First Cup: Wednesday
August, 13, 2014
By Nick Borges
- Bob Kravitz of The Indianapolis Star: As for Paul George, he's been back in Indianapolis since last Tuesday, and Frank Vogel has visited him. "He's obviously frustrated and know the road ahead, it's going to be a tough process recovering from this," Vogel said. "But his spirits are good. He's encouraged that a full recovery is expected. It's just a matter of time and a lot of hard work to get back." For a final time, there will be no thought of tanking. You want to tell David West to take a dive? Not me. They will fight and claw and they will be competitive. And that's about all Pacers fans can hope to expect for at least one season.
- Fred Kerber of the New York Post: The Knicks won’t have long to wait to find out how they stack up in the East. The revamped Knicks, who were 37-45 last season and missed the playoffs by one game, will open their 2014-15 NBA season with a back-to-back set against two of the Eastern — and league — powerhouse teams, the Bulls and Cavaliers, according to league sources. The Knicks will start their season on Oct. 29, at home against the Bulls. With Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol, the Bulls came closest to prying Carmelo Anthony away from the Knicks this summer. The following night, Anthony will see fellow slimmed-down-through-carbohydrate-reduction All-Star LeBron James when the Knicks visit Cleveland in what is likely the Cavs’ home opener, sources said. ... The official NBA regular-season schedule will be unveiled Wednesday at 6 p.m. on NBA TV, a show that will highlight the season’s most anticipated matchups.
- Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY: Greg Monroe has informed the Pistons he plans to sign the qualifying offer ($5.479 million)for one season, spend 2014-15 in Detroit and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Once Monroe signs the qualifying offer, he cannot be traded without his consent. Monroe, 24, decided to take control of his free agency rather than let free agency control him. In a sense, Monroe is purchasing free agency for the price of the qualifying offer. He didn't want to sign an offer sheet and give the Pistons a chance to match and he has declined to sign any offer from the Pistons. Now, don't rule out a sign a trade between now and the start of the season, but that seems unlikely as the Pistons have exhausted trade scenarios. He plans to sign the qualifying offer before the Oct. 1 deadline. Monroe didn't make the decision lightly. He has been discussing options with his agent David Falk for the past two offseasons, and Falk has been impressed with Monroe's analytic, intelligent and unemotional approach to free agency. ... It's not unprecedented for a Falk client to turn down or resist offers one year for the chance at something better the next. Alonzo Mourning, Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert turned down offers with the idea of having more or better options at another time.
- Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News: And by completing construction of the remarkable bridge that delivers the Clippers from the incompetence of Sterling to the brilliance of new owner Steve Ballmer, the NBA didn’t just remove a hideous stain. It turned its weakest link into one of its strongest. But now comes a new set of problems. By ridding itself of Sterling and officially welcoming Ballmer into the club, the NBA has awakened a sleeping giant. One whose reach and impact will be felt as close as across the hall at Staples Center — that would be the Lakers — all the way to TD Garden in Boston. With the former Microsoft CEO as the new sheriff in town, a new day might be dawning across the NBA. ... Make no mistake, Los Angeles is and always will be a Lakers town. It will take years before that changes, if it ever will. But a cluster of events have converged so perfectly that the Clippers are finally poised to penetrate the Lakers’ powerful foothold. Sterling was always the Clippers’ greatest opponent. They would never rise to greatness with him poisoning the water at the very top. But he is no longer a concern.
- Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune: A valuation earlier this year by Forbes Magazine estimated the Jazz were worth about $525 million, but in light of recent sales of the Clippers, Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks, some experts believe that number to be much lower than what the Jazz might be worth. "I could see the Jazz going for somewhere between $650 million and a billion, depending on just how competitive the bidding process was," says Pat Rishe, an economic professor at Webster University and the owner of a sports consulting firm. While the Clippers’ massive sale price will have some impact around the league, experts agree the price tag was an aberration. "If you look at it financially, it doesn’t make any sense," said Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College, who has been involved in multiple franchise valuation cases. "There’s no way it makes any sense. In my view, what he’s doing is buying a toy. He’s using a fraction of his assets to have some fun. The same way you or I might buy a bicycle or a new TV set, he’s buying the Clippers." But the sale of Kings for $534 million in May 2013 and the sale of the Bucks for $550 million earlier this year have helped raise the bar. "Salt Lake City is, I think, more comparable to Milwaukee in terms of market size. I would argue it’s a greater brand than Milwaukee or Sacramento because of their history, although that’s weakened some in the past few years," Rishe said.
- Diamond Leung of The Oakland Tribune: Warriors guard Stephen Curry indicated Tuesday in an interview on The Dan Patrick Show that he believes he is the better offensive player compared to Cleveland's LeBron James. Asked by Patrick who is the better offensive player, Curry said he had never before been asked that question. "Me," Curry then said, chuckling. "Gotta be, right?" Told the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James is the better scorer and that Curry is the better shooter, Curry said, "I don't know because he obviously demands a lot attention on the floor, but I like to say I can distribute, get my teammates involved and be a playmaker as well." Patrick then asked Curry how he'd answer the question if in a game it'd be a contest of which player could score more points, and the 6-foot-3 point guard again expressed confidence. "I'd like to say my shot would help me in that situation," said Curry, who averaged a career-high 24 points per game and led the NBA with 261 made 3-pointers. "If I get a double-team, I could hopefully shoot from farther out." ... Curry in an apparent response to the attention his comments received tweeted, "That's funny. Anything is news these days lol."
- Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle: Clint Capela is just the second player from Switzerland to make it to the NBA along with Thabo Sefolosha, who now plays for Atlanta. Theren Bullock said the fact that there are two players from the country at that level is mind-blowing. “The youth programs there really don’t do very well and there are very few facilities that allow these kids to properly train,” he said. Bullock’s facility allows player development and workouts, but because there are more players than facilities, he has to select players every year to work out. After Capela went to a school in France to play basketball at 15 – a move that Bullock said was best for Capela’s chances to play basketball – he would work out at College Du Leman in the summers. “Every summer, he got better and better,” Bullock said. “I knew he was going somewhere.” When Capela’s name was called in the NBA Draft in June and Bullock heard he would be heading to the Rockets, he was thrilled.
- Dwight Jaynes of CSNNW.com: But this has turned out to be such a sad story. Greg Oden's comeback season with Miami last year didn't turn out well. He never could fill just the 15-minute-per-game role the Heat envisioned for him. He spent a good portion of games in his familiar seat -- behind the team bench in street clothes. And now this -- a vicious attack on a woman that left her needing surgery and stitches. All the time I watched Oden in Portland, I never saw that kind of emotion or fury out of him anywhere near a basketball court. And it left me wondering how it all would have turned out had he invested the sort of ferocity in his frequent rehab sessions that he did while assaulting that woman. Maybe it could have somehow all turned out a little better for him. It couldn't have turned out much worse. And there are no excuses left for him.
- Mike Tokito of The Oregonian: The Major League Soccer All-Star Game was played in Portland last week and received rave reviews. This morning, reports out of Charlotte said that the Hornets have put in a bid to host to the NBA All-Star Game. This, naturally, leads to the question: When will Portland, which has had a popular franchise in the Trail Blazers since 1970, get the NBA All-Star Game? A Blazers spokesman reiterated Tuesday what team president/CEO Chris McGowan has said numerous times: that the team is very interested in bringing the NBA All-Star Game to Portland. In addition to running the Blazers, McGowan oversees operations of the team's arena, the Moda Center. The game is booked for the next two seasons, with the 2015 version set to be co-hosted by the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, and the Toronto Raptors hosting for the first time in 2016. Charlotte is bidding to get the 2017 or 2018 game. ... The NBA typically needs about 6,000 hotel rooms for the All-Star Game, but it isn't just the number of room, but the location of them, as well. The league needs centralized blocks for rooms in several hotels to house groups such as league executives, VIPs and media. Portland is getting closer to being able to fulfill that need.
- Erik Horne of The Oklahoman: The Oklahoma City Thunder is auctioning off a pair of historical shoes. Nick Collison’s game-worn shoes from the April 3 game against the San Antonio Spurs are up for bid as part of the Thunder Cares August Auction. You might ask: What’s so special about these particular shoes? Well, for starters, they have NICK COLLISON’S BLOOD ON THEM. ... That’s right. The Thunder is auctioning off an autographed pair of sneakers from that Collison classic. And you might want to hurry – the highest bid was at $700 as of Tuesday night. You can clearly see the specks of blood in the photos. ... In addition to Collison’s battle gear, you can also bid on a 2013-14 Kevin Durant game-day worn shooting shirt and a Thunder fan pack with an autographed photo from Reggie Jackson. All proceeds from the online auction benefit the Thunder Cares Foundation to support the team’s community outreach efforts.