First Cup: Friday

September, 23, 2011
9/23/11
7:21
AM ET
  • Howard Beck of The New York Times: "Training camps are supposed to open in 11 days, on Oct. 4. The first exhibition games are scheduled for Oct. 9. Without a handshake deal, there is no time to draft an agreement and sign free agents, and still keep that schedule. The N.B.A. has not lost a game, preseason or regular season, to a labor dispute since the 1998 lockout. That year, league officials started canceling exhibition games on Sept. 24 and regular-season games on Oct. 13. Realistically, the league needs at least four weeks to prepare for the regular season, so the actual deadline for a deal is closer to Oct. 4. Opening night this year is scheduled for Nov. 1. Asked if negotiations were far enough along to start the season on time, Stern said: 'I don’t have any response to that. I don’t know the answer.' "
  • Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Recently retired Shaquille O’Neal just spoke, and he says if you’re looking for a reason why the league is having significant financial issues, you can start with the Hawks’ Joe Johnson. O’Neal told the New Orleans Times Picayune that Johnson’s six-year, $119 million contract is a an example of a franchise overpaying for a player despite lacking the revenue to pay the contract. Shaq completely left out the fact that Johnson too often is a no-show in the playoffs, but maybe he didn’t want to be too tough in his early days as a commentator. ... So now in addition to being called out by fans and media, the Hawks — or at least their outgoing owners, the Atlanta Spirit — have been called out by a Hall of Fame player. O’Neal is exactly right. Most financial problems in sports leagues are created not by greedy players but by owners who can’t control themselves. The problem the NBA has now is that players have had it so good for so long, with crazy dollars and six- or seven-year contracts, that it’s going to be difficult for owners to impose a new CBA on them that dials it way back."
  • Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: "The NBA will announce today that the start of training camps will be postponed in light of minimal progress towards a new collective bargaining agreement that could end the lockout imposed by the league on July 1. The decision could move some key Spurs to join the growing list of players signing on with teams overseas. Before departing Argentina, where he helped Brazil qualify for next summer’s Olympic tournament, center Tiago Splitter told the Express-News he would sign on with Flamengo, a Brazilian club where former Suns guard Leandro Barbosa currently plays, if training camps were postponed or canceled. ... Spurs All-Star guard Manu Ginobili has an offer to rejoin Virtus Bologna of the Italian League, but his agent, Herb Rudoy, reiterated on Thursday that Ginobili has made no decision about the Virtus offer, even after Thursday’s disappointing news. Spurs guard Tony Parker, whose stellar play led France to an Olympic berth and a second-place finish in the EuroBasket tournament that concluded last weekend in Lithuania, has indicated his intent to play for French pro league team ASVEL, which he owns, if the lockout lingers into the regular season. Forward DeJuan Blair already has signed on to play for the Russian team Krasnye Krylya Samara, and has been in Russia for more than two weeks."
  • Marc Berman of the New York Post: "Donnie Walsh, after spending a summer in Indianapolis relaxing with his family, has no regrets on his decision to pass on Knicks owner James Dolan's contract extension to run the franchise. Last night, Walsh, 70, was back in Manhattan, looking dapper as the Bronx native/former Fordham Prep star was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame at the New York Athletic Club. 'I spent the last 25 years running franchises, now I'm not,' Walsh told The Post. 'But there's a release that I don't have to do that anymore. I haven't missed it in that nature and I've enjoyed being home with my family.' Walsh's title changed from team president to consultant, ending a three-year run. Perhaps because of the lockout, he barely has heard from interim president Glen Grunwald, who attended last night's Hall induction with assistant general manager Allan Houston and a dozen of other Knicks staffers."
  • Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: "Most college players don't have the opportunity for an encore before heading to the NBA. Jimmer Fredette had that Thursday night. With NBA players locked out during the labor dispute, Fredette, the the first-round pick acquired by the Kings on draft day hosted Jimmer's All-Stars, an exhibition game featuring rookies at BYU's Marriott Center, where Fredette starred. The game included eight first-round picks from June's NBA draft. Fredette was happy about how things turned out even though he did something that he didn't do much of in recent seasons here – he lost. Team Leonard, led by former San Diego State star and San Antonio Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard, defeated Team Fredette 140-126. When asked if the loss hurt, Fredette said: 'A little bit. It's a lot less than in the season. It's just a fun event to kind of measure ourselves against great competition.' "
  • Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel: "Andrew Bogut says his right elbow feels better than it did a year ago, when he was trying to recover from the terrible fall he took at the Bradley Center in an April 2010 game against Phoenix. ... 'I will have limitations my whole life, but compared to where I was this time last year, it's night-and-day better,' Bogut said in an email response to a question about his elbow. 'I am shooting every day and lifting weights four times a week. My elbow still gets very achy if I overdo training (too many shots in one day), so I still have to be a little bit careful.' Bogut has been courted by a number of professional teams in his native Australia, including the Sydney Kings, Adelaide 36ers and Gold Coast Blaze. But any team that signs him will have to pay for an expensive insurance policy (estimated at $500,000) to cover the remaining three years on his Bucks contract. If he does sign, the contract would contain an out clause enabling him to rejoin the Bucks when the lockout ends."
  • Marlon W. Morgan of The Commercial-Appeal: "Monta Ellis has spent the last two years giving back to underprivileged kids in his hometown of Jackson, Miss., through his foundation -- ME8foundation. ... Last November, the ME8foundation provided dinners during Thanksgiving week for families staying at the Memphis Grizzlies House, a short-term-stay facility for children undergoing treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and their families. That was the beginning of the foundation's foray into Memphis. This year, Ellis formed a local AAU track team and has plans for starting up AAU basketball and football teams in both Memphis and Jackson. 'His primary goal is to help young people soar to the highest athletic ability possible, to reach their dreams,' said Stacey Nickens, a spokesman for the foundation. Ellis would also like to integrate his basketball camps, which he currently runs in Jackson, into the Memphis area. Future camps, he said, will offer classroom settings run by school teachers. 'In the morning they'll go to classes before they go to anything with sports,' Ellis said. 'I'm trying to beat it in their heads and get the high school kids ready for college, filling out applications and getting ready for the ACT.' "
  • Colin Stephenson of The Star-Ledger: "Anthony Morrow came back to Jersey this week to help raise money for schoolchildren in New Jersey through the event, Hooping for Hope, a night of basketball at Stevens Institute of Technology where people paid $10 to take part in various shooting contests. Morrow spoke briefly to the participants and engaged in some of the shooting contests with them. The event was run jointly by the group Gimme that Global and Morrow's own charitable organization, Anthony Morrow Charities. Monies raised are to be used to buy backpacks and other school supplies for children in Newark, Jersey City and other urban areas. Morrow said he last saw his Nets teammates when they all worked out together in California just before the lockout began July 1. He said he spoke to Deron Williams and Jordan Farmar about them going overseas (Williams is playing in Turkey, Farmar in Israel) and said he also considered playing overseas, but decided to stay home instead. ... He added he will likely see teammate Travis Outlaw this weekend in Charlotte, N.C., when the two get together to celebrate Morrow's birthday. He's turning 26 on Sept. 27."

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