NBA Rumors and News Roundup: Lakers Want J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin Update, More

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2012

NBA Rumors and News Roundup: Lakers Want J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin Update, More

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    Kenyon Martin's return to the NBA won't come without some significant push back from the Chinese Basketball Association.

    J.R. Smith continues to score in bunches in China, and although he's been linked most prominently to the New York Knicks, the team won't be without competition in acquiring the shooting guard and his scoring talents.

    Injuries are still playing a major part in the overall landscape of the season, and as the All-Star break nears, absolutely nothing has changed on that front.

    Some teams are experiencing more woes than others in that department, and it's having a serious impact in the product put on the floor on a nightly basis.

Rafer Alston

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    There were rumblings a couple of weeks ago that Alston was contemplating a D-League run, and now the veteran is putting his plan in motion.

    He's set to join the Los Angeles D-Fenders, and it'll be very interesting to watch just how much he has left in the tank at this stage of his career.

    Alston last played in the NBA during the 2009-10 season. He's now 35 years old.

Devin Harris

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    Harris has drawn some sharp criticism this season for his less-than-inspiring play in a starting role, and his fragility is a major concern for a Jazz team that needs him on the court.

    He was a late scratch on Thursday night due to a hamstring injury, and he was not sure if he'd be able to play in Saturday's game against the Lakers as a result.

    With Earl Watson also sidelined by a severely sprained ankle, journeyman Jamaal Tinsley could see another heavy dose of minutes.

    Tinsley had a very impressive 13 assists on Thursday night in the spot start.

Jarrett Jack

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    Jack has been one of the only consistent performers for the Hornets this season, and the team really needs him on the court to sustain any sort of offensive semblance.

    A sore knee kept him out of Thursday's game, but it's not considered to be a serious injury and it would be a major surprise if he missed extended time.

    He's averaging a career-high 36 minutes per game. In a condensed season, that could very well be why Jack's knee was sore enough for him to sit out.

Gerald Henderson

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    Charlotte is a really tough team to watch right now. There may not be another roster in the NBA with less talent than the Bobcats possess.

    The team is already playing without both D.J. Augustin and Corey Maggette, and now Henderson will be out for two to four weeks as he recovers from a strained hamstring.

    Kemba Walker is going to see all of the minutes he can handle going forward, as the club is scrambling in a big way to produce on the offensive end of the floor.

D.J. Augustin

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    Augustin has been out for six straight games dating back to January 24 due to a toe injury, but it doesn't sound like he'll be returning in the near future.

    There remains no definitive timetable for his return to the starting lineup, and his team is really missing his ability to facilitate the flow of the game.

    Charlotte really misses Augustin despite the hesitation to commit to him as the long-term answer at point guard, but the Bobcats will have to carry on in the interim without him.

Baron Davis

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    Davis' initial timetable for recovery from his herniated disc was eight to 10 weeks back in mid-December. It's now clear that any reports that he'd be able to return sooner were inaccurate.

    There was heavy speculation that Davis exaggerated the extent of his injury to get out of Cleveland and join the Knicks, but that simply hasn't been the case and he remains on the shelf.

    New York needs him healthy to improve ball movement within the starting unit, but Mike D'Antoni called next week a "best-case scenario" for Davis' debut.

J.R. Smith

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    Smith is drawing interest from a litany of teams around the NBA; his scoring barrage in China has not gone unnoticed by decision-makers in NBA front offices.

    In addition to the Knicks, the Los Angeles Lakers are "said to be interested" in signing Smith. The fit would make some sense considering how desperately the team needs an offensive boost.

    Smith would add an instant scoring punch off the bench for Los Angeles, but as an unrestricted free agent, he's also getting looked at by the Spurs and "several more potential contenders."

Kenyon Martin

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    On Thursday, Martin had reportedly received clearance for an immediate return to the NBA due to China's failure to respond for his letter of clearance.

    It took less than 24 hours for officers from the Chinese Basketball Association to respond. They made it clear they have no interest in allowing Martin to return to the league sooner than he should.

    According to his previously signed agreement, Martin should be unable to play in an NBA game until his Chinese team's season is over, and the Chinese officials are demanding that element of his contract be honored.

    Martin's rep met with the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday, so it's clear his camp is gauging interest in his services around the league.

    UPDATE: Martin has agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.