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First Cup: Thursday

  • Andre Iguodala for the Philadelphia Daily News: "(Yesterday) was really the first time I've thought about being away from home as long as I have. The reason is because they have been treating us so well ever since we left. We have a chef from Detroit who makes us some great stuff, we have a Nike suite that we all hang out in after games. All the guys on the team have gotten along really well so it doesn't seem so much like we're so far away from home, it's more like a long road trip in the NBA. There really can be no complaints. In Greece, the food was just OK, but in Spain we found restaurants that we liked and all is cool here. Training camp is right around the corner, and it's going to be a busy few weeks for me before then. Hopefully, we'll get where we want to here and win the gold medal. Then, when we land in New York, I'm gonna try to go to a Jay-Z concert at Yankee Stadium. Then I have to go to Chicago and Los Angeles to get my stuff together and get it shipped to Philadelphia. I also have an event in New York and an event in Philly before training camp starts. But, like I said, I'm really looking forward to training camp and being back in Philadelphia and get the new season started."

  • Pete Thamel of The New York Times: "A dance squad from Ukraine, known as the Red Foxes, has performed at Ankara Arena during a majority of the games involving the six teams in Group C. But in each of Turkey’s past three games, one of which was attended by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and another by the country’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, the dancers have disappeared. The speculation here is that the scantily clad dancers were pulled to avoid performing in front of Turkish government officials, but no one can agree as to why. The dance team’s coach, Elena Rozhkova, said her team was pulled from the past three Turkey games for a 'political' reason. And FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, admits to making cultural adjustments. But the Turkish Basketball Federation said the dancers were not scheduled to perform. 'I would like to assure you that the decision had no influence from either the government or the federation itself,' Sancar Sonmez, the Turkish federation spokesman, said. In a country that is almost entirely Muslim, where Asia and Europe intersect, and where secular Western and more devout Muslim cultures mingle, the issue has become divisive. Muslim women are often expected to dress more modestly. ... In Turkey, the decision has been hotly debated. 'It’s crazy,' said a former Turkish national team member, who did not want to be named for fear of retribution by the government. 'In a secular country like Turkey, they shouldn’t have to do that.' "

  • Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com: "Danny Ainge admitted that trading Delonte West was one of the hardest decisions he'smade as Boston's president of basketball operations, but three years later he's hoping West, like the players he was swapped for did in 2008, can help bring the team a championship. Ainge confirmed Wednesday that the Celtics have signed West, adding the 6-foot-4 free-agent guard to Boston's impressive offseason haul. ... 'He was one of the toughest guys for me to trade,' said Ainge, who sent West, Wally Szczerbiak, the No. 5 pick in the 2007 draft (Jeff Green), and a 2008 second-round pick (Trent Plaisted) to Seattle in exchange for Ray Allen and the No. 32 pick in the 2007 draft (Glen Davis). 'I'd do it again, of course, but we really liked Delonte when he was here. Even though we knew the issues and the challenges he needed to take care of, we also think Delonte is in a better place today than he was the day he left. He wasn't perfect, but we still liked the player.' ... Ainge acknowledged the baggage that comes with West, but said he thinks he's returning to a positive situation with a team that will welcome him with open arms. 'There's a familiarity with the roster and a familiarity with the players,' said Ainge. 'Paul [Pierce] and Rajon [Rondo], especially, were big fans having played with him. I'm a fan of Delonte.' "

  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "Wednesday was like any early September day at US Airways Center the past eight years. Always an early-summer arrival, Amar'e Stoudemire was working out in the training room, playing informal games with some Suns and leaving last after a rigorous individual session. Even though he wore Suns shorts, he was just visiting an old home now that he's a member of the New York Knicks. It is a common open-door policy for NBA players to work out in opposing arenas, but Stoudemire did not expect to find a game to join, and he needed to borrow shorts. Three months after signing a five-year, $99.7 million deal with New York, Stoudemire, who played eight years with Phoenix, said he is not used to his new life. But he has no hard feelings about his departure. ... 'It was fair from Robert's standpoint,' Stoudemire said. 'I understand his concerns, which were injuries and health. There are no hard feelings at all. From a security standpoint for myself and with as much work as I put in on the court, I was after a greater goal. It was a fair offer from his standpoint. We still talk and have a good friendship.' "

  • Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: "I take some time off and suddenly the Kings rumored to be trading for Carmelo Anthony. Anthony will just be the first of many names that will be linked to the Kings because of the financial flexibiity the team has. The Kings are about $14.6 million under the salary cap and looking ahead to next summer will have more room than any other team with the contracts of Samuel Dalembert, among others, coming off the books. The Kings figure to re-sign one or both of those players. But after being saddled with big contracts, the Kings are now an attractive trade partner. Teams looking to move high-priced veterans will make calls to Sacramento. Teams will also look to deal for expiring contracts the Kings will have. And with today's technology allowing any of us to play general manager there will be plenty of Kings rumors this season. But unless a deal includes a star such as Chris Paul or Anthony, the Kings might be inclined to wait on a deal until the summer. ... The speculated Anthony interest should probably be tempered until Denver's new general manager Masai Ujiri has a chance to meet with Anthony. But the chatter about the Kings won't cease soon. With cap space comes the rumors."

  • Fred Mitchell and David Kaplan of the Chicago Tribune: "New Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau says he is not concerned that his All-Star guard, Derrick Rose, might be burned out for the start of the NBA season after playing for Team USA this summer. 'He has been terrific,' Thibodeau said. 'And the way he practices ... I'm real excited. I thought he showed great leadership out there, and their team is playing extremely well right now. … I think being around those types of players and being around that type of competition is great. I think he will take a lot from it.' Joakim Noah also endorses Rose's European experience: 'I see Derrick on TV and he looks pretty good,' said Noah. 'I know that Derrick always works very hard and he is going to be in great game shape. He has a chance to win a medal. He's doing big things ... sometimes you forget he is only 21 years old.' "

  • Marc Berman of the New York Post: "Toney Douglas only could laugh when two of the first three questions from young kids at a Knicks youth camp in the Hamptons were on his thoughts on LeBron James choosing Miami over the Knicks. Douglas said he only can control what he can control. What he should have said is he can't wait to meet James in the playoffs. Because Douglas, the Knicks' backup point guard, said he thinks his team is going to break its six-year playoff drought. 'Definitely,' Douglas told The Post yesterday at Hayground School in Bridgehampton. 'I feel like have a lot of talent. We just all have to be on one page and make sure everybody is totally on it. I feel we are a playoff team.' The coaching staff will tell you nobody has worked harder than Douglas this offseason. The second-year Florida State product has done two-a-days at their Westchester compound since the beginning of May -- save for a two-week break in July. Douglas, the Knicks' most tenacious defender, said one of the reasons he has worked so hard is he wants to be a leader this season. There were none during last season's 29-53 campaign."

  • Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: "The Grizzlies want fans to know that this season -- their 10th in Memphis -- is the one to really believe in. And the franchise is sending the message with a full-court billboard campaign. More than 80 billboards featuring Griz players were unveiled Wednesday in the Mid-South as the team attempts to generate more enthusiasm for the upcoming season. 'We started out with an aggressive television campaign that is fun. We've really gotten a positive response from that, and it set the tone for introducing our 10th year in Memphis,' said John Pugliese, senior director of marketing communications. 'But we know it's about our basketball team and what coach (Lionel) Hollins is putting on the court. Our ad campaign will start to shift to a focus on our players and coaches. We know we'll have something special on the court this season.' Pugliese contends that the onslaught of billboards is the most aggressive any business has employed in the Mid-South. The Grizzlies reach far, with billboards in Mississippi and Arkansas."

  • Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: "Rodney Stuckey and Diane McElhinney, fresh in town from out west, arrived to hand out backpacks and Pistons caps to 500 kids as part of a back-to-school initiative Wednesday. McElhinney, who took in Stuckey, 24, just before his senior year at Kentwood (Wash.) High, said she is impressed by how he is growing into a man. McElhinney is a good friend of Stuckey's mother, Faye. 'I see a great level of maturity, even though he's always been mature,' she said. 'I see that he's very grateful for the opportunity that he has and that he works for. He also understands that he's in a position to give back now, and he's thoughtful about that. He just continues to grow into the great adult that he is. Good father; he's just maturing in all the right ways.' "

  • Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun: "Television schedule release day used to be an exciting sign for Raptors fans that the season’s opening tip was nearing. But, for the second year in a row, hoop heads in this country are being thrown lumps of coal by a major sports broadcasting entity. Though the TSN2 debacle surely is one the folks at Bell will not soon forget, it appears their main rivals, Rogers and specifically, Sportsnet, did not learn a thing from the incident -- except, perhaps, that there is money to be made by holding the sports-mad public hostage. A huge chunk of Raptors games were inaccessible to many viewers a year ago when Bell and Rogers got into a row about the addition of TSN2 to the dial, leaving the channel off of Rogers until the issue was finally resolved in May. This time around, Bell and other non-Rogers subscribers will be the ones left in the dark as at least seven games will air exclusively on the new Sportsnet One channel. TSN and TSN2 will carry 47 games with the remaining 35 going to Sportsnet or Sportsnet One. CBC is out of the picture this year, having lost interest in hoops."