First Cup: Wednesday

July, 4, 2012
7/04/12
4:44
AM ET
  • Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: Scott Brooks was rewarded with a four-year contract that is believed to be worth more than $16 million. The deal puts Brooks in the top third of NBA coaching salaries and ends weeks of speculation that both Brooks and the team were possibly headed for a split due to a discrepancy over compensation. But the truth is that talk of a breakup between Brooks and the Thunder always was hard to believe. “I think everybody values coach Brooks and knows how important he is to what we've done here,” said Thunder forward Nick Collison. It's the bond Brooks shares with his players that ultimately necessitated a new deal. In Brooks, going back to that very first night in New Orleans, players see a coach they can identify with, a man who has walked in their shoes and tasted the success as a player they are now striving to achieve. They respect Brooks and, more importantly, respond to him and his ways.
  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: In February, coach Kevin McHale said if the Rockets had known the sensation Jeremy Lin would become, they would “have cut half our team to keep him.” Wednesday, the Rockets hope to get him back without giving up anyone. The Rockets will meet with Lin, who was in their training camp for 12 days before he was waived and eventually picked up by the New York Knicks, on Wednesday in Houston, a person with knowledge of the plans said. Getting him back won’t be easy, however. The Rockets will have to persuade Lin, a restricted free-agent guard, to accept a contract similar to the deal Goran Dragic turned down Monday. If Lin agrees to the Rockets’ offer sheet, they then must hope the way the deal is structured will keep the Knicks from matching an offer to keep him. The Rockets stepped up their pursuit of Lin after they were unable to come to an agreement with Dragic. The sides were so far apart on contract proposals that the meeting Monday ended with the Rockets ready to move on, a person with knowledge of the process said.
  • Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News: Relief and elation. At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the Nets and their fans experienced both emotions, as Deron Williams committed to Brooklyn with a tweet: “I had a difficult decision to make,” he wrote, linking to a picture of the Brooklyn Nets logo. The black “B” said it all. After a year and a half of losing and wooing, the Nets managed to convince a once reluctant star to stay put, eagerly agreeing to sign Williams to a five-year, $100 million max contract. It was a sign things could be changing for the Nets, the hard-luck franchise that is moving to Brooklyn after many years suffering through anonymity in New Jersey. They were also engaging in trade talks for Dwight Howard, as Orlando came to the realization early Tuesday it can’t box out the destination Howard desires most. So one superstar was still floating in the murky world of “potential trades,” but another was in Brooklyn’s back pocket. The Nets traded for Williams in March of last year under the assumption, or maybe just hope, that they could convince him the dog days in Newark will turn into something greater in Brooklyn. Mission accomplished.
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: Orlando Magic executives know they won't receive equal value when they trade Dwight Howard. The team's goal now? Minimize the damage. The Magic hope to ignite a bidding war between the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and other teams that might attempt to acquire the disgruntled superstar. The Nets' offer of restricted free-agent center Brook Lopez in a sign-and-trade, shooting guard MarShon Brooks and the Nets' first-round picks in 2013, 2015 and 2017 — with unrestricted free agent Kris Humphries simultaneously going to a third team — must have Magic officials wincing. But palatable deals with the Hawks and the Lakers, especially, might not be there for the taking.
  • Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News: The Mavs blow up an NBA champion team so they can clear the decks for Deron Williams and/or Dwight Howard, neither of whom can be seen circling over American Airlines Center or even on the radar. Not only that, but Jason Terry appears ready to touch down in Boston. Meanwhile, with Dirk Nowitzki’s window closing and his basketball empire seemingly hanging in the balance, Mark Cuban is off filming a reality TV show. Does this sound like any way to run what was until recently a great franchise?
  • Paul Coro The Arizona Republic: The Suns landed their prime free-agency target, shooting guard Eric Gordon, with a Tuesday night commitment. Now, it becomes a matter of whether he is a moving target. Gordon, 23, agreed to sign a four-year, $58 million offer sheet on July 11, but New Orleans is expected to match the restricted free agent's maximum-level offer in its ensuing three-day window. Gordon made the commitment on his second night in Phoenix, where unrestricted free agent Goran Dragic also visited Tuesday as the Suns rolled out the orange carpet, literally, for both to walk from First Street to the US Airways Center pavilion. "After visiting the Suns, the impression the organization made on me was incredible," Gordon said in a statement through his agent, Rob Pelinka. "(Suns Managing Partner) Mr. (Robert) Sarver, (President of Basketball Operations) Lon Babby, (General Manager) Lance Blanks, the front-office staff and Coach (Alvin) Gentry run a first-class organization and I strongly feel they are the right franchise for me. Phoenix is just where my heart is now."
  • John Reid of The Times-Picayune: I don't think the Hornets are surprised a team extended Eric Gordon an offer. Especially with all moves that have been made so far after the first three days of free agency. Gordon went out and tested the market and the Suns are willing to pay him $58 million over four years, now the ball goes to the Hornets and they are expected to match it. We'll see how it will shake out on July 14.
  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: The NBA can be a cutthroat business where it’s imperative to look out for your own interest above all else and the Toronto Raptors made a bold statement to that effect Tuesday. By making an offer of a three-year contact worth close to $20 million (all figures U.S.) for restricted free agent swingman Landry Fields of the New York Knicks, the Raptors have potentially blocked the Knicks from the legitimate pursuit of Steve Nash and moved to shore up a deficiency in their own roster. There is significance to the offer on a variety of levels as the Raptors continue their dogged pursuit of their top free agent target: Phoenix guard Steve Nash. There were reports the Suns had coveted Fields in a sign-and-trade deal with the Knicks for Nash; if the Knicks match the offer for Fields, league rules forbid them from putting him in a sign-and-trade deal.
  • Brad Rock of the Deseret News: This week, the Jazz were set to add another multidimensional player by trading Devin Harris — a one-position player — for Marvin Williams — a two-position guy. Two for the price of one. Utah swapped a trade exception last week in order to get guard Mo Williams, who was reintroduced on Tuesday to the Utah media. ... Steadily, the Jazz have become a regular Mr. Potato Head: One unit, with a thousand possible looks. Remember when you actually knew what position a guy played? Now it depends on the situation and the combinations, not to mention what coach Ty Corbin had for lunch. You might see Paul Millsap as an undersized power forward, or maybe a speed-challenged small forward. Actually, he has done a nice job at both positions. These days, you need to be able to bake the cookies as well as work the front counter. Jazz G.M. Kevin O'Connor says it's true the aforementioned versatility was no accident. The entire NBA is moving that direction, partially for versatility purposes, but also due to rule changes that have included the curtailment of hand-checking and the allowance of zone defenses.
  • Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post: The Nuggets are on the hook for a salary in excess of $9 million to Danilo Gallinari. They desire to give Ty Lawson a hefty raise. To pay McGee more than either of the team's young leaders would be crazy. That's not meant as a criticism of McGee, who is merely taking advantage of what the market will bear. It's all Monopoly in the NBA, as old sage Doug Moe used to say, but you knew the silly season began in earnest when Portland recently offered Indiana center Roy Hibbert a four-year, $58 million contract. For the Pacers, Hibbert averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game last season. You don't have to be Pam McGee to know her son was within shouting distance of those stats. So $10 million per year for McGee might be a bargain. Or it could be the biggest mistake since the Nuggets believed more money would somehow make Nene tougher.
  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: Playing for your hometown team or signing with a title contender to finish out your career? That could be the decision Antawn Jamison will soon face. Jamison, an unrestricted free agent, grew up in Charlotte and still calls it home. He’ll meet with Bobcats executives Rod Higgins and Rich Cho Thursday night over dinner, a source confirms, to discuss possibly signing here. The alternative for the 14-year NBA veteran is finding a team with the chance to win a title in the remaining two or three seasons Jamison plans to play.
  • Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News: Spurs GM R.C. Buford had been fairly vague about the immediate future of 2009 draftee Nando De Colo following last week’s draft, saying the team would continue to monitor his progress. But the time is now, apparently, with the 25-year-old Frenchman having traveled to San Antonio for a physical prior to contract negotiations, according to the Twitter feed of the French national basketball team. ... A related tweet said Tony Parker, whose eye was recently injured when the All-Star point guard was caught in the crossfire of a New York City club brawl, will travel to the United States on Thursday for a meeting with the Spurs medical staff. Unless plans have changed since June 24, when Parker announced the injury on his web site, that examination is supposed to happen in New York.

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