First Cup: Monday

  • George Will of The Washington Post: "The NBA's dispute, which has already caused cancellation of the preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season, at a cost of perhaps $500 million, illustrates an agreeable truth: Man is an economic animal, rationally maximizing income, except when he isn't. Many of the players are prepared to lose substantial income by prolonging negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement. They are doing so to win concessions that will primarily benefit players much younger than Garnett. Fans accuse the players of avarice, but the longer the impasse persists, and the larger the losses, the more altruism will explain this."

  • Jim Ingraham of The News-Herald: "I find it hilarious, for example, the NBA owners feel like they are really putting the screws to the players’ union by staging a lockout. Many of the players who are being locked out already have so much money they don’t have to work another day in their lives. ... I don’t care if grandstanding Delonte West is working as a stock boy in a furniture store or not. All I know is Kris Humphries is so worried about not having a paycheck he killed some time during the lockout by marrying one of the Kardashians. Kris Humphries? I mean, it’s not like these locked-out NBA players, in the grand scheme of things, are being prevented from doing something that is critical to the advancement of mankind. It’s not like they are teachers, inventors, doctors or the judges on 'American Idol.' Locking out NBA players from playing basketball is basically like canceling recess."

  • K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: "In a mob scene Saturday reminiscent of — dare it be said — the unveiling of early Air Jordan models, Derrick Rose thrilled fans, some of whom had been waiting since 2 a.m., with midday appearancesat two downtown stores to promote his new adidas shoe. Rose also continued to unveil the self-assuredness that has helped him become the youngest most valuable player in NBA history on the court and an eloquent spokesman off it. In pointed comments about the NBA lockout, Rose turned up the volume beyond the aw-shucks routine of his rookie season. 'Everybody knows it's not our fault,' Rose said, naturally taking the side of his fellow players. 'If it was up to us, we'd be out there playing. I think that it's wrong. I know (the owners) can easily take care of it and not take advantage of people. I guess that's how people are. 'It's very sad. They're not thinking about anything we're saying. They're not taking into consideration anything we're trying to give them.' "

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: "Is this NBA lockout -- the league's first since a similar dispute shortened the 1998-99 season to 50 games -- really about ensuring that competitive balance? Or if owners agree to a new system that doesn't have a restrictive hard salary cap and rules that allow small-market teams to keep their star players, is it simply a play for more money? And will any conceivable system ever really save owners from themselves? The NHL missed an entire season in 2004-05 in the name of a new owner-friendly system, and yet, soon after, those same owners went looking for every loophole they could find in the pursuit of a title. The NHL's hard cap ensured small-market teams could again compete with wealthy Detroit, Toronto and the New York Rangers. But it also has seen Chicago dismantle its championship team just months after winning the 2010 Stanley Cup, and the league next summer could be right back in a standoff over a new labor agreement. ... No system will stop NBA general managers and owners from unwise drafting or silly spending, although owners seek shorter player contracts that aren't fully guaranteed in the final years in any new deal as a way to protect themselves from injuries or their own bad decisions."

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "The point being that if players want to find a way, they can find a way. Under the previous agreement. Under a draconian new one. Stern acknowledged as much during his NBA TV interview, admitting that the reduction of Bird Rights, the increase of the luxury tax, the hardening of the cap can only do so much to sway player preference. 'There are natural advantages to certain cities,' he said. 'Some people like lakes, and you can go to cities with lakes. Some people like the ocean and you can go to South Beach. But there is an increasing sense that 'glamorous' cities have an edge and I guess it's always been that way.' For Wade, James and Bosh there will be difficult decisions as early as their 2014 opt-outs, decisions compounded by a CBA that well may be loaded with one-way signs out of South Beach. But the three made it work before and the hunch is no matter the configuration of any new CBA, none will be announcing intentions of eventually taking their talents to Sacramento, Minnesota or Milwaukee."

  • Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune: "Just 10 months ago the New Orleans Hornets were an economically foundering team on the brink of extinction in New Orleans, nearly sold to an out-of-town billionaire with designs on relocation, before NBA Commissioner David Stern took the unprecedented step of having the league purchase the team to prevent it from being spirited away. Jac Sperling, the New Orleans native Stern appointed, is the franchise’s chairman and governor and has helped dramatically improve the team’s financial viability. He spearheaded a drive to sell 10,000 season tickets and is negotiating a long-term lease renewal with the State of Louisiana. Sperling believes once the season-ticket goal is attained, the Hornets will be able to introduce a new owner and new lease agreement simultaneously. Sperling sat down with Times-Picayune Hornets beat writer Jimmy Smith for a Q&A this week and addressed myriad subjects, including the fact there will be no exit clause in the new lease a new owner could exercise to threaten a future move, and how NBA owners view the Hornets’ plight."

  • Bob Young of The Arizona Republic: "However, now that NBA Commissioner David Stern has declared Tuesday as the last day - seriously, he isn't kidding this time - that an agreement can be reached before the league will have to cancel its big Christmas Day tripleheader and likely lose most of the season, maybe it's time to re-examine Hahn's idea. In fact, we'd take it a step further if the NBA actually ends up cancelling the entire season. Why not get all the shoe brands involved? The website hoopshype.com maintains a list of all the sneaker brands and the players who endorse them. One could easily come up with 12 teams or more, all of them stocked with at least a few All-Stars and with plenty of players left over to rotate onto the rosters, which could range from 15 to 20 players. Nike, of course, is the monster. There are 188 NBA players listed as Nike endorsers, including 45 former All-Stars."

  • Andy Young of The Denver Post: "Downtown Denver businesses, especially those catering to the Pepsi Center crowd, are bracing for a chilly winter with the growing prospect that the Denver Nuggets? won't play a game before the new year. Area bars and restaurants, pedicabs and sports-apparel stores estimate that 10 percent to 50 percent of their business comes from hoops-related sales. Each Nuggets home game generates about $1.5 million in economic activity for the city, according to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. Over the course of the regular season, opposing teams and their entourages book an estimated 4,000 hotel rooms, equivalent to the size of a medium convention. That could be wiped out as National Basketball Association team owners and players struggle to reach a new labor agreement. The first two weeks of the season have been canceled, and NBA commissioner David Stern? said last week that games through Christmas will likely be called off if a deal isn't reached by Tuesday."

  • Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: "But here’s the thing, Jazz fans. While owners and players slug it out after news conferences and through text messages, and plausibly serious threats to cancel Christmas are followed by gun-to-your-head references, the billionaires are actually your best friends. Moreover, they’re looking out for you. The millionaires? Not so much. ... In one single CBA, the NBA can attempt to fix what was shattered when LeBron James fled to Miami and Carmelo Anthony turned a ridiculous hostage situation in Denver into new digs in The Big Apple. Will it work? We’ll see. Revenue sharing must improve. Some small-market teams (ahem, Minnesota) must make better decisions. But the owners have made it this far by sticking to their guns and remembering that everyone lost last season when messy Milwaukee played sorry Sacramento. If the billionaires can stand united for the long haul, maybe the NBA can actually become competitive again. And maybe, just maybe, the Jazz can draft an annual All-Star and keep him in uniform for more than 5?1/2 years."

  • Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times: "Jerry West, the Lakers' Mr. Clutch who was an All-Star in all 14 of his NBA seasons before helping assemble teams that won six NBA titles as Lakers general manager from 1982-2000, says in his new book that his personnel job was 'like putting on a Broadway play and hope you cast it perfectly.' In 'West By West: My Charmed, Tormented Life,' to be released this week, the 73-year-old Hall of Famer, newly hired as special advisor to the Golden State Warriors, reveals the dark drama that swirled around and within him during his legendary run in Los Angeles. He writes of beatings and an absence of love being raised by his father, Howard, in West Virginia; of the Korean War death of his immensely kind brother, David; and of fighting the demons of depression and insecurity during both the lows of repeated NBA Finals losses to the Boston Celtics as a player and the highs of his last title as GM."

  • Carla Peay of The Washington Times: "On a chilly Sunday morning in October, 18 basketball players showed up to pursue a dream. The setting was an open tryout for the NBA Developmental League Champion Iowa Energy, the WizardsD-League affiliate, held on Oct. 16 at the Northern Virginia Sportsplex. The tryout was a six-hour process of drills, running, and three games of two 20-minute halves. Players who show promise will have their names submitted to the league office, and will become eligible to be drafted. The Energy will invite 17 players to training camp, which starts in mid-November. The team’s final roster has 10 spots. But for players looking to impress the Energy coaches and general manager, the criteria for making a D-League team might not be what you’d expect. 'You’re not going to find a superstar at an open tryout for a D-League team,' said Energy general manager Chris Makris. 'Guys think if they make it to the D-League and score 25 points a game, an NBA general manager will notice them. NBA GM’s are smarter than that. NBA teams already have scorers. They’re looking for the same thing we are, guys who can transfer their game to what we need at this level, guys who have a high basketball IQ.' In other words, the team is looking for role players, and good ones."

  • Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee: "Now 26 and back in his hometown, Zach Andrews is a compelling success story – a product of a foster care system who at times was homeless and who, on more than a few occasions, despaired over his bleak circumstances. His late father was never in the picture. His mother is still around, he said, but was never really there. He often visits his old high school (class of 2003) to encourage other youngsters confronting similar situations but also to reconnect with the former teachers, counselors and coaches he says "transformed" his life. In his four years at Cordova, he discovered theater arts and developed decent study habits, and as he grew into his gangly 6-foot-9 frame, emerged as one of the area's elite basketball players. ... Andrews last weekend tried out for the L.A. D-fenders, the Lakers' minor league affiliate headed by former Kings coach Eric Musselman. If Musselman offers a job, Andrews will take it. But he still plans to try out for the Kings' affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, next Sunday. In his gut, he hopes the Kings come through. He already has had conversations with the team – sort of."