First Cup: Tuesday

July, 23, 2013
7/23/13
5:28
AM ET
By Nick Borges
ESPN.com
Archive
  • Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News: The team will introduce the Kentucky product at 1 p.m. at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. The organization will want to keep the focus on Noel, the rail-thin 7-foot center who played 24 games at Kentucky before tearing the ACL in his left knee. ,,, But the conversation at some point will turn to the search for a head coach, a position that has been vacant since Doug Collins announced his resignation on April 18, a 3-month span that has included the draft, the beginning of free agency and a five-game run at the Orlando Pro Summer League. … Pulling the carpet out from Curry and company after they've been in place since April seems almost without logic. They've overseen all the predraft workouts; have been involved in draft night; coached rookie Michael Carter-Williams in the summer league. Would management, with just a little over 2 months until training camp begins, bring in a whole new regime?
  • K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: When Derrick Rose's left anterior cruciate ligament snapped in April 2012, his dreams of playing in that summer's London Olympics crumbled as well. Rose played for Team USA when it won gold at the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey. He has consistently expressed his desire to play in an Olympics. What's his standing moving forward? "He could factor in very well," USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo said. "It's really up to him. We're waiting for him to come back physically and emotionally and see how he does this year. But we very much consider him a candidate." Colangelo is presiding over a four-day minicamp for younger prospects that began Monday.
  • Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: DeMarcus Cousins has never wanted to be a player who demands a trade and has no intention of doing so. … "I'm loyal to my city," he said. "That's one thing I am. I'm loyal. That's the biggest thing. I'm not going to give up on it." Following practice Monday at Team USA'sminicamp at UNLV's Mendenhall Center, Cousins spoke in detail to reporters for the first time since Vivek Ranadive became the principal owner of the Kings, Pete D'Alessandro the general manager and Michael Malone the coach. … USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said his comments last year about Cousins being immature were blown out of proportion. So Cousins had no reservations about returning to try to earn a spot on the national team. Cousins also has no reservations saying he wants to play for the Kings next season and beyond. "I do want to be a King," he said. "I do." Cousins says he remains loyal to the Kings even though he hasn't always felt the same loyalty in return. He clashed with Paul Westphal and Keith Smart, coaches he believes didn't have his best interest in mind. So far, the Kings' new management has gone out of its way to build trust with Cousins.
  • Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald: Nate Robinson agreed to a two-year deal with the Denver Nuggets worth a reported $4 million. He sent out a couple of Twitter messages Monday to say farewell. "Chicago will always have a place in my heart. I'll miss all my teammates. It was a treat playing alongside all of them; all stand-up guys," the message read. "I know the NBA is a business, but when you build friendships with guys on the team, it's hard to say goodbye. Thanks again Chitown. One love." So barring a comeback, Robinson will go down in Bulls history as perhaps the greatest one-hit wonder in franchise history. He averaged 13.1 points last season. Among players who spent just a single season with the Bulls, only George Gervin did better, averaging 16.2 points in 1985-86 while Michael Jordan was out with a broken foot. … The obvious question is why didn't the Bulls bring back Robinson? They decided to spend their limited funds on another 3-point shooter and brought Mike Dunleavy over from Milwaukee. The easy answer is since Robinson essentially played Rose's role last season, he no longer will be needed with the former MVP coming back from knee surgery.
  • Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal: Kyrie Irving is excited about the additions made to the Cavaliers roster this summer and said Monday he is happy to be in Cleveland. Irving, who will have the opportunity to sign an extension with the Cavs next summer, dismissed a report last week from a New York-based radio host that he is anxious to get out of Cleveland. “I’m a Cavalier right now, I’m happy to be a Cavalier,” Irving said. “I kind of had a sarcastic approach to [the report] because it was a rumor starter. I don’t think he knows anybody in my camp and I don’t know who the guy is. That type of stuff I don’t pay any attention to. Right now I’m a Cleveland Cavalier and I’m happy to be here.” Irving, along with Cavs teammates Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller, is back in Vegas this week for a USA Basketball minicamp. It is just the latest stop on what has been a whirlwind summer for Irving. … The last time Irving spoke with the Cleveland media was immediately following the regular season, when he seemed down over the firing of Byron Scott. Irving went so far as to say he felt like he had lost his basketball father. “I’m over it,” Irving said Friday. “We’re all entitled to have emotions on it. At the time, I was disappointed Coach Scott had left. I’ve turned the next page and I’m looking forward to developing a new relationship with Coach Brown and our coaching staff.”
  • Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com: “Trying on the actual USA uniform at my hotel last night was when it hit me that I made it. I had to take a picture of that moment. I was like, 'This is Team USA.'” Those quotes from Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard after the National Team's first practice said it all in regards to how proud he is to be in a position to represent his country. The lightly-recruited high school prospect turned 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year, continues to rack of the accomplishments and accolades in an unusual path. … He admits he still has a chip on his shoulder about being overlooked by bigger schools. But his biggest issue was people not giving him his respect once he felt he had established himself as one of the best collegiate players in the nation. So even after all you've accomplished, you're still bitter? “Definitely, man. It still bothers me,” Lillard told CSNNW.com. “It's not even about not being recruited out of high school, it's about my progress. Every time I did something good, everybody was saying it was because he's at a small school. I want people to see that this is me, man. I better myself each and every year and I can compete with the best. “I belong here.” There's no doubt about that. USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo spoke briefly to CSNNW.com about Lillard's chances with the team and he believes the 23-year old has a bright future.
  • Marcus Thompson of The Oakland Tribune: Ian Clark, who dropped 33 on Phoenix on Monday, won the championship game MVP. And Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas won MVP of the Summer League. But Kent Bazemore leaves Las Vegas with the respect he no doubt earned. Now, he said, it’s time to get back to work. “I’m not satisfied at all,” Bazemore said in a phone interview. “It would be easy to relax and feel like I’ve accomplished something – I’ve proven people wrong about me. But I’ve got to keep working. I really feel like I can be a good player in this league and have a great career.” But before he embarks on more hard work, Bazemore gets to enjoy the benefits of the hard work he already put it. Last year at this time, he was ranked by ESPN as No. 499 out of the top 500 NBA players. Now he’s the MVP of Summer League in Las Vegas. He gained his Bay Area fame by cheering enthusiastically for his teammates while glued to the end of the bench. Lately, he’s had people cheering his name. “I’m impressed,” Warriors assistant general manager Kirk Lacob said. “He’s done enough to justify us keeping him on the roster, rspecially how hard he’s worked to get to this point.”
  • Eric Koreen of the National Post: D.J. Augustin is now two teams removed from the Bobcats. He spent a year with the Pacers last year, and had his worst professional season yet: his per-36 minute scoring rate and field-goal percentage were the worst of his career. He earned US$3.5-million for the Pacers last season, and will earn US$1.3-million this year, a relative pittance. He will have to fight with the unheralded Dwight Buycks for the minutes behind starter Kyle Lowry. “We feel like this is a good opportunity for [Buycks],” Ujiri said. “[Augustin and Buycks] complement [each other] because Dwight will pick up full court. He’s aggressive. He’s got very good speed. He’s yet to do it on an NBA court. We had to find a little bit of experience and maybe balance it out a little bit.” Translation: Augustin is now playing for his NBA career, just five full seasons after being the ninth-overall pick in the draft. How much did playing for a bad-by-design team hurt Augustin’s career? It is impossible to say. But, as Ujiri said, here Augustin is, still trying “to find his feet in the NBA and find stability.” If he does not re-establish himself as a solid rotation this player, free agency next year will not be any kinder to him.
  • Tom Layman of the Boston Herald: Now he (MarShon Brooks) will have a chance to prove himself in a new city after being part of the trade that sent Pierce, Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn. The Celtics still have some trimming to do with their roster, so Brooks’ spot is not guaranteed, but he can score in bunches off the bench, and he’s still playing on his rookie contract. DeMeo, who recently was named head coach at Northwest Florida State, a junior college in Niceville, Fla., only coached Brooks for one season at Providence, as the Tim Welsh regime was out after the 2007-08 season. But that was enough time for DeMeo to realize Brooks has the ability to shrug off these bumps in the road and move forward at any level. “I think having a change of scenery is going to help him out a lot,” DeMeo said. “The Celtics need a guy who can put the ball in the hole. I haven’t totally followed their roster, but he’s going to get better and stronger and more acclimated to the NBA lifestyle. He’s got a lot more room to grow, no question.”
  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: Gersson Rosas, who rose from a Rockets intern to executive vice president with a key role in reshaping the roster, will become general manager of the Dallas Mavericks, a person with knowledge of the agreement said. Rosas’ departure will be the third major change in the Rockets’ front office since last season. Sam Hinkie, formerly the Rockets’ executive vice president of basketball operations, became the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, and Arturas Karnisovas, formerly the Rockets’ director of scouting, became the assistant general manager of the Denver Nuggets. Rosas, who like Hinkie joined the Rockets prior to general manager Daryl Morey’s seven seasons with the team, also had been the general manager of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the team’s NBA Development League affiliate. The Vipers have won two championships and reached a third finals since Rosas became general manager in 2009-10 and was named the league’s development champion last season. Rosas, 35, who moved to the basketball operations side as video coordinator, was central to the Rockets’ scouting and personnel decisions, bringing a mix of a scouting background and an aptitude for the organization’s use of analytics.
  • Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Health remains the biggest risk of signing Greg Oden. His last game was against the Houston Rockets Dec. 5, 2009. He fractured his left patella (knee) in the first quarter, beginning a series of setbacks. Oden underwent four surgeries on both knees the next three years before being waived in 2012. The reason an injury-prone center is a hot summer topic is teams are willing to take the chance because the rarity of effective 7-footers. When healthy, Oden showed his potential. He averaged 8.9 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes during the 2008-09 season, the highlight a 24-point, 15-rebound effort against the Milwaukee Bucks. Still, so much is uncertain. … Cleveland Cavaliers guard Shaun Livingston battled a similar struggle as Oden. He suffered a career-altering knee injury that interrupted his breakout season in 2007. He eventually returned but has played with six teams, including the Heat, since the injury. He said dealing with losing a step was tough, but the biggest challenge was constantly thinking about the injury. … Livingston suggested Oden perhaps spend some time in the NBA Development Leaguebefore returning. He said a two-week stint helped him regain confidence. "It will take some time," Livingston said. "He's just going to have to have some patience." Playing in the right situation will also factor into Oden's impact. Grant said playing for a contender such as the Heat or Spurs would ease the burden because of limited expectations.
  • Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune: This summer, Anthony Davis said, he's more comfortable and more relaxed than he was a year ago as the newbie trying to blend in with the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. "Going in, the first time last year, I hadn't played an NBA game yet and I'm stepping on the floor with LeBron, Kobe, Kevin (Love) and Chris (Paul)," Davis said. "Now, you're on your heels because you don't want to make a mistake. You want to be perfect around those guys. Especially your first time. "Now, I'm just more comfortable, playing my game, being more relaxed." Physically, Davis said he has worked hard on his conditioning this summer, in anticipation of this week's minicamp. And Davis received a stamp of approval from his head coach. "He looks really good," said Pelicans coach Monty Williams, who has been watching Davis work in the gym with other players over the course of the summer. "He's stepped his work ethic up in so may ways. He was already a good worker, and now it's just so diligent about being in the gym and doing all the stuff that we ask him to do and then some. He hasn't put on 20 or 30 pounds like everybody wanted him to do, but we didn't want him to do that. But if you look at his body now, you see a noticeable difference because he's been in the weight room, he's been on the floor. We're at the point now where we think after (this camp) we're just going to tell him he has to take a break for a couple weeks. He's been really going after it."

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