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First Cup: Training Camp Friday

  • K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: "Let the logjam begin. With Ben Gordon signed, the battle for backcourt playing time involving Gordon, Kirk Hinrich, Larry Hughes, Derrick Rose and Thabo Sefolosha begins. Somebody will be unhappy. 'That's where Vinny is going to have a tough time,' general manager John Paxson conceded, referring to first-year coach Vinny Del Negro. 'We're going to develop Derrick this year -- he's going to play. So the others will have to play themselves into minutes.' The upbeat Del Negro, who said he wants his rotation set soon, called it a 'good problem.'"

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "Rockets owner Leslie Alexander did not, however, agree with the notion the Rockets are gambling on this season, adding that Ron Artest is not necessarily a one-year player, even though he is going into the last season of his contract. 'I think our window of opportunity is longer than people think it is because Tracy (McGrady, 30) is not old, Yao (Ming, 28) is not old, and Ron (28) is not old. 'We've always signed everybody we wanted to sign. We never lost anybody we really didn't want to lose. And everybody's loved playing here, so I assume if Ron has a good season, we'll sign him, too. So I don't think we gambled everything for just this year.'"TrueHoop First Cup

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "With the addition of Mike Miller, the Wolves this season could play a lineup that features three players who shot better than 40 percent from three-point range last season: Foye shot 41.2 percent from there, Rashad McCants 40.7 percent and Miller 43.2 percent. 'We might be the only team in the league that has three 40-percent three-point shooters,' said Kevin McHale, the Wolves vice president of basketball operations. 'That should make Al's life better. That should really spread the floor and give us an advantage.'"

  • Chris McCosky of The Detroit News: "The days of Tayshaun Prince standing in the corner waiting for the ball to swing around to him apparently are over. Michael Curry talked Thursday about unleashing all of Prince's skills -- from initiating the offense, to pick-and-rolls and post-ups. 'We are going to put him in situations where he can be aggressive,' Curry said. Whenever we had starters out for whatever reason last season, Tay became more aggressive. We want to make sure he's aggressive no matter who is on the court.'"

  • Eric Koreen of the National Post: "The biggest topic so far at the Raptors' training camp at Carleton University? The addition of Jermaine O'Neal? No. Jose Calderon's transition from a backup to a full-time starter? No. The injury to Joey Graham? Certainly not. Instead, Kris Humphries' newfound follicles have been the hot topic. Humphries let his hair grow over the summer, leaving his cranium covered with a decent amount of curly hair. The reviews have not been altogether positive. And the look is not here to stay. 'I just got lazy,' Humphries said. 'I'll probably cut it later.'"

  • Howard Beck of The New York Times: "In a signature moment of a promising week, Jared Jeffries elevated and slapped away a layup attempt by Stephon Marbury late Thursday. The play exemplified Jeffries's rise in the Knicks' lineup, but it also ended his training camp, and his bid for a starting job. Jeffries landed awkwardly after blocking the shot and limped off the court in pain. Hours later, an X-ray showed he had broken his left fibula. He will be out for six to eight weeks. Thus ended one of the feel-good stories of training camp."

  • Al Iannazzone of The Record: "Nearly 100 days have passed since Chris Douglas-Roberts was taken 40th in the NBA Draft and the Nets' swingman's bitterness from not going earlier hasn't waned. 'I feel like I have to keep a chip anyway just to stay motivated, but that's an extra boost for me,' Douglas-Roberts said after practice Thursday. 'I come into the gym with that on my mind every day. As crazy as it seems, that's still on my mind. But it helps me in a way.' So it hasn't lessened at all? 'No,' Douglas-Roberts said. This could be good for the Nets, if Douglas-Roberts takes it out on other teams."

  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: "For the first three days of training camp, Kurt Thomas has been pedaling away on a stationary bike, removed from his teammates while rehabbing a strained right hamstring. Clearly, this regimen -- more apt to ready Thomas for the Tour de France than the start of his 15th NBA season -- will not do at all. 'I rode the bike for two hours (Tuesday),' Thomas said. 'It was the longest I've ever ridden a bike in my life. Two hours!' Indeed, it has been an inauspicious start to a training camp that Thomas, a 6-foot-9 forward disguised as a center, has targeted as one of the most vital of his career."

  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: "OK, so the Mavericks want to get tough this season. As October traditions go, this proclamation rates right up there with the Rangers packing for vacation. The Mavericks insist it will be different this time. They have heard Rick Carlisle's words and had a few days to catch his drift. What exactly the new coach told his players is a little R-rated. But suffice it to say, he's looking for them to be real jerks on the basketball court. Think Bruce Bowen, and you'll have the right idea."

  • Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times: "The Lamar Odom experiment continues in practice, as does Phil Jackson's watchful, and critical, eye. 'He's not in shape. Lamar's not ready to play,' Jackson said. 'That's a conditioning thing that still has to be found, but they're starting to find their conditioning little by little.' Jackson seemed disappointed, if not surprised. 'In our exit meetings with Lamar [in June], we talked about the fact that he hasn't had an opportunity to work on his body in the off-season for the last three or four years. This was really an opportunity for him to strengthen his shoulder and do some things that were going to help him in a pivotal year for him. Not only for him, but for us.'"

  • Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee: "Two days after Spencer Hawes refused to take a mandatory conditioning test because of concerns about his knees, the second-year Kings center submitted and completed the exercise on his first try Thursday. Hawes, who likely will be fined for his initial decision to skip the test, was apprehensive because of his knees' history. He has had three operations on his left knee (including microfracture at age 14) and an arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. What's more, he injured his left knee doing this very conditioning test before last season, leading to an
    arthroscopic procedure that kept him out for the first six weeks of his NBA career."

  • Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle: "Finally, after a thoroughly cruddy summer, the good news fairy arrived at 11th and Broadway in Oakland, and it came in the form of a layoff. The Warriors learned that, because of the staggering lack of originality displayed by the Oklahoma City franchise (formerly Seattle), they no longer can bring us the mute acrobatic stylings of Thunder. He's had to be let go, and on behalf of the entire sentient planet, let us offer our heartiest congratulations to the Warriors on this, the day of their deliverance from their least inspired moment since the Wilt Chamberlain trade. ... He was, in short, a distracting, unoriginal cartoon without any of the things that make cartoons valuable. He was a stupid idea carried to its logical extreme."

  • Tom Sorensen of The Charlotte Observer: "They look more like a team than they ever have. They run. They hustle. They have some depth. Two players injured last season, Sean May and Adam Morrison, are back on the court, as are rookies D.J. Augustin and Alexis Ajinca. Last season the Bobcats were easy to ignore. To watch them Wednesday and Thursday was to get excited about the NBA and college basketball."