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First Cup: Wednesday

9/7/2011
  • Frank Isola of the New York Daily News: "Amar'e Stoudemire could be hurt financially if the NBA season is shortened due to the lockout, but pushing back the start of the season would do wonders for his physical well-being. Stoudemire has not fully recovered from a back injury he suffered before Game 2 of the Knicks' first-round series against Boston last April. A Knicks source claims that Stoudemire is approximately '90% healthy' but couldn't guarantee that the six-time All-Star would be available if the NBA season begins on time. Stoudemire, who took most of July off to rest his back, is scheduled to resume workouts in Florida within the next couple of weeks. Because of the lockout, Stoudemire is prohibited from working with the Knicks training staff. He has, however, stayed active in other ways. Stoudemire made a cameo in the most recent episode of 'Entourage' and has an event scheduled for today at the Polo Grounds Community Center."

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "With the NBA and Players Association set to meet again on Wednesday, we at least can cling to whatever hope can be gleaned from the sides getting together for the third time since the lockout began. They offered no signs of progress after their six-hour meeting last week, but for a nice change, no one sued the other side the day after a meeting so that was progress. The pessimist might point out that there has been no indication that anything new was proposed in the apparently amicable get-together. Those conversations could not have amounted to much since the sides are still suing one another for a failure to negotiate in good faith. Absent that and any new proposals, they might have been drafting fantasy football teams for six hours. But since we are looking for glimmers of hope we can cite that they did not rip into each other for the cameras after the meeting, promised more meetings and are actually holding another meeting a week later. More to the point as we head to the latest talks, progress is most often made when the negotiators get publicly quiet. And all the saber rattling could have just been the predictable posturing."

  • Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail: "Steve Nash’s brilliant career is winding down and he could lose a full season of his twilight if the NBA lockout wipes out the 2011-12 season. Nash, a minority owner of Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps, stopped by the club’s suburban training groundsTuesday to practise with his employees and talk to media members, but he wasn’t hopeful that NBA training camps would begin on time. The 37-year-old said that some pressure points are on the horizon, and that compromise is possible if both sides make some concessions. Barring that, it could be a long time before the Canadian superstar returns to the court. 'It looks like, right now, we probably won’t start on time,' said the two-time NBA most valuable player. 'Hopefully, as we get into the time of year where everyone is missing basketball, than we can all start to kind of concede on some points that each other is looking for, and find a middle ground. That would be the best of both worlds and we can get back to work relatively quickly.' "

  • Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News: "Maybe there’s some new-found pride in the Old Line State. A night after comments about Maryland’s gaudy new football uniforms burned up Twitter, NBA superstar and Baltimore Kevin Durant is displaying some similar ostentatious pride in his state. And even with a huge Maryland tattoed across his back, Durant’s new symbol still looks tame compared to the Terrapins’ uniform. Durant’s new tattoo appears like it would have hurt to receive it. It has Maryland written in huge letters that stretch from beyond each shoulder blade. Below it, there is an angel grasping a basketball between two large hands."

  • Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post: "Longtime Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin has chosen a new agent – now we’ll see if he chooses a new team. The unrestricted free agent has hired Andy Miller, who also represents former Nuggets all-star Chauncey Billups. Martin is seeking what could be the last big contract of his career – the 2010-11 season was the last on Martin’s seven-year, $90-plus million deal with Denver. He turns 34 in December, but coaches across the league annually gush about Martin’s ability to quarterback a defense. Last season, Martin averaged 8.6 points per game and 6.2 rebounds in what might have been his final season in powder blue."

  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: "Carlos Arroyo has long been a bane of Canada’s existence on the international basketball stage, but never more than the former Raptors point guard is right now. With one of his typically explosive offensive games, Arroyo may have single-handedly dealt Canada a death blow in its quest to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. Arroyo had 26 points — including a couple of huge plays down the stretch to quell an astonishing Canadian comeback — as Puerto Rico beat Canada 79-74 at the FIBA Americas Olympic qualification event Tuesday. 'He’s been a major international player for a long time,' Canadian head coach Leo Rautins said in a conference call. 'Down the stretch they spread the court and he made some tough shots.' The loss drops Canada’s record to 1-4 at the 10-country tournament, and their hopes of even having a chance to play for an Olympic berth are no longer in their own hands."

  • Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: "One of the most popular players in Argentine basketball history, Oberto suited up for the first game of the tournament. During pregame introductions, the ovation he received equaled those for both Ginobili and Scola, the team’s biggest stars. 'It was amazing,' he said. 'My legs were shaking when they cheered my name. I’m really thankful for how they treated me, and I will try to give all that love back inside the court.' Finally, before Game 2 of the tournament, against Uruguay, Oberto got the news he had hoped to hear: Team doctors and athletic trainers again had cleared him for action. 'I think I will play only five minutes,' he said before that game, 'but I will be happy just to be on the court.' Instead, Oberto played 16 minutes against Uruguay, and in typical fashion: making slick interior passes to his teammates; playing smart, tough defense; and going hard after every rebound and loose ball. 'I returned to life,' he told Argentine reporters after that game. 'I passed through tough days, but I had the perseverance to go on working with the team doctor and kinesiologist, and I made it.' "

  • Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "Since the duo served as the Wizards’ new uniform models three months ago, John Wall has been bouncing around the country, playing in pro-am leagues and charity games, while Jordan Crawford has maintained a relatively low profile. Crawford participated in Dwight Howard’s celebrity game in Atlanta, but he avoided the summer league circuit after showing up to play in a Drew League game and leaving after the team was too stacked with NBA players. He didn’t bother going back. But just because Crawford hasn’t been overly visible doesn’t mean that he hasn’t been working hard to get prepared for whenever next season begins. Crawford has been in Los Angeles for most of the summer, hanging out with older brother, Joe, and working out with fellow NBA players Wall, Nick Young, Paul George, Jeff Adrien, Danny Granger and Dahntay Jones. 'I’m really the type, if I get me a spot and a comfortable situation, I really just cool out or work out wherever I’m at,' Crawford said, explaining why he has spent most of his time in Los Angeles with occasional trips home to Detroit. 'I’m just working out, relaxing, really, having a good time.' "

  • Jeff Call of the Deseret News: "They were rivals during their years playing against each other in the Mountain West Conference. Now, former BYU star Jimmer Fredette and former San Diego State star Kawhi Leonard, both first-round NBA draft picks, will extend their rivalry into the professional ranks. Jimmer's All-Stars Presented by Zions Bank announced Tuesday that Leonard will participate in the two exhibition games later this month, and Leonard will captain the team opposite of Fredette. Leonard's team will be coached by SDSU coach Steve Fisher, while Fredette's team will be guided by BYU coach Dave Rose. Both teams will feature some of the NBA's top players from last June's draft. Former UConn star Kemba Walker and former Duke star Nolan Smith — both were first-round draft picks — have already been added to the roster and other players will be named in the coming days."

  • Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News: "The Philly Live! dream included a hotel, underground parking and a movie theater. The dream sprawled over 300,000 square feet, meant hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the city, and more than 1,000 permanent jobs. More than 3 years later, the Philly Live! reality is a 60,000-square foot cluster of nine businesses, enclosed; a 40,000-square foot outdoor event space, ideal for concerts; and a parking lot, all where the Spectrum stood. Still, with the country and the city mired in a prolonged economic slump with no end in sight, almost $60 million in revenue (which includes building costs) over the next 2 years is a blessing. So are 500 construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs for the region. It gains even greater favor when it is privately funded, a venture split evenly between sports management giant Comcast-Spectacor and The Cordish Company, a specialist in this sort of development."

  • Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Amid a lockout, the NBA has released its exhibition and regular-season schedules and its teams continue to push season tickets and issue media credentials. Count Carl Edwards among those who believe all that isn’t just wishful thinking. Edwards, of Lithonia, has purchased Hawks season tickets despite the lack of a labor agreement between the league and its players. He splurged for a pair of tickets in section 311 of Philips Arena even though he can’t be sure when, or if, games will be played. Edwards shrugged off those concerns as secondary to his love for the Hawks and basketball. 'Just being a diehard fan of the Hawks,' Edwards said Monday at the Hawks’ fantasy camp at Philips Arena for season-ticket holders. 'I’ve got the faith in the NBA. They will work it out by the start of the season.' For fans less certain the games will go off as planned, the Hawks are offering incentives for season-ticket buyers in the form of credits or refunds — both with interest — for any exhibition or regular-season games that are canceled."