First Cup: Wednesday

December, 21, 2011
12/21/11
7:04
AM ET
  • K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: Derrick Rose has agreed to a five-year, $94.8 million contract extension, and the Bulls will make the formality official at a Wednesday news conference at the Berto Center, sources told the Tribune. "It's something big," Rose said without confirming the announcement. "I'm going to talk about it more with my family there. I don't think about money. The Bulls show they trust me. I just feel blessed." The extension is for about $10 million to $11 million more than Rose would have been eligible for under the previous collective bargaining agreement. The newly nicknamed "Derrick Rose rule" rewards players who outperform their rookie scale contracts. Rose qualifies for one of the three stipulations as he became the youngest most valuable player in NBA history last season.
  • Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Rick Carlisle knows his team is going to be in high demand this season. That's the trade-off for the Mavs winning last season's NBA title. "We probably have a harder schedule because we're the defending champs and the national TV wants to see us," he said. "So we're playing a lot of extra good teams, which is going to be a tough challenge, because it's going to have to make us better as a team." The Mavs play on Christmas Day and New Year's Day, and during one stretch will play nine games in 12 days.
  • Janis Carrr of The Orange County Register: After the Lakers' exhibition loss to the Clippers on Monday, Coach Mike Brown pointed out everyone's defensive lapses, even Kobe Bryant's. In fact, the new coach raised eyebrows when he was pointedly critical of Bryant's poor defensive play in the preseason opener. Brown wasn't happy when Bryant didn't get in position quick enough to stop Clippers' Chauncey Billups from burying a 3-pointer in the third quarter. After the game, he said the Bryant was "as guilty as everybody else at not contesting shots." Was Bryant upset by Brown's comments? Not in the least. "They're the coaches," Bryant said after Tuesday's practice at the El Segundo facility. "We're here to be coached. I'm here to be coached just like everybody else, you know what I mean? It's important for everybody to understand that. If I make a mistake, it's the coach's job to correct that. You can't be sensitive or a baby. You're here to win. That's his job. I would be upset if he was just letting me skate through things. You make mistakes, it's the coach's job to point that out. If he can't point that out to me, he has no chance of pointing it out to anybody else." Bryant said Brown's hard-line approached is different than what he has heard about the former Cleveland Cavaliers coach. Different in a good way.
  • Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer: How big a difference does Anderson Varejao make on the defensive end of the floor for the Cavaliers? Here's a snapshot from the Cavs' 90-89 loss to the Detroit Pistons in an exhibition game on Tuesday night at The Q: With the forward/center in the lineup, the Cavs held the Pistons to 33.3 percent shooting in the third quarter while building a 12-point lead. With him on the bench, the Cavs gave up a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter as the Pistons got back into the game, eventually winning on Austin Daye's two free throws with 3.1 seconds left. Basically, the same thing happened on Friday night in Detroit, although the Cavs were able to survive that drought. That wasn't the case Tuesday, as the Cavs finish the preseason 1-1.
  • Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: Herb Simon, like most Pacers fans, is excited about the season after President Larry Bird signed David West and traded for George Hill to go with the nucleus from last season's team. "It's been a few years since I've been this optimistic, to be quite frank," Simon said. "It took us awhile to take care of some of the problems we had. For the first time in a while, we feel like we're over all the bad karma and we're looking forward to the good karma." With the optimism comes expectations. Nothing short of the playoffs will make Simon happy. "To be quite frank, I'm hoping and sincerely believing we'll be in the playoffs," he said. " ... We're going in the right direction."
  • Marcus Thompson II of The Oakland Tribune: The Warriors lost their exhibition season finale 95-91 to the host Sacramento Kings on Tuesday. But the defeat was overshadowed by another loss: point guard Stephen Curry. Late in the first half, Curry sprained his right ankle -- the same ankle that bothered him all last season -- and had to be helped to the locker room. He never returned and left Power Balance Pavilion on crutches, his face hiding behind the shadow of his hood. He will be evaluated by Warriors doctors Wednesday to determine the extent of the injury and whether he'll play in Sunday's season opener against the visiting Los Angeles Clippers. "Disappointed," coach Mark Jackson said. "But the bottom line is we're a no-excuse basketball team. ... Hopefully, he's back quick. But if not, we still have to go out and execute our game plan and fulfill the promise." Curry had seven points, five assists, three steals and no turnovers in 15 minutes before getting hurt. With 46.4 seconds left in the second quarter, Curry, backpedaling to the defensive end, appeared to roll his right ankle. After trying to walk it off, he buckled to the hardwood and writhed in pain on the sideline between the team's benches. Curry sprained his right ankle three times last season, the first in an exhibition game, and missed a total of eight games. Curry had surgery in May -- performed by Dr. Bob Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist at OrthoCarolina in Charlotte -- to repair two ligaments in his right ankle. He was cleared by doctors for full activity on Sept. 14 and hasn't had any issues with the ankle before Tuesday.
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: NBA preseason games rarely offer much intrigue. At their best, the exhibitions give players a chance to compete for a starting lineup spot or a place on the roster. At their worst, the matchups offer owners more home dates to gather revenue. But Wednesday night's Orlando Magic preseason finale against the Miami Heat at Amway Center has meaning. Three nights removed from an uninspired and disjointed performance, the Magic can show they can function effectively even though superstar Dwight Howard has requested a trade. And Howard can prove to doubters that his effort will remain high for as long as he remains with the Magic. ... Despite all the intrigue that now surrounds the Magic, one element of preseason basketball has not changed: that the final results do not carry over into the standings. Wednesday night's exhibition, however, will provide an interesting window into the collective mind of Magic fans. A free, open-to-the-public scrimmage Saturday at Amway Center drew 6,365 people, city officials said. Those fans showered Howard with applause and gave him a standing ovation after the event ended. How will paying customers react to Howard on Wednesday? For his part, Howard said it's difficult to get a gauge on a team or on individual players based on anything that occurs during the preseason.
  • Dave Krieger of The Denver Post: Start with a pro basketball team, a playoff team from before the NBA's nuclear summer. Subtract three exports to China, which should put to rest the idea that China never buys American products. Subtract two key free agents, but keep them on speed dial. Call players in Lithuania, Italy and Russia and tell them to come home. Open training camp with nine guys. Bring in a handful of hopefuls — the sort Doug Moe used to call no-hopers — so you can practice. Add two players Dallas wants to give you for nothing in a salary dump because you have salary cap room and Mark Cuban? doesn't. Spend $110 million to call back the two free agents on speed dial. Add Gatorade. Stir. Meet your 2011-12 Denver Nuggets, a product of the strangest offseason in club history by a lot.
  • Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: Twitter has become all the rage among professional athletes -- including the Pistons. Fans can probably figure out the players' accounts just by looking at their handles. Among them are @Adaye5, @CV31, @G_Monroe10, BrandonKnight12 and @JonasJerebko just to name a few. But Ben Wallace said at Tuesday's shoot-around before the exhibition finale at Cleveland fans won't catch him on Twitter -- Facebook either. "I don't Twitter," Wallace said at Quicken Loans Arena. "If you want to talk to me, you got to come see me. That's why I don't need Twitter." The league has changed a lot since Wallace, 37, was an undrafted free agent for the Wizards in 1996. And one of those changes is the emergence of social media. Wallace admitted that he seldom e-mails and his preferred method of electronic communication is texting.
  • Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: On Tuesday afternoon, someone at the White House called Horry “Big Shot Bob,” and it was perfectly fine with a player who ranks among the greatest clutch shooters in NBA history. “President Obama walked up and said, ‘Big Shot Bob, it’s nice to meet you,’” Horry said after returning to his home in Houston from a week-long USO tour that took him to Kuwait, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Germany. “It was very cool meeting him. It’s OK that he called me Bob. It really doesn’t matter that much to me, ‘Big Shot Rob’ or ‘Big Shot Bob.’ Either one is OK.” The occasion was the return of the United States Forces-Iraq colors, the battle flag under which U.S. troops had served during the Iraq war. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden received the colors in ceremonies at Andrews AFB. Horry had been aboard Air Force Two, the aircraft used by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, along with the other participants in the USO tour — comedian Thomas Miles, actress Minka Kelly and R&B singer Jordin Sparks — when it landed at Andrews with the colors. “That was the part that really hit you,” Horry said. “Bringing that flag home, well, it just hit you what that meant.”

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