<
>

First Cup: Tuesday

  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: "A pick-up game of basketball could end up costing Raptors rookie Ed Davis more than a month of his NBA career. Davis, injured playing with fans last Wednesday night, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Monday morning and team officials said he is expected to be back on the court 'within six weeks.' ... According to sources, Davis was taking part in an unsupervised “run” with fans and strangers at a Mississauga gym when he landed awkwardly going after a rebound and suffered what the team is calling a torn meniscus in his right knee. The sources gave no indication anything untoward occurred in the pick-up game with non-professionals, but some were concerned because Davis had already been through a scrimmage and workout earlier that day with teammates at the Air Canada Centre. It was originally hoped the injury could be treated without an invasive procedure but after a weekend of consultation with the player, his agent and team medical officials, Davis had it done Monday at Sunnybrook Hospital."

  • Jonathan Abrams and Howard Beck of The New York Times: "For the moment, the Knicks are left hoping that Carmelo Anthony remains in Denver through this season, which would allow his contract to expire. If that happens, the Knicks could then pursue him in free agency with cap room that will be created by the departure of Eddy Curry. That possibility would allow the Knicks to sign Anthony while retaining several key players: Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire. The Knicks can also hope that Anthony declines to sign an extension with any team to which he is traded. That, too, would allow him to become a free agent next summer and put the Knicks back in the mix. But if Anthony is traded to another team and that team persuades him to sign an extension, the Knicks will be out of luck. And in a twist that will make the Knicks and their fans even more frustrated, the Houston Rockets are one of the teams aggressively pursuing Anthony. The Rockets are doing it in part by offering at least one of the draft picks they acquired from the Knicks last February when, in a three-way trade that also involved the Sacramento Kings, the Knicks cleared Jared Jeffries’s salary off this year’s payroll and landed Tracy McGrady’s expiring contract."

  • Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News: "After a historic summer in which Miami landed LeBron James and Chris Bosh to play with Dwyane Wade, the Heat will go into camp next week as the favorites to dethrone the Lakers, the team Kareem Abdul-Jabbar works for as a special assistant. But Miami has to prove it can blend together and figure out who is going to take the big shots. 'No question, Miami has got some talented players, outstanding individuals, but it's not a team,' Abdul-Jabbar said. 'That could be the beginning of a team. But as it is right now, it is not a team.' Even with his sky hook, arguably the greatest weapon in the history of the sport, Abdul-Jabbar has been a proponent of team-oriented basketball since his days at Power Memorial. It is that approach that made the Rens' reputation. The late John Wooden famously called the Rens, who barnstormed the country and dominated the oppsition in the 1920s and '30s, the gold standard of team basketball. Wooden's quote appears in the 75-minute film, 'On the Shoulders of Giants.' 'From that standpoint, the Heat has got a lot to prove,' Abdul-Jabbar said. 'I'm not saying they can't do it. LeBron is very talented and he's at the point now where he's starting to show some leadership. But they need some guys on the front line that can do the work in the trenches. Will that materialize? The jury is out, at this point.' "

  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: "So now Shaquille O’Neal loves Dwight Howard and is rooting for the Magic to someday win a championship. At least that’s what the Big Flip-Flopper told the Sentinel’s Shannon Owens a few days ago. You see, according to Shaq, his contentious past relationship with Howard has all been just a ruse; a PR ploy to generate interest in the game. ... Seriously? Shaq wants us to believe he is rooting for the Magic and the City of Orlando to win a championship? That’s funny because two years ago when the Magic were playing the Lakers in the finals, Shaq tweeted that he was rooting for Kobe and the Lakers. Or was that a PR ploy, too, Shaq? And was it a PR ploy when you called Orlando a 'dried-up little pond?' And was it a PR ploy when you ripped Dwight and called him an ”'mposter?' And was it a PR ploy when you called Magic coach Stan Van Gundy a 'bum' and a 'nobody' and a 'master of panic?' If that’s Shaq’s idea of selling tickets then I’m not buying. Even worse, it sounds now like O’Neal is trying to befriend Dwight, which is absolutely frightening news if you’re a Magic fan."

  • Fred Kerber of the New York Post "One story going around the Nets this week is a tale of rookie Derrick Favors standing still then jumping and dunking with his left hand. 'I haven’t seen that yet. But just because I haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened,' offered center Brook Lopez. 'Just watching him, it’s pretty exciting. The stuff he can do, it’s tough to stop.' Favors just shrugged about the report, then admitted, 'Yeah, I did it.' The two young building blocks for what the Nets hope is a gloriously bright future appeared together Sunday at an autograph signing in Wayne, NJ. Standing side-by-side, the 7-0 Lopez and the 6-10 Favors gave a glimpse of what’s to come -- unless, of course, the Nets need to use the rookie as one of the chips in a Carmelo Anthony trade. 'I’m impressed,' said Lopez who is A) sad about missing Team USA’s run to World Championships Olympic qualifying gold; B) back to his 265 weight after a bout with mononucleosis and feeling fine; and C) pumped about playing alongside power forward Favors. It’s just how smart he is. Obviously, he has athleticism. He crashes the offensive glass, he’s always going hard. He never gives up on a play,' Lopez said.

  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "Garret Siler joined Phoenix's informal workouts Monday after accepting a contract that likely has no guaranteed money past the preseason, much like his competitor for a roster spot, Dwayne Jones. Siler, 23, is a 6-foot-11, 300-pound center who is fine with being considered a 'work in progress' because he has been one since he began college. ... Siler played professionally with the Shanghai Sharks, a Chinese Basketball Association team owned by Houston Rockets center Yao Ming. He played there with John Lucas III on a 24-7 team and averaged 14.1 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 74 percent from the field. ... He was directly tutored by Yao last season. Siler still talks to him once or twice a month. Yao attended about eight of Siler's games with the Sharks. 'He would be like, 'OK, Garret, you need to do this. That was a good move but make sure you do this more too,' ' Siler said. 'But he has a real country Texas twang. It's funny. The way he talks to reporters and the way he talks one on one is completely different. And then he'll go into Chinese mode.' "

  • Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "Rookies are rarely given the keys to the franchise immediately, but as it relates to John Wall, the Wizards have handed him the keys, a spare pair and the hidden location under the welcome mat in case he misplaces the others. The Wizards want desperately to move beyond the past two years of mediocrity, and since Wall arrived in a stroke of pure luck, he is seen as a turnaround from the misfortune. That doesn't negate the fact that he's still a year away from being able to legally drink, has yet to play an NBA game and will be asked to carry a heavy load as one of the faces of his franchise and the league. Also, in Flip Saunders's point guard-centric offense, Wall will be asked to lead. ... The Wizards have aided Wall by adding Kirk Hinrich and Josh Howard to serve as veteran leaders for the team. Hinrich assisted Rose during Rose's first two seasons in Chicago, and plans on assuming a similar role in Washington. Howard quickly emerged as the leader of the new-look Wizards in his brief four-game stint, providing a contagious bolt of tenacity and enthusiasm, while making his teammates believe they could win. That's one of the reasons the Wizards wanted to bring him back. And, for all of his antics, Gilbert Arenas's passion for basketball and willingness to work on his game at any time of the night is legendary. He pushed himself to greatness before with an unwavering work ethic and will to succeed. In that respect, he could also be a positive influence on Wall. Given his body of work, Arenas remains the best player on this team - but that never equated to him being a leader. That responsibility has been given to Wall and it will be interesting to see where he takes the franchise."

  • Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register: "Ron Artest is making the rounds on the behalf of the Lakers’ public-relations department, promoting the Lakers’ upcoming exhibition games in various venues. He stopped in San Diego on Monday and had a simple yet novel suggestion from bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles: 'Maybe we can swap, the Chargers for the Clippers. No disrespect to the Clippers. You can have them back. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way. I really like the Clippers, but I feel they deserve their own fan base because in L.A. they’re overshadowed. The Clippers deserve a shot at having their own identity.' You might recall Artest’s visit to San Diego a year ago -- his debut as a Lakers promoter -- when he wore a Padres cap but didn’t know who the Padres were. This time, Artest wore a white Mets cap to play it safe, saying in The San Diego Union-Tribune: 'I did my history on the Padres and I guess I know they’re a baseball team.' "

  • Tony Bizjak and Dale Kasler of The Sacramento Bee: "After a quarter century, the Arco name is coming down from the arena that houses the Sacramento Kings, forcing the struggling basketball team to scramble in tough times to find a replacement sponsor. The Kings' contract with the Arco oil company will expire in February, but company officials say the Arco Arena name will remain in place through the end of the upcoming season. The parting of ways comes at a difficult moment for the Kings, with fewer and fewer businesses willing or able to dole out the millions of dollars that major league naming- rights deals typically draw. ... Kings officials declined Monday to discuss their prospects for landing a new sponsor but said they see the Arco deal's end as an opportunity. 'We are deeply appreciative of the historic 24-year run we enjoyed with our friends at Arco,' Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof said in a news release on Monday. 'This was one of the original, pioneering naming-rights partnerships in major league sports and entertainment. Now there is an incredible opportunity for a new brand to integrate across all Maloof Sports & Entertainment platforms.' "