Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your regularly scheduled Ball Don't Lie action.
Michael Lee, Washington Post: "The U.S. men's national team arrived at Madison Square Garden short one member of the Washington Wizards on Sunday, but another was in the arena to greet team members Kevin Durant(notes), Chauncey Billups(notes) and Derrick Rose(notes) with handshakes, hugs and words of encouragement. With Wizards center JaVale McGee(notes) not around after being informed that he had been cut - for the second time - hours before the game, No. 1 overall pick John Wall(notes) sat courtside as Team USA ripped through France with a 86-55 victory at the World Basketball Festival. Wall was in town a few days early before participating in the NBA's rookie transition program in Palisades, N.Y., later this week and no doubt anxiously awaiting his opportunity to some day represent his country in international play. Asked when that day might come, Wall said, 'Hopefully soon.'"
Frank Isola, New York Daily News: "Isiah Thomas believes he has a title far greater and influential than simply being the Knicks' president or general manager. 'Isiah is one of Jim Dolan's best friends,' says a person close to Thomas. 'That's good enough for him.' That relationship, the source of frustration and tension among Knicks executives and fans, will almost certainly lead to Thomas returning to the Knicks, perhaps as early as next April when FIU, the college team Thomas currently coaches, concludes its season. In fact, Thomas and Dolan are both in agreement that for now it is probably best that when Thomas does return, he comes back as a consultant. Thomas' message to Dolan, the chairman of Madison Square Garden, is that he doesn't want to run day-to-day operations. At least not yet. Thomas has convinced Dolan that he can deliver Carmelo Anthony(notes) to the Knicks next summer - assuming the All-Star forward doesn't sign a three-year, $65 million contract extension with Denver. With the Knicks failing to sign LeBron James(notes) last month, Dolan's faith in team president Donnie Walsh and head coach Mike D'Antoni has waned, particularly when it comes to recruiting today's young players. It is Thomas' thinking that if he can land Anthony or a player such as New Orleans point guard Chris Paul(notes), it will enhance his tarnished image among Knicks fans and potentially clear the way for him to return to take over the club again. Dolan's telling statement last Wednesday all but guarantees Thomas playing a role. 'I continue to believe in his basketball knowledge, including his ability to judge talent,' Dolan said. 'He's a good friend of mine and of the organization, and I will continue to solicit his views. He will always have strong ties to me and the team.'"
AP: "Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony says he has no timetable on when he'll decide whether to sign the team's $65 million, three-year extension that's been on the table all summer. During his annual basketball camp at ThunderRidge High School, Anthony said he's displayed his loyalty to Denver and the Nuggets over the last seven seasons, but 'I'm just taking my time, figuring out if I want to take that extension or not.' Anthony could become the headliner of the 2011 free agent class if he decides not to sign the extension or exercise the option on his current contract, which would pay him $18.5 million in 2011-12."
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe: "The four-way trade among the Rockets, Pacers, Nets, and Hornets should help all the teams, especially Indiana, which gets the point guard it has sought in Darren Collison(notes). The Nets get the expiring contract of Troy Murphy(notes) and the Hornets get swingman Trevor Ariza(notes). The departure of Ariza may help team chemistry in Houston, as he had a troubled relationship with point guard Aaron Brooks(notes). The deal does two things for the Hornets. It gives Chris Paul the security of knowing he's the team's unquestioned point guard, without Collison looking over his shoulder. And it replaces the aging James Posey(notes) with the energetic Ariza for just a few more dollars. Posey was not the same player in New Orleans that he was in Boston, and those Celtics fans who believed the club should have cleared cap space and paid him $6 million per season should be quieted. He has $13.3 million left on his contract and is coming off a career-worst season."
Adriano Torres, ESPN: "Nearly four weeks after undergoing successful arthroscopic knee surgery, Kobe Bryant(notes) was moving well Saturday morning at a Nike basketball clinic at Rucker Park in Harlem to celebrate the World Basketball Festival. Later Saturday, Bryant made a guest appearance at Niketown and watched a private scrimmage between Team USA and the Chinese national team at Madison Square Garden. The reigning NBA Finals MVP, whose surgery was reported by the Lakers on July 23, led youngsters through different drills at Rucker Park and at one point stopped a layup line to demonstrate proper technique. As a few dozen photographers snapped pictures, Bryant conducted a Q&A with Nike spokesman KeJuan Wilkins. 'In a sense I'm getting ready now,' the Lakers' All-Star guard said. 'I'm doing rehab constantly for my knee, making sure the leg is getting stronger. As soon as the leg gets strong enough to go, that's when I turn it up.'"
Mike Wells, Indianapolis Star: "A negative light is shining on the Indiana Pacers again. Just days after feeling good about making what they believe is their best trade in years, the Pacers were knocked down Sunday when rookie guard Lance Stephenson(notes) was arrested and charged with third-degree assault after he allegedly pushed his girlfriend down a flight of stairs in Brooklyn, N.Y., early Sunday. 'We have been made aware of a situation involving Lance Stephenson early Sunday morning in Brooklyn,' Pacers president Larry Bird said in a statement released from the team. 'We are currently in the process of gathering information and will have further comments as we learn more facts.'"
Tim Reynolds, AP: "The attorney for Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem(notes) says he is hopeful the NBA player will be vindicated of a possession of marijuana charge brought following a traffic stop over the weekend. Attorney Eric Schwartzreich says the State Attorney's Office is reviewing the arrest paperwork. Haslem was arrested Sunday afternoon, and Miami-Dade court records show he was charged with having more than 20 grams of marijuana in his 2008 Mercedes. He was released on bond Sunday night. A passenger in Haslem's vehicle told the Florida Highway Patrol that the marijuana was his."
Chris Tomasson, FanHouse: "It's possible guard Coby Karl(notes) could return to the Denver Nuggets despite being waived by the team Friday. Dan Fegan, the agent for the son of Nuggets coach George Karl, said in an interview with FanHouse on Sunday that Coby Karl will clear waivers on Tuesday. His options then will be further assessed. 'Coby has proven that he can contribute at the NBA level,' Fegan said of the two-year NBA veteran. 'He's gotten better every year. And we're still in discussions with Denver regarding his situation. Just because he's gotten waived doesn't mean that he won't be part of the Nuggets.'"