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Basketball news gathered from around the net.

Bulls Were Increasingly Confident Of Carmelo Chances Even Before Cap News

The Chicago Bulls were already feeling increasingly optimistic of their chances of acquiring Carmelo Anthony this offseason, according to sources, and the projected increase in salary cap for 14-15 improves their odds.

The Bulls would have to use their amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer, as well as moving other veteran salary to make Anthony a competitive offer.

The Houston Rockets are also confident that they can create space for Anthony.

Via Marc Stein/ESPN

Jim Buss Gives Himself Deadline To Turn Around Lakers' Basketball Ops

Jim Buss pledged to his siblings during a winter meeting that he would step down from his post in basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers if the team didn't become a contender again within the next few years.

"I was laying myself on the line by saying, if this doesn't work in three to four years, if we're not back on the top — and the definition of top means contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship — then I will step down because that means I have failed," Jim Buss told The Times about the meeting. "I don't know if you can fire yourself if you own the team … but what I would say is I'd walk away and you guys figure out who's going to run basketball operations because I obviously couldn't do the job.

"There's no question in my mind we will accomplish success. I'm not worried about putting myself on the line."

Via Mike Bresnahan/Los Angeles Times

New Bucks' Owners Hope To Follow Model Of Spurs, Thunder

Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, prospective owners of the Milwaukee Bucks, acknowledged that they will be inheriting a franchise with the worst record in the NBA, a small market and the need for a new arena.

"First of all, I love underdogs, and I think Marc loves underdogs. The notion of buying into a team at this time in some respects is perfect. There is no doubt there is a tremendous fan base in Milwaukee and in the Wisconsin area for sports. All you have to do is look at the attendance figures for the Brewers. Go to a Packers game. There is no doubt there is a huge fan interest for it. We just have to create a product that everybody is excited about...In the NBA you can become competitive in a very short time if you get the right people in charge and you get the right players on the court playing the right way. I think it's a great opportunity."

"I agree with Wes," said Lasry. "Part of this for us, you can only go up, right? If you look at this, if we do the right things. If we pick the right players. If everything works the way hopefully it will and we can follow the model of San Antonio or the (Oklahoma City) Thunder. I think, look, all everybody wants is the same thing we do. Everybody just wants a winner.

"If you're winning, people show up. If you're losing, people get discouraged."

Via Don Walker/Journal Sentinel

76ers' Harris: No Shortcuts To Become Elite Team For Long Period

The Philadelphia 76ers won just 19 games this season while stripping its roster in the process.

"I think the season has been a huge success for us," Harris said Friday. "Obviously, I don't like to lose. In terms of having to live through a losing season, it's tough. It was incredibly fun to take down the Bulls [in the first round of the 2012 playoffs] my first year, when we were seeded eighth and they were seeded first.

"And I want to be back in the playoffs, and I want this team competing for the championship," Harris said. "And that's kind of what we're trying to do, but obviously to do that, to get to that point where you're an elite team for a long period of time, there's no shortcuts. We came into the season knowing that it would be a long season, that we were going to be putting building blocks in place."

When asked about tanking the season, Harris said, "we don't use that word."

"We played every game to win, and this is where we finished," he said. "It's a very deep draft. I think we're in great shape. … We don't want to be 41-41. We don't want to be one-and-done [in the playoffs]. That's not what we want as an ownership group. We want this city to be proud of the Sixers. And we want to be proud of the Sixers. And we want this to be an elite team that's competing year-in and year-out for a championship. And we looked at our ability to do that, having finished with 35 wins [in the 2011-12 season and 34 wins in 2012-13], and we said, 'It's a long road without a rebuilding process.' That's what led us to the current process."

Via Jaosn Wolf/The News Journal

Kupchak Favored Keeping Gasol At Deadline

Jim Buss was more in favor of trading away Pau Gasol at the trade deadline than Mitch Kupchak.

The Los Angeles Lakers were never offered more than a second round pick for Gasol.

The Lakers decided not to trade away the expiring $19.3 million contract of Gasol for such a small return.

"Mitch wins a lot more of these battles than people imagine," said an agent who asked not to be identified because he deals with the Lakers. "They respect his caution."

Via Mike Bresnahan/Los Angeles Times

Robert Covington Named D-League Rookie Of The Year

Houston Rockets rookie Robert Covington has been the named the 2014 NBA Development League Rookie of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 17 head coaches. The award recognizes the first-year professional who most significantly contributed to his team’s success during the course of the season.

Covington (6-9, 215, Tennessee State) played in 42 of the Vipers 50 regular season games on assignment from the Rockets, 41 as a starter. He averaged 23.2 points, good for second-best in the NBA D-League, while shooting 44 percent from the field. He rounded out his stat line averaging a Vipers-best 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals, second-highest in the league. During the regular season, Covington led the team in scoring 21 times and was the Vipers leading rebounder in 13 contests. He scored in double figures in 41 of his 42 games in Rio Grande Valley, recording two 40-plus point games and four additional 30-plus point outings.

All-Time NBA D-League Rookie of the Year winners
2012-13: Tony Mitchell, Fort Wayne Mad Ants
2011-12: Edwin Ubiles, Dakota Wizards
2010-11: DeShawn Sims, Maine Red Claws
2009-10: Alonzo Gee,* Austin Toros
2008-09: Othyus Jeffers,* Iowa Energy
2007-08: Blake Ahearn, Dakota Wizards
2006-07: Louis Amundson,* Colorado 14ers
2005-06: Will Bynum,* Roanoke Dazzle
2004-05: James Thomas, Roanoke Dazzle
2003-04: Desmond Penigar, Asheville Altitude
2002-03: Devin Brown, Fayetteville Patriots
2001-02: Fred House, Charleston Lowgators

Via RealGM Staff Report

Wade Won't Have Minutes Restriction Entering Playoffs

Erik Spoelstra said Saturday that Dwyane Wade will not have a minutes restriction entering the NBA playoffs.

The Heat open their first round series against the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday.

"I'm going to read his body language," Spoelstra said of Wade.

Via Ethan J. Skolnick/Bleacher Report

Joakim Noah Returns To Practice After Bereavement Leave

Joakim Noah returned to Chicago Bulls practice on Saturday and will play in Sunday's Game 1 against the Washington Wizards.

Noah missed practice on Friday due to a bereavement leave to tend to the passing of childhood mentor Tyrone Green.

"I will do my best to respect his life and his family in this time of grief and ask that everyone please do the same. I will miss him very much," Noah said in a statement.

Via K.C. Johnson/Chicago Tribune

Phil Jackson Vowed Changes In Speech To Knicks

Phil Jackson and Jim Dolan addressed the New York Knicks' locker room after the team's season finale, and Jackson made it clear that there will be changes in the offseason.

“Phil was honest; he said it was a disappointing season,” one Knicks player said. “He told us that there will be changes in the locker room and that not all of us will be back."

Jackson also told the Knicks they should be grateful for the job Mike Woodson has done.

Jackson is expected to try to re-sign Carmelo Anthony, but the statuses of Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, Amar'e Stoudemire and others is unclear.

Via Frank Isola/New York Daily News

NBA Salary Cap Projected To Increase By 7.7 Percent

The NBA 2014-15 salary cap is now projected to be $63.2 million and the tax level is projected to be $77.0 million. The numbers for 2015-16 are now projected to be $66.5 million and $81.0 million, respectively.

The official numbers won't come out until July when the NBA conducts its audit.

The salary cap and luxury tax values for the current season are $58.679 million and $71.748 million, respectively, which means the new cap projection for next season represents a 7.7% increase over this season. 

The original revenue forecast for 2014-15 was $4.66 billion, so with an actual revenue of $4.75 billion, the players would get 60.5% of the difference, or $54.45 million, on top of their 50% guarantee ($2,33 billion), for a total of about $2.384 billion. 

The increase could make signing Carmelo Anthony far more viable for the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls.

Via Larry Coon/CBAFaq

Jazz Deny Reported Firing Of Ty Corbin

The Jazz denied a New York Daily News report Friday that Ty Corbin has been fired as head coach.

Marcus Lee Returns To Kentucky For Sophomore Season

Marcus Lee was named to the Midwest Regional All-Tournament team in his freshman season.

Nick Calathes Suspended 20 Games For Supplement Use

Nick Calathes tested positive for Tamoxifen, which was part of an over-the-counter athletic supplement he had used.

Ties Broken For 2014 NBA Draft Selection Order

The Jazz won an important tiebreaker over the Celtics.

Kupchak: Trading Lottery Pick 'Possibility' For Lakers

The Lakers may look to accelerate their rebuilding efforts around Kobe Bryant and their cap space.

RealGM Radio: Mega NBA Playoffs Preview

Daniel Leroux previews the NBA Playoffs with Beckley Mason, Nate Duncan, Shams Charania and Arturo Galletti.

Kendall Marshall To Play For Lakers In Summer League

The Lakers have planned to pick up the non-guaranteed season on Kendall Marshall's contract for 2014-15.

Brian Shaw Expects Nuggets To Keep Kenneth Faried

Brian Shaw expects Kenneth Faried to remain with the Nuggets next season.

Pelicans View Pierre Jackson As Asset, Remain Unsure On Signing Him For 14-15

New Orleans never signed Pierre Jackson to a rookie scare contract.

George Kaiser Joins Thunder As Ownership Stakeholder

George Kaiser bought an ownership stake of the Thunder and has become the newest co-owner.

Craig Sager Diagnosed With Leukemia, Could Miss Entire Playoffs

TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager has been diagnosed with leukemia.

Andrew Bynum Ruled Out Of Pacers' First Round Series

Andrew Bynum has played two games since signing with the Pacers.

Magic Could Discuss Extensions For Vucevic, Harris After Initial Free Agency

Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris will be eligible for extensions this summer.

Pau Gasol To Receive Interest From Knicks In Free Agency

Pau Gasol would have to accept the Knicks' taxpayer's midlevel exception of approximately $3.2 million.

Thaddeus Young Believes He Holds Leverage In Possible Trade Request

Thaddeus Young admitted Thursday that he will look at all his options.

Joel Anthony To Exercise 14-15 Player Option With Celtics

Joel Anthony will earn $3.8 million and become an unrestricted free agent in 2015.

Forman: Derrick Rose Won't Return For Postseason

Derrick Rose tore his meniscus early in the season and was subsequently ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Danté Exum Signs Endorsement Deal With Adidas

Dante Exum participated in the Adidas Nations program in 2011 and 2012.

Ricky Hickman Named Euroleague MVP For Playoffs Game 1

Ricky Hickman had the highest index rating of Game 1.

Scott Perry Expected To Be GM Candidate For Pistons, Cavaliers

Scott Perry is assistant general manager of the Magic, but was formerly with the Pistons.
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