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First Cup: Wednesday

10/20/2009
  • Scott Cacciola of The Commercial Appeal: "All the talk and speculation about his arrival became reality when Zach Randolph, all 6-9 and 260 pounds of him, walked into the press conference room at FedExForum on Tuesday afternoon. For a franchise in desperate need of inside scoring, he represents hope. And for Randolph himself, a new home with the Grizzlies means a fresh start, a chance to write his own script. 'I just want to start a whole new chapter,' he said during his formal introduction to the media, beaming for a bank of television cameras. ... Heading into his ninth season, Randolph said he feels hungry to be part of a winner. During his 15-minute press conference, he faced several questions about his past, which includes two fights (one with a teammate, one with an opponent) and a handful of arrests. He said he has a baby daughter due in September. He said he has a family now and more responsibilities. He said he has matured."

  • Fred Kerber of the New York Post: "Glen 'Big Baby' Davis? Yup, the Nets have inquired. Same with Lamar Odom and Marvin Williams and Drew Gooden and just about every other frontcourt free agent. But, of course, asking about and acquiring are in two vastly different arenas. Several Nets sources confirmed the team's interest in Davis, but all agreed the chances of landing the Celtics restricted free agent are unlikely. Boston wants to keep him, and the Celts have said they'll match any reasonable offer. And around the Nets these days, don't plan on any unreasonable financial proposals. Plus, before the Nets did anything, they would want to clear a roster spot. They have 15 contracts. 'We're trying to stay abreast of all situations,' GM Kiki Vandeweghe said."

  • Carlos Frias of the Palm Beach Post: "Today's episode of the Miami Heat's South Florida summer novela, starring Heat guard Dwyane Wade, involves an emerging love triangle. Or is that the triangle offense? Either way, Wade is at its center, as the Heat looks to add the pieces that will persuade him to re-sign with the team with which he won a championship three seasons ago. The potentially steamy script goes something like this: Wade loves Lamar Odom, the former Heat forward who found a championship in Los Angeles. At the same time, Utah's Carlos Boozer - who won a gold medal with Wade in Beijing and has lived in Miami with his wife and three children since 2004 - also loves the Heat and would like to see the team trade for him. At his camp on Monday, Boozer told the Miami Herald it would be 'a beautiful thing' to end up in a Heat uniform. Wade is making overtures to both, publicly and privately. He also has spoken positively about the possibility of Allen Iverson joining the Heat. 'There's a lot of excitement going on with Lamar and Carlos and even A.I.,' Wade said Tuesday. 'I think Lamar right now is our big focus. We want to make sure ultimately we get Lamar, and go from there.' Wade, who could become a free agent a year from now, said he was merely thinking out loud. Negotiating with Odom, Wade said, is 'Coach Riley's job, and we'll let him handle that.' "

  • Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times: "Only in Los Angeles, it seems, could there be a basketball meltdown in the middle of July. Only in a Southland summer could there be two prolific baseball teams, a historically prolific soccer player, and yet all anybody really cares about are puny initials. What's up with A.I.? What's going on with L.O.? For the sake of hardwood sanity in this hoops capital of the world, I come forward today with two pleas. Please, Donald Sterling, do not be suckered into signing Allen Iverson. Please, Jerry Buss, do whatever it takes to sign Lamar Odom. Both owners are on the spot here, with resolutions coming any day now, and the predictions are mixed."

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "Dwight Howard is best known for his rim-rattling dunks, his low-post defense and his ability to score in the paint. This time, credit the all-star center with an assist. In a move that would add depth to the Orlando Magic's frontcourt, the team reached a deal in principle with unrestricted free-agent forward Matt Barnes after Howard unleashed his powers of persuasion. 'He has agreed to a two-year deal, and I believe that Dwight's recruitment of him truly sealed the deal,' Aaron Goodwin, the agent for both players, wrote in a text message to the Sentinel. The agreement could be announced formally as early as today, an NBA source said."

  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: "Sean May left Charlotte Tuesday as a punch line. I'm still deciding whether that says more about May or Charlotte. We've become a mature pro-sports town, and mostly that's a good thing. We have expectations for the Panthers and the Bobcats. That night, in 1988, when the Hornets lost by 40 in their debut against the Cleveland Cavaliers, we gave them a standing ovation. Now it seems quaint. We've developed a cynicism, maybe a cruelty, these days that's sad. May was the 13th pick in 2005. Months earlier, he was the MVP (or whatever term the NCAA uses) at the Final Four. As a Bobcat, he mostly sat in street clothes, rubbing a sore knee. And some of you took great glee in savaging him for it. May is signing with the Sacramento Kings, and probably that's best for all. He needs a fresh start. Some of you need a fresh target. The fat-boy jokes were turning stale."

  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: "Chris Bosh, who made a cameo appearance at Jack's introductory news conference, said he's impressed with the moves president and general manager Bryan Colangelo's made but remained non-committal. 'For sure, I'm really excited about next year,' Bosh said. 'Not too excited to the point I was last year (when he and Jermaine O'Neal were supposed to be a dominant frontcourt duo) but just looking at it, I think we have the chance to have a good team if we do the right things.' Jack would seem to be a perfect fit for the Raptors roster, a combo guard who could spell Jose Calderon at the point or whoever wins the starting shooting guard position. 'The moves that have been made have been systematic and well thought out,' said Colangelo. 'This is another piece of the puzzle.' The GM still has another couple of moves to make. He holds out hope he can bring back former Raptors Carlos Delfino and Rasho Nesterovic to fill out the roster, but said he has backup plans in case that doesn't happen."

  • Kevin Tatum of The Philadelphia Inquirer: "As of yesterday afternoon, 84 NBA players were free to make a deal with any team. So many players being available this late in the summer seems to support commissioner David Stern's statement last week that only half the league's teams made money last season. Because of the recession, Stern also forecast a drop in ticket revenue and sponsorship deals. &#
    39;It's been as slow a summer as I can remember,' said agent Keith Glass, who represents free agent Royal Ivey of the 2008-09 Sixers. 'It shows teams are watching their money and stretching it out longer than ever before. It's the first time in a long time that teams are watching their dollars like they should have been all along. Most guys will get signed. But the question is: for how much? This is not a good summer to have an unrealistic client or to be an unrealistic agent.' "

  • John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News: "If Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski wants another shot at running the United States men's basketball team, why not? After all, Coach K is the guy who got the credit for restoring the honor of USA Basketball by regaining the gold medal last summer at the Beijing Olympics. The triumph in China ended a humiliating string of international defeats for the United States and its NBA-stacked roster, that started at the 2002 FIBA World Championships and continued through the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2006 World Championships. So I guess it comes as only a small surprise that USA Basketball took the unusual step of naming Krzyzewski as a return Olympic coach for just the second time in history."

  • Sekou Smith of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Cenk Akyol believes he's ready right now. Sergiy Gladyr said he needs a year, maybe two, and he'll be ready to join the Hawks as well. Now all they have to do is convince the Hawks' brass that they're as prepared to contribute in the NBA as they believe they are. International second-round draft picks of the Hawks in 2005 (Akyol, 22, is from Turkey) and last month (Gladyr, 19, is from the Ukraine), both players are in town this week for the Hawks' rookie/free-agent mini-camp at Philips Arena. It's the first time Mike Woodson and his staff have had a chance to evaluate either player in person as well as the first time for either player to experience the domestic pro game since being drafted. 'This game is totally different here,' Akyol said. 'The set plays, the rhythm of the game. It's totally different. Nothing is similar.' Woodson wanted to see both players perform in mini-camp for that exact reason. He won't get the chance to see Gladyr in scrimmage situations. He was not cleared to participate in time by FIBA, the world's governing body for basketball, and is not working out with the 21 players assembled.