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First Cup: Thursday

10/20/2009
  • Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: "Danny Ainge is the reigning NBA Executive of the Year. And if the Celtics are to win another championship this season, the director of basketball operations will have to come up with a performance worthy of a repeat. There is more than one way to knit a championship banner, but replacing James Posey will be difficult. ... In the end, the Celtics believed Posey's outside shooting was his biggest tangible contribution and that they can get that from other sources for less money. They believed they would have been tying their hands down the line. Are they correct? Ask that question again in 11 months. In the meantime, Ainge has once again shown he won't take the easy way if he doesn't believe it's the right way. In altering a successful formula, he's clearly put himself on the line, kind of like Posey so willingly stepping behind the 3-point arc late in games."TrueHoop First Cup

  • Chris Tomasson of the Rocky Mountain News: "Realistically, though, the Nuggets probably will be luxury tax payers next season. If J.R. Smith comes back for the qualifying offer, their payroll could be around $75 million. If he gets $5 million for next season, it could be around $77 million. So Stan Kroenke might not really be a happy man until 2009-10, after Allen Iverson's contract comes off the books. By then, he has a very good chance of not being a tax payer. How good his team will be remains to be seen."

  • Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: "T.J. Ford lives for the postseason. He lives for the national television exposure, the hope of winning an NBA title and having 14 other Eastern Conference teams sitting on their couches, eating popcorn, watching him play. Ford wants those same things to happen with the Indiana Pacers. 'I'm familiar with that playoff taste and I'm not ready to give that taste up,' said Ford, who has been to the playoffs in three of his four NBA seasons. 'That's the challenge and the goal, to show people we are contenders in the East.'"

  • John Rohde of The Oklahoman: "According to Christopher Arena, the NBA's vice president for apparel, sporting goods and partnerships, 'It's usually a 22-month process' to approve a new nickname, color scheme and whatever else is involved. Twenty two months? So, if this relocation process started roughly the same time Rhett Bomar got booted off the Oklahoma football team two summers ago, we'd be on the cusp of learning the nickname of our new NBA team? Twenty two months? Two months short of two years is too darn long to wait. Perhaps this explains why the Jazz never changed nicknames when they moved from New Orleans to Utah, ditto for the Grizzlies from Vancouver to Memphis, the Lakers from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, et al. They didn't want to wait on all the NBA paperwork. We realize there are a lot of i's to dot and t's to cross in a project like this, but 22 months' worth?"

  • Sekou Smith of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "As far as calculated risks go, Speedy Claxton is taking a major one. The Hawks' oft-injured point guard is currently taking part in the Hawks' free-agent minicamp. He will also play summer league, which starts Friday in Salt Lake City. ... He requested the opportunity to join the youngsters and free-agent hopefuls who were on the Hawks' practice floor Wednesday. He needs to know if he can still do this, and do it the way he's been able. 'I'm not worried about what anybody else thinks and who might be out there gunning for me,' said Claxton, a seven-year veteran who already has an NBA title on his resume. 'I'm doing this for me, trying to check and see how my knee feels and how I can play and how I can do on consecutive days. I haven't been out here in a long time.'"

  • John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News: "The players can only hope that management still feels as good about them now as it did last summer. The odds are the Sixers will come to Iguodala with a suitable contract offer -- probably similar to the one he originally rejected. They know what he brings to the table and want to keep him happy. They didn't sign Brand simply to create another problem by having to replace Iguodala. The plan is for Brand and Iguodala to take the Sixers to the next level. Thanks to the Clippers and Denver Nuggets, that should now be a bit easier to accomplish."

  • Raphael Bartholomew of The New York Times: "For N.B.A. players making their first visit to the Philippines, the adoration of fans can be flattering and startling. 'They make you feel like you're a god,' said Gilbert Arenas, who recently spent three days promoting his new line of sneakers. 'When my N.B.A. career is done, I have to play here one year just to feel that.' Arenas, 26, sometimes jokes that being the Washington Wizards' franchise player makes him 'the black president.' Sure enough, this tour gave him a taste of presidential life."

  • Kurt Kragthorpe of The Salt Lake Tribune: "If Larry Miller's extended hospital stay illustrates anything, it is that the hardest-working Utahn of us all is mortal, and that he's not going to be making all the big decisions about the Jazz forever. Not even his son could say Wednesday exactly what the division of labor or the time table for transition will be, such as who will represent the team among the owners on the NBA Board of Governors. Yet he knows that somebody in the organization has to be the one ultimately making decisions about player contracts, luxury taxes and other issues. At some point, obviously, he will be the guy. That will require some adjustment. 'I would consider myself to be a big Jazz fan. I don't think it would be accurate to say I'm as interested as Larry is,' Greg Miller said. 'The fact is, I don't have as much at stake at the moment as Larry does.'Someday, that will be the case.'"

  • Dwight Jaynes of The Portland Tribune: "Take it easy, Blazer fans. Jerryd Bayless could set the Vegas Summer League on fire this week, but it wouldn't mean a whole heck of a lot. Let's back up and add a little perspective before getting carried away with this talent. Success in the summer league doesn't exactly mean you're going to be a consistent NBA player when the regular season starts. Who was the most valuable player in Las Vegas last summer? Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks, who started a grand total of 17 games last season for the Knicks. And who won the MVP the year prior to that? Well, it was Minnesota's Randy Foye, who may or may not someday be a pretty decent NBA player."