Ball Don't Lie - NBA

It's been a while, but lets gets back to serving you a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your flat, rectangular, pre-baked toaster pastries.

Ronald Tillery, Memphis Commercial Appeal: "[Ricky] Rubio reportedly notified DKV Joventut on Monday that he wanted to terminate a deal that would require a $6.6 million buyout for him to play in the NBA. Rubio is scheduled to earn just $175,000 next season with DKV Joventut. [...] Meanwhile, the Griz still are entertaining offers for the No. 2 pick as well as their 27th and 36th selections. As the rumor mill churns, the Griz have been approached by several teams about acquiring the second overall pick. Boston, Houston and New York are said to be among the most recent suitors. Boston and Houston would likely have to offer an established NBA player or two, given that neither team owns a first-round pick. New York owns the eighth pick and likely would want to move up for the opportunity to take Rubio."

Tim Buckley, The Deseret News: "Carlos Boozer suggested on a national cable television show Monday that he still hasn't decided if he'll opt out of the final season of his contract with the Jazz — a statement quite contrary to what he told an reporter back in December. [...] Boozer has until the end of this month to decide if he'll play out the last year of his current deal in Utah at $12,657,233 or if he'll enter the NBA summer shopping market as an unrestricted free agent. 'I want to make the best decision we can, obviously,' Boozer, on set in Los Angeles, said to Rome. 'Do my homework, do my due diligence and on June 30th I'll decide either to opt in or opt out.' Boozer previously indicated he was unequivocally planning to opt out."

Brett Martel, USA Today: Wearing designer jeans and a white T-shirt, Jannero Pargo(notes) walked onto the New Orleans Hornets' practice court moments after six draft prospects finished their workouts and casually tossed up 3-pointers with head coach Byron Scott. Pargo said he was only there to spend time with his younger brother, Jeremy, a former Gonzaga guard who worked out for the Hornets on Monday. Still, it was clear that the elder Pargo, just back from a season in Europe, missed playing in New Orleans and could envision himself doing so again next season. 'I can't really talk about it, but yeah, I think there's interest on both sides,' said Pargo, who began last season in Russia and finished with the Greek team Olympiakos. 'I pretty much want the same role I had before I left here and I don't think that role would be guaranteed to me, but if I come back here, I know the system, I know the coaches, I know the players and I just think it would be an easy transition.'"

Bruce Arthur, National Post: "It's really not very complicated. It's not that the Magic are missing too many threes — they are at .340 for the first two games, versus .364 in the post-season as a whole. They just need somebody — Pietrus, Alston, Nelson, anybody — to make shots. It's a collective confidence thing, maybe. It's the defence, perhaps. Whatever the reason, it's what will or will not make this a series. Orlando defended better in Game 2, ran a cleaner version of its offence, made shots when they had to, and generally had a very good chance to make this a series. And they still do. All season, the Magic have won games by hanging around, and then unleashing a three-point-fueled barrage to tip the game. Maybe when they get home, the shots will start to fall."

Jerry Zgoda, Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Here's my take on the situation, and it's only my opinion based on my instincts and nothing else: I considered the first two meetings a courtesy call by David Kahn. I presumed Kahn doesn't want to be seen as the guy who summarily dismissed a Minnesota basketball playing legend and the guy who led the Wolves basketball operations for 14 years. When it went to Monday's third meeting, I started to have my doubts and thought Kevin McHale will return — and he still certainly might — but I'll stick to my initial instincts: I just can't see a guy hired to lead the franchise anew with fresh eyes taking on a fellow who casts such a long shadow in the organization, who is used to picking up the telephone and calling owner Glen Taylor anytime he wants something done. If Kahn is going to remake the franchise, you'd think he'd want to start with his own stamp on the organization by picking his own coach. If McHale does not return, then who will coach the Wolves? Well, Sam Mitchell certainly is a possibility. Avery Johnson or Jeff Van Gundy perhaps could be convinced to come back to coaching, but it'd take some persuasion and a lot of money. Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau, a Wolves assistant so long ago, is perhaps the league's top assistant coach candidate."

Sam Amick, Sacramento Bee: "While Kenny Natt's successor hasn't been named, the Kings' predraft workouts continued Monday before a quaint media audience and with Geoff Petrie undeniably in charge. The team's basketball president directed the six players on hand, looking spry and more than mobile enough to navigate the moving prospects while evaluating their talents. After visiting seven teams before coming to Sacramento, the session's uniqueness wasn't lost on Louisville swingman Terrence Williams. 'It's very unique (to have an executive running a workout), because the GM is running it like he's an assistant coach or an intern,' Williams said. '(Usually), you see the GMs in a pretty $10,000 suit ... twirling their wedding band around and watching us and having conversation on the side. This is the first time I'd seen something like that.'"

Alan Hahn, Newsday: "The Knicks will get a close-up look at [Stephen] Curry on Wednesday when he visits the MSG Training Center in Greenburgh for his predraft workout. Curry will be joined by UCLA guard Jrue Holiday, in whom the Knicks also are very interested. Walsh and his staff will bring in six players to MSG's Westchester campus Tuesdayfor a workout. The lineup includes Syracuse guard Jonny Flynn and North Carolina guard Ty Lawson, along with Toney Douglas (Florida State), Tywain McKee (Coppin State), Dante Cunningham (Villanova) and Leo Lyons (Missouri). The Knicks also plan to bring in guard Brandon Jennings and forward Austin Daye, among others ..."

Ross Siler, Salt Lake Tribune: "He's only 22, but Kyrylo Fesenko's(notes) time in Utah has been characterized by ups and downs. He showed up with blond hair to the Rocky Mountain Revue last July and struggled on the court in the summer league. He found structure off the court with the help of Russ and Terri Ridge, who started out as Fesenko's drivers but stepped in almost as surrogate parents. Fesenko had a handful of impressive games, including a 12-point, 11-rebound effort against Houston on Dec. 27. According to a league source, though, Fesenko's exit interview with the Jazz did not go well. He apparently was asked by general manager Kevin O'Connor and Jerry Sloan to explain some of the updates on his Facebook page. There are those more Facebook savvy than myself, but one of the posts in question concerned being happy to be in Los Angeles during the playoffs because it was such a good city in which to go out. At the same time, there's no disputing that Fesenko is a better player now than when he first arrived in Utah. We'll see in the coming week whether that progress has been enough for the Jazz to be encouraged to bring back Fesenko."

Dave Dial, "Jrue Holiday has been projected to be selected in the middle of the lottery by Draft Express, but has him slipping to the 24th selection. I'm not sure if Holiday is one of the players Joe Dumars has his choices narrowed down to, but it seems like he may be more of a combo guard than a point guard. Also of note in the same piece is that it's believed that Austin Daye has a promise from a team, in the top 20 picks, to be drafted. Austin Daye might have a promise in the top 20, in which case he should obviously remain in the draft. Those close to Daye claim he is saying he has a promise in the top 20. However if that's the case it's curious that he would choose to continue to work out for teams, since the usual protocol is to shut down workouts to avoid an injury and keep quiet. One thing we have confirmed is that if he indeed does have a promise, it's not at 15 with Detroit, as some have projected."

Steve Kyler, HOOPSWORLD: "Shawn Marion's free agency has been the subject of protracted discussion this summer, and expect that discussion to continue to grow as teams start to look beyond the draft in a couple of weeks. Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo recently told HOOPSWORLD that he's confident the Raptors and the Marion camp will be able to come to an agreement that keeps Marion in town. As for Marion, after ten years in the league, he's focused on winning a championship. 'Right now, I gotta weigh every option that's possible for me to put me in a situation to succeed,' Marion said in an interview with Hardcore Sports on Sirius Radio. 'I gotta look at every situation point by point in terms of what I want to do, what I can bring to that team, where I can help in that situation. Also, you gotta realize, I finished my tenth season in the league. I do want to win a ring before I'm done playing. You know, I want to see what's my best opportunity and what's my best chance to do that.'"

AP: "Three NBA officials, who have combined for 73 seasons of service to the league, have announced they will retire at the end of this season. Jim Clark, Luis Grillo, and Jack Nies all will be stepping down. Clark officiated 21 seasons. During his career he was on the floor for 1,345 regular-season and 96 playoff games, including one contest in the finals. Clark also was a member of the crew that worked the 2003 NBA All-Star Game. During Grillo's 21 seasons, he worked 1,171 regular-season and 41 playoff games. He was a member of the crew that worked the 2003 NBA All-Star Game and the 1993 Legends Game in Utah. Nies officiated 31 seasons. He worked 2,046 regular-season and 150 playoff games, including 10 NBA Finals games. He is one of only six NBA officials who have worked over 2,000 contests. Nies was a member of the crew that officiated the 1995 and 2005 NBA All-Star Games and the Legends game in 1987."

Nicolai Ouroussoff, The New York Times (via TH): "The recent news that the developer Forest City Ratner had scrapped Frank Gehry's design for a Nets arena in central Brooklyn is not just a blow to the art of architecture. It is a shameful betrayal of the public trust, one that should enrage all those who care about this city. Whatever you may have felt about Mr. Gehry's design — too big, too flamboyant — there is little doubt that it was thoughtful architecture. His arena complex, in which the stadium was embedded in a matrix of towers resembling falling shards of glass, was a striking addition to the Brooklyn skyline; it was also a fervent effort to engage the life of the city below. A new design by the firm Ellerbe Becket has no such ambitions. A colossal, spiritless box, it would fit more comfortably in a cornfield than at one of the busiest intersections of a vibrant metropolis. Its low-budget, no-frills design embodies the crass, bottom-line mentality that puts personal profit above the public good. If it is ever built, it will create a black hole in the heart of a vital neighborhood."

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