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First Cup: Friday

6/17/2011
  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: "The right eardrum might never be the same. It wasn’t so much the ear-splitting decibel level, although it was quite loud. It’s that from the moment the caravan of the Mavericks’ parade celebration pulled out of the Convention Center to the time when it pulled underneath American Airlines Center, the noise was constant. Dallas, you partied like champions. In the more than one-mile parade route, Rick Carlisle’s chariot didn’t witness one foul act. People yelled loud and stayed classy, the way champions like it. 'I don’t know what 250,000 people sound like,’' Carlisle said. 'But this sounds like more. This feels and sounds like a million.’ And this was just a few minutes into the winding journey that Carlisle, wife Donna and 7-year-old daughter Abby made with about 40 other vehicles and 250,000 of their closest friends who paid tribute to the Mavericks’ first NBA championship. The parade was 'an incredible’' journey, according to Jason Terry, just like the Mavericks’ season. Indeed, the first thing that came to mind in the Mavericks’ celebration was a Robert Earl Keen song: 'The Road Goes On Forever, And The Party Never Ends.' For anybody."

  • Staff of The Dallas Morning News: "Jason Terry was an integral part of the Mavericks' championship season. His Game 6 heroics helped the franchise win its first NBA title ... and allowed Terry to keep his O'Brien trophy tattoo that was on his bicep. After the victory, Terry considered his career to be complete. Jet has played on All-Star teams, the playoffs, and now has the final piece of the puzzle: an NBA championship. And with one year left on his current contract, there are some that wonder if next season could be it for one of the Mavericks' top perimeter players. With next season up in the air due to a potential lockout, there's a possibility this past season could be it for Terry. And during Thursday's celebration at the American Airlines Center, Terry hinted he'd like one more thing before he goes: 'Brad Davis, Ro Blackman, move over, there's new jerseys coming to town.' As Terry has mentioned many times before, he always wanted to retire with the Mavericks and, if the Mavericks won the title, have his No. 31 jersey retired. With a championship under his belt, he very well could get his wish."

  • Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post: "Isn't Denver among those pro franchises that exist mainly to give LeBron James or Kobe Bryant a warm building in which to shoot jump shots on a wintry night in February, before the playoff race heats up for true contenders? Come on. Despite trying since the 1960s, the Nuggets aren't meant to hold a victory parade. 'I don't buy that,' Masai Ujiri said Thursday. So I asked him if I should put a period or anexclamation point behind his belief that the Nuggets can win a championship. 'Exclamation point,' Ujiri insisted. Gotta like the way this man thinks. It's bold talk. 'Who doesn't want to win?' Ujiri said. Now for the tough questions: Does NBA commissioner David Stern have the nerve, and will franchise owners maintain the unity required to bring significant change to the sport, even if it means shutting down the league for months on end? If there is to be any real hope for the Thunder or Nuggets to win a championship, the looming labor strife must be more about improving competitive balance than dividing billions of dollars. ... Predicting eight championships by a single team? That's bravado reserved for James and the chosen ones in a league that has long worshipped brand names and television ratings far more than a notion as quaint as a level playing field. 'Can there be a Green Bay Packers in pro basketball?' George Karl asked. 'Can there be a parity mentality in pro basketball that overcomes the elite teams?' Turn out the lights. Lock the arena doors. Until the NBA finds a good answer to the toughest question, the league has no business playing basketball."

  • Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic: "Those who wish to trade Steve Nash present a logical argument. He's 37, an aging point guard in a young man's league. Without more talent around him, his services are being wasted in Phoenix. Peddling him to the right suitor could bring much in return, helping the Suns transition into a new era of basketball. Sorry, not this time. Too many players have left the Suns in a huff. Few have been as popular as Nash. And when Nowitzki finally broke through in Dallas, it was proof that loyalty matters, that faith can be rewarded, that patience is a virtue. Still, you wonder how Nash felt when he saw his close friend prevail in the NBA Finals. Does it make him believe in storybook endings? Does it trigger wanderlust, prompting him to request a trade and seek a championship elsewhere? Surely, he has noticed what the title has done for Nowitzki's reputation. ... There's much to love about both Nash and Nowitzki, and before Kerr left the organization, he wanted to reunite the former teammates in Phoenix. He asked Nash to help recruit Nowitzki if he didn't sign an extension with Dallas. Nash agreed, but the window never opened. 'Dirk's too loyal of a guy,' Kerr said. 'He and Steve are one and the same; Dirk is just the seven-foot version of Steve. They're basketball guys who want to get better and be great teammates. That's it.' Lesson to the Suns: You hold onto guys like that, whatever the cost, wherever the journey ends."

  • Tom Couzens of The Sacramento Bee: "With the NBA and Stanley Cup finals over, here's an idea. How about adding power plays in the NBA? No, not for routine fouls; we're thinking two-minute minors for technicals and five-minute majors for flagrant fouls. Playing a man short would open up the game; fans would love how the team with a full squad would attack the basket. And imagine the reaction of a coach if one of his players hammers an opponent -- the Lakers' Andrew Bynum comes to mind -- leaving his team short-handed for five minutes. Hey, don't laugh; after all, the American League uses the designated hitter."

  • Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post: "Nuggets training camp won't start until late September. And who knows if they'll have one at all in 2011, thanks to the impending lockout? But whenever the Nuggets unite, Karl plans to teach them a lesson about the Mavericks, the team that beat The Big Three. 'We know we're a better defensive team than Dallas, but do we pass the ball as well as Dallas?' Karl said Thursday after Denver worked out six draft prospects, notably Texas' Jordan Hamilton and Michigan's Darius Morris. 'They're just a team that finds the open man. Period. They're going to find the open man. You had guys (on their roster) who five years ago weren't into finding the open man. Dirk probably wasn't. Jason Terry probably wasn't. (DeShawn) Stevenson, Shawn Marion . But they had a plan. The key to playoff basketball is the hustle, wild-card player -- who the great player allows him to (ascend). Would Dirk have allowed those guys to take the spotlight five years ago?' The Nuggets, of course, don't have a Dirk (perhaps they have Dirk Light in Danilo Gallinari, who is just 22 and shows flashes that are Dirk-like). Karl knows that for his players to make a playoff push, they must trust each other."

  • Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times: "So what is going through Forman’s opaque mind as the draft nears? We don’t know, but this age thing seems to bode well for the Bulls. Rose is 22. Joakim Noah is 26. Luol Deng is 26. Taj Gibson is 25. Omer Asik is 24. The Heat, the Eastern Conference team to beat, has James, 26, Chris Bosh, 26, and Dwyane Wade, 29. Could the Big Three all be in decline? But above all, if the little tidbit Forman pondered was correct, Rose will get better. An improved MVP. That’s something. But as Forman surely knows, numbers can mean little. Even can be lies in disguise. To wit, Michael Jordan was 35 when he led the Bulls to their sixth NBA title in 1998. Scottie Pippen was 32. Ron Harper was 34. Dennis Rodman was 37. But if LeBron and Co. actually have peaked? And Rose will be a better player two years from now? No wonder a GM’s brain never stops spinning."

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "Perhaps no NBA roster uses Twitter more than the Orlando Magic, and that fact dismays Otis Smith, the team’s president of basketball operations and its general manager. Indeed, Gilbert Arenas, who was fined recently by the NBA for the content in at least one tweet, isn’t the only Orlando player who likes the microblogging service. At least 10 of the 13 players who finished the 2010-11 season on the Magic roster have Twitter accounts. Smith, who played in the NBA from 1986 to 1992 and considers himself “old school” in many respects, won’t be joining Twitter anytime soon. Asked by the Orlando Sentinel for his reaction to Arenas’ controversial Twitter account, Smith made his thoughts clear. 'I have thoughts about everyone’s Twitter account, actually,' he said. 'It’s got to be the dumbest thing a professional athlete has ever done. But they do it, and I’ve got no problem with that. That’s the world that we live in now: the mass media in which everyone is a reporter and everyone has an opinion on stuff and they continue to put it out there. God bless ’em all. Why a guy in the public eye would choose to do that kind of stuff is beyond me.' "

  • Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald: "Little wonder that Ray Allen exercised the option on the final year of his contract last week without much debate. He believes the Celtics have another Duck Boat parade in them. 'When I had to sit back and think about it, we were our own worst enemies,' he said. 'We have the personnel to be successful moving forward, so there wasn’t a need for me to look for something greener somewhere else. I didn’t flinch too much. I think about the teams potentially I could have went to, and what we have here is too valuable. We used to say we were a better team, but you have to prove it.' Allen touched on a wide range of topics yesterday, including his haunting belief that the Celtics were good enough not only to beat Miami, but to win the title this year. On the NBA Finals: 'Most of the time, watching the Eastern Conference finals, we were still, in my opinion, better than most of the teams that played. We lost to Dallas twice this year, but we still liked our chances against them. It was just us playing our best basketball. A kid asked me: Who was the toughest opponent we had to face this year? And, I said it was ourselves.' "

  • Jody Genessy of the Deseret News: "Brandon Knight missed the Jimmerpalooza-Kemba Walker Show by a day. But he gave the Utah Jazz a solo performance Thursday morning, which left a favorable impression on the team with two lottery picks. 'He showed himself very well,' Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. 'He did a really good job. I mean, it was one-on-zero, but (he was able) to show his talent level. ... His basketball IQ seemed to be high.' Though the Jazz would have preferred the Kentucky freshman to go up against Jimmer Fredette, Walker or other point guards, the franchise has a history of not letting similar decisions of going solo sway their ultimate drafting decision. To wit, Utah went through that same scenario six years ago when it last picked a premier point guard this high in the draft. 'We didn't hold it against Deron (Williams) when he came in here (by himself),' Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor reminded reporters, recalling how D-Will only did individual workouts prior to being picked third in the 2005 Draft. 'Would you like to see him compete? Sure, but that's their decision and we'll go from there.' "

  • Jeff Roberts of The Record: "The bullet wound has healed, fading to a distant, unsettling memory. His fractured left wrist is '100 percent,' despite the occasional stiffness. The worst has passed, Jeremy Hazell hopes. He has overcome a devastating season that included the injury and a Christmas night robbery attempt that ended with a bullet ripping through his right side, just below his armpit, during a visit home to Harlem. And now he’s been 'blessed' with a chance to show the NBA that the broken scaphoid bone that cost him 13 games of his senior season at Seton Hall -- from mid-November to mid-January -- is not a concern. The 6-foot-5, 188-pound sharpshooter has impressed evaluators in his pre-draft workouts, including Thursday morning for the Nets at the PNY Center. ... '[It] just humbled me man, just a humbling situation,' said Hazell of the past year. 'But I’m back, just trying to get these workouts done and get back on the radar and try to make it to the NBA.' "