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First Cup: Wednesday

  • Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com: "The Boston Celtics officially waived Rasheed Wallace Tuesday, agreeing to a mutual buyout as Wallace prepares to retire from basketball after a 15-year career. ... It will be interesting to see if the team now moves swiftly to fill that spot with a veteran free agent (both Ainge and coach Doc Rivers suggested Tuesday they would like another shooter off the bench), or whether the team simply keeps a spot open moving forward and waits for the ideal body (Rivers did suggest the team could always wait into the regular season before making that move). Some had hoped the Celtics might move Wallace in exchange for a proven swingman to backup Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, but Boston clearly couldn't find a likable deal in the trade market. Hope springs eternal in the offseason, and few teams would be looking to clear cap space at this point. So Boston ultimately eats a bit of salary to facilitate Wallace's retirement and now has the flexibility to polish off its 15-man roster with training camp set to open in late September."

  • Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe: "Shaquille O’Neal is a Boston Celtic. No. 36 in your program. He’s hardly the first NBA great to punch in at Causeway Street near the end of his career. Pete Maravich, Artis Gilmore, Dominique Wilkins, and Bill Walton come to mind. ... By any yardstick, the three greatest centers of the 20th century were Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Now there is Shaq. At the age of 38, an NBA veteran since 1992, O’Neal is right there with the Big Three of the Key. He is the fourth head on basketball’s Mt. Rushmore of pivotmen. ... I love this move. It’s no-risk. The Green didn’t give up any players, didn’t invest serious money, and got a player who still can score, rebound, and fill the lane. Shaq can draw fouls. And he’s going to be a presence in Boston. Kevin Garnett has been here for three seasons and has barely been sighted outside the Garden (I think he commutes via underground tunnel). Shaq is going to be out there. Taking it to the streets."

  • Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: "If Tracy McGrady and Arnie Kander aren't familiar with each other already, they will get to know each other very well in the coming weeks before training camp. Before agreeing to the one-year, $1.35-million deal that was reported Tuesday, the Pistons insisted McGrady spend a lot of time with Kander, the team's strength-and-conditioning coach, getting his body ready for training camp. The Pistons truly believe that they have an edge with strength-and-conditioning coach Kander, who has been with the team since the spring of 1992. They think his methods are great at preventing injuries (last season notwithstanding) and helping players overcome previous injuries. Take Antonio McDyess in 2004. He came to the Pistons at a time when there were questions about whether the one-time jumping jack would ever recover from serious leg injuries. He spent five relatively healthy seasons with the Pistons before signing a two-year deal with the Spurs before last season. ... Take Ben Wallace last season. He returned the franchise where he made his name after an injury-plagued season with the Cavs. He exceeded expectations by being the team's best big man last season."

  • Barbara Barker of Newsday: "Two prominent college basketball coaches said Tuesday that they are uncomfortable with the consulting deal struck by Florida International University coach Isiah Thomas and the Knicks. 'I am good friends with Isiah and I obviously like the Knicks, but I think it’s better if there is a separation between college and the pros,' said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who was in New York with Team USA. 'I would decline to do something like that.' Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim took it a step further. Not only would he decline, he said he’s not sure the arrangement should be allowed.'"I don’t understand why it would be legal either way, from the college standpoint or from the NBA,' said Boeheim, one of Coach K’s assistants on Team USA. 'It seems like a conflict. You’re coaching kids and recommending them to pro guys. Well, if a pro guy comes in and asks about a kid and you’re a consultant to a different team, you wouldn’t be able to do that. You wouldn’t be able to help that kid.' "

  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune: "Scottie Pippen, who will be inducted Friday into the Basketball Hall of Fame, came off the bench in 79 games his rookie season, playing behind starter Brad Sellers. That eased the pressure on Pippen to make an immediate impact and gave him time to add bulk to his body with strength coach Al Vermeil. 'That first year he got beat to death in practice every day by Michael (Jordan),' Jerry Krause said. 'He had to find out how to compete with Michael, and he kept at it.' That persistence and work ethic stayed with Pippen and, in the eyes of Krause, changed the arc of his career. No matter how much controversy Krause endured as the target of criticism during Pippen's Hall of Fame career, he always will remember the effort that made Pippen into an elite player. 'I always respected Scottie as a player (because) he worked extremely hard,' Krause said. 'There are going to be things in his career that come up, but they come up with everybody. What you care about is how hard a guy plays and if he gives you 82 efforts a year and in the playoffs, and Scottie did that. There were no off nights for Scottie Pippen.' Asked if Pippen represented the biggest find of his NBA scouting career, Krause declined to say. Pippen represented his fourth Hall of Famer, joining Earl Monroe, Wes Unseld and Jerry Sloan on Krause's resume."

  • Doug Robinson of the Deseret News: "I miss Karl Malone. Not for his points and rebounds. I miss his gift for gab and drama. The man could talk. Not in an eloquent way -- every time he opened his mouth, he sent English teachers screaming into the night. His subjects and verbs didn't have disagreements; they had full-scale wars. That didn't stop him. He gabbed like a talk-show host. He couldn't help himself. Sometimes he'd take a vow of silence in a moment of petulance, but it didn't or couldn't last long. I am tempted to state that he said what's on his mind, but words didn't get that far. Words tended to exit his mouth before they formed in his brain, not vice versa. He talked first, then thought about whether he should say it much later. 'This is Karl Malone speaking for Karl Malone,' he said once. 'I have every right to say what I want.' And so he did. We media types appreciate guys who speak honestly and originally. Where in the Jazz locker room are you going to find that now? Deron Williams? Pa-lease!"

  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: "Cancel the NBA season. Now. Be done with it, Mr. Stern. Skip all the formalities. Let’s just have the ticker-tape parade now. Break out the party favors South Florida! Crank up Will Smith’s old-school hit 'Miami', celebrating the majesty and magnificence of the Miami Heat. 'Bouncin’ in the club where the heat is on. All night on the beach til the break of dawn.' Yeah baby! Jeff Van Gundy says they are going to win every single game, or something like that. The Heat will be on TV 29 times this season, coming close to the number of times you can watch Law and Order on any given day. And King James sent out this defiant shout-out on Twitter on Tuesday: 'Don’t think for one min that I haven’t been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!' Now we’ve gone and done it! LeBron James is mad! We are doomed! What’s the point of playing?"

  • Luisa Yanez and Jaweed Kaleem of The Miami Herald: "Miami Heat's newest superstar LeBron James allegedly hired a New York rabbi -- with South Florida ties -- to accompany him on a Tuesday morning business meeting, the entertainment website TMZ reported. Then, Tuesday night James appeared to be unhappy about something and implied on his Twitter account he was taking down names. 'Don't think for one min that I haven't been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!,' James wrote in a 7:45 p.m. tweet on his King James account. ... So who was James referring to in his latest tweet? Other NBA players who have been knocking his signing with the Miami Heat? The media which has been covering his every move since his 'The Decision' show? Earlier earlier in the day James met with business executives onboard a private a yacht about merchandising deals, according TMZ. The entertainment website said James attended the meeting with Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto, 'a man known around New York as the rabbi to the business stars.' "

  • Ray Richarson of the Pioneer Press: "Eight months ago, Anthony Tolliver was putting on extra clothes to get through practice in a chilly gym in Boise, Idaho -- home of the Idaho Stampede, an obscure franchise in the NBA's Development League. Today, he's a YouTube sensation and is overjoyed to be a member of the Timberwolves, who signed the free agent forward to a two-year deal worth a reported $4.8 million. The fact that the Wolves won 15 games last season and haven't made the playoffs in seven years has no impact on Tolliver's feel-good moment. 'I had to go through a lot to get here,' Tolliver said Tuesday after an individual workout at Target Center. 'I'll probably appreciate this more than most guys ... guys who got drafted. I won't take a day for granted. I'm going to work hard every day and try to bring something to this team.' Tolliver, 25, was undrafted after he finished his college career at Creighton in 2007. He spent minimal time with Portland and San Antonio and had an unsuccessful tryout at the Miami Heat's training camp last fall."

  • Brian T. Smith of The Columbian "One of the primary reasons the Portland Trail Blazers hired Rich Cho as the team’s general manager was because of the new-generation executive’s reputation for thinking outside the box. Cho has done just that with his first major move as GM while leading an organization that is attempting to take the next step in its evolution. The Blazers are expected to name Bill Branch and Steve Rosenberry as co-assistant GMs, sources have told The Columbian. Branch's hire is official, while Rosenberry's deal with the Blazers is '99-percent' done, a team source said Tuesday."

  • Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee: "Though she's only a rookie, Kings president and longtime Sacramentan Matina Kolokotronis seems to have a feel for what hurts and what sells. The Lakers. And the Lakers. Geez, that wasn't so difficult. Yet when the NBA schedule was released Tuesday morning, Kolokotronis and her sales staffers immediately did something the previous regime never attempted: They collaborated on a promotional ticket package in an attempt to sell out the Kings' first two home games, against the Toronto Raptors (Nov. 1) and the Lakers (Nov. 3)."

  • Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register: "The Celtics visit Jan. 30, and the Lakers go to Boston on Feb. 10. New Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal was asked when on Mike Wise’s radio show in Washington who is the greatest player he has teamed with considering he has followed Kobe Bryant with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. 'A lot of people rank players from different opinions, but if you wanna go with ring standpoint it has to be Kobe,' O’Neal said. 'LeBron is a great athlete, D-Wade is a great athlete, but it’s close. I’m lucky to have been able to play with both of those guys, but Kobe right now has had that eye for a long time. I’ve known him for a while. When he gets that eye there aren’t really too many people that can beat him.' "

  • Bob Finnan of The News-Herald: "Some have described him as a national treasure. Joe Tait, the Cavaliers' play-by-play radio announcer for 38 years, will receive the 2010 Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday in Springfield, Mass. Hugely popular among the masses, the 73-year-old is entering his final season with the Cavs. It's quite probable Tait will never get to call an NBA championship team in his career. After the 2010-11 season, he's walking away from the NBA and will retire to his home in Medina County. '(The Cavs) called me this morning and asked me if I would consider doing just the home games (beyond this year),' Tait said. 'I told them no. This was it. Game, set, match. I've had enough. It's become harder each year to perform the duties that I require of myself. I'm not going to sit around and become a cartoon character of what I used to be. I've seen that happen with other guys who stayed far too long, and the last 10 years or so, it was a joke. I'm not going to go that route.' "

  • David Woods of The Indianapolis Star: "As he spoke to a reporter, he got a text from John Wall. Other texting buddies include Rajon Rondo, Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook. Shelvin Mack has a new basketball peer group. Indeed, this summer the Butler guard has seen more of Duke's Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith than he has of his own Bulldogs teammates. ... Mack has had such a breakout summer that the question has become: How long will he stay at Butler? Just as Gordon Hayward left after two seasons, it's possible Mack could leave after three. At minimum, Mack has a chance to be Butler's first All-American since Billy Shepherd in 1970-71. Butler coach Brad Stevens has said only that he is happy the junior guard has so many opportunities. Mack said he and the coach don't talk about the NBA. 'I think every basketball player playing would love to play in the NBA,' Mack said. 'I'm not worried about it. I'm taking it one day at a time.' "

  • Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times: "Lisa Leslie is working on a new goal, one that has her trash-talking Charles Barkley. If she succeeds, 'Charles won't be eating no more doughnuts,' she says, smiling. As she watched the retirement of her No. 9 Sparks' jersey at Staples Center on Tuesday night, the women's basketball icon relished another moment in an award-filled career that spanned 13 seasons and ended in 2009. But her best moment, she hopes, will come as an NBA studio analyst for TNT, sitting alongside the inimitable Barkley. When Barkley is told of Leslie's ambition, and her friendly jab, he laughs. 'We should hire her sooner. Any time TNT wants to fire Kenny, they're welcome to do it,' he says, referring to friend and fellow analyst Kenny Smith, whose on-air jousts with Barkley have made the studio show such a success. Leslie thinks she would fit right in, even with Smith. 'I want to cover men's basketball on a national level,' Leslie says, 'where people know and respect what I have to say about the game as much as they respected me playing it.' "

  • Sarah Talalay of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Returning Miami Heat guard Carlos Arroyo has his own theme music accompaniment at AmericanAirlines Arena -- El Gran Combo’s 'Fiesta de Pilito.' Now he has a new single out with reggaeton recording artist and fellow Puerto Rican, Yomo. You can listen to the song called 'Se va Conmigo' ('She comes with me') at iTunes. Arroyo, who is a reggaeton fan, released 'Oculto Secreto' ('Hidden Secret') last year."