Dwight Howard Wants to Start ‘Own Path’

Responding to speculation that he wants to jump to a bigger market when he can became a free agent next year, superstar center Dwight Howard indicated Monday that his strong preference is to remain with the Orlando Magic for the long term.

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

“I’m not trying to run behind nobody like Shaq or be behind somebody else,” Howard said, referencing Shaquille O’Neal’s decision to leave the Magic following the 1995-96 season and sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I want to start my own path and I want people to follow my path and not just follow somebody else’s path. I want to have my own path, and I want to start that here in Orlando. But I can’t do it alone. Not only do I need the right teammates, but I need the city behind me. That’s the only way it’s going to get done. We can change this small city that we have — this small market that we have — and we can make it a big market.”

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Donnie Walsh, Knicks Still Talking Extension

Donnie Walsh

Donnie Walsh

As Donnie Walsh continues to work on the future of the Knicks , his own future remains uncertain.

Both Walsh and Garden executive chairman James Dolan have pointed to June 30 — when Walsh’s contract officially expires — as the important date. The deadline now is a month away. “We’re still talking about it,” Walsh told Newsday Monday.

He would not elaborate, nor would he comment on a report that said an extension will be completed this week.

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Mavericks Flirting With Disaster in Miami

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki

The Mavericks’ team hotel in Miami is a beauty– except for the memories. This is the same hotel they stayed in when the 2006 meltdown took place. Well, it is the same hotel they were in for a while.

Coach Avery Johnson moved out the players after two losses in a failed attempt to get them away from family and friends, to get them out of “vacation” mode, as he called it.

The Mavericks elected to use the same hotel this year, although they did jettison friends and family to another, nearby hotel. No superstitious feelings among the key Mavs. They do not mind where they stay.

“None of that matters,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “Wherever we stay is where we stay.”

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2011 NBA Draft Combine

Check out the top prospects for this year’s Draft as they go through rigorous workouts and reflect on their experience at the Draft Combine in Chicago.

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Karl Believes Nene Will Re-Sign with Nuggets

Nene Hilario

Nene Hilario

Nene told Denver Post reporter Chris Dempsey earlier this month that he might well opt out of his contract and that the Nuggets “don’t realize all of the sacrifices I made.”

Karl seemed optimistic that the Nuggets could persuade Nene to stay. The Brazilian is due to make $12 million next season but could sign a three-year extension with Denver.

“I have no problem with Nene expressing his opinions on his position. I think me and the organization very much want him here,” Karl said.

“I think with the situation of this year, maybe he felt like he needed more contact (about the contract). (But) from what I know with my relationship with Nene and his love for Denver, I just think things are going to get worked out, I really do.

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Jason Kidd Has No Plans to Retire

Championship or not, Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd said he has no plans of entering retirement with one more season left on his contract.

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd

Kidd, 38 and feeling “great,” is trying to become the oldest point guard in NBA history to win a championship. It would be the first of his 17-year career, and on Saturday he said if it happens it will not send him riding off into the sunset.

“I would love to continue to keep playing if I feel the way I do now,” Kidd said. “I feel great.”

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Pistons Part Ways with John Kuester

John Kuester

John Kuester

Detroit Pistons head coach John Kuester will not be returning for the 2011-12 season, according to sources. Although there has been no official word from the Pistons, sources say it is expected that president Joe Dumars and his staff will be returning.

Hired in 2009 to be the franchise’s 27th head coach, Kuester has posted a 57-107 mark in his two years in Detroit.

Kuester’s time with the Pistons has been marked by several personality clashes, most notably with Richard Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince and Tracy McGrady.

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LeBron Takes His Game to the Next Level

Lebron James has been phenomenal in Miami’s Eastern Conference Finals matchup with Chicago. Check out some of his best highlights from the series thus far as LeBron tries to carry the Heat to a rematch of the 2006 Finals with Dallas.

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Source: Cavaliers Want 2nd Pick in Draft

Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton

Already owners of the No. 1 pick in the draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to sweeten their position by securing the second pick as well, according to league sources.

The Cavaliers are in discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons about a three-team trade that would give Cleveland the top two picks of next month’s NBA draft.

The Cavaliers would use the picks to select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and Arizona forward Derrick Williams, the sources said.

In the trade being discussed, Cleveland would absorb Detroit’s Richard Hamilton into the $14.6 million trade exception it received in last summer’s LeBron James sign-and-trade with Miami, while also receiving the Pistons’ No. 8 pick. The Cavaliers would then send that pick, along with their fourth pick, to Minnesota for the Timberwolves’ second pick.

Cleveland would then buy Hamilton out of the $25 million remaining in the last two years on his contract, leaving the veteran shooting guard free to sign with another club as a free agent. Chicago would be one of the likeliest destinations.

ESPN.com

Rockets Offer Job to Kevin McHale

Kevin McHale

Kevin McHale

After a month-long search and long sessions debating the merits of three finalists, the Rockets offered Kevin McHale their head coaching position on Friday.

McHale was chosen over Boston assistant Lawrence Frank and Dallas assistant Dwane Casey after meeting with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander on Wednesday to complete the interview process.

Though McHale is more celebrated as a Hall of Fame player who among other things inspired Rick Pitino’s rant about the inability to recapture the Boston glory days than as a coach, the Rockets were drawn to his apparent abilities as a leader and motivator.

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