First Cup: Friday

  • Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle: "For the moment, though, Monta Ellis is the Warriors. He had to be, for there was no other foreseeable outcome once Baron Davis left."

  • Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News: "I think Andris Biedrins' agent, Bill Duffy, is hoping and talking about Europe to get every dollar possible out of Mullin, and that's wise agenting. After Josh Childress vaulted to Greece, that's a very good card to play. But I doubt Biedrins is worth $10M a year in Europe. HE CAN'T SHOOT. THAT'S A SHOOTERS' LEAGUE. If he is worth that, the Warriors probably won't and shouldn't say, fine, here's another $20M added to our six-year offer-maybe $58M to $65M altogether. Too much. Nope. I think Biedrins is valuable and he's their only legitimate center-type right now. But if I'm the Warriors, and I know Biedrins wants to make it in the NBA, I cannot deliver him a $20M bonus just because he might go to Russia."TrueHoop First Cup

  • Alan Hahn of Newsday: "Jamal Crawford is five years older than Monta Ellis (who turns 23 in October), but you have to think he should be able to command a similar contract -- similar, I said, not exact -- if he puts up the kind of season this year that Mike D'Antoni thinks he can in his system. D'Antoni has told me and others that he thinks Crawford can reach all-star status playing in his system. And if Jamal can become an all-star and drop 20 per for a second straight year (of course winning would help, too, not to mention a playoff appearance for the first time in his career), it wouldn't be surprising to see him opt out of his current contract next summer. He would walk away from the final two years and over $19 million if he knew he could get $11 mil per in his next contract."

  • Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "There is a scene in 'Animal House' -- after John Belushi screams something about Germans and Pearl Harbor and the Delta house wreaks havoc on the annual homecoming parade -- when the townsfolk go bonkers, run down Main Street and trample the poor ROTC schlep as he pleas, 'Remain calm! All is well.' I'm fairly certain Michael Gearon Jr. wasn't wearing an ROTC uniform Thursday as we spoke by phone. But I couldn't shake the visual of footprints on his forehead as he said, 'I'm confident we have the solutions. We have a plan.'"

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "Josh Childress was the surprise. But he is not part of a trend, at least not yet. Maybe he will be. Maybe he will be the trend-setter, a trail blazer far removed from Portland. At the moment, he is far from part of a movement, any more than Danny Ferry was all those years ago when he went to Rome rather than the Clippers. Carl Landry does not appear close to being next. Asked this week if his client would consider a lucrative offer from Europe if he gets one, his agent said of course he would consider it. ... The difference seems to be that Buddy Baker believes Landry will land an NBA contract that he considers fair. Childress did not."

  • Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times: "The idea of going none and done to satisfy NBA rules that players must be 19 and a year removed from high school graduation to be drafted didn't seem to appeal to several elite high school players competing in tournaments throughout Las Vegas this week. 'I want to go to college. I want to enjoy that experience,' said Compton Dominguez High senior standout Jordan Hamilton, who included USC on a lengthy list of college finalists. 'My brother went to the University of Miami and he said he had a great experience, so I plan on going to college.'"

  • Tim Buckley of the Deseret News: "Back in the day, 15 years ago this summer, Randy Livingston was all that. And more. Much, much more. '(Jazz general manager) Kevin (O'Connor) said he may have been one of the top two or three players he ever saw play in high school,' Jazz coach Jerry Sloan recalled. 'He would have been a heck of (an NBA) player.' 'Randy Livingston was a great player going into college. Not a good player -- a great player,' O'Connor added. 'I mean, he was (among) the Jason Kidds of the world back then. He was everything a point guard could be, with size, good speed, great mind, (ability to get) the ball anywhere on the court.' Then his knee blew up. Twice. ... Livingston's tale is that of someone scratching and clawing to hang on, occasional NBA stints scattered among months and months in the minors and nightmarish trips overseas."

  • Kerry Eggers of The Portland Tribune: "Channing Frye saunters into the boxing room at Matt Dishman Community Center Thursday afternoon, a giraffe in a world of pit bulls. The 6-11, 245-pound power forward of the Trail Blazers is on hand for his first boxing lesson/workout with Michael Foster, who has worked as a coach and trainer at what is known as the Knott Street Boxing Club for 15 years. You won't see Frye in the ring with Wladimir Klitschko -- or any other boxing opponent -- any time soon. He is here on the recommendation of Portland assistant coach Maurice Lucas, plus his own thirst for adventure. 'I wanted to try a whole bunch of things this offseason,' says Frye, 25, who has made Portland his year-round home. 'I don't think I'll ever box a real match. It's more to get conditioning and strength for my arms and shoulders. It will help me battle and hold my position under the basket against the bigger guys.'"

  • Peter Mallett of Toronto Globe and Mail: "Steve Nash, the two-time NBA most valuable player, not only dazzled members of the news media with his soccer skills in a game against the media yesterday morning, he also confirmed his intention to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Vancouver. ... 'I'm just excited that I am part of a partnership group to bring MLS soccer to Vancouver,' Nash said after the MLS All-Star Media Cup at BMO Field. 'I think it is an outstanding soccer area and has a great tradition dating back to the Whitecaps of the [North American Soccer League] and all of the support that they drew. I grew up a fan of the Whitecaps and am still a big fan today, especially with my brother [Martin] playing for them now.'"

  • Aaron J. Lopez of the Rocky Mountain News: "After sitting out two years for violating the NBA's substance-abuse policy, Chris Andersen says he is clean, sober and ready to prove himself all over again with the Nuggets. 'That's behind me,' Andersen said Thursday after a workout at the Forza Fitness Club downtown. 'I made an immediate change from the get-go. It's a lot of hard work and a lot of effort, a lot of time just to get back where I'm at. There's not a chance in hell I'm going to try to mess that up agai
    n. It's all about just finishing my career solid and on a good note.' Seeking an athletic big man to add depth in the frontcourt, the Nuggets on Thursday signed the 6-foot-10 Andersen to a one-year, guaranteed contract for the NBA minimum $998,389."