ESPN.com's Intelligence Report: May 26

Editor's note: ESPN.com is waking up early in the morning and aggregating news from papers around the country to bring you the latest NBA talk.

Previous Reports:

href="/nba/insider/news/story?page=intelligencereport/060519">May 19 | May 21 | May 22 | May 23 | May 24 | May 25


Atlanta Hawks | All Hawks sitelines

Phoenix Exposes Hawks' Mistake
A year ago, Boris Diaw wasn't deemed good enough to play in 16 games for one of the worst teams in NBA history. The same Boris Diaw scored 34 points and hit the winning basket in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Wednesday. For all the teeth-gnashing spawned by the Hawks' drafts over the years, their mishandling of Diaw stands as the greatest mistake since they re-upped Jon Koncak in the summer of 1989. A confession: Based on his two seasons as a Hawk, I didn't think Diaw could play. (Or, more precisely, I didn't think he cared to play.) Billy Knight obviously saw something more, having drafted Diaw with the 21st pick in 2003 when Josh Howard was available. Somehow that vision wasn't transmitted to Knight's coaches. -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Boston Celtics | All Celtics sitelines

Williams, Barea Work Out For Celtics
The Celtics welcomed another group of college point guards to their training facility in Waltham yesterday, including two players -- Connecticut junior Marcus Williams and Northeastern senior Jose Juan Barea -- who are familiar to local audiences. Michigan State junior Shannon Brown and Rutgers junior Quincy Douby also tried to impress Danny Ainge and company during the hourlong workout. ... "Marcus is a good basketball player," said Ainge. "He makes people better. That's his strength, his overall feel for the game. He's one of those true point guards." -- Boston Globe

UConn Star Weaves A Tangled Web
Marcus Williams, the former UConn point guard is the guy who stole the laptops. He has what is known as a character issue. Questions will abound from the media and, more to the point, general managers everywhere. Considering that Williams is sizing up as a top five pick or, the Celtics hope, someone who filters through to No. 7, each workout will come attached to an inquiry. "Oh yes, I'm going to ask him about it in just a little bit," Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge said after watching Williams work out yesterday at HealthPoint as part of a spirited guard group that included Northeastern's Jose Juan Barea, Michigan State's Shannon Brown and Rutgers' Quincy Douby. "We don't put anything aside," he said. -- Boston Herald

Barea Extends Visiting Hours
The Celtics marked Jose Juan Barea's sixth single-team workout, following visits with Sacramento, the Lakers, Golden State, Toronto and Minnesota. His current projection? "Late first to early second," said Barea, who impressed Celtics coach Doc Rivers with his general basketball intelligence. "He's crafty," Rivers said. "I really enjoyed watching him. Right now he's a lot more used to playing with the ball in his hands than moving without it, though." ... The Celtics will turn their attention to big man candidates next week, with some intriguing ones lined up, including Patrick O'Bryant - a fast rising 7-footer from Bradley - and Saer Sene, a 7-footer from Senegal. Duke's Shelden Williams and North Carolina State's Cedric Simmons are also due in. -- Boston Herald

Lonise Bias Still On Crusade
Len Bias was on the verge of realizing his dreams in late spring 1986. ... But Bias' legacy was stopped short. His death of cocaine intoxication two days after the draft buckled the knees of his family and the sports public. It began a mother's quest to transform tragedy into change. "I believe that Len died so that others could live," Lonise Bias said Thursday. Len Bias died on June 19, 1986. With the 20th anniversary of her son's death approaching, Lonise Bias continues her quest to prevent others from meeting the same fate through her lectures and workshops on drug abuse. -- Hartford Courant

Charlotte Bobcats | All Bobcats sitelines

Chicago Bulls | All Bulls sitelines

Collins Says He'd Be Good Fit With Bulls
If the Bulls choose a big man, as expected, with the No. 2 pick in the June 28 NBA draft, Temple's Mardy Collins is well aware that a tall, defensive-minded guard could be the target when the Bulls' turn comes up again at No. 16. "I would like to go higher than 16, but 16's not bad either," Collins said Thursday at the Berto Center. "I really think I can fit in here, Scott Skiles being a tough coach who expects guys to play hard and work hard." ... The 6-foot-6 Collins was one of five players to take part in the Bulls' first predraft workout, joining UCLA guard Arron Afflalo, North Carolina State guard Cameron Bennerman, UNLV forward Louis Amundson and Connecticut center Josh Boone. -- Arlington Heights Daily Herald

No Schenscher For Boomers
As expected, Chicago Bulls centre Luke Schenscher has pulled out of the Australian National squad ahead of the FIBA World Championship in Japan. Forced to make the tough decision between club and country, Schenscher chose to stay in the USA, aiming to secure a guaranteed contract with the six-time NBA champions. ... "It was real tough, my toughest decision of the summer... it's the first time I haven't made myself available for the Boomers." Chicago Bulls coach Scott Skiles is pleased with Schenscher's decision to stay, and believes he has the skills to succeed in the NBA. "Luke's an interesting player. He's got size, good hands, a nice touch," Skiles said. -- FIBA.com

Cleveland Cavaliers | All Cavs sitelines

Cavaliers Step Up To Mike
The Cavaliers advanced to the playoffs for the first time in eight years, and the organization rewarded coach Mike Brown for his effort. On Thursday, the Cavaliers picked up the option year of Brown's contract. Brown, who signed a three-year, $10 million deal last June with the team option for the fourth year, is now signed through the 2008-09 season with an average salary of $2.25 million per season. Brown was happy with the extension. "This is great," said Brown. -- Cleveland Plain Dealer

Detroit Pistons | All Pistons sitelines

Feisty Pistons Stifle Heat
Trouble? What trouble? The Pistons may have a habit of courting trouble, but at least they know what to do when they find it. The trouble-shooters arrived Thursday night, all of them, from Big Ben to the bench, playing as if they knew there was no time to waste. The Pistons attacked from the opening minute, and whether it was a whiff of desperation or simply the way they know they can play, it didn't really matter. Of course, just to fit the postseason's oh-so-tight theme, the Pistons let an 18-point lead dwindle to two, but hung on for a 92-88 victory. -- Detroit News

Whew! Ben's Offense Lends Needed Assist
Ben Wallace has been chided for his hands in the past -- too small, they say, for a guy his size -- but his hands were hot for most of Game 2. And we're not just talking blocks and rebounds, his normal specialties. We're talking lay-ups. We're talking finger rolls. We're talking bounce passes. Bounce passes? That's right. Like the one he made to Rip Hamilton for an easy lay-up. Or the whip pass he made to Antonio McDyess for a slam. Ben Wallace, point guard? Why not? He was pretty much everything else early on Thursday. -- Detroit Free Press

Wade Gets In His Digs
Dwyane Wade 's dander was up after the game. When asked about his nine turnovers, he said, "They did a good job with their pressure. I'm not like them, I'm going to give them credit." This is a refrain from last year's series when then-Heat coach Stan Van Gundy complained that the Pistons never gave the Heat credit for anything. For the record, all the Pistons players praised the Heat's energy and efficiency in Game 1. Wade must not have heard. "We don't get credit," he said. "They was tired. That's what y'all (media) said. That's why we won the first game." -- Detroit News

O'Neal Predicts Pistons' Doom
Jermaine O'Neal didn't take long to bury the Indiana Pacers' biggest rival. O'Neal, a guest commentator for TNT, concluded after Game 1 that the Pistons were finished. "I'm looking forward to Detroit responding in a major way, but all in all I think Miami has too much and Detroit is going down," he said. "The Pistons look worn out and a step slower. It's definitely not the same team we've seen the last couple of years (in the playoffs). They've played for two straight years with the same seven or eight guys. I think it's caught up with them." -- Oakland Press

Delfino Gets Time, Could See More PT
Carlos Delfino had not played in more than two weeks. On Thursday, coach Flip Saunders said he wanted him in one of the Pistons' biggest games this postseason. Saunders said after Thursday's shootaround that Delfino, the Argentine guard, would play in Game 2. Delfino's last action was a seven-minute stint in the Pistons' Game 1 win over Cleveland. "You'll see him tonight, because of his ability to do different things," Saunders said. "He can put the ball on the floor. He does a pretty good job defensively." -- Detroit Free Press

Indiana Pacers | All Pacers sitelines

Miami Heat | All Heat sitelines

Heat Increases Its Intensity Too Late
If. It is the biggest little word in sports. It is the lament of the loser. And it is the difference today between Miami having a commanding, overwhelming and practically insurmountable lead in the third round of the NBA playoffs and not having any lead at all. If is an illusion and a lie. Detroit 92, Miami 88. That's the truth. The scoreboard lights don't allow room for if. And now this insanity heads back to South Florida, where the only thing we can say with any certainty is that Saturday's Game 3 will ensure this 1-1 knot gets untied. -- Miami Herald

Heat Only Thrives In 'Desperate' Time
Miami almost pulled off an improbable comeback in Thursday's 92-88 Game 2 loss at Detroit. In the game's final 1:46 the Heat scored 17 points, which came as surprise to guard Dwyane Wade. "Who did that? The Heat? We did that?" he said when informed of the run after the game. "We were desperate, very desperate. We should have played that way from the beginning of the (second) half when we were down." The 17 points at the end of the game were five more than the 12 points Miami scored in the first quarter, and almost as many as the 19 points Miami scored in the third quarter. -- Palm Beach Post

Van Gundy: My Brother Never Given Credit Due
Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy told a New York radio station that his brother, former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, is enjoying life away from the game, but Jeff also said his relationship with Miami coach Pat Riley has "changed'' and he took shots at Alonzo Mourning during a 20-minute interview Wednesday. Jeff Van Gundy, speaking on the Mike and the Mad Dog Show on WFAN, said Stan still doesn't like discussing the circumstances of his sudden resignation as Heat coach in December. Jeff said when he brings up the issue, Stan changes the subject. -- Palm Beach Post

Just Not Enough In Reserves
The Heat got everything it needed from stars Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal, who combined for 53 points. But the supporting cast, which has been so important to Miami's run through the playoffs, didn't bring much support on a night when a little help might have given Miami a 2-0 grip on the series. Wade, who finished with 32 points, put on an awesome display, scoring 17 points in the final 1:46 of the game to fuel a furious Heat comeback that fell just short. But because its bench didn't show up, the Heat heads home tied 1-1. -- Miami Herald

Arison's No Maverick
A night after Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made himself at home in his team's huddles, as well as a fixture on TNT's telecast, Heat owner Micky Arison took a seat in the stands Thursday and maintained a low-key presence at his team's conference finals game against the Pistons. No, Arison said, he has no desire to be part of the action alongside coach Pat Riley. "That's just not my job," he said with a smile. "Pat and the assistant coaches and all the guys, that's their job. I appreciate everybody's passion. I just think everybody should do it and show it in an appropriate way." -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Milwaukee Bucks | All Bucks sitelines

New Jersey Nets | All Nets sitelines

New York Knicks | All Knicks sitelines

Brown Planning To Attend Workouts Today
While he has every right to call in sick if he doesn't get an answer from owner James Dolan, Larry Brown told his agent yesterday he will attend the third set of pre-draft workouts today at the Knicks' practice facility. Yesterday, agent Joe Glass reacted angrily to the questions about whether Brown will show up for work. "Why do you ask the most obvious questions?" Glass asked. ... Villanova star guard Allan Ray, formerly of St. Raymond's of The Bronx, Siena's Antoine Jordan, Brazilian Marcus De Sousa and South Carolina's Renaldo Balkman will be worked out by Brown and three of his assistants, Dave Hanners, Phil Ford and Herb Williams, with his partner in feuding, team president Isiah Thomas, looking on. -- New York Post

Find Owner In The Club, & Ewing As Assistant?
If Larry Brown really wants an audience with Garden chairman James Dolan, he may have to pay a cover charge. Dolan's band, JD and the Straight Shot, is scheduled to play at a midtown club, Coda, on Thursday. Can't you just see Brown holding a beer in one hand, a cigarette lighter in the other, while rocking his head to the music? Maybe not. ... The Knicks continue to say things are business as usual and Brown is apparently taking that same approach. According to sources, Brown is considering hiring Patrick Ewing to the coaching staff. -- New York Daily News

Orlando Magic | All Magic sitelines

Philadelphia 76ers | All 76ers sitelines

Webber's Hardly The Biggest Sixers Worry
So don't be so quick to write Chris Webber out of Philly. Again, he's not what he used to be, but they have other problems some folks might be missing. Perhaps Mr. King has realized that. Perhaps, finally, he has recalled how the Sixers nearly returned to glory just five years ago, using defense, toughness and a roughrider's approach as much as Iverson's heroics to propel them to title contention. The formula is there. It was the kind of formula in which someone like Korver would have been a specialist, and nothing more. Where defense was played and softness was not tolerated. Or in a case like Webber's, an alternative was always available. -- Philadelphia Inquirer

Sixers Should Trade Iverson, Draft Foye
Billy King, the Sixers president and general manager found himself in Secaucus on Tuesday night, at the NBA Draft Lottery for the second time in three years. There, he asked reporters and -- by extension, Sixers fans -- to do what Snider, the Sixers chairman, does. He asked everyone to trust him, claiming he has the creative mind to change the culture of his moribund basketball team. OK, then. If King wants to be creative, if he wants to "rebuild" (his word) the Sixers the right way, here's one potential starting place: Trade Allen Iverson. Draft Villanova's Randy Foye. -- Bucks County Courier Times

Toronto Raptors | All Raptors sitelines

Colangelo Builds His Team
Bryan Colangelo counts on them for their advice and counsel because he trusts their judgment, respects their backgrounds, values their opinion. And because it's just the right way to do business. The Raptors president and general manager has assembled something of a Kitchen Cabinet to deal with everything from draft picks to free-agent targets to what to order for dinner and from where, when days turn into long nights of strategy sessions. -- Toronto Star

Gay Wants Top Spot
Rudy Gay was sitting in front of the television Tuesday night watching the NBA draft lottery from Secaucus, N.J. When the pingpong balls bounced the Toronto Raptors' way for the No.1 pick, there were two thoughts that rushed through his mind. "It definitely turned out different than what I thought it would," Gay said by phone Wednesday. "And then I said, 'How good would it be to play with Charlie [Villanueva] again?'" ... Agent Lance Young said he believes his client will go in the top eight picks. "You know, teams have needs at the top and some are going to take the best player available," Young said. "Rudy, I think, is one of the best and most athletic guys among the guys mentioned as the No.1 pick. -- Hartford Courant

Washington Wizards | All Wizards sitelines

McCray, Bowman Go Through Drills With Wizards
The Wizards continued the process of examining players who will be eligible for the June 28 NBA draft by working out five prospects yesterday at Verizon Center.The prospects included a pair of locals, former Maryland guard Chris McCray and former Georgetown forward Brandon Bowman. ... Other participants in yesterday's workout were forward Chris Copeland (Colorado), guard Robert Hite (Miami) and forward Jeremy Richardson (Delta State). The Wizards hold selections in the first round (18th overall) and second round (48th). -- Washington Post

McCray In Search Of Redemption
Chris McCray emerged from the Washington Wizards' practice court inside Verizon Center wearing a basketball jersey. He was not, however, wearing the trademark wide smile that was a staple during much of his career at Maryland. In January, the former Terrapin was declared academically ineligible midway through his senior season. Yesterday he was trying to make the next step in his basketball career -- even if he was not able to finish the previous phase. McCray, the Terps' leading scorer and co-captain before his dismissal, spent the last two months in Houston with other NBA hopefuls in intense workouts under the guidance of former Maryland All-American John Lucas. -- Washington Times


Dallas Mavericks | All Mavericks sitelines

No Mercy For Mavs From Nash
Lock your doors and bolt your windows, there's a cold-blooded serial killer in town. He looks like an aging skateboarder, with scraggly long hair, sloppy T-shirts and eyes as soft and soulful as Elsie the Cow, but don't let that wouldn't-hurt-a-fly disguise trick you. He is an assassin from the soles of his basketball sneakers to the crown of that wet, sweaty head. The Mavs, of all people, should know that by now. He's slit their throats before, you might recall. Anyone who believes that Steve Nash is going to wear out, that he's suddenly going to come down with an aching back or that he'll eventually be too tired to run needs to come back from Never-Never Land. -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Nellie Ball May Be Mavs' Best Bet Vs. Suns
Make no mistake about it. Avery Johnson, the reigning NBA Coach of the Year, is a major reason the Mavericks are in the Western Conference Finals. But after faltering 121-118 in Game 1, it might be time for "The Little General" to adopt a few of the techniques of one of his mentors, Mavs "godfather" Don Nelson. To combat the Suns' helter-skelter, lightning-quick style, the Mavs might need to go smaller, become more unconventional and get creative. -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Daniels Needs To Be Marquee-Worthy
For a spell, Marquis Daniels became somewhat of an afterthought. In his third year, he had to prove himself all over again. What better proving ground for Daniels, however, than right now, especially with Howard hobbled Wednesday in the Mavericks' stunning loss to the Suns in the Western Conference finals' opener at American Airlines Center? If he does shine, the likelihood that the Mavericks advance to the NBA Finals will grow exponentially. But Daniels' final attempt to make a play Wednesday -- lobbing the basketball beyond anyone's reach, including 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki -- was not a great last impression. "That was kinda strange," Daniels said of his incompletion. -- Dallas Morning News

Howard To Be A Game-Time Decision
Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said Thursday that Josh Howard will be a game-time decision for tonight's Game 2 against the Phoenix Suns. An MRI performed on Howard's right ankle revealed a bone bruise, which doesn't have the swelling normally associated with a sprain, Mavs trainer Casey Smith said. Smith explained that the outside of Howard's foot rolled over, causing bones in his ankle and foot to bang together. "It's more a soreness and pain issue than a swelling and stability issue," Smith said. -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Small Lineup, Big Results
The Mavericks started the second half with Adrian Griffin, Jason Terry, Harris, Keith Van Horn and Nowitzki. The small lineup produced a five-point lead, thanks a 3-pointer and layup by Van Horn. "I think we played pretty good with that lineup," said Van Horn, who otherwise struggled with 3-for-11 shooting. "We got a lead with that lineup, and we're going to have to use that lineup at some point. The Suns play so small that a lot of guys will get some bigger roles. But the defensive end is where we need to step it up." -- Dallas Morning News

Denver Nuggets | All Nuggets sitelines

Golden State Warriors | All Warriors sitelines

Houston Rockets | All Rockets sitelines

Los Angeles Clippers | All Clippers sitelines

Cassell Calls On Clippers To Do the Right Thing
Sam Cassell is 36, would prefer a guaranteed two-year contract and a raise from his $6.1-million salary. Owner Donald T. Sterling must decide how much Cassell is worth to the Clippers, though it seemed at least some fans figured Cassell would be a bargain at any price. "Look at all these fans coming to the table, saying that they're Clippers fans now, they can't wait for next season and they want me back," Cassell said. "You know, I won championships when I was younger, I've made money and had a lot of good times. But for me, helping to take an organization that was at the bottom of the barrel in the NBA, and lifting it up, means more to me than anything I've ever done." -- Los Angeles Times

'Dumbleavy' To Blame For Clippers' Exit
The Clippers lost because, when it counted most, they didn't know how to win and that includes not only their players but also their coach, Mike Dunleavy. Indeed, it's the overwhelming feeling here that the Clippers never would have had to play that seventh game and would have won in six had Dunleavy not made such horrendous late-game decisions in his team's first three losses to the Suns. ... This is not the first time Dumbleavy oops, I mean Dunleavy has made moves that have resulted in widespread second-guessing. -- Long Beach Press-Telegram

Sales Brisk For Clippers
Clipper Nation is a T-shirt, a banner, a coffee mug and a cap. Lots of them, actually. Sales of Clippers merchandise increased by 40% during the NBA regular season and soared by 100% during the team's first postseason run in two decades. The rise in demand for Clippers merchandise mirrors the retail fortunes of most franchises making their first postseason appearance in a number of years, said Christopher Arena, the NBA's vice president of apparel and sporting goods. Elton Brand's was the hottest Clippers jersey during regular and postseason play. -- Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Lakers | All Lakers sitelines

Memphis Grizzlies | All Grizzlies sitelines

Minnesota Timberwolves | All Wolves sitelines

No Takers For No. 6 Pick
The Timberwolves, desperate to win now and with Kevin Garnett about to enter his 12th season, are trying to trade their No. 6 overall pick in next month's NBA draft for a veteran player. But because the draft has no high-impact players, the Wolves are having trouble finding a team that wants to deal. -- St. Paul Pioneer Press

New Orleans Hornets | All Hornets sitelines

Phoenix Suns | All Suns sitelines

Suns Must Do What They Do Best
The Suns may be up in the series, but they're down for the count. And unless Raja Bell returns, they'll have to find a way to eke out three more victories without one of their best playoff performers. "I think we'll be fine. I really do," Bell said. "We've had to do it so many times this year that nothing needs to be said. Plus, I don't see myself as a guy you can't play without. So, in that respect, I think we'll be fine." Of course, Bell is underestimating his contributions, and after an electrifying comeback in Game 1, it's a shame that the Suns may have lost another key player in a key series against Dallas. -- Arizona Republic

Just Another Hurdle For Suns
The Suns' system operates with the versatility of a Swiss Army knife. Take one option away and there are other means for Phoenix to get the job done, whether it is driving, cutting, twisting or prying open its nemesis. Tonight likely will be the first of at least three games in the Western Conference finals Phoenix must play without Raja Bell, whose partially torn left calf muscle makes him doubtful for Game 2. -- Arizona Republic

Bell's Absence Might Be Too Much For Suns
Thursday was another typical workday for Club Calamity. Raja Bell did interviews while he was prone on the floor, trainer Aaron Nelson working on his injured left calf. ... Phoenix has survived everything up until now -- the injuries to Amaré Stoudemire and Kurt Thomas, Bell's suspension for Game 6 against the Lakers -- but Bell's injury, which will keep him out of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals tonight and likely will force him to miss Games 3 and 4 as well, might be the bullet the Suns can't elude. -- East Valley Tribune

Barkley's Picks Not Personal
Charles Barkley said he's heard a lot of talk from friends about how Phoenix fans are upset with his commentary but said he doesn't get "extra bonus points" for saying stuff just to get a rise out of them. "This stuff that I have something against the team or the Valley -- I love Arizona and their fans are the best," Barkley said. "But it comes down to defense and rebounding in the playoffs. The Suns were very fortunate they didn't have to play the Spurs or the Mavericks in the second round or they would be home right now. They had a better chance to beat the Spurs, because that team got old fast. Dallas is the best team the Suns have to play. If they beat these guys, I'll be the first to say I was wrong." -- East Valley Tribune

Portland Trail Blazers | All Blazers sitelines

Medford Kid Gets His Workout
For one player, just participating in Thursday's draft workout at the Blazers practice facility was an accomplishment. Eric Fiegi, a former South Medford High standout, had what might end up being his only NBA workout, at least this year. He joined Stanford's Matt Haryasz, Louisiana Tech's Paul Millsap and George Washington's Pops Mensah-Bonsu. -- The Oregonian

McMillan Gaining Reputation For Hard Workouts
Ten players worked out at the Blazers' practice facility so far this week, and a common theme we've heard is that Blazers coach Nate McMillan runs tougher workouts than other NBA teams. "I knew that it was going to test my endurance and my strength," said George Washington forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu. "He just pushes you. He makes you go hard. A lot of teams' workouts are shorter. His workouts may be a little bit longer, but the whole time you're working. There's not too much rest. I think he just gets the best out of every player." McMillan was surprised to hear that comments were made about his tough workouts. -- Vancouver Columbian

The Blazers Got This One Right
Major props to the Blazers for correcting the awful transcription mistake they made in their very first attempt to tape record a media interview and post it online. They erroneously quoted Oregonian beat reporter Jason Quick in the original transcript. In response to a Steve Patterson comment of, "So I think it unfair to try to cast (Paul Allen) in an unfavorable light." the Blazers had Quick saying, "I don't think that's unfair to do." Eek. What Quick really said: "I don't think that's what I'm trying to do." Big difference. -- The Oregonian

Sacramento Kings | All Kings sitelines

Elie Makes Kings Pitch
What happens in Vegas ... doesn't always stay in Vegas. The Kings finished their secret two-day interview session for a coach Thursday, when Golden State assistant coach Mario Elie gave his pitch to replace former coach Rick Adelman. Elie, an 11-year veteran as a player who was also an assistant with San Antonio, arrived Thursday afternoon, hours after Memphis assistant and former Warriors head coach Eric Musselman left town following his Wednesday interview. -- Sacramento Bee

San Antonio Spurs | All Spurs sitelines

Parker's Poker Party A Slam Dunk
I'm a huge basketball fan so I was excited when actress Eva Longoria asked me to be master of ceremonies at a birthday party for her boyfriend, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs. Actually it was more a poker tournament than birthday party. The evening featured a $300 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold 'em poker tournament, with re-buys, professional dealers and even a floor man -- and everyone in the room was playing! The Spurs are so into poker that they keep records for the entire year (Michael Finley, another great player, won their last tournament). -- Philadelphia Daily News

Seattle SuperSonics | All Sonics sitelines

Utah Jazz | All Jazz sitelines

Time To Give A.D. His Due Respect
Before someone launches a congressional investigation. It's time to give A.D. -- sullen and selfish though he might have been -- his due. The mystery of Adrian Dantley's situation has been around for 15 years since he retired. In spite of a career that spanned 14 seasons -- half of them in Utah -- and a 24-point scoring average, his number (4) doesn't hang in the rafters of the Delta Center. It's all rather strange, considering Darrell Griffith's, Mark Eaton's and Jeff Hornacek's numbers are already there. They have only two All-Star appearances among them, and Hornacek's lone invitation came when he was playing in Phoenix. Dantley was on six All-Star teams, all as a member of the Jazz. He appeared in 461 games for the Jazz, 11 more than Hornacek. -- Deseret Morning News

Jazz Plan To View 8 More Smalls And Talls
The Jazz on Thursday announced plans to audition eight NBA draft prospects in coming days, including a highly regarded center from UConn and a top-notch Duke front-liner, both of who could be available when Utah picks at No. 14 overall. Saturday brings the guards. Monday, the big men visit. Multiple prognosticators do not regard any of the backcourt players working out Saturday -- Duke point guard Sean Dockery, Wake Forest combo guard Justin Gray, high-scoring St. Peter's guard Keydren Clark and Iowa State's Will Blalock -- as likely first-round selections in the June 28 draft. All four of Monday's crop, however, are pegged as possible first-rounders. Three of the four -- UConn's Hilton Armstrong, Duke's Shelden Williams and raw-but-promising Bradley 7-footer Patrick O'Bryant -- are considered potential mid-to-late lottery picks. -- Deseret Morning News

Draft Talk

Williams Headed To NBA
Shawne Williams spent Thursday at the Los Angeles Lakers' practice facility conducting his first private workout as a full-fledged professional. Everything was cool, until he looked up. "I saw somebody in this room up top looking down, and then I knew it was Phil Jackson," Williams said by cell phone from L.A. "It was the weirdest thing ever in life. I just couldn't believe how this is really real." Really real, and really official now that Williams has signed with Immortal Sports Agency. ... "He's going to work out for teams as high as fifth or sixth in the draft and a good portion of the teams down to 15," said Happy Walters, who will represent Williams along with Bill McCandless. "He's definitely a first-round pick." ... Sources within the program have long told The Commercial Appeal that Darius Washington, who is now training at IMG Academy in Florida, will remain in the draft despite having no first-round guarantee. -- Memphis Commercial-Appeal

Ray, Foye Working Out For NBA
Projected as a second-rounder, Allan Ray already has worked out for four teams with two more on the horizon. The guard said via text message that this week he took a the West Coast swing, stopping in with Golden State, Toronto, the Los Angeles Clippers and throwing in a visit with Memphis on his way back East. Today, Ray is in New York with the Knicks and is scheduled next Friday to head to Minnesota for a visit with the Timberwolves. Randy Foye, an almost guaranteed lottery pick projected as high as sixth on some draft boards, already visited with Houston, Boston and Charlotte and said via text message that he will be in Golden State today and off to Utah for a workout with the Jazz on Tuesday. Sophomore Kyle Lowry, who is testing the draft waters and has not yet signed with an agent, remains in Florida working out at the IMG Academy. The point guard is expected to begin his tour of individual workouts next week. -- Philadelphia Daily News


March's Madness Has Moved To May
This has been a May to savor. Already 14 games have been decided by one or two points. And Detroit's 92-88 win over Miami on Thursday made it 24 games that have been decided by five or fewer points. There have been nine overtime games. And four Game Sevens. This month has been drunk with entertaining games. Teams have come back from the dead. They have overcome adversity, sometimes of their own making. -- Seattle Times

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