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First Cup: Wednesday

  • Matt Calkins of The Columbian: For those wondering what has been going through Brandon Roy’s head since announcing his retirement in early December, one of his thoughts was recently revealed: A comeback. While he did not say definitively that he would return to the court, in an interview with David Pick of USbasket.com, the three-time All-Star disclosed he was not ruling it out. “I’ve been doing things like treatment. I’m trying to leave it open to the fact that I can be able to come back to basketball,” Roy said. “I’m not saying it’s something I will do, but there’s some treatment options out there that I’ve been looking really far into. If those things can work, don’t be surprised if you see me playing basketball again.” Roy announced his retirement on Dec. 9, the first day of NBA training camp. The 27-year-old missed 33 games last season due to degenerative knee problems, and logged three games in which he failed to score a field goal. ... Portland waived Roy via the Amnesty Clause in December in order to attain the mid-level exception that allowed the acquisition of Crawford. Under the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Roy could not come back to the Blazers until after the 2014-2015 season when his contract would have expired.

  • Matt Kawahara of The Sacramento Bee: As Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof addressed a crowd of reporters along one of the baselines inside Power Balance Pavilion before the game against the Utah Jazz, a fan in a jeweled crown and white Kings jersey leaned over the railing behind him. "Thanks for staying in Sacramento!" the fan yelled. Maloof grinned, turned slightly away from the cameras and replied, "Yeah!" The Kings played at their home of nearly a quarter-century Tuesday night for the first time since the city of Sacramento and the Kings announced Monday a tentative deal to build a new downtown arena, which would keep the team in the city beyond this season. As he made his way into Power Balance an hour before tip-off, Juan Vargas wore an orange construction vest over his white Chris Webber jersey. Written on the back of the vest were the words, "Sac Town, Ready to Build." ... Mayor Kevin Johnson waved to the crowd and walked along one sideline, shaking hands with fans. When he reached Gavin and Joe Maloof, he hugged them and then led them back toward the center of the court, where he held the brothers' hands up in a gesture of triumph. "Sacramento, I'm so proud of you as a community," Johnson said. "We did it. You're going to see basketball here for many years."

  • Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News: Dallas guard Delonte West wasn’t kidding when he described his financial duress during the lockout before the season. West took a job at the furniture market to provide money for his family during the lockout. But that even pales in comparison what he had to doat the start of the regular season. Conservative estimates indicate that West has made more than $14 million in his NBA career. But he sold jewelry, cars and even slept in the Mavericks’ dressing room at the starting of the season to extend his paycheck. West told the Dallas Morning News that he had trouble getting an apartment because of his criminal record. The Mavericks could get him a hotel room during training camp. But once the season started, he was left to fend for himself because it would have been considered an extra contract benefit. West told the Dallas paper that he either lived in the team locker room or his car. When Mavericks owner Mark Cuban heard about it, he arranged for West to have an apartment the day after he was informed.

  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: I don't know Odom as well as I know Nowitzki's patterns and behaviors and commitment. All I can say about Odom is that the stuff that is going on right now could not have come at a worse time. He's apparently caring for his father, but with all the rumors swirling, plus his lack of production, a significant absence like this doesn't pass the smell test. Let's see what happens when Odom gets back. If he seems re-invigorated, then we'll know quickly. If not, it might be time to scrap the experiment. As I've said before, it's hard to bag on Odom too much because he's been a stand-up guy through all of this. But at some point, it's not about criticism, it's just fact.

  • Colin Stephenson of The Star-Ledger: The day after Avery Johnson called Mavericks owner Mark Cuban “a threat” to sign away point guard Deron Williams as a free agent this summer, the Nets shifted into damage control mode. Johnson, at his pregame media briefing, let reporters know he didn’t appreciate the fact everyone focused on that part of the quote rather than the second part, where he talked about how much influence Williams has on everything the Nets are doing these days. And GM Billy King first went on the radio, then talked to reporters, saying he wouldn’t characterize the Mavericks as a threat. “I don’t look at it as a threat,” King said. “I mean, it’s reality. They’ve got cap space, and he’s obviously from Dallas. So I think if you follow Avery, the whole quote, he says ‘But I do think he’ll be playing in Brooklyn next year.’ So ... it doesn’t worry me.” Even Cuban himself downplayed the notion that the Mavericks will go hard after Williams when he becomes available July 1.

  • Andy Vasquez of The Record: Brook Lopez had 38 points, including the go-ahead free throws in the final minute, to lead the Nets to a 93-92 win over the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. “He was a monster tonight,” Nets guard Deron Williams said. “He carried us from the start of the game and it makes a difference, I’ve said it all season. … He knows how to play the game and we’re glad to have him back.” Lopez, who missed the first 32 games of the season with a broken bone in his right foot, was playing in his third game back. But he looked as good as he’s ever looked — his career high is 39 points — shooting 17-of-28 and pulling down six rebounds in more than 36 minutes. ... The performance surely will ramp up trade speculation with the March 15 deadline rapidly approaching. Lopez is the centerpiece of any potential deal for Magic star Dwight Howard. The way he played Tuesday night is a large indicator that he’s made a full recovery from his injury.

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Erik Spoelstra called it the "continuation of the theater of the absurd." With LeBron James and Dwyane Wade back at the top of the marquee. No, this certainly was not a mundane All-Star break for the Miami Heat, which, to a degree, also shows that things are the same as they ever were for Spoelstra's team. Not only did Tuesday's practice include Wade explaining his nose-breaking foul on Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during Sunday's All-Star Game in Orlando, but James found himself faced with questions about deferring on several late-game scoring opportunities in the Eastern Conference's loss. "It's an All-Star Game," an exasperated Spoelstra said after coaching his team through the session at AmericanAirlines Arena.

  • Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun: The Raptors have until Thursday to submit an offer sheet to restricted free agent Wilson Chandler. Don’t count on that happening even though he met with team management last week. The Raptors would love to have the versatile swingman who can both defend and score, but don’t have the cap space to submit an offer Denver would not match. Chandler’s options are to sign with the Nuggets long-term, return overseas to play out the year (this time in Italy, according to his agent) or to sign an offer sheet with another team this week. The Nuggets aren’t interested in signing Chandler only for the rest of the season, which would turn him into an unrestricted free agent this summer. According to sources, Toronto has balked at Chandler’s asking price, but has not completely closed the door if he becomes unrestricted and is willing to accept less money.

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: More than five years after it was believed Rockets coach Kevin McHale, then Timberwolves general manager, did not agree that Dwane Casey should have been fired in his first season as Timberwolves coach, McHale seemed to confirm the assumption. Though he did not mention Wolves owner Glen Taylor or specify that he was ordered to make the coaching change, McHale said he believed Casey, now in his first season as Raptors coach, should have been given more time. Casey, a finalist for the Rockets position last spring, was fired with a 20-20 record after a four-game losing streak, the last two in games in which Kevin Garnett was ejected and then suspended. “I really just feel that he’s a really good coach and I thought he should have been coaching in Minnesota long after he was let go,” McHale said before the Rockets faced the Raptors on Tuesday. “Those things happen, which is too bad.”

  • Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune: Some things really were better in the old days. Take the Bulls. If you think this Rose-colored group matches the excitement of the Jordan-era Bulls, you'd be wrong. That's according to Hornets coach Monty Williams. "I don't think it's even close to that yet," he said before his team took the United Center floor Tuesday. "They do a really good job and they are on their way, but I played against (Michael) Jordan and (Scottie) Pippen and (Dennis) Rodman, and that was a different beast. If you didn't watch yourself, when they called out Jordan's name, you'd get caught up in it." Williams, the former Notre Dame star who played for the Knicks, Spurs, Nuggets, Magic and 76ers from 1994-2003, said: "There's a little bit of that (aura) with Derrick Rose, but it's not the same. I think you have to win a title first. It's a tough place to play anyway, but when you have a title, that separates you."

  • Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: I thought Frank Vogel was going to use the first few games after the All-Star break to decide between A.J. Price and Lance Stephenson. Nope. Vogel opened the second half of the season with his mind already made up. Price in, Stephenson out. Vogel is rewarding Price for his strong play of late and his ability to run the second unit, which should continue to get better now that George Hill is back from the chip fracture in his left ankle.

  • Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle: Warriors general manager Larry Riley said he did everything he could to stop himself from leaping out of his seat when Indiana agreed to trade Brandon Rush for Lou Amundson in December. Pacers president Larry Bird knew the transaction was going to be a little one-sided, but he wanted to free up more playing time for emerging swingman Paul George and was worried about the health of big man Jeff Foster. Thus, the Warriors got a steal of deal. Rush, who was booed sporadically in his initial return to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, had team highs with 14 points and seven rebounds in the Warriors' 102-78 loss to his ex-mates Tuesday. ... Rush's breakout season is coming at the right time as he's on course to become a restricted free agent this summer. ... Rush said his inconsistent minutes and the pressure of being a lottery pick (13th pick in the 2008 draft) dogged him in Indiana. Though he harbors no ill will against the franchise, he said getting the fresh start has helped.

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: The Wolves reconvened after the All-Star break and practiced Monday evening at the University of Southern California's basketball facility, where a huge photo hangs on one wall that shows the Trojans' Davon Jefferson dunking all over a rival UCLA player, one Kevin Love, in an upset victory at Pauley Pavilion. It's big enough neither Love nor teammate Ricky Rubio could miss it. Rubio, in fact, took a photo and tweeted it to his 668,000 followers. "Crazy to see," Love said of his image as a chunky college freshman. "Bad beard, ugly chin strap, the buzzed head. It's a totally different person, and player."

  • T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times: Paul makes it seem so easy, which makes it even more ridiculous when others make it so hard to just talk sports. He is as confident of his own abilities as any athlete I have met and yet he seems to spend much of his time dwelling on what he does wrong. For example, in basketball circles it's pretty well known he jabbers a lot on the court, someone likening him to a yapping dog. Instead of getting all defensive and even testy when relaying that to him, he says it's not only true, but admits he gets on the nerves of those around him. "And sometimes it can be overwhelming," he says with a grin suggesting he's not exaggerating. He's a rarity as pro athletes go, and maybe one day yet he goes sour on everyone. Just please don't tell me, as I'm now rooting for him to make it big here in the entertainment capital. "I own my own tux," he says, and that's a nice start. A few weeks ago he found himself at the same Golden Globes party as actor Leonardo DiCaprio, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and long-time Page 2 flame Salma Hayek. He found a way to meet DiCaprio, of course, his quest to find someone in L.A. shorter than him now complete. He also talked to Weinstein, and I wonder if he told Harvey he had been in a movie.

  • Frank Dell’Apa of The Boston Globe: Rajon Rondo missed the Celtics’ first two games against the Cavaliers this season with a sprained wrist. He returned for this game but went scoreless with 11 assists. He helped limit Kyrie Irving late in the game, though. Irving scored 24 points and has averaged 22.7 points in three games against the Celtics, who were unable to stifle him down the stretch in two previous games. In the opening quarter last night, Rondo had six assists and Irving had 3 points and three assists. Irving would not record another assist, but he found his scoring touch, with 13 points in the third quarter before going 1 for 4 from the field in the final quarter. “We played well as a team. It wasn’t pretty but we found a way and got the win,’’ Rondo said. “We just have to establish a presence, period. We’ve got some teams on our heels, this team in particular. I don’t really know the standings, I know it’s one or two games. So, we’ve got to try to get back on track somehow, follow up with another win [tonight].’’

  • Bob Finnan of The News-Herald: A film crew has been following Cavs guard Daniel Gibson around the last couple days. His reality show, "Family First," starring him and his wife, singer Keyshia Cole Gibson, has been picked up by BET. It's scheduled to air in July. "We're proud," he said. "It got picked up. I want to wait until we finish the contract before we disclose (anything)." Coach Byron Scott allowed the film crew to shoot footage of Gibson shooting around after practice on Monday. "The reality show isn't going to affect us," Scott said. "They have to go around his schedule. It's not going to affect what we do."

  • Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News: Last night's game against the Detroit Pistons must have been in that clump of games forward Thaddeus Young calls "must wins." It wasn't so much because the 76ers needed to find the win column again after losing five straight. It's more because, quite frankly, it was against an inferior opponent. Young doesn't look at the crazy schedule this season as homestands and long road trips; rather, he breaks it down in other ways. Lesser opponents are under the "must win" category. The Sixers obliged Young, and he had a lot to do with it, as the losing streak was snapped with a 97-68 win in which the offense looked more alive than at any time over the past 2 weeks and legs seemed very much rejuvenated. No one's more so than Young's, who came off the bench for 20 points and eight rebounds in helping the first-place Sixers improve to 21-14 and get their first win since Feb. 13. The only one who didn't seem to be fresher was coach Doug Collins, who left the bench after the third quarter with what he called dehydration. He didn't miss much in the fourth quarter, as the game was already way past decided.

  • Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: On his 32nd birthday, Tayshaun Prince didn't have a lot to say after the Pistons' latest blowout loss to the 76ers. But three simple words spoke volumes on what he thought of his team's effort after a 97-68 thumping Tuesday night in both teams' first game following the All-Star break. "Still on vacation," Prince said. When the questioner tried a follow-up question, Prince interrupted: "Still on vacation." Well, that summed things up from the Pistons' perspective. There's a boxing adage that styles make a fight. Well, after the Philadelphia 76ers played Mike Tyson to the Pistons' Michael Spinks for the third time this season -- the Sixers won by 20-plus points in two meetings last month -- it's safe to say the Pistons can't handle the 76ers' style.