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Its the lebron for sale one....


Ultimate Frisbee
02-11-2006, 12:43 AM

"Updated: Feb. 10, 2006, 1:45 PM ET
ESPN.com's Intelligence Report: Feb. 10

Editor's note: ESPN.com is waking up early in the morning and aggregating news from papers around the country to bring you the latest NBA talk.

Previous Reports:

Jan. 31 | Feb. 1 | Feb. 2 | Feb. 3 | Feb. 6 | Feb. 7 | Feb. 8 | Feb. 9


Boston Celtics
Despite Record, Pierce An All-Star
It seemed like the ultimate no-brainer. But when word reached the Celtics yesterday that Paul Pierce was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team for the fifth straight season, there must have been a sigh of relief. ... ''It's a great honor," said Pierce. ''Every time you get a chance to participate in an All-Star game, among the best players in the NBA, it's always an honor. My fifth one in a row. It seems like they get better each and every year." Pierce did feel a bit lucky to earn an All-Star berth with the Celtics currently on course for a lottery pick. -- Boston Globe

Jones Gets A Look
The Celtics will likely start Ryan Gomes at power forward tonight with Raef LaFrentz at center. Dwayne Jones, the rookie center acquired in the deal with Minnesota, wasn't expected to get much of an NBA sniff this season, but he was back from the NBDL and practicing with the C's yesterday. His rebounding talents (11.7 a game in the D-League) were evident. Said Rivers: "I told him joking after practice, 'Don't worry about not knowing the offense or the defense. If you just keep getting the rebounds, we'll be very happy with you.' -- Boston Herald

Charlotte Bobcats
Bobcats Can Add By Losing Bogans
Think of Thursday's Charlotte Bobcats trade as an effort at housekeeping. The Bobcats traded shooting guard Keith Bogans to the Houston Rockets for power forward Lonny Baxter. The move addressed an overload at shooting guard and acquired quick help inside, where injuries have plagued them. Bernie Bickerstaff said this deal would neither save nor scuttle either team's season. "It's not anything that gets us over the hump,'' Bickerstaff said, "just like (losing) Bogans is not going to take anything under.'' -- Charlotte Observer

Chicago Bulls
NBA Selects Winners, Not High Scorers
For the seventh consecutive year (there was no game in 1999), there will be no Bulls in the big event at the NBA's midseason carnival, though Ben Gordon, Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni are going as warmup acts in the Friday night rookie/sophomore game. But the Bulls are hardly alone in being snubbed, if one could call it that. -- Chicago Tribune

Skiles Prefers Victories Over Red-Hot Gordon
Bulls general manager John Paxson has said in the past that the team needs a star player. But coach Scott Skiles didn't attach much value to Ben Gordon's three consecutive 30-point games. "We're 1-2 in those games," Skiles said. ... "I guess the end of my long answer is there are a lot of teams in the league that have 'stars,' so to speak, that are pretty crummy teams. They have poor records and are underachieving, so I wouldn't put all the stock in that." -- Arlington Heights Daily Herald

Chandler Will Enjoy Visit Home
The Bulls are due for two days off in L.A. after playing in Sacramento late Thursday night. This time, Tyson Chandler is coming home on a roll, with eight consecutive games of double-figure rebounds. "It's definitely going to feel good," Chandler said before Thursday's game at Arco Arena. "I don't know what we have (Friday), but I'm hoping I can spend the night at home and wake up and beat up my little brothers in the morning. Hopefully, we don't have a meeting or anything like that." -- Arlington Heights Daily Herald

Cleveland Cavaliers
Ilgauskas An Integral Part Of Cavs Success
Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry, a friend and former teammate of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, shakes his head when he reads or hears of the nitpicking. "I think, on the whole, he's very underappreciated here in Cleveland," Ferry says. "Ask around the NBA who the best centers are, and Z's name comes up regularly." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer

Hughes' Finger Injury Not Getting Better
After Larry Hughes was seen by another specialist, Dr. Richard Barth, Thursday near Washington, the Cavs released a depressing report concerning his right finger. Hughes was upset he couldn't return this week to face his old team, the Wizards, but was still hopeful of returning just after the All-Star break. That doesn't appear likely now. The Cavs announced that "it is apparent that Hughes' finger has not progressed as desired'' and "further options for his recovery are being explored.'' Hughes, who had three pins inserted in his knuckle to repair a splitting bone, has been experiencing swelling for weeks and recently switched to wearing a glove to help reduce it. -- Akron Beacon-Journal

"The LeBrons" Action Figures Available Next Week
Upper Deck and Nike will launch "The LeBrons" action figures, based on the television commercials, on Wednesday online via Upper Deck's Web store (www.UpperDeckStore.com). Upper Deck will release the full series of the four characters (Athlete, Business, Kid and Wise LeBron) in April. Only 1,000 individually numbered pieces of each character will be sold at hobby and specialty shops. Upper Deck will release 750 sneak-peek versions of Athlete LeBron to coincide with NBA All-Star week. -- Cleveland Plain Dealer

Change Star Game To Receive More Love
If you watch the game on Feb. 19, you will see the same old, same old: Eastern Conference vs. Western. As if that remotely matters. The format is close to as unwatchable as the Pro Bowl, the "My Mother the Car" of all-star games. Critics have been calling for a healthy injection of nationalism, a USA vs. the Rest of the World scheme. I say, if it's good enough for the Bush Administration, it's good enough for the NBA. Sure, it was done in the late, great National Hockey League, which has just about vanished from my consciousness as a sport when it proved unable to top chain-smokers playing poker on ESPN. But the NHL All-Star Game format worked. -- Cleveland Plain Dealer

Detroit Pistons
Pistons Will Have Four All-Stars
Talk about your dream team. When Flip Saunders goes to his bench during the All-Star game in Houston on Feb. 19, he will be able to summon four of his own players. Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton were selected as Eastern Conference reserves by a coaches' vote. ... Saunders said he will play all four together. "It's only fitting that the first time those guys step on the floor, they step on the floor together," Saunders said. -- Detroit News

Indiana Pacers
Even Pros Discover They're Not Immortal
Larry Bird takes several pills each day to address an irregular heartbeat. Mel Daniels, who had quadruple bypass surgery 11 years ago, takes medication for his heart. Earl Monroe, who had an enlarged prostate gland, has become a spokesman for a medication that treats the condition. These aren't the preferred images of former basketball stars who live forever in highlight reels, but they are the realities. Athletes age like everyone else, and in many ways are at a disadvantage in dealing with common health concerns. -- Indianapolis Star

Concussion May Keep Croshere Out Until After Break
Forward Austin Croshere, out because of two concussions in less than a month, was on the court before practice Thursday, but he mainly has done light cardio work and rested. There is a chance he won't return until after the All-Star break. -- Indianapolis Star

Miami Heat
Mourning OK With All-Star Snub
The least of Alonzo Mourning's worries Thursday was his omission from the rosters for the All-Star Game. More pressing was his health. Mourning missed the Miami Heat's game Thursday against Dallas because he had the flu. ... "It was really the least of my concerns," said Mourning, a seven-time All-Star. "My concern is making sure the ballclub improves and staying healthy. The All-Star Game is something I have experienced quite a bit. Besides, it gives me a chance to rest." -- Palm Beach Post

Riley Laments Not Getting Howard
Pat Riley continues to lament Mavericks forward Josh Howard as the one that got away. Riley spent the 2002 draft trying to secure an extra first-round pick after drafting Caron Butler at No. 10. Howard was the 29th and final selection of the first round. "We were really working hard to try to get a pick," Riley said. "If we would have had another pick at 11, we would have taken him there. We were looking to shore up our perimeter game. I looked at him as a very tough-minded defensive player. Over the last three years, he's developed into a complete player." -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Milwaukee Bucks
Redd Doesn't Make The Cut
The news that Michael Redd had been overlooked by the league's coaches was met with considerable disappointment among the Bucks, especially since their record has been above .500 all season. "Obviously I'm disappointed for Michael as well as disappointed for the organization," general manager Larry Harris said. "Because I think when you're looking at all-stars, I've always thought that winning was important." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

New Jersey Nets
Star Doesn't Shine On Jefferson
Vince Carter is an NBA All-Star again, and Jason Kidd is under consideration by the commissioner to join him next weekend. No surprises there, really. The only surprise, at least when the subject of All-Stardom came up over the past month, was that Richard Jefferson's name was rarely mentioned. So he'll stay home again. Players whose teams are 15 games under .500 will go to Houston. -- Newark Star-Ledger

Nets Might Stay In N.J. Until 2010
With delays mounting for their proposed arena in Brooklyn, the Nets and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority are now in serious negotiations to keep the team at Continental Airlines Arena through the end of the decade. Officials involved with negotiations for a new lease for the Nets said the agreement would last at least through the 2010 season with options to continue playing at the arena as long as the Nets need to be there. If the parties reach an agreement on a new lease it would replace the current lease, which is set to expire in 2008. -- Newark Star-Ledger

New York Knicks
Larry Has Fantasy Team
A day after revealing that team president Isiah Thomas had told him to make up a wish list, Larry Brown went public with his ideas, detailing the types of players he'd like to have following practice yesterday. Brown didn't mention any players by name -- well, at least not any that the Knicks have a realistic chance of acquiring. "My wish list is Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Rasheed Wallace, Tim Duncan," Brown said jokingly, or perhaps enviously. Unfortunately for Brown, he will have to make do with what he's got, at least until Thomas can rebuild a team that goes into tonight's game against the Hornets in Oklahoma City with a dismal 14-34 record. -- New York Daily News

Crawford Isn't Sharp At Point
No, Jamal Crawford isn't on the Knicks' injured list. But one has to wonder if he isn't suffering from eye strain with all the time he spends looking at coach Larry Brown. Crawford has drawn the majority of the ballhandling duties since point guard Stephon Marbury suffered a sprained left shoulder Jan. 16. And the shoot-first guard's play at the point at best can be called tentative. -- Newsday

Toronto Raptors
Bosh Has Star Power
Chris Bosh has been known to scream and yell and pump his fist when he gets excited on the basketball court. Off the court, however, the lanky Texan is so laid back, you have to slap him on the shoulder to see if he's awake. And that's when he's talking. Given that, it came as no surprise yesterday when Bosh's reaction to his selection as a NBA all-star seemed somewhat less than frantic. -- Toronto Sun

Washington Wizards
Arenas Motivated By Snub
It should come as no surprise that the Washington Wizards guard plans to draw motivation from the fact that the NBA's Eastern Conference coaches did not select him as a reserve for the Feb. 19 All-Star Game in Houston. Gilbert Arenas, an all-star reserve last season and the NBA's fourth-leading scorer this year, could be added to the 12-man squad by NBA Commissioner David Stern as a replacement for injured Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal, but the sting of being left out by the fan voting process and then by the coaches in his own conference isn't going away any time soon. -- Washington Post

* * * * *


Dallas Mavericks
For Now, Mavs The NBA's Best
The best team in the NBA was at it again Thursday night, shredding a hapless opponent and inching on toward the best record in the league. Best team? Not the Detroit Pistons? Not at this moment, not with Detroit losing three times in the last two weeks. Not at a point in the season where depth matters so much, and the Pistons don't have much, and the Mavericks' superior depth to everybody else in the NBA is really starting to rear its head. -- Dallas Morning News

Cuban Lowers Prices For 2006-07
Two-dollar NBA tickets? Believe it. Mark Cuban never wants fans to avoid Mavericks games because seats are too expensive, so he decided to make good on a promise he made years ago. The owner said then that when his payroll became more manageable, he would pass the savings on to fans in the form of lower prices. On Thursday, he followed through. All seats in the upper level of American Airlines Center will be reduced in price for the 2006-07 season. -- Dallas Morning News

Are Mavs Bashers Paying Attention?
The Mavs are the best team in the NBA right now. Nobody is playing better than them. Not Detroit. Not San Antonio. Certainly not Miami. Listening to players like Shaq in Miami's postgame locker room, it was very apparent that coach Avery Johnson's Mavericks are not viewed as just a pretty streak of 13 consecutive victories. They are viewed as a legit championship contender. -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Denver Nuggets
Anthony Looking Ahead After Snub
As the news became official Thursday that no Nuggets were selected for the Feb. 19 All-Star Game in Houston, Carmelo Anthony reacted by doing what he has done every off day for the past week. He went to the gym for extra shooting practice. ... Despite the news, Anthony could have a significant silver lining in the near future. A source close to USA Basketball said Thursday there is "considerable support" for Anthony's placement on the 2006 World Championship team. When told of the news, Anthony said, "I want to go. I feel like not just me, but people who were there last (time) have something to prove." -- Denver Post

Martin Denies Blame For Altercation
Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin is denying responsibility for a verbal altercation that took place Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center between a heckling fan and a guest of the player seated near the team bench. "I know the person, but I didn't direct nobody to go into the stands," Martin said at a Thursday morning Nuggets practice. "I was watching the game." An NBA spokesman late Thursday said the league is looking into the incident. -- Rocky Mountain News

'Next 10' To Be Unveiled
When the NBA in 1996 announced its top 50 players for its first 50 seasons, Alex English and Adrian Dantley were among those snubbed. Now, they're getting a mulligan. On Feb. 18, during All-Star Weekend, TNT will unveil what it calls its "next 10." With the NBA in its 60th season, the network will reveal 10 additional players to comprise the top 60 in league history. Several active stars, such as Bryant and Tim Duncan, figure to be locks, but TNT also is taking a look at some passed over 10 years ago. -- Rocky Mountain News

Kleiza Finds NBA Life Enriching
Linas Kleiza recently told The Star that he made the right move departing MU after his sophomore season last year, when he averaged 16.1 points and 7.6 rebounds. The Tigers are paying for it, however. In case you lost track, they've lost six in a row. "I wanted to move on. I wanted to start my professional career, and I've definitely been happy," Kleiza said. --Kansas City Star

Watson Spends Time And Money On KCK
Earl Watson, who signed a five-year, $29 million contract with the Nuggets, already has been supplying his old high school with funds. Late last year he gave $25,000 for KCK schools to buy computers, TVs and sports equipment. This isn't simply lip service, either. The money Watson has pledged for the five schools is at work. "It's actually beginning to happen right now in the schools," said Larry Englebrick, assistant superintendent for business services in the Kansas City, Kan., School District. "Earl is a celebrity, and still is a member of our community. The wonderful thing is that Earl wants this to go beyond just kids in athletics. Earl said he wants to help all the kids." -- Rocky Mountain News

Golden State Warriors
Fresh Pietrus Injects Life Into Warriors
During his stint on the French national team at the European basketball championships last summer, Mickael Pietrus habitually referred to anything he liked, especially things he had accomplished, as "frais." Translated from his native tongue into English, "frais" means "fresh," which makes perfect sense, if nothing else, Pietrus has been a breath of fresh air around the Warriors, on the floor and in the locker room. -- Oakland Tribune

Warriors Emphasizing Pressure Defense
Taking advantage of their athleticism in the backcourt, the Warriors have re-emphasized ball pressure. Their perimeter players are clearly more focused on defense and harassing the ball, even if in spurts. They even pick up their man at half court occasionally, instead of waiting inside the 3-point point line. This aggressive defensive approach has provided the necessary energy to avoid sluggish starts, challenged its best players to pick up their play on the defensive end of the court and created the turnovers they need to get their transition game going again. -- Contra Costa Times

Houston Rockets
Bogans Gives Rockets More Depth
Keith Bogans, 25, had participated in three practices before the trade. He underwent a physical late Thursday after arriving in town. His addition is expected to provide backcourt depth, something the Rockets have lacked with the calf injuries to Derek Anderson and Jon Barry. Anderson has missed 29 games; Barry has been sidelined for 32. "At that position we've been suffering quite a bit," Dawson said. "The load has been strictly on David Wesley and he's done a commendable job, but we've got to get him some help." -- Houston Chronicle

Roster Lacks Tough-Minded, Assertive Players
Instead of flashes of cohesion, the Rockets reverted to being the team that struggled through the first half of the season. With or without Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, the Rockets have on several occasions lacked passion and have been lethargic. Frequently they have been devoid of energy and enthusiasm, and with those traits apparent when the Rockets were healthy or hampered, the personality of this roster is suspect. "I am really, really surprised at the personality of our team," coach Jeff Van Gundy said. -- Houston Chronicle

Los Angeles Clippers
Brand Gets Wish With All-Star Spot
The wait is over. Elton Brand was officially added to the NBA All-Star game Thursday as a member of the Western Conference squad. The 6-foot-8 forward was chosen by the league's coaches as a reserve. ... "I didn't want to be overly cocky about it, but I was pretty confident" about going, Brand said after practice. "The team is playing well, and I always thought if the team had success there would be individual accolades." -- Los Angeles Times

Rehab Going Well For Maggette
Corey Maggette continues to recover from a separated ligament in his left foot and is walking without a cast. If therapy goes well, he should be able to play after the All-Star break with a target date of March 1. However, if therapy doesn't take, he will have to have surgery to repair the ligament, and his season would end. But on Thursday, Maggette said he does not expect to have surgery. "Me, personally, I know I'm going to be back playing," he said. "I know my body, and I know I'm going to be able to play." -- Long Beach Press-Telegram

Los Angeles Lakers
Love Or Hate Bryant, It All Ads Up
More than a month after Kobe Bryant first laced them up for the Lakers' Christmas Day game in Miami, the marketing campaign has begun in earnest for his new Nike Zoom Kobe I signature sneaker. Bryant's first television ad since he first was charged with sexual assault in July 2003 aired Thursday night. The superstar guard also will take part in a midnight launch party for the public at Fox Hills Mall in Culver City tonight. The ad is narrated by Bryant and starts with him declaring "Love me or hate me, it's one or the other," and includes black-and-white footage of him shooting jumpers and lifting weights. -- Los Angeles Daily News

Jackson Quick To Criticize Brown
If Lakers coach Phil Jackson is trying to eradicate the sense of entitlement from Kwame Brown, the top pick in the 2001 NBA draft and the Lakers' highest-paid player behind Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom, it's working. "The leash is a little bit tighter for me," Brown said after the Lakers' victory in Houston on Wednesday. Jackson's vision for Brown this season is to be an athletic interior defender in the tradition of Dennis Rodman and learn the offense. But Brown feels pressure to convert what offensive chances he takes. -- Orange County Register

Memphis Grizzlies
Gasol, Grizzlies' and Spain's First All-Star
When Pau Gasol received an $86 million maximum contract extension two summers ago, he emphasized the idea that accomplishments are the true measure of a man's wealth. On Thursday, the 7-foot forward provided an early, exciting return on the Grizzlies' investment when NBA coaches selected him as a reserve on the Western Conference All-Star roster. -- Memphis Commercial-Appeal

Minnesota Timberwolves
Surgery Among Hudson's Options
Troy Hudson has been out since late last week because of the ankle, and results of a magnetic resonance imaging test suggest that scar tissue from the original surgery is causing his problems. He has received daily therapy, attempting to loosen the ankle. "(Surgery) is one of the options. That's why I'm getting more options,'' Hudson said, "to see if there's something more I can do to break up the scar tissue without having to do another surgery. I'm not really too thrilled with getting cut again.'' -- St. Paul Pioneer Press

Trade Exception Confirmed
Kevin McHale confirmed that the Wolves, in the seven-player trade with Boston, also wound up with a $4.2 million trade exception that can be used until the one-year anniversary date (Jan. 26) of the deal. The exception would enable the Wolves to acquire one or more players on existing contracts for up to that figure. It cannot be used to sign free agents. -- Minneapolis Star Tribune

New Orleans Hornets
Paul's Ego Fine After All-Star Snub
After missing Thursday's practice, due to a variety of injuries, Chris Paul didn't make it seem as if missing the All-Star game was a bruise to his ego. That's good, because just about everything else is hurting these days with the Hornets' guard. "I'm just excited to be mentioned with those guys," Paul said in an interview on TNT. "They deserved it." -- The Oklahoman

Hornets Need Help At The Point
Byron Scott said he wants to sign another point guard before the Feb. 23 trade deadline. "I just don't feel comfortable with Kirk (Snyder) handling the ball, and I definitely don't feel comfortable with J.R. (Smith) handling it," Scott said. ... Scott said he might have to play Claxton the entire game tonight to avoid having to use Snyder for any extended time as the backup point guard. -- New Orleans Times-Picayune

Hunter Disappointed He's Not A Hornet
Speaking publicly for the first time in more than a week late Wednesday night, Steven Hunter expressed disappointment in the rescinded trade that would have brought him to the Hornets from the Philadelphia 76ers. ... "I almost cried," Hunter said. "I thought about retiring. But I'm too young, so I'm going to go back to Philadelphia and work my butt off." -- The Oklahoman

Portland Trail Blazers
Someone Tell Allen To Trade Miles -- Now
The dirty little secret here is that Darius Miles, who has been out recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, really doesn't love basketball. He'll tell you as much himself. He doesn't live it. He doesn't breathe it. Basketball is a job to him, like filing papers, selling insurance or digging ditches. And while Miles is a gifted athlete, he's just good enough to get you beat, and just destructive enough to undermine the growth that coach Nate McMillan has made. Anyone still think it's coincidental that the Blazers enjoyed their best growth curve with Miles out? -- The Oregonian

Sacramento Kings
Artest Gains New Friends
Ron Artest was playing only his eighth game for the Kings, but he already has called a team meeting after a loss, predicted a playoff appearance for his new team and has worked closely with rookie Francisco Garcia and second-year guard Martin. In his first seven Kings games, he averaged 17.5 points and 5.7 rebounds. "He is a leader on both ends of the floor," Garcia said. Told he is being hailed as a leader, Artest turned sheepish. "Wow," he said. "Who would have thought I'd hear that? That's pretty cool." -- Chicago Tribune

Miller As Bad Guy Good For Kings
A lot of things are changing around Arco Arena these days. Though it's premature for any outrageous proclamations, Ron Artest has awakened the dead (Kings fans), invigorated his teammates, energized his coach, and reminded his old friend (Brad Miller) that, you know, being bad once in a while can be good. You know, like his early Kings days. -- Sacramento Bee

San Antonio Spurs
Parker Revels As All-Star
Gregg Popovich told Tony Parker of his selection late Wednesday after the team's overtime victory in Toronto. By then, Parker already had heard from his agent, Marc Fleisher. Parker called his family in San Antonio. His youngest brother, Pierre, started screaming. His father cried. The reaction was similar in Paris when he phoned his mother and other brother, T.J. "I was so excited I couldn't sleep," Parker said. "My friends say they're going to have their eyes watery when they see me step on the court." -- San Antonio Express-News

Parker Gets Needed Validation
At age 23, Tony Parker sought validation that he belonged among the league's elite. Oprah Winfrey might not have been interested in Parker's points in the paint, but the N.B.A. coaches recognized his burgeoning talent yesterday, voting him to the Western Conference All-Star team for the first time. -- New York Times

Seattle SuperSonics
Communication Woes Hound Sonics
Several players privately have pointed out that communication in the locker room is a problem, and that has spread onto the court. Ray Allen said players have stopped cheering on the sidelines or slapping hands when they replace each other. "We've got to change some ways we do things around here," he said. "We're too quiet. We don't get excited. We don't act like we want to support each other. I think that has affected some guys. We have to get that back." -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer

KeyArena Tax Plan Called Out Of Bounds
Add hotel and restaurant owners to the list of hurdles in the Sonics' bid to get taxpayer help for KeyArena. Taxes on hotel and restaurant bills helped pay for Safeco and Qwest fields. The stadium taxes were not supposed to be permanent. ... Representatives of the hotel and restaurant industries told the House Finance Committee on Thursday they oppose the proposal, House Bill 3233, because they were promised during the Mariner and Seahawk stadium fights that the taxes would someday expire. -- Seattle Times

Utah Jazz
Is Boozer Really Back?
Sorry if I'm a little snippy this morning. I guess I need a long break, too -- at full salary, of course. In fairness, I'm sure Carlos Boozer attended quite a few rehab sessions. Still, lots of people work out daily, but they don't get paid for it. If things go as planned tonight, the occasional Jazz forward will play in a game for the first time in a year. Last time he appeared was Valentine's Day 2005. That's 361 days ago. People get over heart surgery quicker than that. -- Deseret Morning News

Okur Disappointed He's Not An All-Star
Just like Mehmet Okur hoped, the Western Conference coaches fudged their definition of positions and chose a part-time center to be the backup to Yao Ming in the All-Star Game. They even cast their votes for a European power forward for the job. But it's Pau Gasol of Memphis, and not the Jazz's starting forward, who will be in Houston on Feb. 19. The news disappointed him, Okur acknowledged, because he had started to allow hopes of an electoral surprise to creep into his thoughts. "I thought I was there," Okur said after learning of the seven players chosen by Western Conference coaches to fill out the roster. "But it's all good. I'm happy for [Gasol]." -- Salt Lake Tribune

Jazz Going Up And Over More Often
The Jazz have been going up and over with much greater frequency and comfort the last 10 games or so, and it's no accident. Phi Slamma Jamma, mind you, they are not. It's more like a lob pass here, a mini-alley oop there, whoa let's calm things down before they get completely out of control. "We don't want to throw it away," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said, "but you have to let a defense know you have that ability to do that." -- Deseret Morning News


Fans Flock To See Rodman
The demand for tickets for the February 14th game has been exceptional and the venue is expected to sell out within the next few days. Therefore, Genesis Brighton Bears have arranged to have Dennis Rodman play for a third fixture on 15th February at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre against London Towers. Nick Nurse, head coach of the Genesis Bears commented 'We have been overcome by demand for the 14th February tickets and now all of Dennis' fans in London will have the chance to see him play." -- FIBA.com "