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First Cup: Wednesday

  • J. Michael of CSN Washington: The Wizards appear to have their man in Al Harrington, but he still must pass a physical and it likely won't be made official until Wednesday. Harrington, recently released by the Orlando Magic after a staph infection in his right knee only allowed him to play 10 games last season, is in Washington and intends to sign here as a free agent, several persons with knowledge of the situation told CSN Washington. It'll be a one-year deal at the veteran minimum of $1.4 million. … Harrington's signing would give the Wizards the maximum 15 players allowed under contract with training camp looming Sept. 28. His ability to play all three post positions make him an extremely valuable piece for Washington, which has had trouble finding scoring in the paint and finding a "stretch" post option to run the pick-and-roll with John Wall.

  • Tim Bontemps of the New York Post: For the third time in less than two years, he (Brook Lopez) needed surgery on his right foot, this time to replace a screw inserted in an earlier procedure that had bent. “I think I was more disappointed than anything,” Lopez told The Post yesterday. “I wasn’t concerned. I was disappointed, but it was best to do it when we did it, in the week after the season, to give myself the most time to get back in shape and to get ready for the season.” … “I feel great,” Lopez said. “I have been getting in some weight lifting, getting shots up and everything is going well. I’m not fully working out. I’m not jumping or running or anything like that, but we have a good month-and-a-half just until training camp starts, so we’ll definitely be all right by then.” Being in a walking boot for the past couple of months did not deter Lopez from a busy travel schedule. After going on a cruise with his family around Europe, he headed to Africa this month on a trip organized by the Clinton Foundation. He visited Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Rwanda and spent time with former President Clinton. Lopez, an avid traveler, said he had never been to Africa, but had always hoped to go.

  • Mike Tokito of The Oregonian: On Tuesday, in a sign of changing times, the Trail Blazers announced that after 18 up-and-down years since its opening, the team'™s home arena will indeed carry a paid-for moniker: the Moda Center. Moda Health -- a health and dental insurance company that operates in Oregon,Washington and Alaska and started as Oregon Dental Service in 1955 -- agreed to a 10-year contract. Terms were not disclosed, but the total value of the deal is believed to be about $40 million. "Moda Health'™s investment will allow us to enhance virtually every aspect of the fan experience," Blazers owner Paul Allen said, responding to e-mailed questions from The Oregonian. "Yes, there are certain economics at play, but only the name on the building has changed and not the spirit of the fans or the feeling of being in the Rose Quarter. Moda Health and the Trail Blazers share the same goal: making the arena and the Rose Quarter a great place to enjoy basketball, concerts or other community events." The Blazers had been one of four teams in the 30-team NBA that played in an arena without a naming-rights deal, along with New York'™s Madison Square Garden, the Palace of Auburn Hills near Detroit and the New Orleans Arena. The New Orleans Pelicans are actively shopping their arena naming rights.

  • Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer: The game is called "Beat Sam Brown," and it is a staple of practice sessions for the San Antonio Spurs. It is a shooting game, but not an easy one even for an NBA player to win. A contestant must shoot from the five standard stations behind the three-point line: the two corners, the two wing positions and the top of the free-throw circle. He gets to shoot at each of the stations until he makes one, and then can keep shooting at that station until he misses. Then he moves on to the next and the next. Add up the number of baskets after all five stations and if you made more than 20 shots, you did, indeed, Beat Sam Brown. Some of the newer Spurs don't even know what that means. They think it's just the name of the game. That's because they weren't at practice the day assistant coach Brett Brown let his son, Sam, do the shooting drill after the Spurs had left the court. Sam, the youngest of Brown's three children, made exactly 20 shots from behind the NBA three-point line that day. He did it three years ago. . . when he was 8. I'm not exactly sure what that story tells us about Brett Brown, the new head coach of the 76ers, but I really like it. It probably means his reputation as a shot doctor and teacher of basketball fundamentals is accurate. What it also indicates, however, is that Brown is a good guy to play for, and a coach players want to please. Otherwise, Sam Brown wouldn't have found that much joy in shooting a basketball, because anyone who ever shared space with an 8-year-old knows they generally only do what makes them happy.

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: With most of the major personnel work accomplished this offseason, the Miami Heat have moved on to smaller matters, with it confirmed Tuesday to the Sun Sentinel that summer-league forward Eric Griffin will return to the team for training camp. Griffin, who appeared in both the Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues for the Heat, went undrafted out of Campbell University in 2012, spending last season with a second-tier team in Italy. The 6-foot-8 former All-Big South selection is from Orlando, where he attended Boone High School. He becomes the second player from the Heat's summer-league team committed to training camp, which opens Oct. 1. Center Jarvis Varnado, who holds a contract that does not become partially guaranteed until opening night, is the other.

  • Kevin Nielson of Sportsnet.ca: On Monday, we brought you video of 50-year-old Michael Jordan showing his campers that he could still get above the rim. Not to be outdone, a video was posted Tuesday of 63-year-old Julius Erving throwing down a dunk of his own. Again, it’s not classic Dr. J but it’s still impressive to see the Hall of Famer climb above the rim as he approaches retirement age.

  • Jill Painter of the Los Angeles Daily News: Jasmine shook Farmar’s hand and smiled a lot. You wouldn’t blame her if she was disappointed. The Lomita resident should be starting sixth grade with her friends. But she’s done chemotherapy once a week over the last 44 weeks. She told Farmar that she was having her last chemotherapy treatment that day. When she got up from her hospital bed and put her arm around Farmar for a picture, she told him she was kind of dizzy. ``That’s OK,’’ Farmar assured her. ``You can lean on me.’’ It was a touching moment between two strangers brought together by sports, a dreaded disease and good will. Faulk is due for an MRI in September, according to her mom, Caroline Faulk and to return home in a few days. ``Congratulations,’’ Farmar told her. ``That’s good news. You’re pretty brave.’’ It’s a visit like this that puts sports in perspective. All the prognosticators have the Lakers headed for a woeful season and maybe missing the playoffs with the loss of Dwight Howard to free agency. But the power of the Lakers in this hospital wing was as strong as those 16 NBA championship banners the Lakers own.

  • Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer: Humberto Kukhyun Choi had never heard of Anderson Varejao until 10 days ago. "But now I know,'' said Choi, a pulmonary and critical care doctor at the Cleveland Clinic. Choi dropped off his mother, Sook Kwak, and 29-year-old brother, Victor Choi, at Cleveland Hopkins Airport on Aug. 4 for their flight back home to Brazil. What they didn't realize was that the first leg of the trip to Miami had been cancelled. Kwak and Victor Choi speak only Portuguese and Korean, and they didn't have a cell phone that worked in the United States, so they were struggling to communicate with American Airlines employees. As it happened, Varejao, on his way home to Brazil for his wedding next month, also was on the flight and was pressed into service as a translator. Not only did he help the pair get another flight, but he also helped them find a hotel room in Miami that night before their flight the next day. … In this case, one good turn really did deserve another. "What goes around comes around,'' Choi said.

  • Staff of the New York Post: Just in case the Knicks don't receive an invitation to meet the President anytime soon, Iman Shumpert will still get his White House fix. According to Rollingout.com, First Lady Michelle Obama will be releasing a new rap album, as part of her "Let's Move" campaign directed to fight childhood obesity, which will feature the Knicks guard performing on one of the album's 19 tracks. Shumpert, 23, joins Artie Green on the track, "Pass the Rock," which will be available for a free download starting on Sept. 30. Shumpert is considered one of the best rappers in the NBA and his song "Knicks Anthem," which was released last year, is often played at games at Madison Square Garden. In December, he released his debut mixtape, "Th3 #Post90s" under the name 2WO 1NE.

  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: The trouble Michael Beasley has found during his NBA career can’t be excused, including last week’s arrest. It can be somewhat put in perspective when you learn in this report from The Washington Post that Beasley’s former mentor and father figure was arrested Friday night for cocaine trafficking during a Drug Enforcement Agency year-long investigation. The Washington Post reported that Curtis Malone, the founder of the DC Assault AAU club that produced Beasley and other stars over 20 years, was caught on DEA surveillance selling a kilogram of cocaine to a customer at his house. A search of his home turned up another kilogram of cocaine, 100 grams of heroin and other drug distribution paraphernalia. Malone also was convicted of cocaine dealing in 1990.

  • Ryan Lillis of The Sacramento Bee: The Sacramento City Council has already shown its willingness to open its bank account for the development of a new downtown sports arena. It's now showing a willingness to go to court for the project as well. By a 7-2 vote, the Sacramento City Council agreed Tuesday night to join the Sacramento Kings in negotiating with the owner of the Macy's furniture and men's clothing store at the Downtown Plaza over the purchase of the soon-to-be vacant property. That building, situated near the eastern end of the mall at 600 K St., is needed by the Kings and the city to build a proposed $448 million arena at the mall.

  • Staff of the Detroit Free Press: You’d think they’d know. But the Detroit Pistons tweeted this photo Tuesday and asked: “Hmmm … why does Greg Monroe have three Pistons jerseys in his locker? Find out tomorrow!” Uh, is it an alternate jersey? No sleeves, so that’s good. And it’s a nice dark blue. No teal! So the real question is, what’s on the front?