Every weekday morning, Ball Don't Lie serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your greasy bacon on a freshly baked homestyle biscuit.
Tom Weir, Game On: "If Kevin Love's(notes) tweets on Twitter are to be believed, Kevin McHale will not be coaching the Minnesota Timberwolves next season. The Timberwolves forward posted a tweet early today that said, 'Today is a sad day ... Kevin McHale will NOT be back as head coach this season.' The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported a league source gave Love that information. The AP says new team president David Kahn and a Timberwolves spokesman did not immediately return messages. Love later seemed to regret the posting. A subsequent tweet said that: 'P.S. I am not a breaking news guy ... I had no idea no one knew.'"
Sam Smith/Chuck Swirsky, Bulls.com: "I haven’t heard they are, and General Manager Gar Forman has not come off his stance that he wants to bring [Ben] Gordon back. But I also heard that Gordon’s agent allegedly has been saying he has an $11 million promise from the Pistons. This could go with the promise I received to play giving me a chance to win the lottery. I’ve never fully understood the supposed Pistons interest. Not because teams don’t like Gordon. But because the Pistons have Rodney Stuckey(notes), not a true point guard, and Richard Hamilton(notes). Though the rumors supposedly are the Pistons would trade Hamilton. Though why trade a 6-7 shooting guard to accommodate one maybe a half foot shorter? Though I never say never in the NBA, as Phil Jackson taught me. And Michael."
Jim Reeves, The Star Telegram: "I want the Mavs to find the answer, the solution, the player that would put them over the top and, since Shaq is available and would happily come to Dallas, it would be oh-so-sweet if he were that puzzle piece the Mavs so desperately need. Alas, I seriously doubt that’s the case. If Shaq wasn’t the answer in Phoenix, what makes anyone think he would be in Dallas? Sure, the Phoenix newspapers are filled with rumors about where Shaq will land and the Mavs are prominent in those reports. Cleveland is the other most often mentioned destination. But the fact is, for all the positives Shaq would bring, he brings a boatload of negatives, too. Too many to overcome, is my guess, which is why I think the Mavs will continue to steer away from this deal unless they discover this is the best they can do this off-season."
AP: "Hedo Turkoglu emptied his locker, shook hands with teammates and walked out of the Orlando Magic’s practice facility Tuesday. The Magic are optimistic it wasn’t the last time. Chief operating officer Alex Martins said the team is prepared to go over the luxury tax for the first time in its history, perhaps giving the Magic the space they need to re-sign the soon-to-be free agent Turkoglu and remain a contender to return to the NBA finals. 'The luxury tax won’t be a hindrance,' Martins said. Turkoglu, Orlando’s starting forward and a key component to its Eastern Conference title, reiterated Tuesday that he’s planning to opt out of the last year of his contract to become a free agent July 1. Turkoglu would make about $7.3 million next season in the final year of a $36 million, six-year deal."
Kevin Ding, OC Register: "Trevor Ariza struggled when asked to think of his favorite individual play of the Lakers’ postseason run. Eventually, he thought of one play he really remembered the most: Derek Fisher’s(notes) flagrant-foul blast against Houston’s Luis Scola(notes). The fact that Ariza viewed that play as the key to the season speaks to Ariza’s understanding about how the game needs to be played tough and hard and sometimes nasty. It’s no coincidence that he and his teammates got really going in the last game of the season after Ariza mixed it up a bit with Hedo Turkoglu(notes) (little moments between the two had begun building in earnest early in Game 4). Ariza jerked the hand of his former coach, Stan Van Gundy, away a lot harder than Van Gundy expected when Orlando’s coach tried to separate Ariza and Turkoglu, and the Lakers rolled from there."
Eric Pincus, HOOPSWORLD: "HOOPSWORLD.com has learned that Quentin Richardson(notes) of the New York Knicks and Ricky Davis(notes) of the Los Angeles Clippers have opted to stay with their respective teams an additional season. Richardson had an early termination option on the $8.7 million salary for the 2009/10 season, which is now locked in with the Knicks. Davis, coming off a year with a terrible case of knee tendinitis, exercised his player option for $2.4 million. Richardson, a former Clipper, averaged 10.2 points a game for the Knicks this past season, shooting 39.3% from the field. It was a rough year for Davis who played in just 36 games, averaging 6.4 points a game on 33.9% shooting from the field."
Michael Rosenberg, The Detroit Free Press: "Three games into the WNBA season, (Bill) Laimbeer resigned from the Shock. He said he wanted to focus on getting an NBA job. Apparently he thinks that by declaring himself a free agent now, he can line up something before NBA training camps open. Laimbeer has it backward. He thinks the NBA won’t hire him because he has been coaching women. In fact, he has been coaching women because the NBA won’t hire him. Why won’t anybody in the NBA hire him? Well, Laimbeer has been trying to answer that question for years. He sees himself as a potential NBA head coach but can’t even get a job as an assistant. He took the Shock job only to show the NBA he can coach. (And there is nothing wrong with that, by the way.) He won three championships with the Shock. Yet no NBA team will touch him. And still Bill Laimbeer is searching for answers. I think I know what the problem is. People in the NBA do not like Bill Laimbeer."
Mike Baldwin, The Oklahoman: "Count Scott Pera among those who think James Harden is the perfect fit for the Thunder. Pera coached the Arizona State All-American shooting guard in high school and college. 'When the ping pong balls fell the way they did, I was ecstatic,' Pera said. 'He wouldn't need to go in there and shock the world and save the franchise. Kevin Durant(notes) is there. Jeff Green(notes) is there. Russell Westbrook(notes) is there. (Harden) is what those guys are not and they're what he is not.' Oklahoma City's two biggest needs are a center to anchor the defense and another 3-point shooter to stretch defenses. 'He's one of those kids that's a throwback from a different era,' one NBA general manager was quoted. 'His background came back as clean as it gets. His coach and teammates rave about him. He's all business on and off the court.'"
Doug Smith, Toronto Star: "Reggie Evans is a man of no pretense. He is entirely comfortable with who and what he is on the basketball court — a tough guy, a grinder, the kind of guy who may not get glory, but the kind good teams cannot do without. And Raptors fans, starved for someone to mimic the role played by Charles Oakley back in the good old days, are sure to love the 6-foot-8, 245-pound power forward obtained last week in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. 'The only way you're going to succeed in this game is certain people have to bring certain things to the table,' Evans said yesterday after taking his physical at the Air Canada Centre, the final step to completing the deal for Jason Kapono(notes)."
Sam Amick, The Sacramento Bee: "By the time the Kings sat at the table with Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio on Tuesday night, the tables had certainly turned. But it said everything that Rubio set foot in Sacramento on Tuesday, arriving from Los Angeles in the afternoon after flying from Spain the day before and eventually sitting at a downtown dinner table with Petrie and other team representatives. This was the 18-year-old's first visit with an NBA team, the man showing up and leaving the myth behind. And depending on the night's events, it may wind up being his only visit. 'I want to be a really good point guard here in the best league in the world, and I want to have minutes,' Rubio said in an exclusive interview with The Bee from the Embassy Suites hotel in Sacramento. 'So I have to find the team who wants me, who really wants me.'"
Ailene Voisin, The Sacramento Bee: "Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof, who would have to commit to a potentially complicated legal process and/or potential trade scenario if Geoff Petrie identifies (Ricky) Rubio as his NBA Draft Day target (at No.4), are flying in from Las Vegas early Wednesday to watch the 18-year-old run through some drills during an early afternoon workout. Details of the session are unclear, though apparently it won't be too extensive. Rubio recently finished his EuroLeague season and has been taking a break physically. Nonetheless, I am sure Petrie and new Kings coach Paul Westphal are curious for a closer peek."
Gery Woelfel, The Racine Journal Times: "The fluidity of the upcoming NBA draft is vividly reflected in the uncertainty surrounding the Milwaukee Bucks' top pick. Less than three weeks ago, the Bucks seemingly had a firm grip on the players they would seriously consider for the 10th overall selection. On their short list at the time were several point guards, including Stephen Curry of Davidson, Jonny Flynn of Syracuse and Ty Lawson of North Carolina. Their hit list, according to several league observers, also included power forward DeJuan Blair of Pittsburgh. But now, with the draft just over a week away, there is an increasing likelihood that none of those guards will be available to the Bucks, and that they'll probably pass on Blair, who is generally regarded as the third-best player at his position in the draft behind consensus top pick Blake Griffin of Oklahoma and Jordan Hill of Arizona."
Tim Buckley, The Deseret News: "After a lengthy break to rest his severely strained hamstring, Jazz center Mehmet Okur(notes) is working out again — and talking, it seems, as if he plans on being with the Jazz again next season. 'My goal is to be in the best shape of my career when the preseason camp starts,' Okur is quoted as saying on his personal Web site, Memo13.com (not in English). 'We (the Jazz) had a tough season, an unlucky season with so many different injuries and problems,' Okur added. 'However, a couple of years ago we had another season filled with injuries and then we came back to go all the way to the Western (Conference) finals.' The Jazz, meanwhile, are believed to be preparing a potential multiyear contract offer to Okur should he opt — as expected — out of the final season of his current contract. Okur is slated to make $9 million next season — a $500,000 raise from the past season. The one-time NBA All-Star, however, would become an unrestricted free agent if he were to opt out by the league's June 30 deadline for doing so."
Tom Enlund, JSOnline: "Bucks general manager John Hammond noticed one thing right away when forward Joe Alexander(notes) returned to the team’s training facility for summer workouts. 'Joe walked in the gym and the first thing I noticed was how much bigger and stronger he had gotten,' said Hammond. 'We know that about Joe. We know that Joe is not going to sit and accept his fate. It doesn’t matter if it was something that happened extraordinarily well for him, he’s not going to accept that. That’s not good enough for him. Or, maybe in this case, where he looks back on the season and says I’m not happy with the result and you know when he comes back, he’s going to have changed.' After a trying rookie season, Alexander took a break and returned home for awhile. He then came back to Milwaukee to work out for a couple weeks before going back to West Virginia to conduct a camp. Now, he’s back in town again and is a regular at the team’s training facility where he works out in the weight room with Jeff Macy, the team’s strength and conditioning czar, and on the court with some of the assistant coaches."
John Reid, The Times-Picayune: "Now that the Lakers have been crowned champions, the offseason is in full swing. Teams can begin to retool their rosters starting with the NBA draft on June 25, and the free agency period begins July 1. To contend, [Byron] Scott said the Hornets need another scorer, a creative-type point guard who can come off the bench, and a productive backup center who can be an enforcer and score in the post. 'If we can get all three of those pieces to the puzzle with (James) Posey coming off the bench, that puts us at nine deep,' Scott said. 'We have to add a guy from this draft that we feel can help us and a couple of free agents. Even if we get two players, I think we'd be in good shape.'"