NBA Rumors and News Roundup: Kobe Bryant Hot, Miami Heat Lose Again and More

Ethan NorofCorrespondent IJanuary 12, 2012

NBA Rumors and News Roundup: Kobe Bryant Hot, Miami Heat Lose Again and More

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    The debate between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James is once again a topic of discussion, and the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat are both in headlines everywhere this week.

    Bryant's wrist injury isn't slowing him down the way that many had expected it to, and it's very clear that the offseason procedure he had on his knee has given him the spring back in his step.

    There are storylines evolving throughout the league on a daily basis, and we're in store for a very interesting year in the NBA.

Andre Miller

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    Miller doesn't have a ton of time left in his career, and he wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea of returning to a Denver to serve as a mentor to Ty Lawson.

    Clearly unhappy in a backup role, Miller acknowledged that he probably wouldn't be re-signing with the Nuggets after the conclusion of the season.

    The veteran is likely to explore opportunities which will allow him to start, and there are a number of teams that could use his leadership and basketball IQ in the starting lineup.

Danilo Gallinari

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    Gallinari was the main piece of the Carmelo Anthony trade, and it's highly unlikely that the Nuggets would let him walk in free agency next year.

    A restricted free agent, Gallinari said, "I'd like to be here," when asked about his future plans, and it makes a lot of sense for both parties to sew up a deal.

    He's established himself as a much more well-rounded player than he had shown during his tenure in New York, and he should be an integral part of what the Nuggets do for years to come.

Deron Williams

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    Williams got himself ejected on Wednesday night, and the frustration in New Jersey may be starting to boil over for both he and his teammates.

    Just prior to getting tossed, Williams suffered a grade one sprain of his ankle, but it shouldn't be more than a day-to-day injury.

    It's tough to watch the Nets right now given the struggles at both ends of the floor, and if Williams is forced to miss some time, things will get that much uglier.

Earl Watson

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    Watson was not pleased with the officiating during Wednesday's game against the Lakers, but that wasn't even the worst part of his evening.

    He left the game in a great deal of pain after hurting his knee, and the injury is being called a sprain for the time being until he gets reevaluated.

    Given the fragility of starter Devin Harris, any time Watson misses could cost the Jazz, as veteran Jamaal Tinsley is third on the depth chart behind Watson.

T.J. Ford

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    Ford was a solid pickup for the Spurs in the offseason to back up Tony Parker, but the team will have to play without him for the foreseeable future.

    He was diagnosed with a torn hamstring, which will force him out of action for four to six weeks. Gary Neal will take over as the backup behind Parker.

    It's a tough blow to a club that is already playing without Manu Ginobili, but the Spurs will have to keep it moving with a plethora of games in January.

Kawhi Leonard

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    Leonard has been a very nice addition for the Spurs early this season, and the rookie is already making his presence felt on the floor.

    He started on Wednesday night—a trend that should continue for as long as Manu Ginobili is sidelined with his broken hand.

    The team likes Leonard's defensive style of play, and that's a major reason that he's seen a significant bump in playing time.

Trevor Ariza

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    Ariza has been dealing with a nagging groin injury that just doesn't want to go away, and there is no telling how long he will be out.

    He missed yet another game on Wednesday, and there is reportedly no timetable for his return to the court.

    Al-Farouq Aminu has been soaking up some extra time in Ariza's absence, but the Hornets could really use Ariza back as soon as possible for his defensive grit.

Serge Ibaka

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    Ibaka has not been getting the playing time that many thought he would, and it doesn't appear to be something that's going to change at any point soon.

    Beat writer Darnell Mayberry referred to Ibaka as a "starter in name only," and it's clear that has been the case early in the season.

    Nick Collison is playing very well off the bench, and Scott Brooks does not seem inclined to change the way he's operating his rotation.

Al Horford

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    Horford has been a symbol of consistency for the Hawks over recent seasons, and the team really can't afford to lose him to injury.

    Already extremely thin at center, Horford suffered a shoulder strain on Wednesday, and he did not return to the game following the injury.

    He's going to be reevaluated on Thursday, and there's no doubt that Atlanta has to be hoping for the best considering how important he is to the lineup.

Miami Heat Lose Again

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    Miami lost again on Wednesday night, and LeBron James' struggles in crunch time continue to be put on display this year.

    The entire Heat offense looked rather stagnant in the half-court set, and that was a major factor in why the team was unable to come out of Los Angeles with a victory against the Clippers.

    Off to an 8-3 start, the Heat has to ensure that the predictability within the offense doesn't become a pattern.

    Otherwise, this club won't be anywhere near as successful as we saw when the season initially began.

Kobe Bryant Stays Scorching Hot

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    Bryant and the Lakers won again on Wednesday night, beating a hungry Jazz team in overtime in Utah.

    No. 24 poured in another 40 points, and while his shooting wasn't as efficient (14-of-31) as it had been in his 48-point explosion, it's another impressive effort from Bryant.

    He's officially taken over as the league's leading scorer and is now averaging a ridiculous 30.3 points per game. Los Angeles moved to 8-4 with the victory.

Derrick Rose

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    Rose missed Wednesday's game with a toe injury, and while some are calling it turf toe, the Bulls believe that he's dealing with a flexion sprain.

    Regardless, the reigning MVP was seen in a walking boot, and Chicago will proceed with extreme caution in handling the injury.

    The point guard won't return to the court until he's fully recovered, but the good news for the Bulls is that he's a player who hates sitting out and will do everything in his power to return as soon as humanly possible.

Rajon Rondo

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    If there were any question about the Celtics being Rajon Rondo's team, there shouldn't be.

    Coach Doc Rivers said, "I think this is his team right now," and it's hard to argue that belief with how well he's played and how involved he is on every single play.

    Rondo is very quickly establishing himself as the best player on the Boston roster, and he has responded with extreme ferocity after being subjected to constant trade rumors during the offseason.