First Cup: Tuesday

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Shawn Marion said all the right things about his lack of a contract extension at Monday's Heat promotional event in downtown Miami, but such matters tend to have a way of festering. For now, consider it no better than 50-50 when it comes to Marion remaining after the Feb. 19 trading deadline. What most could change Marion's attitude, perhaps make him receptive to a year-by-year approach with his contract, is his interaction with Dwyane Wade. Remember, the two played only 11 games together last season. If the chemistry clicks, it could convince the Heat that the future is Wade-Marion, lessening the concern about creating cap space in 2010, when Wade can opt out."

  • Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee: Shareef Abdur-Rahim's retirement means the Kings are down to 14 players and could add one more to the bunch. I didn't get a chance to ask Geoff Petrie about his plans for the vacancy, but they may as well make the most of it with a relatively cheap young talent to be named later. Justin Williams anyone? Add another athletic rebounder/shotblocker to the group who just happens to come with the added benefit of familiarity. To review, Williams was only waived (in Feb.) to make room for the players in the Mike Bibby trade. And while I'm not sure who his most ardent supporters are within the organization, he had a good enough name to outlast Darryl Watkins and all his upside last training camp. Williams is an unemployed free agent at the moment."TrueHoop First Cup

  • Kerry Eggers of The Portland Tribune: "Judging by the rave reviews Rudy Fernandez got from Kevin Pritchard and Nate McMillan during his press unveiling at the Rose Garden Monday afternoon, the Basketball Hall of Fame is just around the corner. I don't know how good Fernandez will be during his rookie season in Portland, but I do know it's premature to say he'll be the second or third best player on the team, as at least one media observer has suggested. Three reasons -- Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden."

  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "Sometimes, you just can't say thanks enough. That is why about 1,200 people gathered Monday at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa for a luncheon ceremony honoring Jerry Colangelo's U.S. Olympic work. It's the same spot and appreciative sentiment that packed another ballroom in November to honor his Suns Ring of Honor induction."

  • Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: "Seven new faces. Many more committed players. More depth. Reliability at point guard. It was a summer of change for the Indiana Pacers, who report to work Monday hoping for a fresh beginning in the upcoming season. 'It's a function of wanting to be an Indiana Pacer,' coach Jim O'Brien said. 'These guys were willing to sacrifice their summer to get themselves in condition in order to play the type of basketball we're going to play. I just think we have a great attitude going into this year. I don't think we could have asked for a better group of people to start the year with.'"

  • Matt Steinmetz of The Examiner: "Warriors' media day is Friday and there is no shortage of on-court issues worth talking about: Baron Davis' departure, Monta Ellis' injury and Stephen Jackson's state of mind to name a few. But that stuff seems small-time when you start to think about the Warriors' big picture. Davis and Ellis and Jackson are all 'this year' issues. Of much more significance is what happens AFTER this year? Quite frankly, I don't think anyone out there knows -- and that includes owner Chris Cohan and president Robert Rowell -- who will be the Warriors' general manager or coach at the start of next season. If you don't know the particulars, here's a quick catch-up: VP of basketball ops Chris Mullin is entering the final year of his contract; coach Don Nelson is entering the final year of his contract."

  • Jody Genessy of the Deseret News: "Being a professional basketball player certainly has its benefits and pluses. Who'da thunk becoming an improved and avid golfer would be among them? But that's the case for Deron Williams, who earmarks some of his spare time and sums from his NBA paychecks to enjoy his hobby. My, how things have changed for the Jazz's point guard, who was as excited to chat about golf as he was basketball Monday at the second-annual Deron Williams Celebrity Golf Classic. 'I never watched golf,' he said at his charity event. 'I used to think it was boring.' That changed, he admitted, when he started picking up his golf game (an everyday occurrence now)."

  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "May we suggest adjourning to the locker room big-screen television at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday for a snack break of Yo Gabba Gabba! and juice and crackers? We think the Suns would not feel too old for the preschool Nickelodeon show when they see AmarĂ© Stoudemire is the 'Dancey Dance friend.' In a show about talent, Stoudemire teaches the 'AmarĂ© Dribble Dance' to Plex the robot, Muno the red cyclops, Foofa the pink flower, Brobee the little green one and Todee the blue cat-dragon."

  • Carl Steward of the Contra Costa Times: "Leon Powe is entering his third season, a contract year in which he should set himself up financially for life if he even approaches the kind of season he had in 2007-2008. With that in mind, he's also looking hard at a future plan that gives back to the troubled community from which both he and Ward emerged against long odds. In short, Powe and Bernard Ward want to improve those odds for future generations of troubled or impoverished youth. The two men hope to jointly set up a foundation that helps inner-city foster-care children and teens make successes of their own lives. The event Ward staged on Powe's behalf in late August -- the 'Powe Folks' Basketball Camp at Merritt College -- was essentially a precursor to bigger plans down the road. 'Leon basically wants (the foundation) to be like Magic Johnson's before he retires,' Ward said Monday. 'We want to start a mentoring/tutoring service, not only for foster kids, but all kids that may be having issues in life. Within the next year, that's our goal, trying to figure out how we can do that.'"

  • Greg Johns of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "The Sonics may be gone, but the court fight hasn't quite ended between Clay Bennett's ownership group and some Seattle sports fans. A class-action suit filed by three former Sonics season ticket holders has escalated into a growing war of words and court filings, the latest surrounding Save Our Sonics co-founder Brian Robinson and what he must turn over to the Professional Basketball Club attorneys in discovery for a scheduled March 2 trial.
    ... Robinson's attorney said the Oklahoma City owners are attempting to create a rift by doing everything possible to 'alienate and inflict injury' on Seattle's NBA fan base in hopes of derailing the Save Our Sonics efforts to lobby the Washington Legislature for further KeyArena funding."

  • Sharon Pian Chan of The Seattle Times: "Most of the $45 million settlement Seattle received in exchange for the Sonics leaving town should be used to retire KeyArena debt, Seattle budget director Dwight Dively said Monday. Dively said the rest of the money should be used to pay the city's $2.8 million legal bill to K&L Gates for the Sonics trial, to replace lost revenue from the basketball team's early departure and to fund capital improvements at the arena and Seattle Center."

  • Frank Dell'Apa of The Boston Globe: "Tim Grover broke ground as a trainer for Michael Jordan in the 1980s, becoming something of a superstar in his own field. Grover leveraged his achievements and contacts into Attack Athletics, the superstar of basketball gymnasia. There are other facilities for NBA offseason training, the most well-known in Bradenton, Fla., Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Francisco. But the Attack gym is 'raising the bar,' according to Grover. ... Juwan Howard has had no problem buying into Grover's program. 'Tim is providing what a lot of NBA teams are trying to do,' Howard said. 'I can spend the entire day here; I come in at 9 a.m. and I'm the last to leave at 5:30. Training physically to endure an 82-game schedule, getting your body in top shape, this place definitely gets you ready.'"