NBA Rumors: Most Intriguing Chatter from Around the League

Daniel O'Brien@@DanielO_BRFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30:  Derek Fisher, President of the National Basketball Players Association speaks to the media at a press conference after NBA labor negotiations at The Waldorf-Astoria on September 30, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
Michael Cohen/Getty Images

In the first few weeks of the 2012-13 NBA season, we've seen a bevy of surprises on the hardwood, the sidelines and in the front office. What are the latest rumors and questions surrounding key figures in the league?

Yes, we know that Steve Nash is out for another week, Andrew Bynum indeed aggravated his knee bowling, and that Kyrie Irving's finger will keep him out a month. We also know the Atlanta Hawks aren't interested in trading Josh Smith at the moment.

So what do we not know, what's still up in the air and what are the most intriguing rumors that keep us guessing? Let's break down a few of the most fascinating recent rumors around the association.


Dallas keeping options open; Could Derek Fisher become a Maverick?

We might not see veteran point guard Derek Fisher join the Dallas Mavericks right away, but Mark Cuban and the Mavericks evidently have their eyes on him. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports that Dallas is keeping Fisher in mind and may eventually pick him up.

Will the Mavs' point guard depth issues actually drive them to acquire Fisher, and if so, when? Those are the two main questions surrounding this rumor.

There's not much in the way of reliable support behind starting point guard Darren Collison, and Bleacher Report's Ian Hanford explains how Fisher could improve the situation:

(Dominique) Jones is more of a combo guard, and (Rodrigue) Beaubois averages nearly one turnover per game in just over 16 minutes per contest...Fisher may not be fleet of foot and he may not be a great defender at this point, but he understands how to play the game as well as anyone. At the very least, he can mentor Beaubois and Jones while providing solid support behind Collison.

Stay tuned for potential Fisher and Mavericks negotiations if Dallas' current cast of guards plays mediocre hoops. Beyond Collison, Rick Carlisle's floor generals aren't consistent enough to help a championship run.


Mike D'Antoni aiming to debut Tuesday vs. Nets

Knee replacement surgery has delayed the much-anticipated debut of the Los Angeles Lakers' new head coach Mike D'Antoni a little bit longer than expected.

A postponed weekend debut raised doubts about when he would appear on the sidelines, but it looks like he's primed to return Tuesday against Brooklyn. There's no absolute guarantee that he'll be on the Staples sidelines, but ESPN's Dave McMenamin reports that  D'Antoni hopes to coach Tuesday when the Lakers face the Nets.

D'Antoni's debut is a big deal for several reasons, but at the core of it is an interest in whether his offense looks like it will actually boost Los Angeles to championship contention.

Any coaching change for the Lakers is an event, and D'Antoni's hiring brings with it the intrigue of mid-season adjustments—not to mention the excitement of seeing his reunion with Steve Nash later this month.


Darko Milicic may leave Celtics, return to Serbia due to mother's illness

Due to an illness in the family, Boston Celtics center Darko Milicic could be leaving town for good. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Milicic may head to his home country of Serbia to be with his ailing mother:

Milicic, the No. 2 overall pick in the famed 2003 NBA draft, didn't travel with the Celtics to Detroit this weekend, and sources say that he's close to deciding to leave the NBA for the season to be with his ill mother in Serbia. After failing to play since opening night, After failing to play since opening night, Milicic has also been frustrated with his lack of a role with the Celtics, sources said.

If Milicic doesn't return to the NBA after his hiatus, it would mark the end of a disappointing career. The former top-five pick never came close to meeting the expectations scouts and coaches held for him.

He's only 27, so there's still time for him to launch a decent career in Europe. But until that happens, let's see if he leaves Boston.


If Darko leaves, Kenyon Martin is a possible replacement

Darko's potential departure combined with the Celtics' previous interest in Kenyon Martin makes the 34-year-old an exciting candidate to pursue.

Bleacher Report NBA featured columnist Maxwell Ogden notes that Martin would be a perfect fit in Boston, as he would give them much-needed rebounding and toughness off the bench.

According to a tweet from ESPN's Marc Stein, Martin recently spurned the New York Knicks' veteran minimum offer. If the Celtics want to secure the standout journeyman, they must do some effective persuading or make a slightly better offer.

A Martin-to-Boston rumor is an exciting one to think about, although it is the result of an unfortunate circumstance.