Suicide lines: Reggie's return (?), Big Z, Coach Armstrong

Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your bacon cake.

Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald: "Reggie Miller told the Dan Patrick Show that the Celts want to know if he’s interested in coming out of retirement to play. [...] Miller's comments came as a bit of a surprise. 'No, we contacted Cheryl,' Rivers said of Reggie’s sister. 'I wanted Cheryl to come back, not Reggie. Listen,' the coach added, 'whenever I see him, I always tell him, 'Reggie, any time you want to come (back) ...' I say that, but as far as what him and Danny have said, I have no idea. I don’t get involved in that.'" Ainge has left the door open on Miller (and others). The Celts tried to get him to come back prior to last season, and they have checked in with him this year."

Mary Schmitt Boyer, Cleveland Plain-Dealer: "Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas admitted he was more than a little lonely while his teammates were on the West Coast last week. Trying to come back from his sprained left ankle in time for Thursday's game at Orlando against All-Star center Dwight Howard, the only guy he could work out against was Cavs General Manager Danny Ferry. 'Obviously, playing against Danny one-on-one is not the same as playing Dwight Howard,' a laughing Ilgauskas said Monday after practice — his first since aggravating the injury on Dec. 30 at Miami. 'But he's dirty, so he made me work.' Asked who won, Ilgauskas laughed again and said: 'We didn't keep score, but he fouled out. A lot.'"

Eddie Sefko, Dallas Morning News: "Rick Carlisle said the Dallas Mavericks have decided to hire Darrell Armstrong, but not as a backup to point guard Jason Kidd. Armstrong is ready to embark on his coaching career and would join Carlisle's staff in an assistant coach/developmental coach role. Carlisle coached Armstrong at Indiana and has stayed in touch with him as Armstrong finished up a 14-year playing career that included two seasons with the Mavericks. He was a wonderful locker-room presence in 2006, when the Mavericks reached the NBA Finals. Carlisle said Armstrong will make his retirement official with the league, presumably eliminating any chance he will play this season. He played 50 games last season with New Jersey."

Dave Feschuk, Toronto Star: "[Anthony] Parker has rediscovered his old reliable self this month. And perhaps it's at least partly because, as counter-intuitive as it seems, he recently reconfirmed his gift for efficiently producing points during his three-game stint as the club's starting point guard. Even now that Jose Calderon is back at his usual post for an ongoing two-game win streak, Parker's December disappearing act is a distant memory. He is averaging almost 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds while shooting 50 per cent over his past five games. 'I think there's a carryover when you play a little point and have the ball in your hands,' Parker said after Sunday's win against Sacramento. 'It just gives you a different mentality and mindset versus being the guy that stands in the corner and, when the ball swings, you shoot it. Sometimes the ball doesn't swing and you don't get touches for a while.'"

Marc Berman, New York Post: "Grief-stricken Curry missed last night's game and was expected to take a leave of absence, according to a source. He likely will soon fly to Chicago to see his 3-year-old son after the shooting death of the boy's mother. Curry is still out indefinitely with a knee injury that has limited him to one game this season. New York Knicks president Donnie Walsh said he spoke to Curry yesterday and 'told him to take all the time he needs. We support him.' Fellow Chicago native Quentin Richardson spent time with Curry yesterday at the hotel complex they both reside. Curry is also a defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit in which he is accused of making anti-semitic remarks and advances to his male driver."

Paul Forrester, "At his introductory news conference Sunday, new Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins issued a challenge to his starting point guard. 'I want to see if Mike Conley is a basketball player on a high level,' Hollins said. That's open to debate a season and a half into Conley's NBA career. Conley played only 46 games in an injury-shortened rookie year, and this season his production has declined, he temporarily lost his starting job and his name has surfaced in trade rumors. [...] 'I've tried not to pay too much attention to what pick I was and what everybody might be expecting right now because I know if I'm not living up to those expectations, it'll make it that much harder on myself,' Conley said."

Ronald Tillery, Memphis Commercial Appeal: "His first NBA head coach is gone. The trade discussions have disappeared, too. What Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley has in front of him now is a new coach dangling a floor general's favorite carrot: Freedom. One of Griz coach Lionel Hollins' first acts as Marc Iavaroni's successor was to pull aside Conley before practice for a short and snappy sidebar. 'He told me how much freedom I'll have and what he's expecting,' Conley said, smiling. 'He wants me to put the jets on and push the ball.' Conley kept smiling. He couldn't stop, actually."

Sam Amick, Sac Bee: "[Brad] Miller and swingman John Salmons remain the most likely significant players to be traded. According to a source close to the team, Portland is among the many teams that has expressed interest recently as well. It is a landscape Petrie is navigating every day, hoping to strike a deal that can lead him out of hoops hell. 'The magnitude of our decline is troubling on a lot of fronts,' he said. 'And for nobody more than me. We didn't show much in exhibition. We didn't see much in the first 25 games, and I think a big part of the rest of the year is going to be, 'Do (the players) want to persevere and try and play together so the whole team plays better?''"

Chris McCosky, Detroit News: "'I would be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated,' Iverson said. 'I just feel like I can offer more to the team. I can do more to help us win games, and when that opportunity presents itself, I will be right here to take the challenge.' Iverson recognizes coach Michael Curry is in an almost untenable situation. He's got a young, blossoming point guard in Rodney Stuckey and two world-class shooting guards in Iverson and Hamilton. All three thrive in different styles and tempos. Trying to mix and match and find the right balance — whom to leave in and whom to leave out — is becoming a nightly nightmare for the coach and the players. But if Iverson and Hamilton show they can play well together, it will make things a whole lot easier. The only way they can play well together, though, it seems, is to play at a quicker pace. They have to be in attack mode. That is when Iverson always has been at his best, creating on the fly."

Kevin Arnovitz, "In many respects, the superb performances by Fred Jones and Steve Novak are by Portland’s design. McMillan decides he won’t allow [Eric] Gordon anything and will happily force [Al] Thornton into difficult shots on the right wing. As a result, the easy shots are ceded to the Clippers’ secondary scorers. For three quarters, Jones and Novak make him pay. Eventually, though, order is restored. Both Jones and Novak cool off, and Gordon begins to force some ill-advised shots — something we’ve never really seen him do."

Howard Beck, New York Times: "After sitting out one game to protect his back, Danilo Gallinari returned to the Knicks’ rotation and had an immediate impact — on Aaron Brooks’s face. On a first-quarter drive to the basket, Gallinari leaped and accidentally drove his knee into Brooks’s face. Brooks had his tooth bent back and went to the locker room. He returned in the second quarter and hit a pair of 3-pointers in the Rockets’ second-quarter surge."

Don Seeholzer, St. Paul Pioneer Press: "The Bucks play in the Eastern Conference, so coach Scott Skiles couldn't have voted for Jefferson even if he wanted to. But Skiles made it clear that he is a big Jefferson fan. 'If he's not the best, he's one of the best low-post players in the league,' Skiles said of Jefferson. 'He's got that, I guess I would call it a jump hook that he can shoot from ... 12 to 14 feet, and it's just a feathery soft touch.' Jefferson bolstered his all-star case by scoring 23 points and grabbing 10 rebounds against the Bucks. All-star reserves will be announced Thursday."

Ailene Voisin, Sac Bee: "Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller has long been one of my favorites. We completely disagree on politics and other matters, but I always appreciated the fact that he respects the opinions of others, bought the Utah Jazz when the franchise was in jeopardy of being relocated, and I particularly enjoyed his quirky, small-town, if intrusive personna. Who else — and where else — could someone get away with this:? Until his illnesses of the last few years, he frequented his own stall alongside the players in the locker room, retrieved shots for his players during warmups, and participated in the huddle during introductions. I always thought it was so quaint, and so unique. Maybe it's a chic thing. Larry is always quick with the quotes, too. He can shoot his mouth off with the best of them, often much to his regret. But you have to love his passion, his loyalty to the Jazz and his community. Quite the character. Here's hoping for a full recovery."

Hornets Hype: "Am I imagining this, or did Andre Miller intentionally foul Rasual Butler so everyone could get free Popeyes? He's officially my new NBA hero. No, seriously. Here's the situation: the Hornets have 98 points and a double-digit lead, and the crowd is yelling. Whatever, we’re kind of new to the 'Free fast food if they score 100 points' thing, because they didn’t have it before this season. [...] So Chris Paul gets a rebound with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter, which gives him the triple double. Everyone cheers, but he heads up the court and decides to do the polite thing and dribble it out. Then, with 2.2 seconds left, Rasual Butler is half-assedly dribbling over near the Sixers bench, and Andre Miller reaches out and half-assedly hacks him across the wrist. They close up on him, and he’s laughing. 'Sual hits the free throws. Ha! I just gotta conclude that Andre Miller knows about Popeyes. He knows."