NBA Rumors: Playing Fact or Fiction with Latest League Buzz, Pre-Training Camp

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2012

NBA Rumors: Playing Fact or Fiction with Latest League Buzz, Pre-Training Camp

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    The NBA offseason is dwindling, but the rumor mill isn't.

    Though most of the Association's hottest action has already taken place, the league itself is anything but quiet.

    From free agents without a home to those on the verge of signing a deal to a team's future plans, there are still plenty of storylines to follow as the league's "hiatus" comes to a close.

    Kenyon Martin is still searching for a payday, while James Harden is just hoping for some clarity to be shed on his future. Mickael Pietrus' status remains as mysterious as ever, and the Nets are creating some in-house competition heading to training camp.

    But which of the rumors are just that, and which are conceivable notions that will ultimately become actualized?

    I'm glad you asked. 

Clippers and Lakers May Be on Verge of Having New Landlords

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    There may be a significant change in store for both the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers.

    According to Walter Hamilton of the Los Angeles Times, The Anschutz Co. is searching for a buyer for one of its subsidiaries, AEG, which also happens to be the company that owns the Staples Center.

    This, in fact, could mean very little to both the Clippers and Lakers. It may just change the name of the company they write the rent checks out to.

    However, it could also mean change for the name of the building in which they reside. Though that seems insignificant in the grand scheme of things, could we really imagine Showtime setting up shop in an arena that wasn't crowned the Staples Center?

    No, we couldn't. But while it's slightly mind-blowing to consider, it's a very real possibility.

    Verdict: Fact

Andray Blatche and Josh Childress Guaranteed Roster Spots with Nets

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    Josh Childress was once considered a competent scorer, and what seems like ages ago, Andray Blatche had superstar potential. But now, Childress is more of a two-way non-factor, and Blatche prefers donuts to rebounds.

    That said, both underachievers have found a home in Brooklyn with the Nets, regardless of what happens in training camp.

    According to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, Brooklyn filled out its training camp roster with the likes of guard Stephen Dennis and forwards James Mays and Carleton Scott.

    The latest camp invites put the Nets roster at 18, and while all are players are expected to fight for a guaranteed roster spot, both Blatche and Childress, as per Nick Borges of ESPN's Rumor Central, are in no danger of being shown the door.

    Despite each athlete's clear struggle to remain not only relevant, but roster-worthy in general, I'm inclined to agree.

    Verdict: Fact

Jalen Rose Purposely Injures Kobe Bryant

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    You've got to love ESPN's Grantland.

    Though the ankle injury Kobe Bryant incurred courtesy of Jalen Rose happened more than 12 years ago, the NBA, and sports pundits in general, never pass up an opportunity to ascertain the truth.

    And that's just what Grantland's David Jacoby did in the network's latest edition of The Jalen Rose Show.

    During the exchange, Jacoby asked Rose if he had purposely slid his foot on Bryant when he went up for a shot in Game 2 of the 2000 NBA Finals. Rose replied, "I think I did it on purpose."

    When pressed about his response, Rose reiterated his stance. "I can't say that it was an accident," he said. 

    Do we honestly believe Rose is capable of such a thing, that he would commit such an act on the NBA's biggest stage, under the brightest lights?

    Um, yes, we do.

    Verdict: Fact

Mickael Pietrus on Verge of Signing New Deal with Mystery Team

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    Oh, Mickael.

    Mickael Pietrus is reportedly "receiving an increased level of interest from teams as of late," according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com.

    According to a source close to the situation, suddenly, three NBA teams have shown major interest in the nine-year veteran and two of the teams seem very motivated to get a deal done.

    According to the same source, Pietrus also has a strong overseas option on the table that contains an escape clause. 

    The source says, "He's considering all of his options, but he prefers to play in the NBA and he's feeling 10 times better than last season. He's healthy for the first time in two years.”

    While there's no denying Pietrus is of value as a strong deep-ball shooter with capable hands on the defensive end, he was apparently close to signing with an unnamed team nearly a week ago, per Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500.

    So, while there's no doubt Pietrus will find a home eventually, don't buy into the propaganda that he's nearing the completion of a deal or receiving a mountain of league-wide interest.

    If either were truly the case, he'd have signed a contract already.

    Verdict: Fiction

Chris Andersen Still Interested in Playing for New York Knicks

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    Chris Andersen is still without a home, but he is not without a preference of where he would like to call home.

    According to Alan Hahn of MSG Network, the big man is continuing to "push the idea" of playing in New York with the Knicks.

    Hahn goes on to note that the feeling isn't mutual, but there's no denying the Knicks are an intriguing landing spot for the Birdman.

    New York is not only a great place to get noticed talent-wise, but even if you're riding the bench at 34, settling into a big market for a contender is a cushy gig.

    However, while the center is open to accepting the veteran's minimum, the Knicks need help on the perimeter more than anything else, and as a low-post staple, Anderson hardly fits that bill.

    That said, although the possibility of the Knicks continuing to actualize their new-found desire to add players with connections to Denver is slim, the interest is real. On Andersen's behalf, anyway.

    Verdict: Fact

Kings Looking To Move to Anaheim

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    The Kings are reportedly at it again.

    According to NBA.com's David Aldridge, "There isn't a single soul in the league that doesn't think the Kings are again looking at Anaheim as a potential destination after this season in Sacramento." This should come as a surprise to no one.

    The Kings, or more specifically, the Maloofs, have been turning over every possible rock in their quest to move what has become a perpetually troubled franchise out of Sacramento.

    Is a move to Anaheim likely? As Aldridge notes, there are still plenty of hurdles to clear, one being that the Kings would have to blatantly disregard a promising opportunity on behalf of the city of Seattle.

    At this point, though, especially with the Maloofs involved, anything is possible, rendering this notion a big fat fact.

    It's too bad that the Maloofs' reign over the Kings isn't fiction.

    Verdict: Fact 

Kenyon Martin Still Drawing Interest from New York Knicks

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    The Kenyon Martin rumor mill has exploded, and our journey into said explosion begins with his connection to the Knicks.

    Back in early August, Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com reported the 'Bockers had Martin on their radar, and Marc Stein of ESPN.com recently reaffirmed such interest. 

    With Martin still unsigned, reports linking the tumultuous power forward to New York have only gained steam, according to MSG Network's Alan Hahn.

    Though he's 34, Martin is still a viable option for any team in the market for an athletic big man who has a willingness to rebound and bang down low, as well as the tools necessary to put some points on the board.

    But are the Knicks actually interested or even in need of such a presence, especially when it comes in the form of such a "volatile player," notes Hahn?

    No, New York's most pressing need right now is to add some insurance on the perimeter in the form of a sharpshooting swingman, not a perpetually disgruntled big.

    Verdict: Fiction

Boston Celtics a Long Shot to Land Kenyon Martin

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    Let's go, Round 2.

    As Sam Amick of SI.com previously reported, the Celtics were among the teams showing interest in our good friend, Mr. Kenyon Martin.

    The power forward makes obvious sense for a Boston team who isn't exactly laden with depth in the low post. Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett are two bull dogs both in and out of the paint, but aside from them, the Celtics seem prepared to rely on the likes of rookies Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger and the aging Jason Collins.

    However, while Martin is seemingly a great fit in Boston, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com is reporting the Celtics' chances of landing the 34-year-old are "slim to none." 

    While I understand money is an issue at this point, so is playing time. Martin would be hard-pressed to find a team that could give him more guaranteed minutes than Boston at this point.

    Plus, when you're still on the market after months of testing it, it's safe to say that no team is a long shot to land your services, unless they're not interested at all.

    But the Celtics have interest in Martin, and therefore, they remain a viable destination.

    Verdict: Fiction

Kenyon Martin Prepared To Sit out Start of Season

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    After this, we're done with Kenyon Martin. I promise.

    We already know, courtesy of MSG Networks' Alan Hahn, that money is an issue for Martin, even at this stage of the offseason; he's apparently "remained steadfast" in his reluctance to accept a veteran's minimum contract.

    This little sliver of reality has subsequently led to the possibility of Martin sitting out training camp and remaining idle in his decision to as late as midseason, according to Sam Amick over at SI.com.

    Achoo! Sorry, I'm allergic to complete nonsense. Either Amick is sorely mistaken or Martin simply doesn't understand he's 34 going on 90 in NBA years.

    Realistically, is there any team, specifically a contender, that is going to want to take a chance on an aging forward after he's nearly a year removed from the game? Perhaps there will be, but not one who is prepared to offer said player any sort of prominent role.

    So, unless Martin has completely lost all common sense or has extensive plans to add some more impulsively repulsive ink to his collection, the smart money here says he's bluffing.

    Verdict: Fiction

James Harden's Future in Oklahoma City in Serious Doubt

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    Kendrick Perkins lied to us.

    Not only are the Thunder nowhere near extending James Harden, but there's some serious doubt—even more so than there was before—that a deal can be struck by the October 31st deadline, if at all.

    It's no secret Oklahoma City values Harden, but as David Aldridge of NBA.com notes, it's also universal knowledge that his future with the team is hardly written in stone.

    Make no mistake -- the Thunder want to keep Harden. OKC knows how important Harden is. The Thunder know how he's the guy that makes so many decisions with the basketball down the stretch, how his presence makes things so much easier for Durant and Westbrook, how he's probably the best passer on the team. Problem is, Harden and his agent know he does all of those things, too. And they want to be paid accordingly.

    But can the Thunder afford to be the team that pays him? After all, as Zach Lowe of SI.com pointed out last month, that would require OKC to devote between $85 and $90 million to keep its current roster intact. Considering the Thunder aren't a team who has embraced paying the luxury tax, that's a tall order.

    So, is Harden's future alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in jeopardy? Was Sam Presti being serious when he refused to guarantee Harden's return? Can the Thunder actually wind up with a beardless sixth man after this season?

    Yes, yes and yes. 

    Verdict: Fact