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First Cup: Tuesday

6/3/2014
  • Bob Kravitz of The Indianapolis Star: I'm more than fine with Larry Bird's decision, which he describes as a no-brainer, to bring back Frank Vogel. Bottom line is, they still won 56 games, still reached the sixth game of the Eastern Conference finals against a team that might go down as one of history's greatest. Would I like to see him make more dramatic adjustments to his rotation? Yes. Do I worry that guys might walk all over him as he goes into the final year of his extension? Yes. Do I think the Pacers need to improve upon the way they run their offense? Yes. But Vogel is an established winner and has built a strong culture here. This was no time to panic and start anew.

  • A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com: But on Monday, Rajon Rondo reiterated his stance on wanting to be with the Celtics long-term. "I don't like change, really," Rondo said at the team's practice facility shortly after the team held workouts with college players leading up to this month's NBA draft. "I'm pretty comfortable. I have a beautiful home here, I love it. I don't want to leave. I'm a Celtic." And this summer more than any other since he has been a member of the Celtics, Rondo has driven that point home emphatically. One of the main reasons he has spent the bulk of this offseason in Boston is for his children to finish out the school year. In addition, it has afforded him an opportunity to continue building off his in-season rehabilitation work with team trainer Ed Lacerte and Bryan Doo, the Celtics' strength and conditioning coach. Rondo's rehab consists of various exercises during the mornings, with him returning to get up shots at night.

  • Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com: Kevin Love finally delivered a message over the weekend but it was done in the most manipulative and calculating manner possible. It also came with a modicum of words. Rather than telling one of his national media mouthpieces that he wanted the Wolves to move him as soon as possible, Love showed up "unannounced" in Boston and spent the weekend checking out the town. He also just "happened" to cross paths with Celtics star Rajon Rondo at the Red Sox game Sunday at Fenway Park because a fan just happened to ask Rondo about Love. Oh, and for good measure, Love's agent, Jeff Schwartz, put his client in club seats at Fenway that provided the perfect photo opportunity for media outlets and, geez, the Boston Globe just happened to catch wind of Love's entire trip and was able to produce a lengthy story on the situation. It didn't hurt the Globe's chances of finding out about this when Love dropped into an establishment known as The Greatest Bar at around 9 p.m. on Friday. The bar is located across the street from the Celtics home, TD Garden, and the owner of the bar, Bill Fairweather, is a former ESPN producer and radio co-host, according to the Globe. Yep, all of these things were nothing more than happy coincidences. ... At this point, Love is nothing more than a disgruntled employee who needs to be moved. His happiness or satisfaction should not matter to one person who works at Target Center. What should matter is getting the best return possible and then moving on with life.

  • Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune: Kevin Love had no ulterior motive for vacationing in Boston this weekend (wink). He just wanted to check out the sights, grab some fresh seafood and catch a ballgame. Maybe take one of those duck tours around historic Back Bay (wink, wink). Love’s visit had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Boston is home to an iconic NBA franchise that owns a bushel a future first-round draft picks, which could come in handy should it attempt to trade for a certain power forward. As for those professional athletes, fans and restaurant owners who offered Love a warm embrace in person and on Twitter, ah, what do they know? Kevin Love just wanted to see Boston, people. Next up on his vacation plans: Houston, followed by Cleveland, Sacramento, the Bay Area and possibly Chicago. Anyone else already tired of this so-called Summer of Love? The relationship between Love and the Timberwolves seems destined for a messy divorce. Regardless of what Flip Saunders says publicly, the Wolves basketball boss must know he’s being backed into a corner and has to trade the second-best player in team history.

  • Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Pistons president of basketball operations and head coach Stan Van Gundy said that his general manager would have experience running a front office. Former New Orleans Hornets general manager Jeff Bower fits the criteria. Two people with knowledge of the situation confirmed this morning that the Pistons are working on an agreement with Bower to become the No. 2 guy in the front office. The sources requested anonymity because the deal wasn’t finalized. This evening, Bower left his position as head coach of Marist College, the school announced.

  • Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post: The left ankle injury that cost Nuggets guard Ty Lawson the last six games of the 2013-14 season has turned out to be worse than originally thought. "I still can't run," Lawson said by phone from Valencia, Spain, for NBA 3X, a 3-on-3 tournament sponsored by the league. "They said it's no surgery, just another three or four weeks just staying off of it, not really doing too much and it should be fine." Lawson averaged career highs in scoring (17.6 points per game) and assists (8.8) last season, but he played in only 62 games — the second-fewest of his career — as he dealt with numerous injuries. Although his sprained left ankle forced him to miss the last 10 days of the season, it did not appear to be a high-grade sprain. Yet several weeks after the injury, his ankle was still swollen. ... Neither an X-ray nor an MRI showed any structural damage in the ankle, and Lawson was told to continue to rest it for the rest of June.

  • Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer: Former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro interviewed with the Cavaliers over the weekend for the team's vacant head coaching position, two NBA sources told The Plain Dealer. Del Negro had been rumored to be a candidate for the job all along, in part because he and Cavs general manager David Griffin worked together in Phoenix, where Del Negro served as a broadcaster, director of player personnel and assistant general manager. But it wasn't known until Monday that he had interviewed for the position on Friday and Saturday, joining Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin, Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue, former Suns coach Alvin Gentry and former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins, who had dinner with team representatives on Sunday night and continued his meetings on Monday.

  • John Reid of The Times-Picayune: Yet, in three consecutive seasons under Monty Williams, the Pelicans’ haven’t come close to making that kind of jump, even with the emergence of power forward Anthony Davis. And despite a young roster riddled with injuries last season that led to an underachieving 34-48 record, the pressure is mounting on Williams to get the Pelicans into the playoffs for the first time since the 2010-11 season, his first with the franchise. "I certainly believe we are heading that way (playoffs)," said Williams, whose team went 15-37 against the Western Conference this season but beat Memphis in three of four games and achieved wins against Portland and Oklahoma City. "I think this is a big part of it. It’s hard to take a team out of that eight and that’s what we have to do. It’s not just about winning enough games. You’ve got to knock a team out of that position and fight other teams off who are trying to get there. In the West, we all know that’s it’s difficult."

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: Finally, how do NBA teams ever make trades? In every season wrap up, including those in Indianapolis and Oklahoma City the past few days, management announces that they believe in their players and will continue to grow from within. At every trade deadline, general managers insist they are not shopping players, but do pick up the phone when it rings, with other GMs apparently constantly butt dialing their way to deals. It’s no wonder teams so often return to the same trade partners. GMs just accidentally hit the same old numbers on their Blackberrys.