First Cup: Thursday

September, 15, 2011
9/15/11
7:06
AM ET
  • Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune: "While Yahoo! Sports was reporting that Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn and new coach Rick Adelman didn't get along in the 1980s, when Adelman was coaching the Trail Blazers and Kahn was covering the team as a sportswriter for the Oregonian newspaper in Portland, Wolves CEO Rob Moor was giving Kahn all the credit for Adelman's decision to take the Wolves head coaching job. 'I would give the credit to David [Kahn], who has a relationship with Rick that goes back 16 years or more,' Moor said. 'Kahn just sort of took his time with Rick. Rick sort of had to make his mind up that he wanted to coach.' Adelman had been offered a contract to continue as the Houston coach after last season but at the time he felt that he had enough of basketball and, at the age of 65, it was time to take it easy. Moor said during the negotiations with Adelman, he never heard of any hard feelings between Kahn and Adelman, and that he wouldn't have come back for a second interview and kept his interest in the job had that situation existed."
  • Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: "Slowly panning the crowd, with his iPhone on movie mode, Del Harris stopped when a familiar face entered his viewfinder. 'Mike,' he yelled so he could be heard above the crowd as it sang another chorus of 'Vamos, vamos, Argentina!' He explained his amateur filmmaking. 'I want to be able to show this to my friends when I get back home,' he said. 'Isn’t this great? You just don’t get this in the NBA, this enthusiasm and passion from the fans. Have you ever seen anything as joyous as this?' If you were at the river parade that followed the Spurs’ first NBA title in 1999, you have an idea of what went on every night at Polideportivo Islas Malvinas when Argentina was on the floor. The FIBA Americas was about passion for the game and national pride, and it was a joy to see. When Argentina emerged from the title game with the gold medal, the players danced and sang and celebrated right along with the crowd. The purity of the play and the passion for the game was an ironic counterpoint to the icy process playing out now as NBA owners and the players’ union struggle to find common ground, threatening the start of training camp and the season."
  • Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register: "As much as Jerry Buss loves his rum and Coke, he has held a Molotov cocktail with the NBA’s limited revenue sharing and soft salary cap. It has allowed Buss and his minority investors to make a lot of money and feel comfortable spending a ton of it on great players others can’t afford. But dramatically increased revenue sharing will inhibit the Lakers’ spending. A hard cap will flat-out prevent the Lakers from spending. It’s lose-lose when Buss is 77 years old and determined to come from behind the Boston Celtics in total championships, 17-16. Yet the Lakers have accepted it. Why? For the greater good. And you can’t play in a league of your own anyway. However much he leads his unfettered, playboy lifestyle – his latest summer vacation to enjoy was through Europe – Buss is married to these other NBA owners, for better or worse. So with their days of shopping alone on Rodeo Drive ending, the Lakers intend to go out gracefully – and loyally to Stern, for whom Buss has always had an appreciation."
  • Tracee Hamilton of The Washington Post: "Raise your hand if you thought the 2011-12 NBA season would start on time. No one? Good, then you won’t be surprised when it doesn’t. Because it seems nearly impossible that we’ll see professional basketball played by professional basketball players for some time. I’ve felt all along that half an NBA season was a possibility, and after Tuesday’s talks ended with a marked lack of optimism on both sides, half a season seems even more likely. Funny, I never felt this pessimistic about the NFL lockout. But then, NFL teams play just 16 regular season games; frittering away one or two of those cuts into the profit margin in a big way. ... All fans should brace themselves for a shortened season, which is not necessarily a bad thing. A lockout in 1998 reduced that season to 50 games. The league dumped the all-star game — no great loss — and kept the playoffs at their normal length. Each of those 50 games took on greater importance and the regular season had a greater sense of urgency than it did in any 82-game season. So get ready for half an NBA season. It may prove to be a glass half full."
  • Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post: "As one Nuggets fan pondered Wednesday on Twitter, 'How do you say 'streaky shooter' in Chinese?' Yes, J.R. Smith is taking his talents to China. The Nuggets reserve has signed a one-year contract with a Chinese team that doesn't have an opt-out clause, meaning the unrestricted free agent likely won't play in the NBA next season. Smith will play for Zhejiang Wanma?. 'J.R. really wants to play basketball this season,' Smith's agent Leon Rose said in an e-mail Wednesday. 'His decision to accept the deal was based on the uncertainty of the NBA labor negotiations, a significant offer from the club and the unique opportunity to play the game he loves in another country. J.R. is looking forward to the challenge.' On his recently created Twitter account, @1anonlyJRSmith, Smith tweeted Wednesday: 'people dont get me wrong i love the NBA an when the league i do plan to come back. How many chance have you had to do what you love an ppl in another country can appreciate it.' "
  • Kate Fagan of The Philadelphia Inquirer: "You know things are dire when I'm linking articles from New York City Fashion Week. I apologize in advance, but it's actually somewhat interesting and gives you an idea what some of the players (in this case Andre Iguodala) do with their down time. Dre is especially involved in fashion, as anyone who watches Comcast's post-game reports knows. I've never seen him wear the same thing twice. This week he was in Manhattan for the Simon Spurr Spring 2012 show. Here are the details from upscalehype.com: Dre in NYC. Hard hitting journalism, I know."
  • Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: "Excerpts from a media interview Wednesday with Phoenix Suns small forward Jared Dudley after an Impact Basketball League game in Las Vegas. ... Clarifying comment that he's riding with Hunter now: 'When I say further notice, I classify that as Billy is looking, waiting for the antitrust [NLRB?] that they served … that's his whole thing. My personal thing in talking to Billy somewhat and hearing what he says, he wants to wait that out. My whole thing is, when is that coming? Do we know? Is there a time limit for that? And we'll discuss that tomorrow. I'll very openly in discussions, hey, how long are you willing to wait that for, Billy? December? January? His whole thing is the next two weeks. I think we're waiting on that to make a decision on what we're going to do. I think he's opposed to [decertification]? No. I think he wants it to be the right timing. That's the word he used is timing. David Stern in the meetings said we keep using that as a ploy. We haven't used it as a ploy. I've never even heard Billy — Billy's opposed to that right now. It's going be curious. On Thursday, I expect it's a general meeting. Some players are going to speak up. Some players are going to say, hey, what's the game plan, Billy?' "
  • Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun: "Stunningly, Jonas Valanciunas and host Lithuania are out of medal contention at the EuroBasket Tournament. After hanging around all game, Macedonia got a Vlad Ilievski three pointer with 11.3 seconds remaining and held its breath as Lithuania missed a three at the other end in a 67-65 thriller. New Orleans-born point guard Bo McCalebb continued a spectacular tournament with 23 points to lead Macedonia, which overcame 31.3% shooting from the field. Valanciunas had an evening to forget. The Raptors draft pick had exceeded expectations at the European championship, but committed five turnovers and had as many fouls as points (three) in the game. Valanciunas did grab six rebounds and block a shot, but he seldom looked comfortable in his 14 minutes of action."
  • Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle: "With NBA lockout talks stalling in New York, the Warriors on Wednesday held an old-fashioned revival at Oracle Arena. In his first meeting with Warriors fans, new coach Mark Jackson started an impromptu chant of 'De-fense' among a confused audience, which has rarely heard that word while missing the playoffs 16 of the past 17 seasons. 'Don't stand up and clap when we're a playoff basketball team, because we won't be standing up and clapping as a team,' Jackson said. 'Our ultimate goal will be to hang a championship banner.' Those kinds of stirring and outrageous statements were the norm as about 3,000 Warriors season-ticket holders listened to a panel discussion with the team's hierarchy, including Jackson, co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber and executive board member Jerry West. ... 'We're not here to kick tires. We're here to kick butt,' said Lacob, who also announced Chris Mullin's jersey will be retired in a ceremony Jan. 20 - if the season goes on as scheduled. 'I watch Warriors games," West said. "They come so close so many times and find a way to lose in the fourth quarter. This franchise just needs a little polishing.' "
  • Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press: "Those 16 days last month in the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac for drunken driving stripped Jalen Rose of every last thread of celebrity. And he was appreciative. 'They made me a trustee,' he said Wednesday, 'which meant that I wasn't confined to my cell for 23 hours a day. I would serve food, clean up and other maintenance, and I could have contact with the other prisoners. I couldn't just hide in my cell, insulated from everybody else, and wait my time out. That was a good thing.' Let everyone see him in his standard-issue jail fatigues. Let him talk to other inmates and perhaps positively influence them. Rose has become an educator. The Jalen Rose Leadership Academy opened its doors three days ago. And he appeared before the state Senate Education Committee on Wednesday supporting the Parent Empowerment Education Reform bill, legislation that would -- among other things -- remove the cap prohibiting the proliferation of charter schools similar to the Leadership Academy. His handling of a dangerous and potentially disastrous situation provides a valuable life lesson for fellow former athletes as well as the approximately 120 ninth-grade students enrolled in the academy's first year."
  • Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News: "Tony Parker has been one of the most trusted pitchmen in Spurs history in a variety of advertisements around the world. He’s relaxed in a spa setting with teammates Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili for H-E-B. Parker also wore cowboy garb for a Western-themed commercial for the same grocery chain. Most recently, he played God in a commercial for Axe deodorant. His most recent commercial is a little tamer, but still effectively shows his skills of persuasion as he pitches for Toupargel, a food home delivery company where Parker will be seen cooking for his friends. Parker’s advertisements will run most of the fall in France. He shows a deft touch tossing together a vegetable medley with the same skill he employs running an offense on the basketball court. Maybe it’s because I’m hungry, but Parker’s cooking looks pretty good for dinner. But all things considered, I’m sure Parker would prefer working on the basketball court than in the kitchen — particularly as he awaits the end of the lockout."
  • Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner: "While his Wizards teammates are working out, NBA sophomore-to-be Trevor Booker is going to work, announcing his arrival abroad via Twitter on Wednesday with, 'Israel I'm hereeeeee!!!!' With the increased sense of doom arising out of NBA labor talks, Booker's choice to join Bnei Hasharon, even with an opt-out clause, is looking like a smart one. With former Baylor guards LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter and Rhode Island swingman Delroy James as teammates, Booker's season starts officially in October. No player overseas will be more closely watched than NBA All-Star guard Deron Williams with Besiktas in Turkey. With no opt-out possible, China-bound J.R. Smith, Earl Clark and Wilson Chandler won't be back at all until at least February. We also expect Brian Scalabrine, with Benetton Treviso in Italy, to be his usual self as a fan favorite."
  • Tom Reed of The Plain Dealer: "Cavaliers coach Byron Scott has spoken informally to a handful of candidates for the club's vacant assistant coach job, but no hiring is imminent. With NBA owners and the players union at loggerheads, the Cavs aren't rushing to fill the hole created by the departure of Chris Jent, who joined the Ohio State staff. It's believed Scott has not yet found the right fit for the position. Jent is a strong communicator and probably best remembered as LeBron James' shooting coach. The Cavs must also name a coach for their new D-League franchise is Canton."
  • Staff of The Indianapolis Star: "Gordon Hayward (Utah), George Hill (Pacers), Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers) and Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City) highlight a group of NBA players expected to participate in an exhibition game between players of the Indy Pro Am and the Washington-based Goodman league at the Indianapolis Convention Center on Sept. 24. John Wall (Washington), Michael Beasley (Minnesota), Mike Conley (Memphis), Zach Randolph (Memphis) and Lance Stephenson (Pacers) are also expected to play in the game, which will start at 7:30 p.m."

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