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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Kevin McHale set to make emotional return to Minnesota 12.26.12 at 7:58 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Knicks at Suns, 9 p.m. (NBATV)
College football: Little Caesars Bowl, Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)


‘™¦ Rockets coach (and Celtics legend) Kevin McHale is set to make an emotional return to Minneapolis on Wednesday night. McHale, a Minnesota native who spent 16 years working for the Timberwolves as a TV analyst, executive and coach, raised his children in the area. This is his first visit to Target Center since the Nov. 24 death of his 23-year-old daughter, Sasha, from lupus. McHale’s wife and four remaining children will attend the game as well.

Following Tuesday night’s victory over the Bulls, the Rockets are 6-3 since McHale returned to the team for a Dec. 8 game against the Mavericks. That includes a Dec. 14 victory over the Celtics, after which former Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett gave McHale a long embrace.

“Everywhere we go, somebody comes up to him to give him a big hug,” Rockets assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff told the Pioneer Press newspaper in Minnesota. “Over the last 33 years or so, his touch has been felt all over the NBA. It’s hard to find people who don’t like Kevin McHale, who weren’t touched by him in some way.”

‘™¦ Former Patriots receiver Chad Johnson admitted that a sex tape making its way around the Internet is of him with two women, but he denies that he wanted it to go public. Johnson, released by the Dolphins before the season, said the tape was shot in a Florida hotel room about three years ago. He said he’s exploring legal options to have the tape removed.

Johnson, 34, had an unimpressive 2011 season with the Patriots (when he was known as Chad Ochocinco) after 10 productive seasons with the Bengals. He has said he wants to return to the NFL.

‘™¦ Former Braves and Yankees outfielder Andruw Jones was arrested in suburban Atlanta early Tuesday morning on a battery charge following a domestic dispute with his wife. He released on bond later in the day.

Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove-winner for the Braves who has 434 home runs in 17 major league seasons, played last season for the Yankees. He signed a one-year contract with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League earlier this month.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 26, 1976, Bruins forward John Bucyk scored in a 6-3 victory over the visiting Cleveland Barons, giving him 545 career goals and moving him past which Canadiens legend for fourth place on the all-time list?

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Timberwolves’ Kevin Love loses first beach volleyball match 08.26.11 at 9:15 am ET
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Playing for the Timberwolves, Kevin Love has lost plenty of games in his young career. That trend continued Thursday, when Love lost in straight sets in the first round of the Manhattan Beach Open, the first beach volleyball tournament Love had ever played.

Love and teammate Hans Stolfus lost to top-seeded Sean Scott and John Hyden in straight sets, 21-16, 21-15.

“Obviously getting beat is never fun, but being competitive, playing against the best team in the country, a team that hasn’t lost all summer, was a lot of fun,” Love said.

Love’s rebounding ability translated well to volleyball, with Love using his 6-foot-10 body to successfully block several hits and spike a few balls as well.

Despite the salary differences of Love and professional beach volleyball players, Love has been embraced by the league.

“It brings beach volleyball to the limelight,” Hyden said. “Hopefully it helps the sport. It’s never bad having guys like that.”

Of Love’s first match, Hyden said, “Obviously, he needs a lot of work. He came along pretty well for never playing before.”

Love trained with professional volleyball player Jesse Rambis, whose father Kurt Rambis was Love’s coach with the Timberwolves until being fired in July.

Read More: Hans Stolfus, Jesse Rambis, John Hyden, Kevin Love
Report: Rockets hire Kevin McHale as head coach 05.27.11 at 3:08 pm ET
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Former Celtics Hall-of-Famer and Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale has reportedly reached an agreement with the Rockets to become their next head coach.

Since playing all 13 of his NBA seasons in Boston, McHale worked his way up to Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Timberwolves, compiled a 39-55 record coaching in three different stints in Minnesota, and appeared on TNT and NBA TV as an analyst in the 2009-10 season.

The Houston front office will build his staff and plan to promote D-League coach, Chris Finch of Rio Grande Valley, sources said. Grizzlies assistant Dave Joerge is also being highly considered for a spot on McHale’s bench. Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank was strongly considered, and is also being targeted by the Warriors.

Read More: Houston Rockets, Kevin McHale, Rumor Mill,
Report: Kevin McHale to meet with Rockets about coaching vacancy 05.25.11 at 10:52 am ET
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Kevin McHale will meet with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander in Miami on Wednesday to discuss the team’s coaching vacancy. According to Sports Illustrated, McHale is the front-runner among a list of candidates that includes Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey and Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank.

McHale currently is an analyst with TNT. McHale previously was an executive with the Timberwolves and coached the team twice. In 2008 he took over when Randy Wittman was fired, and he took over back in 2004 when Flip Saunders was fired. McHale was reluctant to take the two jobs because of the heavy travel schedule.

At least one former player was surprised that McHale still wants to patrol the sidelines. “I’m shocked he’s even interested in coaching,” the unidentified player told SI.

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