First Cup: Wednesday

  • Ray Richardson of the Pioneer Press: "Rick Adelman is about to step into perhaps the most daunting challenge of his 20-year coaching career in the NBA. If the league's labor dispute is settled and the season saved, Adelman will have to restore confidence in a young Timberwolves team that finished with the league's worst record last season. He also faces the task of battling the organization's losing tradition - no playoff appearances since 2004. Even more unusual for Adelman, who ranks eighth among NBA coaches in all-time wins, is the possibility he will do most of his communicating with Wolves owner Glen Taylor instead of team president of basketball operations David Kahn. ... Regardless of the tone of Adelman's relationship with Kahn, the emphasis on Adelman's fifth NBA coaching job will be on whether he can transform the Wolves into a competitive team in the Western Conference. Based on Adelman's rebuilding success, there are people close to him who expect him to eventually do the same with the Wolves."

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: "Timberwolves center Brad Miller has spent the summer at home on his 1,000-acre farm in northeastern Indiana waiting and hoping. Waiting for his surgically repaired knee to heal so he can soon start jogging and jumping again. Hoping that his brand-new team really might hire Rick Adelman as its next coach. 'That's my guy,' he said. Player and coach were united for the third time in their careers on Tuesday, when the Wolves, in a bit of serendipity, announced Adelman will replace fired Kurt Rambis. 'When they were interviewing candidates, I was hoping a lot,' Miller said. 'I knew if it was Rick, Minnesota would be a lot better. Instantly, things became a lot better there, especially for me. He's a coach I respect, a fair coach. This guy, it's true what he can do. His record speaks for itself.' "

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "NBPA president Derek Fisher put it well after the meeting, telling the media in New York, 'We’re not marching towards a deal at this time or at any time we can predict.' Unless the players’ complaint to the National Labor Relations Board somehow becomes a game-changer, the season isvery much in jeopardy. The NFL settled its lockout in part to keep the issue out of the courts, but the process would be so slow and would start so late, that threat is unlikely to push the owners to make concessions they have not made so far. The more accurate comparison is this case is to the NHL, which gave up an entire season to get the collective bargaining agreement it wanted. Little has changed since the NBA offer in the winter of 2010 that union attorney Jeffrey Kessler said would lead to labor 'Armageddon.' At this point, the best case scenario seems a last-minute deal and an abbreviated season. David Stern said the goal is still to begin the season on time, but that goes hand in hand with the NBA goal to have its players accept everything the owners want and do it quickly. That’s not happening. The door is not locked, but it slammed shut on Tuesday with the sides no closer to meeting in the middle and no longer able to feign optimism."

  • Howard Beck of The New York Times: "When asked if the league might begin postponing training camps after Thursday’s owners meeting, Stern said no. But if history is an accurate guide, that day could be arriving in the next 10 days. In 1998, the N.B.A. started postponing camps and canceling preseason games Sept. 24. If a deal is not reached by mid-October, the league would probably start canceling regular-season games. The union has been advising its players for two years that a lockout was likely and that a loss of part or all of the season was possible, if the owners were truly determined to impose a hard cap and a salary rollback. Hunter said his constituents were prepared for the worst."

  • Michael Hunt of the Journal Sentinel: "MJ regurgitated David Stern's mantra that '22 or 23 teams are losing money.' He said the big boys need to redistribute the wealth - kind of like the Yankees do for the Brewers - to keep the league financially afloat. And Jordan had the audacity to use Bogut as the poster child for all the Charlottes and Milwaukees and Minnesotas and Utahs and Indianas and Sacramentos out there. ... He's correct. Nobody wants to pay to watch teams like his Bobcats, one of the half-dozen or so franchises in worse financial shape than the Bucks, because they're a mess. But don't believe that the NBA itself is broke. As myths go, that one's right up there with the fairytale that no one in that league plays defense. The NBA needs revenue sharing unless it wants to cut back on the number of teams and the number of games, which it's not prepared to do. But to drastically cut players' salaries because it can in this day and age? If a guy such as Rashard Lewis is scheduled to make $22?million next season, whose fault is that, Mr. Owner Man? On the upside, Bogut will get to stay home longer than he expected."

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "In his first prominent appearance since being named chief executive officer of the Miami Heat in July, Nick Arison will represent the team at Thursday's NBA Board of Governors meeting in Dallas. While the release announcing Arison's promotion said his father, Managing General Partner Micky Arison, would continue to represent the team at the Board of Governors, Nick Arison has handled the responsibility previously and again will do so with his father out of the country. Thursday's meeting is viewed as a critical juncture amid the ongoing NBA lockout, with Tuesday negotiations in New York providing no progress in the stoppage that threatens the Nov. 1 start of the regular season."

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "Barred from their team's practice facility at Amway Center because of the ongoing NBA lockout, Orlando Magic players are taking it upon themselves to get ready for the upcoming season -- if there is a season. Most Magic players will begin getting together next week in Central Florida for informal workouts that include weightlifting sessions, conditioning drills and basketball scrimmages. 'I just want guys to get together a few days a week just to get back in the flow of things as much as we can and get some weightlifting in and some conditioning and get some shots up,' co-captain and starting point guard Jameer Nelson told the Orlando Sentinel. Nelson and his teammates have a simple goal: They want to replicate their normal pre-training camp routine as closely as possible, despite the lockout."

  • James Christie of the Globe and Mail: "Steve Nash wasn’t alone in missing the Olympic qualifying tournament. Several other key Canadian-based NBA players were missing, including rookie Tristan Thompson, veteran Jamaal Magloire, Robert Sacre, Khem Birch and Kyle Wiltjer. The team also wound up losing coach Leo Rautins, who went out with a bang, saying that playing for Canada didn’t have the cachet it once did. 'We need to unify,' Nash said. 'We have so many players not playing, including myself, though I retired [from national duties] about seven years ago. We have a lot of young players, but we have a long history of a fractured scene in Canada Basketball. We’ve got to find a way to unify and feel a sense of pride for this program. 'That’s the first step, get on board with a sense of pride. … Second, we’ve got to develop players; and then we’ve got to build chemistry with the current players.' At 37, he’s past the point of playing for the Canadian Olympic squad, he figures, but he hasn’t ruled out coaching or managing in the future."

  • Fred Kerber of the New York Post: "Owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s political future should not impact his drive behind the Nets but it could cause a change in priorities, Avery Johnson speculated. 'I got a sense from him that he’s still just committed to Nets basketball,' said Johnson who was with the Big Boss Man during his trip to Russia which included conducting both coaching and youth basketball clinics. 'Obviously, he’s put himself out there in terms of some predictions. He’s still behind them. He understands it’s a process. At the same time, I think there was a window of opportunity for him to do what he’s doing now and get into the political realm and things he shared with me that he’s really convicted about how he wants certain things changed about how things are done politically there. That’s why he’s running. Hopefully he’ll get all the necessary votes he needs Dec. 4. I don’t want to set off a fire alarm or anything, but I’m almost sure there will be a shifting the deeper he gets in this deal. But I think the way we’re set up as an organization and all of the different moving parts that we have and everybody understanding their role I think we’ll be fine.' "

  • Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News: "One thing Tyreke Evans does know is that he will be participating in one of the most hyped exhibition contests this city has seen in a while when Team Melo and Team Philly square off in 'The Battle of I-95' at the Palestra on Sunday, Sept. 25. Scheduled to play for Team Melo, headed by Carmelo Anthony, are LeBron James, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant, among others. Scheduled participants for the Philly team include Evans, Marcus and Markieff Morris, Hakim Warrick and Sixers guard Lou Williams. ... 'I think I'm going to play in that, why not? There's nothing else to do,' Evans said. It was confirmed last night that he will be there. As he sat in a mobile optometry office in the parking lot at the high school, Evans constantly had one of his legs shaking, as if he was late for an appointment. Most likely, though, he is getting antsy for the powers that be to get a collective bargaining agreement ironed out so that he can get back to doing what he enjoys most in the best league in the world."

  • Mark Glover of The Sacramento Bee: "Kings guard Tyreke Evans, master of the crossover dribble and bull-rush drive to the hoop, is starring in his first nationwide television commercial for VBlast, a new vitamin- enhanced water line. The 30-second spot – which can be viewed on YouTube – is premiering in the key New York market and will eventually be rolled out nationally. Not surprisingly, the ad features Evans' explosive moves and ball-handling skills. ... According to Schaub and sports marketing experts, the Kings' next endorsement star is likely to be guard Jimmer Fredette, the flashy scorer out of Brigham Young University who has yet to play his first NBA game. Fredette's stat sheet-filling game, easy smile and light-it-up personality made him arguably the most popular college player in the United States last year – popularizing the term 'Jimmermania.' For now, Jimmer's time in the spotlight is on hold, as the current NBA lockout has put the brakes on endorsement deals and threatened the beginning of the season."

  • Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel: "Bucks center Andrew Bogut, who had delayed his search for a few weeks, was courted by the Sydney Kings on Tuesday and said he would speak with representatives of two other Australian teams before deciding where he would play. The biggest hurdle to Bogut signing has been finding a club that is able to pay the $500,000 insurance price tag to cover the 7-footer's NBA contract. Bogut told the Herald Sun newspaper there was 'a huge chance' he would sign with the Sydney team in the Australian league. NBA training camps are scheduled to open on Oct. 3, less than three weeks away. But the chances of that happening appear slim."

  • Tom Sorensen of The Charlotte Observer: "I don't know anybody credible who thought the NFL would miss a game because of its labor impasse. I don't know anybody credible who thinks the NBA won't. But if owners and players can't agree on a hard salary cap, they're better off shutting down than playing under a system that discriminates against teams from small markets such as Charlotte. The NBA has a salary cap. It's like a suggestion, only not as strong. As a result, big-market teams compete for championships. Except for San Antonio, small-market teams just watch. Instead of splitting the league into East and West, the NBA ought to put big-city and glamor-city teams into the BCS Division and small markets into the Appalachian State Division."

  • Tom Reed of The Plain Dealer: "After months of dealing with doctors and physical therapists, it sounds as though the only ones keeping Anderson Varejao off an NBA court are league owners and union officials. An agent for the Cavaliers center said Varejao's torn ankle tendon has healed, allowing him to participate in drills and pick-up games. He appeared in just 31 Cavaliers' games last season before requiring ankle surgery in February. 'Anderson feels great, he's pain free,' agent Aylton Tesch said. Varejao, 28, has spent the past week training in Tampa with Cavaliers free agent Anthony Parker. This weekend, he plans to return to Brazil and prepare for an NBA season jeopardized by a lockout."

  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald: "The Heat’s Udonis Haslem still isn’t fully over last year’s foot injury (he had follow-up surgery to remove a screw this summer) and won’t resume playing until he’s pain free. But his agent said Tuesday that Haslem still expects to be ready when camps open post-lockout. It could be awhile before a new labor deal is reached."

  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: "I suspect Dante Cunningham understands how lucky he is today. i hope so. Through a mix of smart lawyering and good fortune, he's avoided the worst of a bad situation. Tuesday a small-town court outside Philadelphia agreed to drop charges of marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia possession and possession of a loaded pellet gun. None of that is a really big deal. But it's certainly not what the NBA wants to hear about, particularly concerning a second-round pick trying to fix himself, like a baracle, to the league. Put it this way: Cunningham is a maybe. He's a decent athlete, a former second-round pick, who is looking to be a small forward. He showed some small promise in the last 10 to 20 games of the Bobcats season, with Stephen Jackson injured."