First Cup: Wednesday

  • John Hollinger in The New York Sun on trading Jason Kidd: "At the end of the day one realistic option stands out: The L.A. Lakers. There are multiple ways a deal could work. The simplest is for the Nets to get Lamar Odom and a few scraps from the Lakers and call it a day, but L.A. would likely balk at that. More likely is another deal that still would trump anything the other suitors can come up with: The expiring contracts of Kwame Brown, Chris Mihm, and Trevor Ariza, along with promising young guard Javaris Crittenton (or Jordan Farmar) and a first-round pick. That would give the Nets three building blocks (Crittenton, Ariza, and the first-rounder), nearly $20 million in cap relief, and the rights to a couple of big men that they might be interested in keeping."TrueHoop First Cup

  • Sekou Smith of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "As the minutes continue to pile up for his starters, Hawks coach Mike Woodson said Tuesday that it's time to start watching more closely how that in-game wear-and-tear impacts his team. Joe Johnson is averaging 41.1 minutes, Marvin Williams 36.1, Josh Smith 36.0, Al Horford 31.0 and Anthony Johnson 28.0. 'You have to look at guys and see what they're doing out there late in games and figure it has to be fatigue,' Woodson said. 'Because we're making so many mental mistakes right now.' The Hawks didn't wait until late to show signs of fatigue against Phoenix on Tuesday night. They looked worn out early in the game and found themselves in a double-digit hole minutes after the action started."

  • Ross Siler of The Salt Lake Tribune: "The Jazz obtained the Knicks' pick from Phoenix at the February 2004 trade deadline. It was part of a luxury-tax saving move for the Suns, who traded Gugliotta plus two future first-round picks, a second-round pick and cash to Utah for Clark and Handlogten. Now the second of those two first-round picks is shaping up as a potential jackpot for the Jazz. The Suns obtained it from the Knicks as part of what was supposed to be Thomas' franchise-changing trade for Marbury, bringing the star guard from Coney Island home.

  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "The Atlanta Hawks' presence at US Airways Center on Tuesday night brought up painful memories from last year. No, not the loss that Phoenix suffered in Atlanta on Nov. 7. It was a much more devastating loss, one the Suns suffered in May when the draft lottery defied odds and allowed Atlanta to keep its pick rather than send it to Phoenix to complete the Joe Johnson trade. The Suns had a 62 percent chance to land either the fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh pick in a heralded draft, but the Johnson trade conditions said Atlanta would keep the pick if the Hawks were in the top three. The Hawks landed at No. 3. The Suns will receive Atlanta's pick this year. Currently the pick would be slotted in the middle of thefirst round, because Atlanta is in the East's seventh spot despite its losing record."

  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: "Starting Thursday, the stakes for J.J. Barea and the Dallas Mavericks rise significantly. They play the Eastern Conference's three divisional leaders in a row on the road, starting with Boston, which owns the NBA's best record. It also will be a homecoming of sorts for Barea, the Puerto Rican who went to college at Northeastern in Boston. These are intriguing times for the backup point guard, who is generously listed at 6-foot. With Devin Harris on the shelf, Jason Terry is the starter at the point. Barea is the backup, and the Mavericks are eager to give him a chance to keep the job, which is why at this point they don't expect to be players in the Jason Kidd sweepstakes, in spite of rumors sweeping across the NBA."

  • Alan Hahn of Newsday: "There has been an ongoing debate between Isiah Thomas and Zach Randolph, who was acquired on draft night last June to fill a hole at power forward. Randolph has had words with Thomas on the bench and also has ignored him. He has also wondered aloud why Thomas brought him to the Knicks in the first place. Randolph entered last night's game averaging a double-double (16.9 points and 10.3 rebounds) in 32.6 minutes per game, but while his rebounding is the highest it's been in four seasons, his points and minutes were his lowest in five seasons. Though Thomas has denied it, the Knicks put Randolph on the trading block a few weeks ago ..."