- Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports14 hrs ago
INDIANAPOLIS – On the eve of this Eastern Conference series, the wobbling No. 1 seed punctuated its final playoff preparations in a most self-destructive way: Two Indiana Pacers dragged a cursing, cut Evan Turner out of the Bankers Life Fieldhouse court, untangling him from a practice-floor fistfight with teammate Lance Stephenson.
Turner hadn't been the first Pacer to lose his temper with Stephenson these tumultuous several weeks, and Stephenson's relentlessly irritable nature suggests Turner won't be the last. These scrapes aren't uncommon in the NBA, but this confrontation had been weeks in the making and that reflected in the ferocity of the encounter, sources told Yahoo Sports.
"This stuff happens, but the timing wasn't ideal," one witness told Yahoo Sports.
If acrimony naturally lingered into Saturday, make no mistake: Stephenson and Turner weren't the reason the Atlanta Hawks embarrassed the Pacers in Game 1. Maybe it tilted the mood of locker room, but no one dared suggest that it held responsibility for deadening the Pacers into defeat.
- Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
After undergoing an MRI on his damaged right knee Monday morning, Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley has been cleared to play in Game 2 of the Western Conference first-round series against Portland on Wednesday, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The MRI showed no new damage to Beverley's right knee, sources said. Beverley suffered a torn meniscus in the knee on March 27.
Beverley collided with Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge in overtime of the Rockets' 122-120 loss and limped severely until fouling out of the game later in OT. Beverley is a huge part of the Rockets' lineup and will be desperately needed to defend Portland All-Star point guard Damian Lillard.Wed, Apr 236:30 PM PDTPortland at HoustonPreview Game
- Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
HOUSTON – Within the carnage of this colossal collapse, Dwight Howard marched into the losing locker room and proclaimed to these seething, stunned Houston Rockets: One game, fellas. One loss. Here was his message, and no one knew of its hollowness better than the franchise center.
Across the seasons, Howard has to come to understand the most important lesson in leadership. The Rockets won't listen to the franchise star now as much they'll watch him. In crisis and calm, this is forever the burden of a superstar.
For Howard, this has long been something of a lost cause in his career. Never mind that James Harden played the most prominent part in the Rockets' Game 1 loss, everyone understands the ultimate blame of an early exit from these playoffs will be thrust onto last summer's biggest free agent.
"As a leader of this team, I can say whatever I want to these guys, but they're not going to follow me unless I go out and do it now," Howard said.
- Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports4 days ago
After the NBA suspended Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes for 20 games because of a positive test for a banned substance, the players union's acting director called the banishment "a true injustice."
The banned substance -- Tamoxifen -- was part of an athletic supplement that Calathes had been using, sources said.
"This discipline is a true injustice," NBPA acting executive director Ron Klempner told Yahoo Sports late Friday night.
Calathes had developed into an important part of the Grizzlies' guard rotation, and will now be lost for seventh-seeded Memphis' Western Conference playoff series against No. 2 seed Oklahoma City Thunder.
The suspension would carry into the 2014-15 season.
"Our collectively bargained program failed this player and this case will certainly be recalled when we return to the bargaining table," Klempner told Yahoo Sports. "In the meantime, we'll file an appeal and allow the process to run its course."
NBA lab results found no traces of synthetic testosterone or performance-enhancing drugs, and as one source told Yahoo Sports, "There was no intent, nor advantage gained here."
- Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
Duke sophomore forward Rodney Hood has decided to enter the NBA draft, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Hood and Duke plan to make a formal announcement within the next several days, sources said.
Hood is deep into the agent selection process, narrowing his choices to two prospective agencies, sources said.
DraftExpress.com has Hood at No. 22 overall in its most recent mock draft.
Duke freshman star Jabari Parker announced on Thursday that he's also entering the June draft. Parker is considered a top-three overall pick.
Hood played one season at Mississippi State before transferring to Duke. As a sophomore playing alongside Parker, Hood averaged 16 points a game.
At the end of Duke's season in March, Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski indicated it was likely Hood would leave for the NBA.
- Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports17 days ago
The Utah Jazz claimed forward Erik Murphy on waivers Saturday, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Chicago Bulls released Murphy on Thursday, choosing to use his roster spot for a perimeter player to bolster the Bulls for a playoff run.
To make room on the 15-man roster for Murphy, the Jazz waived center Andris Biedrins.
Murphy, a 6-foot-10 rookie out of the University of Florida, was the 49th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft.
Biedrins, a 7-footer, played in six games for the Jazz this season. He came to Utah a year ago as part of a salary dump for draft picks from the Golden State Warriors.
- Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports21 days ago
The University of Houston has reached agreement to hire Kelvin Sampson as its head basketball coach, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Sampson, 58, will leave his job with the Houston Rockets, where he serves as the top assistant coach, and take over the Cougars program once the agreement is finalized, sources said.
Sampson met with university officials twice in the past several days – including Saturday, sources said.
Houston officials are willing to withstand the criticism that'll come with Sampson's appointment that stem from past violations of NCAA rules, which clouded his history at Indiana and Oklahoma.
Sampson brought Oklahoma to the 2002 Final Four and orchestrated 18 consecutive winning seasons as coach at Washington State, Oklahoma and Indiana. Sampson has reached the NCAA tournament 13 times. He's built winning teams around tough defense and aggressive, physical mindsets.
- Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports23 days ago
After suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee, Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley will not undergo surgery and is expected to return this season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Beverley will be considered "week to week" on his return to the Rockets' lineup, a source said on Monday afternoon. Beverly met with Dr. James Andrews on Monday. Based on Andrews' recommendations, Beverley's possible return will largely be based on the success of his rehabilitation process.
For Houston, the return of Beverley could be telltale for the team's chances to advance in the Western Conference playoffs. The Rockets are 49-23 and holding onto the fourth seed in the West.
Beverley hurt the knee in Houston's 120-98 victory over Philadelphia on Thursday night.
The loss of Beverley would've been difficult for the Rockets to overcome, especially because of their need for him to defend the top point guards in the West playoffs. For now, Jeremy Lin is stepping into the starting lineup and providing offense for the Rockets, but he brings nowhere near Beverley's level of toughness and defense.
- Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports23 days ago
Duke assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski has emerged as a target for Marquette University in its search for a basketball coach, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Marquette made an initial push for VCU's Shaka Smart, but Wojciechowski has joined Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin as one of the preferred choices to take over the Big East conference program, sources said.
Marquette has been pursuing a replacement for Buzz Williams, who recently accepted the coaching job at Virginia Tech. ESPN.com had reported that Martin was one of the search's top targets.
Wojciechowski has been an assistant coach on Duke's coaching staff for 15 seasons, including part of two national championships.
Marquette has been impressed with the impact former Duke assistant coach Chris Collins had in his first season at Northwestern. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Brian Wardle remains an intriguing candidate to Marquette officials too, sources said. Wardle is an ex-Marquette standout and assistant coach.
- Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports26 days ago
Houston Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley could be lost for the rest of the season with a torn meniscus in his right knee, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Beverley, 25, will get a second opinion on the injury soon, sources said, and then it'll be determined whether there's possibly a rehabilitation process that could expedite his return before the end of the NBA playoffs, sources said.
Beverley, averaging 9.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists this season, hurt the knee in Houston's 120-98 victory over Philadelphia on Thursday night.
The loss of Beverley will be difficult for the Rockets to overcome, especially because of their need for him to defend the top points guard in the Western Conference playoffs. Jeremy Lin can step into the starting lineup and provide offense for the Rockets, but he brings nowhere near Beverley's level of toughness and defense.
The Rockets are 49-22 and holding onto the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoff race.