Second Cup: Thursday

  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: "Waiving Justin Williams this morning trims the Charlotte Bobcats' roster to the NBA-maximum 15 players. Seemingly that means Andre Brown makes the squad with an unguaranteed contract. Keeping Brown seemed a no-brainer; he was arguably the team's second-best big man this preseason, behind Emeka Okafor. It wouldn't shock me if coach Larry Brown starts Andre Brown at power forward in the season-opener, because of Sean May's conditioning issues. The next question is what shows up on the waiver list, as other teams make their final trims. Larry Brown still wants a veteran third point guard, and I'm not sure Shannon Brown fits that job description."

  • K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: "The Bulls waived Michael Ruffin and former Illinois star Roger Powell on Thursday, dropping their roster to 13 players. That number could rise to 14 if Ruffin clears waivers. The Bulls could re-sign Ruffin, who has missed the entire preseason with an ankle injury."

  • Brian Windhorst of The Plain Dealer: "Cleveland native and St. Edward High School graduate Jawad Williams has realized his dream of making an NBA roster. The Cavaliers are expected to set their final roster later today, and Williams will be a part of it, beating out Ronald Dupree for the final spot."

  • Dan Labbe for Cleveland.com: "While I was watching the Cavaliers and Pistons last night, just hours after hearing that Kellen Winslow would appeal his one-game suspension the Browns handed down to him, I started to realize something. The Cleveland Cavaliers are the best-run professional team in this city. And it's not even close. ... If the Browns and Indians hope to find some consistent success, I'd suggest they grab a pen and paper. Cavs season starts Tuesday, and it might be wise for them take some notes."

  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: "Keith McLeod is being waived by the Mavericks. The hamstring problem simply derailed any chance he had of making the team. But the guess here is that the Mavericks are clearing that 15th spot for somebody else. Not sure who, yet. But if anybody is on the way, expect it to be a point guard."

  • Rocky Mountain News: "Nick Fazekas, a 6-foot-11 forward from Ralston Valley High School, is expected to be among the five players the Denver Nuggets cut on Thursday. The cuts mean that veteran center Juwan Howard made the team's 14-man regular-season roster. Howard, who played for Denver in 2001-03, is trying to resurrect his NBA career. The other players cut were swing man Ruben Patterson, who played for the Nuggets in 2006; guards Smush Parker and Mateen Cleaves; and forward James Mays."

  • Janis Carr of The Orange County Register: "Kobe Bryant's past seemingly is just that -- in the past. The Lakers superstar was voted the No. 18 most influential man by AskMen.com, an acheivement in itself considering where Bryant was a few short years ago. Or just a year ago."

  • Jeff Eisenberg of The Press-Enterprise: "For those who still think of Kobe Bryant as the aloof, detached superstar he was portrayed to be earlier in his career, here's a video shot by The Press-Enterprise's Mirjam Swanson from Wednesday's practice that may change your mind."

  • Don Seeholzer of The Pioneer Press: "Wolves coach Randy Wittman said he'll have some roster cuts after tonight's exhibition finale against the Milwaukee Bucks at Target Center, but he insists no final decisions have been made. 'Those decisions are still up in the air, to be honest with you,' Wittman said after the morning shootaround. 'There will be a lot of debating going on, I'm sure.' One obvious candidate is center Calvin Booth, who was held out of Wednesday night's 85-75 loss to the Chicago Bulls by coach's decision after missing the first six games because of back spasms."

  • Alan Hahn of Newsday: " ... what should be more interesting is that the Knicks only cut two, which means there is still one more decision to make. If this means Patrick Ewing, Jr. has a spot -- as we've predicted here before -- that means a veteran contract might have to go. Jerome James, who hasn't played a second of the preseason, seems the most likely candidate. The team would have to eat some (or all) of the $12.8 million left on his contract. ... Meanwhile, more contract housekeeping: the second-year option for Wilson Chandler ($1.255 million) and third-year option for Mardy Collins ($1.8 million) were picked up for next season."

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: "Magic GM Otis Smith says power forward Fran Vazquez --- their no-show in the 2005 draft --- still has to make a 'major' financial "sacrifice' if he wants to play in Orlando before his Spanish contract expires in 2010. Smith, who watched the 6-10 Vazquez play in an exhibition for FC Barcelona in L.A. recently, said that Vazquez will have to handle his buy-out (believed to be $7 million) if he wants to join the NBA team which holds his rights. 'There's no change of plans if he doesn't make a major sacrifice. He has to make a sacrifice and I'm not sure when that will be,' Smith said. Smith said that Vazquez has this year and another on his Spanish deal."

  • Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News: "I said last night that things didn't look good for Jared Reiner in terms of making the 76ers' opening night roster. I don't feel good about being right, but I was. The Sixers waived the backup big man today, leaving the roster at 14, one under the NBA limit. ... I think several elements worked against Reinder, who has 46 games of experience in the league with the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks: Rookie Marreese Speights has emerged as a guy who might just get some minutes at both power forward and center, serving as a backup to backups Reggie Evans and Theo Ratliff; team president/general manager Ed Stefanski might just be more comfortable with a spot available in the event he wants to add a player later, possibly off the waiver wire of final cuts."

  • Sean Meagher of OregonLive.com: "The Portland Trail Blazers waived forward Luke Jackson and rookie center Steven Hill, General Manager Kevin Pritchard announced today. Portland's roster stands at 15 players entering Opening Night at the L.A. Lakers on Tuesday
    . 'We want to thank Luke and Steven for their contributions during training camp and preseason and wish them all the best for the future,' said Pritchard. 'They've conducted themselves as real pros on and off the court and we believe both of them have a bright future in basketball.'"

  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: "On his way to the new court, Manu Ginobili arrived roughly at the spot where the P.A. announcer would be sitting if this were the AT&T Center (midcourt, about three feet out of bounds). Here, Ginobili casually flipped the ball --underhanded -- toward the basket he was approaching, 50 feet away. Swish. I mean, I don't think the ball even touched rim. It was like something out of a Gatorade commerical, minus the smoke and mirrors and camera tricks. As the assembled media 'oooed' and 'ahhhhed,' Tim Duncan at last emerged from the dressing room. He didn't even have to ask what the commotion was about. 'Where'd he make it from now?' Duncan asked us. Ginobili is still a month and a half away from playing in an NBA game. But, as he proved Thursday, he can still play a mean game of H-O-R-S-E."