In what might be of interest to CSTB’s handful of readers who routinely wish death upon Kentucky coach Tubby Smith, the following item is culled from Mitch Lawrence’s Sunday column in the New York Daily News.

Bernie Bickerstaff, suffering through another losing campaign in Charlotte, with Emeka Okafor sidelined by ankle troubles, might not return to the sidelines next season. Word is the Bobcats are already looking at Kentucky’s Tubby Smith to be Bickerstaff’s successor. Smith has been up for other NBA jobs, including the Sixers’ about 10 years ago. If Smith joined the Bobcats, Bickerstaff would stay on in his current GM role.

Amidst a couple of typical Vesceyisms (“Don’t know what was stranger ” the fact Murry Bergtraum’s Epiphanny Prince scored a girls-record, splashed-in-sportsmanship 113 points, or that Sam Mitchell wasn’t the opposing coach.”, “Upon hearing the news, Kendra Davis said she’d now be throwing her coffee to go.”), the Post’s Poison Pen Pete predicts that Stevie Franchise will be on the move as soon as possible.

I don’t know all the particulars, but I do know Steve Francis, whose friction of late with coach Brian Hill and consequent two-game suspension is well documented, is on the verge of being sent from Orlando to Denver.

In exchange, the Nuggets would give up Nene and Watson, who would either wind up in New York or Seattle. Obviously, the Knicks would have to surrender one of their youngbloods, preferably a guard, whereas the Sonics are prepared to part with Reggie Evans, Ronald Murray and Vitaly Potapenko. The second wave of talks is linked to Ratliff, Ruben Patterson and Penny Hardaway.

“Everyone is on board with the Francis trade but one team,” asserted one of the participants, declining to divulge its identity. “Something’s either going to get done or it’ll be dead within the next 48 hours.”