Rumor Mill: August 12th 2005

Bulls to make a run at Brian Grant?

Belkin finally out of the Hawks way?

Jeff McInnis: Kidds new back-up?

Steven Hunter: Finally a 76er

And More The Bulls are making a serious recruiting pitch to former Los Angeles Lakers power forward Brian Grant. Both general manager John Paxson and coach Scott Skiles spoke to Grant by phone Wednesday evening, just hours after the 33-year-old was waived by the Lakers under the NBA’s new amnesty rule.

— Daily Herald

The Nets will closely watch other teams’ waiver moves for amnesty players. Most appealing among those expected to be released are Philadelphia’s 6-5 Aaron McKie and Indiana’s 6-10 Austin Croshere.

— New York Post

Look for the Detroit Pistons today to make it official that Sidney Lowe and Don Zierden have left the Timberwolves to become assistants to new coach Flip Saunders.

— St. Paul Pioneer Press

The Mavericks have reached an oral agreement with veteran swingman Doug Christie on a one-year, $3 million deal, a source said. Christie, 35, was waived Thursday by the Orlando Magic as part of the NBA’s luxury-tax amnesty provision.

— Dallas Morning News

Steven Hunter accepted a five-year contract worth $16.5 million with the 76ers. The deal’s final year is a player option. Phoenix offered the 23-year-old center a one-year guarantee of almost $1.7 million.

— The Arizona Republic

NBA commissioner David Stern sided Thursday with the majority who want to remove Steve Belkin as the team’s governor. In an affidavit submitted to a Boston court, Stern said Belkin’s partners have grounds to remove him from the key post and that he would approve the action.

— Atlanta Journal-Constitution

While talks are still ongoing with TNT’s Kenny Smith, CBS college analyst Mike Gminski has emerged as the leading candidate to be the Nets’ analyst on YES, according to sources. Reached by phone, Gminski — who called the Hornets’ games for eight seasons in Charlotte — said he was interested.

— New York Post

Jeff McInnis didn’t like getting benched in Cleveland, but he’ll be more than willing to start games on the sidelines as Jason Kidd’s primary backup with the Nets, even if he still considers himself starting material. The Nets signed McInnis to a two-year deal worth $7 million. He’ll get $3.4 million this season, with the second season, at $3.6 million, at his option.

— New York Daily News

The Heat is expected to announce today that first-round draft pick Wayne Simien has agreed to a two-year contract worth $1.8 million. Simien, a 6-9 power forward out of Kansas, was selected with the 29th pick in the June 28 draft.

— Miami Herald

Free-agent point guard Steve Blake visited Cleveland on Thursday as the Cavaliers continue to explore their options for the upcoming season. Blake, who has visited with three other teams in the past 11 days, toured the Cavs’ facilities and had lunch with General Manager Danny Ferry and coach Mike Brown.

— Cleveland Plain Dealer

Shaquille O’Neal told Ashton Kutcher, the host of MTV’s celebrity prank show Punk’d, that he couldn’t be duped. Less than a day later, the big man was proven wrong. O’Neal and his wife, Shaunie, were heading to lunch in Beverly Hills and got the last spot in the restaurant’s parking lot. Once out of the car, though, O’Neal was accosted by a disgruntled Lakers fan who claimed he had been waiting to park there. O’Neal apologized, then entered the restaurant. After lunch, O’Neal found the fan still standing by his car — which now had flat tires. He wasn’t amused — until it was revealed to be a prank.

— Miami Herald

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