Daily Gossip, Monday 21/7/14

It’s certainly going to be different seeing Lance Stephenson in a Charlotte Hornets uniform and not an Indiana Pacers one. Pacers president Larry Bird spoke about Lance for the Indy Star and our column starts with Bird’s decision to let him go.

Oh, by the way, the choice of picture was no mistake.

BIRD: I FEEL BAD ABOUT LOSING [STEPHENSON]

Larry Bird was honest as he answered a question regarding the recently departed Lance Stephenson.

The former Pacers guard recently inked a three-year deal with the Charlotte Hornets.

 “I really feel bad about losing him, I hope it doesn’t interfere with our relationship,” Bird said to Bob Kravitz at the Indy Star But I did what I could possibly do to keep him here. Even if he didn’t have any other offers, I was committed to giving him that $44 million because I believe in the kid. If you look at our roster, we have five or six guys in the last year of their deals, plus David (West) and Roy (Hibbert) can opt out, so don’t you think I wanted to keep Lance and Paul (George) locked into long-term deals?

It’s just disappointing, when I’d go to practices, when he was on, he was by far our best player. And he worked. If you work as hard as he does, you’re going to get better. I’m going to miss the kid, no question. And he’s growing up. That stuff he pulled in the playoffs, that was out of the blue. But I knew how good Lance was and the value he brought to our team.”

UNICS KAZAN AFTER ALEKS MARIC?

Several independent basketball sites have reported that Unics Kazan are after Australian Aleks Maric.

Unics Kazan team officials told TalkBasket that they are after new players, but would not confirm which players that they are after.

Maric played for rivals Lokomotiv Kuban last season.

KALINIC TO RED STAR

Red Star have signed Serbian international Nikola Kalinic from Radnicki.

The 1991-born player has signed a three-year deal with the Euroleague side.

JOSH SMITH TO STAY WITH PISTONS?

It seems that Detroit Pistons coach and president Stan van Gundy has convinced forward Josh Smith to stay in the Motor City.

From Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski…

Detroit Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy reached out to forward Josh Smith to tell him that reports of the franchise engaging in substantive trade talks with Sacramento centered on Smith have been inaccurate and – barring an unexpected turn of events – Smith will be in training camp with the Pistons this fall, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Sacramento had made calls about Smith in June, but Detroit never heard an offer that remotely interested them and never seriously engaged in discussions, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Since his hiring in the spring, Van Gundy has had productive discussions with Smith and sources say that Smith has been enthusiastic about moving forward with Van Gundy as coach.