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NBA news gathered from around the net.

Kobe Walks Back Negative Things He's Called Dwight

Kobe Bryant was asked if he believes Dwight Howard is a p-word, as Kevin Durant called him during a recent game.

Bryant called Howard "soft" repeatedly in their game on opening night this season.

“No, I don’t feel that way I don’t think Kevin [Durant] does (either).

“When you get in argument with somebody, you'll say things out of frustration and out of anger that you really don't mean."

Via Baxter Holmes/ESPN

Raptors Honor Vince Carter With Tribute Video

The Toronto Raptors recognized Vince Carter during a first quarter timeout of Wednesday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Carter requested a trade from the Raptors in 2004 and has largely been booed in his return visits ever since.

“Amazing,” Carter said. “It’s just an amazing feeling to see it, to relive it, to see all the people react as each play was happening. It was an honest reaction. It was in the moment, the feel of the moment.”

“I think when we were all growing up we all got to witness what he was doing here in Toronto,” Quincy Pondexter said. “He was Air Canada. He was the man. A big piece of him is still in the city and he loves it. I knew there was something (special) about it from the time we got on the plane. I usually sit next to him and he was really focused on this day. It means a lot to him.”

Via Richard Griffin/Toronto Star

Grizzlies Re-Sign Kalin Lucas, Hassan Whiteside

The Memphis Grizzlies have re-signed guard Kalin Lucas and center Hassan Whiteside.

Lucas (6-1, 186) originally was signed on Sept. 25 and averaged 3.1 points and 1.0 assists on .429 shooting in 7.9 minutes in eight preseason games for Memphis before he was waived on Oct. 25.

Whiteside (7-0, 275) originally was signed on Sept. 25 and recorded 3.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.00 blocks on .500 shooting in 8.2 minutes in five preseason contests before he was waived on Oct. 22.

Via RealGM Staff Report

Jeffery Taylor Suspended 24 Games By NBA For Pleading Guilty To Domestic Assault

Jeffery Taylor has been suspended 24 games by the NBA due to his guilty plea to domestic assault charges in September, the league announced on Wednesday.

Taylor had been removed from all Charlotte Hornets' basketball activities.

A 24-game suspension in the NBA is roughtly the equivalent of 4.7 NFL games.

Via RealGM Staff Report

Jahlil Okafor Considered By NBA Teams As Consensus Top Prospect In 2015

Jahlil Okafor is No. 1 on the big boards of Chad Ford and Jonathan Givony and figures to remain there throughout the season.

Okafor is one of the best low post scorer prospects in many years.

"I was sitting with a number of GMs and scouts last night during the Duke-Michigan State game," wrote Ford. "They love him. He's big and physical, however he was quick feet and a soft touch around the basket. He's a legit, old school big man who is just so poised right now. Emmanuel Mudiay and possibly Karl Towns and Kristaps Porzingis will make a run, but it's Okafor's to lose. Of the 30 guys I spoke with last night and polled, all of them had Okafor atop their board."

Via Chad Ford/ESPN

Goran Dragic Plans On Testing Open Market In Free Agency

Goran Dragic plans to opt out this offseason to test free agency, according to sources.

Dragic previously stated that he planned on opting out in order to re-sign a long-term deal with the Phoenix Suns.

Sources say the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers will be options for Dragic.

At issue with the Suns and Dragic is the guard logjam on the team, which Dragic addressed on Tuesday. He told AZCentral.com’s Paul Coro that the reason for some of Phoenix’s early struggles this year is, “Because there’s only one ball and we’re all point guards. That’s an easy answer.”

Dragic’s numbers have dipped this year (15.6 points, 47.5 percent shooting), and the Suns generally have had a harder time offensively.

Via Sean Deveney/Sporting News

Carmelo Has Been Playing Through Knee Injury Since 2nd Game Of Season

Carmelo Anthony has been playing with a sore left knee since the second game of the season and has undergone tests to determine the severity.

Anthony wouldn't say what's wrong with it or what those tests revealed, but he aggravated it on Tuesday.

"It's been sore since maybe the Cleveland game," Anthony said after leading the Knicks with 26 points. "I've just been trying to go through it and play through it and not kind of think about it. Some days are better than others.

"I don't think it's serious. I'm out there playing. I don't think it's that serious."

Via Al Iannazzone/Newsday

Jason Collins Announces Retirement From NBA

Jason Collins has announced his retirement from the NBA in a piece in Sports Illustrated.

"It has been 18 exhilarating months since I came out in Sports Illustrated as the first openly gay man in one of the four major professional team sports," wrote Collins. "And it has been nine months since I signed with the Nets and became the first openly gay male athlete to appear in a game in one of those leagues. It feels wonderful to have been part of these milestones for sports and for gay rights, and to have been embraced by the public, the coaches, the players, the league and history.

"On Wednesday at the Barclays Center, I plan to announce my retirement as an NBA player. The day will be especially meaningful for me because the Nets will be playing the Bucks, who are coached by Jason Kidd, my former teammate and my coach in Brooklyn. It was Jason who cheered my decision to come out by posting on Twitter: “Jason’s sexuality doesn’t change the fact that he is a great friend and was a great teammate.”

"Considering all the speculation about problems I might face within the locker room, Jason’s support was significant. It had been argued that no team would want to take on a player who was likely to attract a media circus from the outset and whose sexuality would be a distraction. I’m happy to have helped put those canards to rest. The much-ballyhooed media blitz to cover me unscrambled so quickly that a flack jokingly nicknamed me Mr. Irrelevant."

Via Sports Illustrated

Self: Cliff Alexander Not Tall Enough To Score Over Kentucky's Length

Cliff Alexander's lack of length was problematic in Kansas' 72-40 loss to Kentucky on Tuesday.

Alexander had just eight points and eight rebounds as he struggled against the length of Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson, Karl-Anthony Towns and Trey Lyles.

According to Bill Self, Alexander must learn to put himself in better position to score before he receives the ball.

“He’s not tall enough, and it was very evident tonight, to score over that length,” Self said.

Via Steve Greenberg/Chicago Sun-Times

Celtics Telling Teams Rajon Rondo Won't Be Traded

Rival executives have told Bleacher Report that Danny Ainge has been firm that the Boston Celtics will not trade Rajon Rondo ahead of the trade deadline.

"They're definitely bravely saying they won't trade him at this point," said one general manager, who nevertheless added, "I definitely think it's the right thing to trade him. I think Danny knows it."

Rondo's representatives are said to be pursuing a max contract, which would be for five years and an estimated $106 million if he stays with Boston, while his deal elsewhere would be four years and about $79 million.

"My body feels a lot better, my legs are a lot stronger," Rondo said, comparing his play now to last season, when he was just making his way back. "I can get into the paint a lot easier now, this year. Last year, I was pretty slow. So this year I'm a step faster."

"This is going to be his best year of his career, I think," Ainge said, though not because Rondo is on any sort of salary drive. "Knowing Rondo, he just wants to show that he's one of the elite point guards in the NBA again. But yeah, he is a foundational piece that we already have that's right there. But there is uncertainty for this upcoming offseason."

Via Howard Beck/Bleacher Report

Dwight Howard Under Investigation For Hitting Six-Year-Old Son With Belt

Dwight Howard reportedly admitted to hitting his son with the buckle of his belt, leaving bruises and abrasions on his legs.

John Lucas To Sign In China

John Lucas has reportedly pulled out of a workout with the Lakers.

Lance Stephenson Expects To Get Booed From Pacers Crowd In Return

Lance Stephenson's father maintains that leaving the Pacers was not the plan heading into free agency in the offseason.

LeBron Believes Minutes For Cavs' Big 3 Have To Come Down

LeBron James is averaging the third-most minutes per game in the NBA at 39.1.

C.J. McCollum Sidelined Four Weeks With Finger Fracture

C.J. McCollum will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

Nick Johnson Assigned By Rockets To Rio Grande Valley

Nick Johnson has appeared in three games with the Rockets so far this season, totaling two points and a rebound in 11 minutes of playing time.

Andrei Kirilenko Out Of Nets' Rotation

Andrei Kirilenko has scored just three points in the 35 minutes hes played across seven games.

Draymond Green Expected To Get At Least $8M Per Season

Draymond Green is making just $915,000 this season as a former second round pick.

Duncan Respects LeBron's Return To Cleveland, Didn't Think It Was A Possibility

The Spurs will play the Cavaliers on Wednesday for the first time since LeBron James returned to the franchise.

LeBron's Relationship With Blatt Remains Work In Progress

LeBron James and David Blatt continue to be a work in progress understanding each other.

James Johnson Out Indefinitely With Severe Right Ankle Sprain

James Johnson has averaged 7.6 points, 3.8 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game this season.

Cleanthony Early To Undergo Knee Surgery

Cleanthony Early will be reevaluated in one month to determine the timetable for his return.

Bosh Didn't Want 'Pressure' Of Joining Another Big 3 With Rockets

Chris Bosh had just spent the past four seasons perceived as the third best player in a Big 3 behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Pacers Get Hardship Relief Extension On A.J. Price

A.J. Price will remain on the Pacers for another 10 days after the club was granted a second injury hardship relief exception.

Ryan Kelly Out At Least Six Weeks With Torn Hamstring

Ryan Kelly suffered the injury in Sunday's loss.

Kobe: You're Crazy If You Think I Want To Shoot This Much At 36

Kobe Bryant scored 44 points on 34 shots from the field in the Lakers' loss on Sunday to the Golden State Warriors.

George Karl Remains Interested In Coaching, Monitoring Nuggets' Situation

George Karl was the NBA Coach of the Year in 12-13, but was fired before entering the final season of his contract.

Report: Klay Thompson Would Have Entered 2010 Draft With Guarantee From Lakers

The Lakers had already traded their first round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, though they did own the 38th pick from the Grizzlies.

Meyers Leonard Shifts Philosophy From 'Brute' Center To Stretch Forward

Meyers Leonard has shown development in his shooting and has a more defined role as a shooting big man who can stretch the defense.

Timberwolves Discussing Corey Brewer Trade With Cavs, Rockets

The Cavaliers and Rockets view Corey Brewer as a notable boost for their wing depth.
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