Kevin Durant says he intends to return to Team USA for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil after withdrawing from national-team duty in August shortly before the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

OKLAHOMA CITY -- While LeBron James is undecided, reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant told ESPN on Monday that he intends to return to Team USA for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Durant withdrew from national-team duty in August shortly before the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.

"Hopefully I'll be there. It's whoever Mr. [Jerry] Colangelo and Coach K [Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski] pick," Durant said in‎ an interview on his 26th birthday scheduled to air later this week on SportsCenter. "I would love to have the chance to play in another Olympics."

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Basketball

"This doesn't mean I'm leaving," Monroe said at the team's media day.

What he didn't say, though, was that he was staying.

This summer, Monroe did something almost unheard of for a frontline NBA player -- he signed a one-year qualifying deal that costs him almost $10 million for this season but makes him an unrestricted free agent next summer.

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One of the reasons Byron Scott believes the Lakers will be better than most think is the return of Kobe Bryant, who was limited to six games last season. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- No one expects much from the Los Angeles Lakers this season and that's just fine with the Lakers heading into the start of training camp on Tuesday.

"I love the fact that pretty much everyone has written us off," Lakers coach Byron Scott said. "That's obviously fuel to the fire. Obviously I'm going to use that to my ability to talk to our players about how people are viewing us as a basketball team. We're going to go out there tomorrow and get a lot of work in. I love the fact that everybody is doubting us."

One of the main reasons Scott believes the Lakers will be better than most think is the return of Kobe Bryant, who played in only six games while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon and then suffered a fracture in his left knee when he returned.

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Nikki Miller, 16, is believed to have intentionally run away from her Yorba Linda, California, home, prompting detectives to decide against treating the case as an abduction, Lt. John Roche told the Los Angeles Times on Monday.

Miller is about 6 feet tall, weighs 150 pounds and has dark hair and brown eyes, police said.

Miller's uncle, Reggie, tweeted to his nearly 600,000 followers late Monday afternoon to get the word out about his niece's disappearance.

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Basketball

"Obviously this is the first time I've ever had surgery on my knee so I'm hoping there's no limitations," Noah said during Monday's media day at the Advocate Center. "But I just have to be a little bit more cautious. But it's exciting, it's really exciting. I know that this is a long journey we're about to embark (on) and I just want to be as ready as possible."

Noah put together the best season of his professional career last year earning first the Defensive Player of the Year award along with first-team All-NBA honors. But Noah limped badly at the end of the year during the Bulls' first round loss to the Washington Wizards -- admitting Monday that his knee was hurting more than he led on during the playoffs.

"I felt terrible at the end of the year," he said. "And I feel better now."

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Basketball

While Paul once again lived up to the biggest knock against him, Griffin just shed some of the nagging critiques of his game.

The all-he-does-is-dunk tag is long gone for Griffin, and you can't just foul him and consider it a defensive stop anymore. He expanded his shooting comfort zone last season, making an additional 59 midrange jump shots from the previous season, according to data on vorped.com. He shot a career-high 72 percent from the free throw line. He has gone from a guy who can get 20 points easily to a guy who can get 30 regularly. He scored 30-plus points 16 times last season, after hitting that mark only three times in 2012-13.

Now it's time for the ultimate test: Can he be the star in a playoff game?

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Derrick Rose's title proclamation came on a day in which confidence permeated the Advocate Center, the Bulls' sparkling new downtown training facility. Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose's confidence remains high despite the fact the former MVP has played just 10 games in the last two years because of two major knee injuries.

He made that clear during Chicago Bulls' media day on Monday when he reaffirmed his belief that a championship is in his future.

"I try my hardest to stay away from (the predictions)," Rose said. "But we know we have an opportunity ahead of us. It may not be this year, it may not be the next year or whatever, but I know that we have one (in us). I know I'm going to win a championship soon so I'm not worried about that."

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