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Tuesday, October 4, 2011
First Cup: Tuesday

Andre C. Fernandez of The Miami Herald: "How much does South Florida miss pro basketball? Tickets for Saturday’s charity all-star game dubbed the “LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh present the South Florida All-Star Classic” at U.S. Century Bank Arena on FIU’s campus sold out quickly. The tickets went on sale at noon Monday and sold out in less than two hours. People lined up early and formed lines at the fieldhouse adjacent to FIU Stadium and at four other ticket windows. The main vending area began selling tickets 20 minutes before noon. By 1:47 p.m. all the tickets were sold. The exact amount of ticket sales was not announced Monday, but according to FIU, the arena is currently configured to hold approximately 4,000, due to some construction projects."

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Apparently there will be no Round 2 between David Stern and Dwyane Wade. Despite a confrontation with the NBA commissioner at a collective-bargaining session last week, the Miami Heat guard, according to an report, had been invited to return for Tuesday's round of lockout talks in New York. Wade's spokesperson, however, said that the All-Star guard would remain in South Florida with his family. Wade took umbrage to Stern's approach during a negotiating session last Friday, with Stern confirming the disagreement a day later."

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times: "Those reading the tea leaves might consider Kobe Bryant's appearance touting Nike's Italian sportswear as evidence he'll definitely wear the Virtus Bologna uniform. Remember this, though. Just because Bryant films a commercial promoting a country doesn't mean he'll end up playing there. He endorsed Turkish Airlines but declined to play for the Turkish team, Besiktas. He appeared in a Smart Car China commercial, but he didn't agree with the Chinese Basketball Federation's stance that it would sign him only if he waived an opt-out clause. Now Bryant has appeared in a Nike commercial that indicates he's playing in Milan, but it remains to be seen whether the Italian League will alter its schedule to accomodate Virtus Bologna."

Marc Berman of the New York Post: "The best-case scenario is compromises are reached to extend talks through tomorrow. But Stern revealed he is getting pressure from NBA arena operators to cancel games, so they can rebook the dates. 'If it's a short meeting, it's bad,' Stern said. 'If it's a long meeting, it's not as bad.' According to an NBA source, schedule maker Matt Winnick spent the past two months devising contingency schedules for a two-week delay, a four-week delay and so on. There are contingencies in place for a 60-game schedule and a 70-game schedule. Deputy commissioner Adam Silver said even if things go well today, a deal still can't be hatched because '100 issues haven't been addressed.' "

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "With NBA preseason games easy to ignore - and labeled by Charles Barkley as a way for owners to 'rip off' fans - few mourned the loss of the schedule's first 43 relatively meaningless tuneups. But in the communities where the NBA's preseason road show pitches its tents and offers a night with at least a glimpse of its stars, the loss has not been so easily dismissed. These were events to be celebrated, impossible to replace with another ice show or concert. 'Having the NBA come here in the Valley is for us like hosting the Super Bowl,' said Eric Blockie, general manager of the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo. 'It's a big-time sport. It sells out. We embrace it wholeheartedly.' With Monday's scheduled start of training camp lost amid negotiations in New York that Tuesday could determine if the season will start on time Nov. 1, the league appears only another day or two from wiping out the rest of the preseason schedule."

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: "In the absence of a lockout, Stephen Curry would be in the Bay Area right now, preparing for the start of training camp Tuesday. If the impasse drags into December, he'll complete three classes in Davidson's fall semester. That would put him one class and a senior thesis away from earning his sociology degree. And what if the lockout ends during the semester? 'I've had that discussion with the dean of academics here and each of my professors,' said Curry, who starred for Davidson between 2006 and 2009. 'There are no shortcuts here. There is a kind of line that if I get past it, I could finish my assignments (independently) and the semester. But I don't yet know where that line is class to class.' In the meantime he's taking that education class, a research class and a course in medical sociology. Along with all that, he's settling into a home in the Weddington area with his wife of two months, the former Ayesha Alexander. The couple plan to make that their primary residence, regardless of where basketball takes them."

Sean Meagher of The Oregonian: "Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports with a tidbit on Oklahoma City assistant GM Troy Weaver and the Portland Trail Blazers' ongoing search for a permanent general manager: Weaver, an assistant GM, had interviewed for the job in early September, and was still a prominent part of the pool of candidates, sources said. Portland officials conducting the search have failed to reach a consensus on bringing in candidates to meet owner Paul Allen, and had started gauging the interest of more established GMs in the league. Blazers officials hope that offering more money to higher-profile candidates could convince some to push their own owners to let them get involved in the search. Related: John Canzano: Four-plus months after owner Paul Allen flushed Rich Cho, Portland remains rudderless at its most important basketball-related position."

Carla Peay of the Washington Times: "Washington Wizards center Andray Blatche has avoided the traveling summer league all-star shows that many NBA stars, including several of his teammates, have kept busy with, preferring to work out and focus on his foundation activities. The Andray Blatche Foundation mainly involves working with children, but he’s expanded his focus to include the Wounded Warriors program, which helps returning veterans and their families. In partnership with the USO, and the USO of Metropolitan D.C., Blatche hosted a reception Friday for a group of injured veteran and their families aboard the USS Sequoia, the former official presidential yacht. Blatche donated $10,000 to Operation Enduring Care for the Wounded Warrior and Family Center under construction at Fort Belvoir. ... Blatche started his foundation in 2009, with the motto of 'providing an assist whenever and wherever we can.' Blatche praised the sacrifice of the veterans and the courage of their families, especially the children. 'I love working with kids. Whenever I have the opportunity to work with kids, I take full advantage of it,' said Blatche, who took his foundation work to Jamaica, New York, South Carolina and Miami this summer."

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: "The Texas Legends will look to a legendary coach to lead them this season. Savvy, 74-year-old Del Harris officially will be announced to take over the Frisco-based Legends at a news conference Tuesday, becoming the second coach in as many seasons for the National Basketball Development League team, several sources said Monday. Harris replaces Nancy Lieberman, who left the team after one year for family obligations. She was the first female coach of a men’s team under the NBA umbrella. Harris has been in coaching for parts of six decades at virtually every level of competition. He has been coaching for more than 35 years in the NBA and spent parts of 14 NBA seasons as a head coach with a career mark of 556-457. He was the league’s coach of the year in 1995 while with the Los Angeles Lakers."

Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: "The NBA lockout is not stopping the Development League from moving forward with its upcoming season. The Idaho Stampede, the Utah Jazz's new D-League affiliate, are scheduled to hold an open tryout from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the XSI Factory in Lehi. Registration starts at 9 a.m. More information can be found here. The Stampede are coached by former NBA guard Randy Livingston, who briefly played for the Jazz during the 2004-05 season. 'The season for us has been on the way for a few weeks now,' Livingston said. 'We're just having one of our free agent tryout camps, and that's one of our ways to obtain players, so we're kind of hitting that hard.' Saturday's tryout will mark the third open workout session for the Stampede, who are also affiliated with Portland and Denver."

Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News: "The NBA might be mired in a nasty lockout, but Spurs forward Da’Sean Butler was able to enjoy his unexpected vacation in a manner he couldn’t have imagined if the team was in the middle of training camp. Butler returned to his old school West Virginia over the weekend to celebrate the Mountaineers’ homecoming game against Bowling Green. After earning All-America honors and scoring more than 2,000 points in his career, Butler is a certifiable WVU icon. He returned to serve as homecoming parade marshal, learning a lesson about candy tossing while he went."