Tuesday, September 4, 2012
First Cup: Tuesday
By Nick Borges
- Ira Winderman of South Florida Sun-Sentinel: New York Knicks backup center Josh Harrellson is in the mix to be in the mix for the Miami Heat. Dealt in the offseason to the Houston Rockets in the Marcus Camby sign-and-trade and later released, Harrellson auditioned for the Heat recently and is on the verge of doing so again. Monday, on his Twitter account, Harrellson posted, "Kentucky it's been fun! Glad I got to see everyone! Now heading to Miami for hopefully the next 9 months." Harrellson was drafted out of the University of Kentucky with the No. 45 pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets, with his draft rights then traded to the Knicks. Harrellson later re-tweeted a reply to his Twitter account emphasizing the "hopefully" part of his original post. According to a source familiar with the Heat's approach, the team will be holding what essentially is a pre-camp camp in advance of the formal Sept. 29 start to training camp at AmericanAirlines Arena, with Harrellson in that mix of camp hopefuls. According to the source, Harrellson is being brought in for a one-week tryout, with no contract guarantee in place.
- Howard Beck of The New York Times: For reasons both practical and personal, the Brooklyn Nets will not be living in Brooklyn, at least for their inaugural season. It is not a matter of preference, but logistics: Although the Nets will play at the new Barclays Center near Downtown Brooklyn, they will still practice at their longtime training center in East Rutherford, N.J. The lease runs two more years. The Nets have 44 home games, including the preseason. They could have 75 days of practice. The housing choice comes down to simple math and, considering commuting issues, sanity preservation. So when the final buzzer sounds each night, Brooklyn’s basketball ambassadors will retreat to TriBeCa and Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan, and to Edgewater, Hoboken and Clifton in North Jersey. You might see them in Fort Lee, but not in Fort Greene. “I like Brooklyn a lot,” Williams said, before adding: “We practice in Jersey. In Manhattan, I’m in between both.”
- Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: As Phoenix Suns, they were popular and successful. In the third month of NBA free agency, Leandro Barbosa, Lou Amundson and Matt Barnes are unemployed. Mickael Pietrus was not popular enough in Phoenix to be in that group. Josh Childress was not essential enough. Michael Redd's comeback was too brief. Four weeks prior to training camps, the free agency list is dotted with ex-Suns (a Utah buyout of Raja Bell would lengthen it) who are vying for few openings against 65 other veteran free agents. ... Two Barbosa suitors that make sense are the Los Angeles Lakers (as Steve Nash's buddy) and Cleveland (Vice President David Griffin was in the Suns' front office that landed Barbosa). He is a low-risk addition as one of the NBA's happy emoticons. Amundson endured an elongated wait in 2010 when he priced Phoenix out and settled for a minimum-salary deal from Golden State. He fits any place because his high motor means he does not have to play nightly to remain effective. New York and Charlotte are interested, but the payday and role he seeks may be in Europe. ... Pietrus wanted to return to Boston, but that appears unlikely. He might have to settle for Minnesota's and Milwaukee's inquiries. ... Childress can take a minimum deal to prove his worth again. Chicago and Washington showed interest in him and Redd.
- Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News: Who could have guessed that Tim Duncan, he of the Spock-like demeanor and an apparent disdain for all things sensuous, has a need for speed? That was the case during his recent trip to the San Antonio Speedway, during which he apparently took a GTR for a very, very quick spin. Can’t imagine Spurs management is all that thrilled about the thought of their aging-yet-still-effective franchise player hurtling down the track north of 100 MPH. But what are they going to do, cut him? Then there’s Manu Ginobili, looking to join the likes of Rembrandt and van Gogh with the self-portrait he painted for a UNICEF auction. Although it’s unlikely to match the $71.5 million van Gogh’s “Self Portrait Without Beard” went for in 1998, it’s actually a pretty good likeness. So Manu doesn’t just attack the paint — he can actually use it, too. (Terrible play on words, I know.) And last but certainly not least we have Tony Parker, surrounded here by barrels and barrels of fine vino. You’d think he’d want nothing to do with alcohol in any container after nearly losing his eye earlier this summer to a shard of broken bottle, but he is French.
- Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: Reggie Miller proved to be one of the NBA’s best clutch shooters over and over again throughout his 18-year career. Just ask the Knicks. The New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. But what about one of the best shooting guards in NBA history? That’s what one of Miller’s former teammates thinks. Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who spent six seasons as Miller’s teammate with the Pacers, puts No. 31 near the top of the list once you remove a couple of guys named Jordan and Kobe. “When you take Michael Jordan and you take Kobe Bryant out of the discussion, he’s as good as any two-guard that has ever played the game,” Jackson said. That’s a pretty bold statement coming from Jackson when you think about the competition to be behind Jordan and Kobe. Jerry West. Dwyane Wade. George Gervin. Clyde Drexler. Earl “The Pearl” Monroe.
- Scott Gleeson of USA TODAY: Just how confident is President Barack Obama that he'll defeat Mitt Romney come November? In basketball language, Obama came off pretty confident in a recent story by The New York Times. When asked if he had what it takes to win the 2012 presidential race back in February during a meeting among Democratic governors, Obama translated to those in the room with an answer coinciding with the hot topic in basketball at the time. "We're the Miami Heat, and he's Jeremy Lin," Obama reportedly said. Talk about a money quote. New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin took the NBA by storm at the beginning of the lockout-plagued 2011-12 season, but the eventual NBA champion Miami Heat put an end to the Knicks' "Linsanity" run with a 102-88 beatdown on Feb. 23, a game in which Lin shot 1-for-11 from the field with eight turnovers. That was so February. Still, pretty clutch by the president.
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Hello Ira, would Miami be interested in pursuing Matt Barnes? He reminds me of Shane Battier, a good defensive player with some spark at the three-point range. A: There is something to be said about adding a perimeter stopper, so LeBron James doesn't have to take that challenge when Battier is off the court. But the issue with players such as Barnes or even Raja Bell, who still might yet get his buyout from the Jazz, is whether they could accept what otherwise could be a minimal role with the Heat, especially if Mike Miller can make it back into the rotation. Barnes was a rotation player last season with the Lakers, and Bell became disenchanted when he lost his rotation role in Utah. So the real issue is whether such players would be willing to go extended stretches without minutes in a Heat perimeter rotation that features James, Battier, Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, and possibly Miller, Norris Cole and Rashard Lewis, as well.