First Cup: Thursday

I know, I know, this is not any time for a first cup of coffee. Still wrestling technical issues.

  • Cam Inman of the Contra Costa Times: "Guard Monta Ellis is hurt. Ankle surgery will shelve him for at least three months, but likely four or more, and only Chuck Taylor himself knows how this impacts Ellis' long-term hop-ability. First impression: This really wrecks the Warriors' 2008-09 campaign, not to mention their questionable effort to develop Ellis into a point guard. Move over, gold-medal-winning Redeem Team, here comes the Golden State Retreat Team. Then again, knowing the Warriors, if any team is brazen enough to shrug this off, it's them. These guys, remember, don't lack confidence. They may lack a floor general. But they'll still heave up shot after shot."

  • Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News: "Now that Ellis is gone, probably until January or February, I would NOT say that it should be no-holds-barred for Shaun Livingston. Hey, he's not likely to be ready, either, for the start of the season and it gets a little dicey when you have TWO young point guards with shaky knee/ankle situations. But… Livingston, if relatively healthy (and reports are that he's looking pretty good in workouts), was probably the Warriors' best option for added depth last week. So Livingston has to be considered a strong option now that the Warriors are down to Marcus Williams and C.J. Watson as healthy point guards on the roster to start the season."TrueHoop First Cup

  • Art Thompson III for the Orange County Register: "The Lakers' signing Wednesday of their second-round draft pick, Joe Crawford, brings the number of players now under contract to 16. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has stated that the plan is to bring 18 players to training camp, which begins Sept. 30, at the Lakers' regular-season El Segundo practice facility. With two spots still to fill, it is not too late for the Lakers to strongly consider bringing in unrestricted free agent guard Shaun Livingston, who has been rounding into training camp shape at Tim Grover's Attack Athletics training facility in Chicago."

  • Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee: "Reggie Theus is quickly gaining a sense of Bobby Jackson's popularity within the community. Virtually everywhere he goes, people approach and express their excitement about the veteran guard's return. 'Bobby Jackson, Bobby Jackson, Bobby Jackson,' Theus said. 'I say, 'guys, that was eight years ago. He can still play. But that was a long time ago.' The good thing is, I've talked to Bobby, and explained to him how important his presence is going to be in the locker room. It's going to be enormous. It's important to mentor the young guys the right way, and a lot of our success is going to depend on how quickly the young guys develop.'"

  • Mike Baldwin of The Oklahoman: "The wait is nearly over. Oklahoma City's NBA team is expected to announce Thunder as its nickname at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The franchise will announce the team name, its mark, the four team colors and logo at a press conference at Leadership Square. Team officials would neither confirm nor deny whether Thunder is the nickname. Team uniforms, home and road, won't be revealed until late September. Team merchandise will be available on Wednesday after the announcement. And don't put any credence into uniform designs that have appeared on the Internet with Thunder logos. All designs have been speculative and have no affiliation with the NBA or Oklahoma City's franchise."

  • John Denton of Florida Today: "Speaking to Florida Today from Los Angeles where he is filming a national television advertisement for McDonald's, Dwight Howard said he's hardly stopped smiling since helping Team USA climb back to the top of the basketball world. The Orlando Magic's star center said he wore his gold medal around his neck on the flight from Beijing, China, to Los Angeles and it's rarely been out of his sight since Sunday. Being a part of something this grandiose, something this special, reduced the 6-foot-11, 268-pound Howard to mush. 'It was the greatest thing ever,' Howard said. 'I've never cried in my life about anything ... and I cried after winning the gold medal. It was very emotional for me.'"

  • Luke DeCock of The News & Observer: "No longer will [Mike Krzyzewski] accept the expectations that years of success have placed on Duke's program. From now on, he'll seek the unrestrained joy he felt watching his U.S. players win their gold medals, no matter what any restless residents of Krzyzewskiville might say. ''What, we didn't go to the Final Four? We didn't win the national championship?' They're very spoiled,' Krzyzewski said. 'It ruins it a little bit. Really a lot. Because of that, sometimes when you win, you're just relieved. I'm not saying that that happens all the time, but it happens. At the end of that Spain game, when most people would say, 'Weren't you relieved?' no, I wasn't. I was exhilarated. I was euphoric. It was the way it should be. And that's the way it's going to be for me for the rest of my career at Duke.'"

  • Conrad Brunner for Pacers.com: "Five months before he was forced into premature retirement by balky knees in 2006, Jonathan Bender took the initiative to put together a relief effort that delivered two tractor-trailers filled with donated goods to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area, including his hometown of Picayune, Miss. He still hasn't stopped helping. That initial act of kindness has blossomed into a full-fledged entrepreneurial venture for the former Pacers forward. He owns an investment company that seeks community re-investment opportunities; a construction company that restores flood-ravaged housing; a property management company that leases those properties, targeting displaced residents looking to return to the New Orleans area; and a realty company to help facilitate the sale of those properties to qualified families. You've heard of a one-man wrecking crew? Bender has become a one-man rebuilding team."