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First Cup: Friday

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Dec. 2 and March 29 in Cleveland? The forecast is for considerable storminess. Jan. 15 and Feb. 24 in Chicago? Apparently, clear skies. Give Dwyane Wade credit. Amid a summer of Heat villainy, he continues to emerge as a voice of reason. His returns to Chicago this season are setting up like nothing close to what LeBron James is expected to receive in Cleveland. Thursday, Wade spent time on WSCR in Chicago, promoting his charity weekend there. During the radio interview, he was asked about his spurning of his hometown during free agency, after dropping numerous hints about the possibility of a return. He was as smooth as, well, the anti-LeBron. ... As a team, the Heat clearly has won the 2010 offseason. As a player, Wade continues to emerge as the Heat’s ultimate winner. Apparently, he’ll always have Chicago. Even as James has lost Cleveland."

  • Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "Trevor Booker didn't participate in the dancing and dunking that took place at the rookie photo shoot in New York, but he did have an impressive highlight of his own as he buried a 35-foot hook shot off the glass. After making the shot - on his third attempt - Booker smiled, kissed his fingers and pointed toward the ceiling. But Booker doesn't intend on trying too many of those shots in front of Wizards Coach Flip Saunders once training camp begins in six weeks. 'Nah. If I do that, I'll probably end up on the bench,' Booker said with a laugh. The first senior taken in the first round of June's draft, Booker is smart enough to know where he will earn playing time next time season - down low, where he can keep opposing big men from having their way. And he said this week that he is eager to finally get down to business. 'I think we got a big season ahead of us and we can do big things. I'm very excited for myself. I know what I'm capable of and I'm looking forward to playing,' said Booker, whom the Wizards selected 23rd overall. 'It feels great, just knowing a team wanted me that much that they moved up for me, I just want to go out there and play hard for them.' "

  • Pete Thamel of The New York Times: "Of all the coaches who overlooked Stephen Curry as a young player, MikeKrzyzewski acknowledges that his missed evaluation may be the most glaring. Curry attended Duke’s basketball camp as a youngster, making Krzyzewski and his staff among the first who labeled Curry as too short, too thin and too one-dimensional. After a stellar career at Davidson and an impressive rookie season with the Golden State Warriors last season, being an overlooked overachiever has become as intertwined with Curry’s image as the exaggerated follow-through on his jump shot. Curry’s career of shaming modest expectations appears to apply internationally as well. His shooting touch and diverse game have earned him a prominent role for USA Basketball, which is traveling to Turkey to attempt to win its first world championship since 1994. Fitting nicely into Curry’s career narrative, his play has hinted at a bigger role than anyone could have anticipated. 'He really has a cerebral game,' Krzyzewski said. 'He not only makes shots, he makes a lot of plays. He’s an outstanding passer.' "

  • Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: "Pistons guard Ben Gordon expressed excitement Thursday that Tracy McGrady is his teammate. Gordon, in an appearance on ESPN2's 'First Take,' was asked about his reaction to the Pistons signing McGrady to a one-year deal this week. He said he expects a motivated McGrady to prove doubters wrong this season. 'I'm excited T-Mac is coming in with a chip on his shoulder,' Gordon said. 'I think he's coming back to prove something.' McGrady had microfracture surgery on his left knee in February 2009 and was hampered while recovering last season."

  • Joe Freeman of The Oregonian: "On Wednesday, Rich Cho offered some details, saying Greg Oden's rehab had progressed to feature jogging, defensive slides, spot shooting, light jumping, jump-roping and work in the pool. He added that Oden, who had his latest medical checkup two weeks ago, has trimmed his weight down to the 'low 280s,' approaching where the team would like him to play next season. Cho, who watched Oden work out two weeks ago at the practice facility in Tualatin, refused to reveal when Oden is scheduled to begin running full-speed, or when Oden plans to resume basketball activities. Cho also wouldn't definitively say how much Oden intends to participate in training camp. 'I don't know if he'll be ready to go full-speed ahead when training camp starts, but our hope is that he'll be ready to participate in training camp,' Cho said. 'I don't know if that will include full contact (work). It depends on his progress.' Oden is splitting his rehab work between Portland and Indianapolis, his hometown."

  • Jason Kersey of The Oklahoman: "Thunder center Nenad Krstic was at the center of a brutal brawl between Serbia and Greece at the Acropolis Tournament in Athens. Krstic didn’t appear to start it, but starts throwing punches at about the :40 mark. This seems crazy because Krstic has never shown a mean bone in his body during his NBA career. Will he play for Serbia in the FIBA World Championships? But, more importantly to Thunder fans, how does this affect his status with OKC? Is he likely to be reprimanded for this by the team or league, or can he be? UPDATE: It’s been brought to my attention that the NBA has no enforcement power concerning international play, and vice versa. The NBA will not review this incident."

  • Chicago Tribune Staff: "Bulls guard Derrick Rose is known for his insatiable sweet tooth. A college teammate once revealed he ate Gummy Bears for breakfast and Honey Buns for dinner. Now that he's an NBA All-Star, the candy makers come to him. When the Chicago-based Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company got word that Rose's diet included handfuls of Skittles, they delivered to his house a customized vending machine, as first reported by CNBC.com, and a promise to keep it fully stocked with the tangy treats for three years. Rose can even record a message on the machine to remind him to eat more Skittles ... or that the Bulls play the Miami Heat on Jan. 15. "