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NBA: Jan. 3, 2006

Posted: Tuesday January 3, 2006 12:29PM; Updated: Tuesday January 3, 2006 12:29PM
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Sources say Phil Jackson has coveted Ron Artest since he took the job. Kobe Bryant, too, is heavily endorsing his procurement as well. Yet Lakers management continues to resist sacrificing Lamar Odom.
  -- New York Post

The Pacers went into Monday's game losers of four straight games, but CEO Donnie Walsh said he's still in no hurry to trade Artest. Walsh said he still hasn't narrowed the number of teams he thinks he could send Artest to.
  -- Indianapolis Star

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There's a possibility Artest may not be the only Pacer on his way out. With the Pacers looking at different trade scenarios, including possibly cutting salary, players such as Austin Croshere and Scot Pollard know there's a chance they could be traded.
  -- Indianapolis Star

The Clippers asked Sam Cassell to reach out to his former Timberwolves teammate Latrell Sprewell. Sprewell apparently now represents himself and isn't the easiest guy to track down; he's believed to be back in Milwaukee.
  -- New York Post

The latest bit of shuffling by Knicks coach Larry Brown shifts the rookie David Lee into the starting small forward spot and relegates Trevor Ariza to the bench -- and Ariza isn't pleased about the move.
  -- New York Post

Isiah Thomas vowed that the Knicks of the future would revolve around Larry Brown. And yesterday Thomas threw his weight behind the frustrated coach by suspending center Jerome James for not being prepared for practice on New Year's Day.
  -- Newark Star-Ledger

Danny Fortson returned from a two-game suspension Monday with fire for NBA senior vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson, calling the executive a "gangster" for the nearly $200,000 in fines Fortson was docked for his latest transgression with an official.
  -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The Lakers work on free throws at the end of almost every practice, with Phil Jackson gathering the team together and creating succeed-or-run situations -- make eight of 10, for example -- to try to improve the team's percentage. Has it worked? "Obviously not," Jackson said.
  -- Los Angeles Times

Dirk Nowitzki says the Mavericks (22-8) are as good as any team in the NBA, including San Antonio or Detroit, when they follow the lead of coach Avery Johnson. "We're right up there with everybody," Nowitzki said. "If we play that solid defense that AJ has been preaching all along, I think we can beat anybody at home or on the road."
  -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Allen Iverson, Chris Webber and Samuel Dalembert sat out practice yesterday. Iverson continued to rest a sprained right ankle he injured a week ago. Webber has been bothered by a sprained left wrist. Dalembert banged knees with Utah's Jarron Collins on Saturday night. Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said he expected Iverson to play tonight, but as for Webber and Dalembert, "we'll have to wait and see."
  -- Philadelphia Inquirer

Jermaine O'Neal joined Jamaal Tinsley and Artest as starters out for Pacers. O'Neal missed Monday's game against the SuperSonics with pneumonia. O'Neal, who remained home Monday, probably won't fly with the team to Denver today for Wednesday's game against the Nuggets. The Pacers' next four games are out West.
  -- Indianapolis Star

Lindsey Hunter is back. Sort of. His surgically repaired left ankle has healed, and after a three-month layoff, Hunter appears to be good to go. But don't expect him to play in any of the Pistons' three home games this week.
  -- Detroit Free Press

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