guru: Russell Westbrook, a point guard for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, is known for estimable offense on the court. On Friday, Mr. Westbrook, who sat next to, and chatted and laughed with, Vogue’s Anna Wintour at Rag & Bone’s women’s runway show, took offense when asked if he employs a personal stylist to help him dress. You see, Mr. Westbrook is something of a fashion plate. It’s an open secret that many suddenly-dapper NBA players are at the mercy of a stylist. Not Mr. Westbrook. “Oh no, I don’t,” he replied, with a hint of outrage that someone would even ask that. “I’m very picky when it comes to clothing and choosing my outfits. I buy a lot of clothes. I shop all the time.” Mr. Westbrook is one of a small group of NBA players that includes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, who have sat front row at fashion shows, usually next to an editor at GQ, which, by the way, has featured them in glamorous photo shoots often. He gladly took credit for helping up the style quotient of other NBA players. “Yes I think so,” he said when asked if he played a role in influencing other NBA players to dress more stylishly. “A lot of guys now pay attention to how they dress, which is good.” Indeed, NBA players were often the butt of jokes for their oversized zoot-suit style suits sometimes with four buttons and in colors like plum or apricot. Wall Street Journal

9/9/2013 – Wilbon to reduce role on NBA Countdown to focus on PTI: Michael Wilbon’s role on ESPN’s NBA Countdown will be diminished next season, and taking his spot on the set will most likely be former 76ers coach Doug Collins, multiple sources told The Big Lead. The move is primarily so that Wilbon can return to focusing on the show that made him a star, Pardon the Interruption. In recent years, Wilbon has increasingly appeared on PTI via remote – from Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Arizona, etc – diluting some of the outstanding chemistry he’s built up with longtime friend Tony Kornheiser. Wilbon’s frequent travel has also led to PTI replacing him with Bob Ryan or J.A. Adande, and the end result of both of those factors is that ratings for the show have sagged in the last two years, sources say. An ESPN spokesman told The Big Lead, ”We’re still in the process of finalizing our commentator plans for this season.” On the dip in PTI ratings, ESPN stressed the show is “a great performer with a loyal following.” The Big Lead

9/9/2013 – Dennis Rodman reveals name of Kim Jong-Un’s daughter: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has a baby daughter named Ju-Ae, according to former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who labelled the supreme ruler of the isolated, authoritarian state a “good dad.” Rodman, who calls Kim a friend and just returned from his second visit to Pyongyang, told the Guardian newspaper that he had spent a “relaxing time by the sea” with the leader’s family, during his latest five-day trip. “I held their baby Ju-Ae and spoke with (Kim’s wife) as well. He’s a good dad and has a beautiful family,” Rodman said. While more of a public personality than his introverted father Kim Jong-Il ever was, little is known about Kim’s personal life. Even his age is a matter of dispute, with reports ranging from 29 to 31. The fact that he was married was only revealed in July last year when pictures emerged of a young woman accompanying the new leader at official events. A child watch began after state television images in December showed his wife, Ri Sol-Ju, looking heavily pregnant. Yahoo! Sports

9/6/2013 – Odom leaves rehab after one day: NBA veteran Lamar Odom has checked out of a rehabilitation center after just one day, according to a report on The report cited sources who said Odom, 33, arrived at the drug and alcohol center Wednesday morning and left Thursday afternoon. A source told ESPN that Odom was staying at a Los Angeles hotel last week and friends were trying to help him deal with a drug problem. TMZ had reported that he was missing for 72 hours after a fight with his wife, Khloe Kardashian Odom. Odom’s agent refuted a TMZ report Sunday.TMZ also reported that people close to Odom feared he was involved with drugs. Odom was arrested early Aug. 30 on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to police. He was jailed on $15,000 bail and released at that time.

9/6/2013 – Curry stepping into a leadership role: It perhaps took some time, but Stephen Curry seems comfortable in his role as the man. He’s long since been anointed by Warriors management. And his playoff performances pushed him up a tier on the star hierarchy. But now his teammates, the youngsters and the newcomers, are looking to him for guidance. His coaches are expecting him to be a vocal leader. The fan base is banking on him carrying the franchise to heights it hasn’t sniffed in decades. And the fifth-year guard seems to be embracing it all matter-of-factly. “I’m 25. Still young. But I know the drill. I know the expectations,” Curry said in a chat with local media after working out at the team facility Thursday. “For me to have the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) looks to pass under the basket against San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker (9) and San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (21) in the first quarter for Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals at Oracle Arena on Thursday, May 16, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)same coaching staff, the same leadership, for three straight years is big. … We have the stability for us to make that move (to another level), and I hope to lead that charge.” Certainly, Curry’s not alone in leading the locker room. David Lee and center Andrew Bogut share the leadership load, and Andre Iguodala figures to eventually emerge as a leader. But not even Curry’s reputed humility can help him escape the pedestal on which he is now perched. He’s been a hot commodity since the season ended, making numerous appearances and joining James Harden in a Foot Locker commercial. His ability to exist anonymously in public places is rapidly decreasing. And now he’s considered by many to be the best player on a team expected to be a factor in the Western Conference. Oakland Tribune

9/6/2013 – Caron Butler happy to be a Buck: Prior to the Milwaukee Bucks acquiring Caron Butler in a trade with the Phoenix Suns last week, Bucks general manager John Hammond and coach Larry Drew wanted to feel Butler out. They arranged a conference call with the two-time NBA All-Star from Racine and wanted to know if he had any reservations about playing for the Bucks. “We were basically telling Caron how bad we wanted him and how it would be a great fit for him,” Hammond said. “At one point in our conversation, Caron stopped me in my tracks and said, ‘You don’t have to convince me. I’m excited about playing for the Bucks. I want to be there.’ “The conversation went on a while and he said, ‘I just have a request, one favor.’ And we said, ‘Sure. What is it?’ “Caron said if we were going to have a presser he would like to have it in Racine. He said, ‘Can we do that?’ And we said, ‘Of course.’ “It just made sense. Racine is home for Caron.” Thursday afternoon, the Bucks formally held a press conference at Park High School, 1901 12th St., where Butler attended and starred for the Panthers in the late 1990s. Racine Journal-Times

9/6/2013 – Splitter fires back at critics: After Brazil suffered a narrow two-point defeat at the hands of Jamaica to end their FIBA Americas Championship run in the first round, much criticism has been directed at several Brazilian players, and especially a few that did not play in the tournament for their home country. Notably absent was San Antonio Spurs’ Tiago Splitter, who has been a main centerpiece for Brazil for several years. Splitter apparently had plenty to say not in only in response to critics, but also in appreciation of his fellow countrymen on Twitter (via translation). Wanted to send a big hug to all fellow Brazilian teammates! I know you gave everything on the court! You are very great players with a lot of experience in major championships on the planet. For one reason or another it did not work out. Some spoke that it was the fault of the players who were not with the team. With respect to myself, it’s really hard to understand after 13 years representing my country! I remember when I was not at my best and fully committed, I was criticized for playing below what I could. I remember when my son was born I went straight to training and spent the first 2 months away from family…I remember when my sister was living the last days of her life, there I was representing my country! We always won together and lost together mostly. There were many victories and many painful defeats. Defeat is where we know best and never any of us pointed the finger at each other, instead we supported each other more. I know exactly how they are feeling my fellow selection after spending more than 50 days away from the family, in regime concentration training. You will always have my support and solidarity that I always have of all of them. Project Spurs

9/6/2013 – Canton Charge hold open tryout: The Canton Charge will hold their open player tryout for the forthcoming 2013-14 NBA Development League season in Canton on September 28-29 at the Canton McKinley Memorial Field House, the team announced today. The open tryout will offer players the opportunity to exhibit their skills in order to earn an invitation to the team’s official training camp in November. “Each season there have been players that have caught our eye at open tryouts and show they deserve a chance to compete further with us,” said Cavaliers Director of Development League Operations Mike Gansey. “This will be another good opportunity for players to showcase their talent for us and try to earn a spot on the Charge training camp roster.” Players who participate will be observed and evaluated by members of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Canton Charge basketball operations staffs. Seven players have earned invites to Charge training camp from local tryouts over the last two seasons. There is no limit to the number of tryout participants that can earn invitations to a team’s training camp. The tryout will begin on Saturday, September 28th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and continue on Sunday, September 29th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Memorial Fieldhouse (1815 Harrison Ave. NW Canton, OH 44708). Each participant must be available to participate in all sessions on both Saturday and Sunday of the tryout weekend. All applicants must be eligible to play in the NBA D-League and should pre-register by Friday, September 27th by submitting the official registration forms and a $150 fee. The fee increases to $200 at the door on-site at the tryouts. Information about the tryouts, registration forms and payment options and instructions are available online at or at the Canton team office located inside the Canton Memorial Civic Center, 1101 Market Avenue North, Canton, OH 44702 in advance of the tryout dates. Charge Nation Memberships for the 2013-14 season are on sale NOW starting at just $125 for the season (less than $6 per game!) Charge Nation Memberships include the Cavs-Bobcats preseason game as well as all 24 Charge home games and exclusive member benefits. Fans can also now purchase the new 6th Man Plan starting at $54 (just $9 per game!) that includes the Cavaliers preseason game as well as five 2013-14 Charge games, with premium giveaways featured at all six games.

9/6/2013 – Derrick Williams future unsure in Minnesota: Even after spending $117 million in free agency in July and August, Minnesota Timberwolves president of operations Flip Saunders will have another sizable monetary decision to make. Before his third year begins — Oct. 31 is the deadline — the Wolves need to figure out if they will pay forward Derrick Williams $6.3 million for the 2014-15 season. In a phone conversation earlier this week spanning a few topics, Wolves owner Glen Taylor acknowledged the team isn’t quite sure what to do. “We’ll evaluate his summer program, and how he looks coming into camp (which starts Oct. 1),” Taylor said. “I heard he is looking good.” Exercising Williams’ fourth-year option is potentially enough to carry the Wolves over the luxury tax and not allow them to sign a free agent for the mid-level exception, according to’s Zach Lowe.Williams is working out in Los Angeles with trainer Gunnar Peterson, who said recently via email that Williams is stronger and more balanced than a year ago. 1500 ESPN

9/6/2013 – Championship is the only acceptable option for the Nets: Kevin Garnett and Brett Yormark spoke at a NBA press conference in Beijing, their second joint appearance in two days, and the two echoed the dual themes they had pushed the night before at a dinner for Chinese executives: The Nets plan on winning a championship and want to be a global team. Yormark put the championship at the top of the list, saying it’s not just a goal. Anything less is unacceptable. “Our two biggest goals right now are to win championships and to be a global team. And in order to do that we needed to bring players like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to Brooklyn,” Yormark added. In a closing statement, the Nets CEO added, “Nothing but a championship is going to be accepted.” Garnett, who Thursday said the Nets are “championship caliber,” told the press conference, which included 70 young fans, that he spoke to Doc Rivers and a number of other players that he was close to before making his decision including Danny Ainge, but stressed that he is excited about his opportunity with the Nets. Nets Daily

9/6/2013 – Odom to rehab: Lamar Odom is receiving treatment for issues related to his recent arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence but he has not entered a rehabilitation facility, according to a two people close to the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.Jeff Schwartz, Odom’s agent, did not return a call Thursday seeking comment. Odom, the former Lakers and Clippers player, has not been charged in connection with his arrest Aug. 30 after he was spotted driving his white Mercedes sport-utility vehicle erratically on the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley. Odom’s driver’s license was suspended for one year after he refused to take chemical tests intended to determine his level and type of intoxication. He has retained famed attorney Robert Shapiro to represent him. Shapiro is a longtime family friend of Odom’s wife, Khloe Kardashian Odom, and served alongside Robert Kardashian, Khloe’s father, as part of O.J. Simpson’s legal team when a court verdict found the football star not guilty of the 1994 killings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Shapiro also recently successfully represented Khloe’s brother, Rob Kardashian, in a battery case. Los Angeles Times

9/4/2013 – Jay Z sells Nets shares to Kidd: Jay Z is selling his minority ownership in the Brookyn Nets to coach Jason Kidd, sources exclusively tell Page Six. We’re told Kidd will take over Jay’s .067 percent (1/15th of a percent) stake in the team for about $500,000. The move comes as Jay was forced to sell his Nets shares over a conflict of interest after he started a sports agency, Roc Nation, signing clients including Yankee Robinson Cano and Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant. A source told us, “Other owners want to give Jason a part ownership of the team, and urged Jay to sell his shares to him.” New York Post

9/4/2013 – Shawne Williams signs with Lakers: The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent forward Shawne Williams, the team announced Tuesday. Williams’ contract is one year deal for the veteran’s minimum (worth approximately $1.1 million) but is only partially guaranteed, according to a league source. Williams last played in the NBA for the Brooklyn Nets (then the New Jersey Nets) in 2011-12, averaging 4.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in 25 games. The 6-foot-9 forward, drafted with the No. 17 pick out of Memphis by the Indiana Pacers in 2006, has career averages of 5.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 16.4 minutes in 215 career games (23 starts) for the Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and Nets. The 27-year-old Williams had the best production of his career playing under Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni for the Knicks in 2010-11. That season, Williams averaged 7.1 points and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 40.1 percent on 3-pointers. ESPN

9/4/2013 – Lakers NBA social media champs: The Lakers have one of the NBA’s largest fan bases, especially when taking into account the team’s online presence. According to a paper by Mike Lewis and Manish Tripathi of Emory University, the Lakers have the most “social media equity” in the league. The study attempts to evaluate the Internet presence of each team, with information that includes followers and “likes” from Twitter and Facebook. “We then created a statistical model that predicts these measures of social media engagement as a function of market size, tweeting activity and team performance for this past season and for the season before that,” reads the report. Apparently the Lakers “crush the competition both in terms of raw numbers and in [the] model.” In comparison, the New York Knicks are the top fan base in terms of economic support but only have “about 20% of the social media activity of the Lakers” — placing them 27th overall. The Miami Heat came in second followed by the Boston Celtics. The Clippers were ranked last at 30. The Charlotte Bobcats have a surprisingly high rank at No. 4, despite relatively low social media numbers. Los Angeles Times

9/4/2013 – Royce White under investigation: NBA player Royce White — who famously missed his rookie season with the Houston Rockets due to mental health issues — is at the center of a criminal investigation in Texas after allegedly beating up his then-girlfriend … TMZ has learned. We know … White’s ex-girlfriend Tania Mehra — a Maxim model — filed a police report on August 30 to report an incident that went down at Royce’s Houston-area home back in June. According to law enforcement, records show someone called 911 on June 22, 2013 to report a laceration above Tania’s right eye. Cops say at the time, Tania claimed she suffered the injury from an “accidental fall.” But Tania changed her tune last week … and filed an incident report in which she claims she LIED on the night of the incident — and says in reality, Royce is to blame for her injury. Cops tell TMZ, “The victim said she had lied earlier because the suspect played for the NBA and did not want the incident to damage his career.”Law enforcement also tells us, “The victim stated that White had assaulted her after she became angered by his advances toward her friend.” Cops say the incident is “under investigation” — and so far, no charges have been filed against the 22-year-old NBA player. Sources connected to the investigation tell us … Tania claims Royce also grabbed a candleholder and threw at at her during the altercation. TMZ

9/3/2013 – Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan held his second-annual costume party over the weekend. His costume, of course it was 90’s cartoon superhero, the always eco-friendly blue-skinned Captain Planet. – FB


9/3/2013 – Rumors swirl Sun’s plan to waive Beasley: Now that we’re into September, hoop observers are expecting the last sneaker to fall in the Suns’ chapter of Michael Beasley’s NBA career. With off-court issues possibly surpassing Beasley’ss game-performance disappointments and a new personnel regime in place, the 24-year-old forward’s days in Phoenix seem to be numbered. By waiting until after Aug. 31 to waive him (as anticipated), the Suns would pay off the $6 million on this season’s Beasley tab at normal intervals. They would stretch the remaining $3 million guaranteed on his contract for the following season over multiple years. In a recent interview, general manager Ryan McDonough said he expected a “resolution” vis-à-vis Beasley over “the next week or so.” Although his in-game results did little to impress the new bosses, Beasley’s actions away from the arena have, according to multiple reports, virtually guaranteed his departure. Since January, Beasley has piled up three brushes with local law enforcement: one incident of speeding, investigation of an alleged sexual assault and suspicion of marijuana possession. A little more than a year ago, the No. 2 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft was brought to town on suspicion of becoming a much-needed scoring threat. A Suns team whose big swing at a playoff berth whiffed due in large part to a lack of offensive closer was desperate to add a player with at least some scoring chops. Fox Sports

9/3/2013 – Multiple Chinese teams vying for T-Mac: In the wake of Tracy McGrady’s announcement last week of retirement from the National Basketball Association (NBA), rumors and speculations of him joining a Chinese team keeps popping up in sports sections. The Sichuan Jinqiang Whale from the minor National Basketball League (NBL) have stayed in close touch with the former NBA superstar, and is “highly likely” to bring him in if the team cracks into the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) next season, Chengdu Business Daily reported on Tuesday, citing sources from the club as well as McGrady’s team. The latest speculation came after several CBA clubs, including the Qingdao Double Stars, where McGrady played in the 2012-13 season, denied reports they are moving to land the 34-year-old star, whose demand of an annual salary of at least $2 million is believed to scare off potential teams. But money seems to be of the least concern for the Whale, last year’s NBL champion and the likely team to secure a CBA spot, which is expected to be announced in the next couple of weeks. If the Whale does ascend to CBA next year, the budgets could rack up to 80 million yuan ($13 million), according to Zhou Shiqiang, the Whale’s boss. McGrady’s team has been actively reaching out to the Whale, making some phone calls, doing an interview concerning a possible signing after the Whale won the NBL title in July. They sent further information on McGrady to the club last week, according to the club’s brass.”Hopefully we can move McGrady to Sichuan,” the newspaper quoted someone from McGrady/s team as saying, adding that the signing price is negotiable. China Daily

9/3/2013 – Waiters puts NBA on notice: Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters, who is about to enter his second year in the NBA, has a message for his peers around the league: “I’m coming,” Waiters told HOOPSWORLD in a phone interview. “I just feel as though I’m next up as far as shooting guards. If you look around, you know, Kobe [Bryant] and [Dwyane] Wade and those guys, they paved the way for a player like me and they’re almost done. It’s not like that, but I’m just saying, I’m coming. I just want everybody to know that. “Without a doubt, I really believe that [I’ll eventually be the best shooting guard in the NBA]. This year, I’m going to show a lot of people who doubted me and still doubt me. I’m going to show them. And I don’t need praise and all of that. I just want to be respected. I’m coming. That’s all I have to say. I’ve taken my work ethic to another level and I feel as though I still have something to prove. So, watch out.” HoopsWorld

9/3/2013 – Cauly-Stein ready to lead Wildcats: That was Calipari’s short-term goal. And as for the bigger picture, a new love of reading and learning — Cauley-Stein now tucks into bed every night with a tome of thought-provoking prose, right? “Um, no,” he says. Big Blue Nation can take heart, however, because Calipari’s other attempt at sparking long-lasting enthusiasm in the laid-back Kansan has been a success. After initially reeling from the shock of the hard work required to get through workouts and practices in Lexington, Cauley-Stein has embraced the basketball grind. “You learn how to do it, then you fall in love with it,” he says. Moreover, after struggling last season to embrace the leadership role thrust on him after Nerlens Noel went down with a torn ACL, Cauley-Stein is ready to be “that go-to guy,” he says. “I want to be one of our leaders that guys can look up to and talk to. Last year I wasn’t really ready to do that. It’s one of the biggest reasons I came back. I wasn’t ready to leave on the note we ended on.” To be clear, Cauley-Stein doesn’t see the Wildcats’ anemic NCAA title defense of last season — the 21-12 record, the fourth-place finish in the SEC; the NIT first-round flame-out against Robert Morris — as the disaster some do. “Obviously we came up short, but I think a lot of good things came out of the season,” says Cauley-Stein. “Two players got drafted in the first round. We won 20 games, and any time you win 20 games — well, outside of Kentucky, any time you win 20 games, that’s a good thing.”

9/3/2013 – Rodman heads back to North Korea: The former basketball star Dennis Rodman returned Tuesday to North Korea, where he plans “to see my friend” Kim Jong-un, the dictator whose country until recently was threatening to annihilate the United States with nuclear weapons. Mr. Rodman said in Beijing that he was planning a five-day visit to the North but played down speculation that he would try to secure the release of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American Christian missionary who has been jailed there since late last year after being detained on North Korean soil. “I’m not going to North Korea to discuss freeing Kenneth Bae,” Mr. Rodman, a Basketball Hall of Fame member, told Reuters in a telephone interview. “I’m just going there on another basketball diplomacy tour.” His visit comes amid a thaw in relations between North and South Korea, sworn enemies that just months ago appeared to be on the brink of military conflict. New York Times

9/3/2013 – Sullinger arrested following domestic situation with girlfriend: Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger was arrested following a domestic situation over the weekend with his girlfriend. Police said Sullinger arrived at the police station 6 a.m. Tuesday to turn himself in. Sullinger is charged with assault and battery, malicious destruction of property and witness intimidation. According to police, the incident happened early Saturday evening. MyFOXBoston

9/3/2013 – Wright sees Blazers in the playoffs: Portland signed Wright this summer to a two-year deal worth $6 million. He’s going to spread the floor for Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and others, and help the team improve their below-average three-point statistics. Wright received interest from a number of teams when he was testing free agency, but decided to sign with the Blazers because he believes the young core has what it takes to take the next step and become a playoff team.“[It’s a] great opportunity, a chance to win,” Wright told HOOPSWORLD recently at Nick Young’s Third Annual Back-to-School Giveaway in Los Angeles. “That’s what it’s all about. That’s what you play each and every year for and work hard for, to win.” When asked if the Blazers can become a playoff team in the competitive Western Conference, Wright seems confident. “Yeah, why not?” Wright said. “We’ve got the guys. We’ve got a star point guard that can be an All-Star next year. LaMarcus Aldridge was an All-Star last year, and you’ve got guys around them like [Nic] Batum and Wes Matthews that are solid players as well.” HoopsWorld

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