First Cup: Friday

  • Fred Kerber of the New York Post: Carmelo Anthony wants to be a champion with the Knicks in what he calls his “day job.” But he also has another ambition, a lofty business ambition. “I want to brand myself as the digital athlete,” Anthony said Thursday at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in Manhattan. “Nobody really took that place. There’ve been athletes that came before me that were doing what I’m doing and there are going to be people after me that are doing what I’m doing. But I really want to be the pioneer for that digital athlete, and when it comes to tech I want to be the face of that space,” said Anthony, noting the likes of Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and David Beckham became known worldwide for their business ventures. But none is known as the guy for the Digital Age. Anthony nominates himself. To that end, Anthony and business partner Stuart Goldfarb, former VP of NBC, launched Melo7 Tech Partners this summer. The company invests in startup firms specializing in digital media, Internet consumer ventures and technology-based operations. “At the end of the day, we all know what’s my day job: basketball,” Anthony said. “That’s what my brand is built on, but I’m trying to take my brand to the next level, make it bigger, make it stronger.”

  • Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News: Deron Williams says he still loves New York, but sometimes it’s good to get away. In an article published in Resident Magazine, the Nets point guarddetailed his difficulties adjusting to living in the city — specifically the issues with raising children while declaring "I don’t really feel like a New Yorker." ... Asked to clarify Thursday, Williams explained to the Daily News that he only meant it can be “a lot” to raise four kids in the city and “to get away in the summer is always great for a couple months.” “I love New York but I also love my time in Utah,” he told The News. Williams is the only Net to own a home inside the five boroughs. Most reside in New Jersey. As a free agent two years ago, he turned down an offer from his hometown team — the Dallas Mavericks — although it was significantly less than the five-year, $98 million contract that Williams signed to be the face of the Brooklyn franchise.

  • Mason Levinson and Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg News: Legalized sports gambling in the U.S. is likely to spread and the National Basketball Association expects to profit from it, league Commissioner Adam Silver said. The NBA joined other U.S. professional sports leagues in opposing a plan to legalize sports gambling in New Jersey, and a federal judge agreed in March, throwing out a law that would have permitted wagering at racetracks and Atlantic City casinos. While the NBA did not support New Jersey Governor Christopher Christie’s plan to implement sports gambling, the league does expect to face and profit from the broadening of legal sports gaming in the U.S., Silver said at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York. “It’s inevitable that, if all these states are broke, that there will be legalized sports betting in more states than Nevada and we will ultimately participate in that,” said Silver, 52. Silver, who has been with the NBA for 22 years and replaced former Commissioner David Stern in February, said that he doesn’t have any moral issue with sports betting. The league, which already allows teams to create marketing deals with casinos, would further profit from the legalization of sports wagering outside Nevada, he said.

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Breakfast with the Heat? Based on the emerging NBA television market in China, Commissioner Adams Silver, in an interview with Bloomberg News, suggested the possibility of early starts to capture the prime-time market 12 time zones away. "Maybe when the audience gets big enough in China and you're reaching 100 million people in China, to say, 'So maybe once in a while a team will play at 10:00 on Saturday morning,' " Silver said, mentioning the possibility of such games perhaps once every two months. "We're not there yet. But, you know, I am watching the market closely." It certainly would be a fascinating case study with the Heat's notoriously late-arriving crowds.

  • John Reid of The Times-Picayune: While Austin Rivers was not distracted by trade rumors, he's also not overburden with the prospect of having to compete against tough competition to draw minutes in the rotation. Rivers said he's matured and ready for whatever comes his way. "The growing pains are over and I went through everything, so I'm ready to ball," Rivers said. "Our job is to be in the best shape we can be. We're just preparing to work and not worrying about what anybody says." After struggling to meet expectations as the 10th overall pick during his rookie season in 2012-13, Rivers showed more ability to beat defenders off the dribble and penetrate the lane last season. He's also improved as a defender. In 69 games, Rivers averaged 7.7 points and 2.3 assists. But he still made only 63 percent of his free throws and struggled to make a high percentage of mid-range shots. "I've strictly worked on mid-range and getting my body stronger this summer," Rivers said earlier this week. "I've got both of those things and I'm ready to prove and show people that this year."

  • Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News: Warriors general manager Bob Myers has agreed to a three-year extension with the team that will keep him under contract through the 2017-2018 season, an NBA source confirmed to this newspaper Thursday night. Myers, whose deal was due to expire at the end of the coming season, has been the team's G.M. since April 2012 and recently helped steer the way through the tumultuous dismissal of coach Mark Jackson after a 51-win season and second consecutive trip to the playoffs. Myers, 39, also teamed with co-owner Joe Lacob in the search that resulted in the hiring of Steve Kerr, who signed a five-year deal through the 2018-2019 season. This deal, agreed to more than a few weeks ago, is added on to his existing deal, bringing Myers and the Warriors' commitment to a total of four more seasons. With Myers and Kerr locked up long-term, and the team eyeing a move to a new San Francisco arena by 2018, the Warriors also are believed to be discussing an extension with executive board member Jerry West, whose contract is due to expire next summer.

  • Michael Kaskey-Blomain of The Philadelphia Inquirer: It seems as though 76ers coach Brett Brown, general manager Sam Hinkie, Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid are all in Spain watching Dario Saric play for his Croatian team in the FIBA World Cup. "I am proud of the effort our three players - Nerlens, Joel and Michael - have made to fly to Spain in order to show their support for Dario, another cornerstone of our program," Brown said. "The opportunity for all of us to spend quality time with each other and continue to discuss how we are going to build our program is very exciting. As a group we are committed to getting this right."

  • Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel: Marc Lasry, the co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks with partner Wes Edens, said Thursday at a business of sports summit that he hopes the franchise can partner with the city to build a new arena. Lasry, interviewed by Bloomberg Television at its Sports Business Summit, expressed optimism that such a partnership will happen. "We think over time we're going to be able to do this," Lasry said. Lasry also had some interesting things to say about the Bucks. While he is a co-owner with Edens, Lasry said it was Edens who is the managing partner of the team and acts as the team's governor at NBA owner meetings. "I'm not the person running the team," Lasry said. Lasry said Edens was spending more time on the Bucks than he was. Lasry also said he believed it would take three to five years to turn around the franchise.

  • Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun: One of the world's top basketball prospects might be taking his talents to Orangeville. Thon Maker, a 7-foot forward considered the top player in the class of 2016 by most scouting outlets and his younger brother, Matur, left their prep school in Carlisle, Va. and are debating between playing at the Athlete Institute in Orangeville, or Hopewell Academy in North Carolina. Thon and Matur Maker left war-torn Sudan for Uganda when Thon was five, before being accepted as refugees in Australia. Thon later moved to the United States with legal guardian Edward Smith and played briefly at a New Orleans-area school, before heading to Virginia two years ago. “After an excellent academic year and State Championship season at the Carlisle School, followed by a great AAU seasons on the Adidas circuit with Team Loaded VA, the common theme for Thon and Matur to optimize their potential has been core strength development with additional muscle gain,” Smith said in a statement. Maker and his brother arrived in Orangeville on Monday and are still in town. Since school started this week, a decision will need to be made soon.