Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “Lue indicated who the Knicks start at shooting guard will play into his decision because Lue was unsure whether Courtney Lee would return from his sprained ankle.” Note: Lee played 29 minutes in the Knicks’ win over the Heat on Tuesday. (Full report.)
Per Amico Hoops: “Smith underwent an MRI on Tuesday at the Cleveland Clinic that revealed no structural damage. He will be listed as day-to-day following Wednesday — although a league source told Amico Hoops that Smith is ‘extremely likely’ to miss back-to-back homes games Friday and Saturday as a precaution.” (Full report.)
Per Newsday: “The only negative for the Knicks was Derrick Rose left the game in the third quarter with back spasms and never returned. Rose said it ‘calmed down’ after the game, but isn’t sure whether he will be able to play Wednesday when LeBron James and the NBA champions Cavaliers visit Madison Square Garden.” (Full report.)
Per Amico Hoops: “LeBron James has played some of his best games in the Garden, and considering he’s mad at Knicks president Phil Jackson, we can probably expect another fine performance.” (Full preview.)
The Cavs are in great shape when it comes to the Eastern Conference, per a podcast from Brian Windhorst on ESPN.
Per the Miami Herald: “According to a league-employed source connected to Chris Bosh, the mindset at the moment is that he’s more likely to attempt a comeback next season than this season.” (Full report.)
Also per the Miami Herald: The Heat eventually needs clarity on that, because if Miami goes through the process of removing his salary from its cap in February (it cannot happen before Feb. 9) instead of, say, April, it would leave Miami at risk if Bosh makes a comeback elsewhere this season because his salary would go back on the Heat’s cap if he plays 25 games with another team (regular season and/or playoffs).” (Full report.)
Also per the Miami Herald: “Pat Riley told NBA.com’s David Aldridge that he would like two first-rounders. That would affect Heat cap space, which could swing from $39 million or so to $43 million (without Bosh on the cap) — depending on where the Heat drafts. Cap space would shrink more if Ellington keeps playing this well and Miami exercises his $6.3 million option – not especially likely but possible if he has a great season.” (Full report.)
Also per the Houston Chronicle: “The Rockets can keep the offer sheet active until March 1 while seeking to work things out or can cancel the offer sheet which would return him to restricted free agent status.” (Full report.)
Also per the Houston Chronicle: “If the Rockets make Motiejunas a restricted free agent again, they would have the same rights to match any offer sheet Motiejunas signs, but he would not be permitted to sign again with the Nets for one year.” (Full report.)
Per ESPN: “The image echoes through basketball’s eternity — confidence, accuracy and excellence all epitomized by a single finger aimed at the heavens. The multicolored ball hung in the middle of its arc, en route to its iron home, when Larry Bird looked away, still wearing his warm-up jacket, because not even that could slow down arguably the greatest shooter the game has ever known.” (Full report.)
Per Amico Hoops: “I was a foot shorter, but Bird is the man after whom I modeled my game. I wanted to shoot like he did during his heyday with the Boston Celtics. I wanted to pass, I wanted to be a basketball assassin, I wanted to win.” (Full column.)
Mavericks center Andrew Bogut suffered a minor bone bruise in his right knee and could return within two weeks, per ESPN. The Mavs are said to be fielding offers for Bogut and are likely to move him.
Two front-office executives predicted Wizards small forward Otto Porter will get a maximum contract offer this summer, per ESPN.
Former NBA and D-League forward James Southerland (Syracuse) has parted ways with French club Wuerzburg, per Amico Hoops. Southerland could return to the D-League soon, sources said.
Former Hawaii guard Carl English has agreed to a contract with ALBA Berlin of Germany, per Amico Hoops.
Undrafted guard Korey Billbury (VCU) has signed with Leuven of Belgium, per Amico Hoops.
Ex-Providence guard Morris Curry has agreed to a contract with Antibes of France, per Amico Hoops.
Former NBA big man Elton Brand has been hired by the 76ers as a player development consultant, per the team.
Per Cleveland.com: “The Cavs’ lineup rotations are already out of whack because coach Tyronn Lue needs to compensate for the lack of a true backup point guard. Having to fill Smith’s spot among the starters could further complicate the issue and, depending on the severity of Smith’s injury, cause general manager David Griffin to contemplate multiple roster moves.” (Full report.)
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “The win snapped the Raptors’ six-game winning streak and also assured the Cavs will have homecourt advantage again should the Cavs and Raptors finish the regular season tied for the best record.” (Full report.)
Per Amico Hoops: “So it’s safe to say, like most everyone in the East, the Raptors are fighting for second place. That will always be the case provided the Cavs stay focused and physical. In 13 of their first 18 games, they were outscored in points in the paint. At least they tied (32-all) on Monday.” (Full column.)
Per Cleveland.com: “One game after playing a season-high 45 minutes against the Chicago Bulls, LeBron James logged 42 during Monday’s win. It was an important game, a needed win. But James’ minutes continue to climb and playing four games in six days, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sit one out soon.” (Full report.)
Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, on the Cavs, to reporters: “They know how to win. Throughout the whole game they understand when they have to turn it up on both ends, so with that you can’t put yourself in a hole deeper than what you are already in, especially against this team. You know they are the champions.” (Full report.)
Per CSN Northeast: “As the February trade deadline draws near, the Boston Celtics are expected to take a close look at adding a defensive-minded, rebounding big man with Dallas’ Andrew Bogut likely to emerge as a target.” (Full report.)
Per the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic will sift through the trade market in an effort to add a scorer, a league source with knowledge of the situation told the Orlando Sentinel.” (Full report.)
Per CSN Bay Area: “A report surfaced Monday morning that the NYPD was looking to question Kings forward Matt Barnes after nightclub patrons accused him of choking someone. The veteran wing has since been in contact with authorities to give his account of the events.” (Full report.)
Lakers point guard Jose Calderson is expected to miss two-to-four weeks with a hamstring strain, per the team.
The Grizzlies have signed free agent point guard Toney Douglas, per the team.
Former NBA center Ryan Hollins has signed to play for CB Gran Canaria of Spain, per Sportando.
Former NBA point guard Pablo Progioni has signed to play for Spanish club Saski Baskonia, per the team.
Kings forward Rudy Gay and point guard Ty Lawson have signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports and will be represented by agent Roger Montgomery, per USA Today.
Former Murray State point guard Stacy Wilson has agreed to a contract with the Artland Dragons of Germany, per Amico Hoops.
Former Fresno Pacific guard Malcolm Griffin has agreed to a contract with Liepaja/Triobet of Latvia, per Amico Hoops.