First Cup: Tuesday
July, 22, 2014
By Nick Borges
- Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Hall of fame coach Mike Krzyzewski says a Kevin Love-to-Cleveland trade would have his approval -- and that it doesn't take much thought. There were reports last week that the Cavaliers could be willing to trade the previous two top picks in the NBA draft -- Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett -- to the Timberwolves in exchange for Love, but the trigger has yet to be pulled. Krzyzewski, who coaches Duke and the U.S. men's national team, told CBS Sports radio Monday that if he were with Cleveland, he would trade for Love in an instant. But if Cleveland signs Wiggins to a contract within a week, as reported Sunday by ESPN, a possible trade would be delayed for 30 days.
- Marcus Thompson II of The Oakland Tribune: Yes, Mark Jackson is gone, but his standard of defense still exists. Kevin Love doesn't bolster the Warriors defense, and losing Thompson would be a big blow. You think new coach Steve Kerr -- who we've reported prefers to keep Thompson -- wants to be the reason for reverting back to the old Warriors who gave up 110 a night? And then there is this: Curry doesn't want Thompson to go. Can the Warriors really afford to spurn the wishes of their best player again? If his influence keeps getting diminished by management, why would he want to stay when his contract comes up? The Warriors have a star playing on the most favorable contract in the league. He's still a bit skeptical from the ouster of the coach who finally introduced him to winning. It's risky business to now take away his backcourt mate after he asks management not to. Can the Warriors do it? Sure. Curry is on the books for three more years, and winning can smooth over hurt feelings. But what if they don't win? That could mean losing Thompson and eventually Curry for the difference between Love and David Lee. Still a no-brainer?
- Steven Lounge of Sportsnet.ca: While the roster won’t officially be released until after the camp, the team Triano will be bringing with him will look very similar to the one from last summer, headlined by NBA players Joseph, Andrew Nicholson and Kelly Olynyk. The most noteworthy absences include the Cleveland Cavalier trio of Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett, as well as the two other Canadians drafted in the first round of this year’s NBA draft, Nik Stauskas and Tyler Ennis. When asked about this, Steve Nash explained that there is a lot of interest from everyone in the national team, but the program ultimately didn’t want to interfere with those players’ NBA commitments. “Everyone’s shown interest but for various reasons it’s not that simple,” Nash said. “You’ve got interests of the club, the players’ level of health, fatigue, but first and foremost we want our young guys to be in good stead with their team. So I think some more guys could be here but right now they’re trying to fulfill their obligations to their team.” Despite saying all that, Nash seemed to allude to the fact that Wiggins could be joining the team this summer. “Andrew’s shown a lot of interest, right now he’s got a lot of attention on him, and a phenomenally difficult and trying last year, but his team is also really concerned about what he does and when he does it,” the NBA’s oldest player said.
- Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: Ben McLemore has worked on his game. The second-year guard is hardly a finished product, but he showed important signs of growth. McLemore won’t be trying out for the Harlem Globetrotters based on his ballhandling, but it was improved after the Kings’ first summer league game, in which he had eight turnovers. McLemore also showed he can begin to do more than camp out at the three-point line. McLemore was active without the ball and showed he also could become a competent rebounder. McLemore could have been a mess considering the Kings used this year’s first-round pick on another shooting guard, Nik Stauskas. Perhaps the addition motivated McLemore to continue improving. McLemore could have been more consistent, but the Kings like the growth he showed.
- K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: This offseason, Tony Snell lost the braids he had worn since elementary school and gained 10 pounds of muscle. The Bulls hope he also found sustained confidence that he showed only in spurts during an uneven rookie season. "If you're not confident out there, you shouldn't be playing," Snell said in a recent interview in Las Vegas. "I've got a lot of shots up this summer and I feel pretty confident." Snell earned first-team All-NBA Summer League honors by virtue of averaging 20 points in the Bulls' five games. Snell shot 46.6 percent overall and 50 percent from 3-point range and averaged 4.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists. "I got a lot stronger and faster, so that's a good sign," Snell said. "I've been working hard all summer."
- Bryan Gibberman of ArizonaSports.com: The Phoenix Suns lost one integral member of their roster from last season when Channing Frye signed a four-year deal with the Orlando Magic. To help fill the void created by Frye's absence, the team signed Anthony Tolliver, a six-year veteran who has played for six different NBA teams. Once Frye agreed to terms with Orlando, Tolliver targeted Phoenix as a potential landing spot. ... The big question is if Tolliver can shoot with the same type of consistency Frye has over the years. The 6-foot-8 forward has eclipsed the 40 percent mark from three-point range twice in his career, but hit just 24 percent in 2011-12 and 34 percent in 2012-13. Tolliver is confident in his ability to shoot from deep because he's been working on this aspect of his game for a long time.
- Tom Sorensen of The Charlotte Observer: Marvin Williams, who nine seasons ago helped lead North Carolina to the NCAA basketball championship, is 6-foot-9. He’ll play power forward and small forward, likely more of the former. He played for Atlanta and then Utah, and in nine seasons averaged 10.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Williams, who turned 28 last month, won’t be asked to win games. He’ll be asked to hit shots from the perimeter, hit the open man and drive to the basket. He’ll also be an influence on the younger players the Hornets collect, and he won’t have to be asked. We don’t know what free agent Lance Stephenson or rookie P.J. Hairston will bring. But a strong core of players is essential. Williams makes a strong group stronger.
- Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe: A couple of years ago, the Celtics turned their office on Causeway Street, near TD Garden, into a pseudo museum detailing the franchise’s history, with pictures and memorabilia covering nearly every square inch of space. And down one hallway, all the Celtics logos dating to the team’s founding in 1946 were splashed on the wall, each carrying the story behind its origin. Those stories sparked an idea for something new with a touch of the past, and after 18 months of work, that idea will debut this week: a new alternate logo. Created in-house, the logo, which is known as the “Lucky Alternate,” pays homage to the early 1960s illustration created by Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach’s brother, Zang, a former editorial and sports artist for newspapers in Washington. ... “It’s such an iconic silhouette that people, when they see it, they’ll know exactly what it is,” said Shawn Sullivan, the team’s chief marketing officer. The logo will first be used on adidas team apparel and merchandise on sale through the team’s online store beginning this month.
- Cody Stavenhagen of The Oklahoman: It’s no surprise, but the Oklahoma City Thunder is making a firm stand in establishing an independent identity. Christopher Arena — the NBA’s vice president of outfitting, identity and equipment — told The Oklahoman in a phone interview Monday the Thunder will not honor the Seattle SuperSonics’ 1979 NBA title with the league’s new championship tags. Beginning in 2014-15, the NBA and Adidas will add small gold mark on the back jersey collar of teams that have won an NBA championship. The mark features a depiction of the Larry O’Brien Trophy along with a notation indicating how many times the franchise has won the NBA Finals. Last week, a leaked PDF of an Adidas catalog showed Thunder jerseys appearing without the tag, but the organization has yet to confirm or deny the decision. “As of right now, they are not wearing it,” Arena said.
- Tim Bontemps of the New York Post: The NBA’s inevitable march toward having advertising on its jerseys has continued with a subtle change to their style this season. By moving the league’s iconic silhouette logo from the left chest area to the back above the player’s name, the NBA has now opened up a prime piece of real estate on the front of its jerseys to eventually place advertising on them. While the idea of having ads on jerseys is against the sensibilities of most American sports fans, they are commonplace in Europe, and since taking over for David Stern back in February, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has made it clear it’s only a matter of time before they’ll be seen on NBA jerseys. “I think it’s inevitable,” Silver said in March at the 2014 IMG World Congress of Sports, according to Ad Age.