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First Cup: Monday

  • John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Getting injured before the first preseason game and missing at least the first month of the regular season isn't how Carlos Boozer envisioned starting his Bulls career, but the power forward tried to look at the bright side after learning Sunday that he'll miss at least eight weeks with a broken right hand. ... The injury occurred Saturday, a day off for the Bulls. Boozer said he tripped over a bag in his house around 5:30 or 6 p.m. 'I was running, my doorbell had rang, and I tripped over a bag and fell down and tried to brace myself,' he said. 'I'm 265 with 5 percent body fat. ... I guess my weight just collapsed my bone.' The incident can be classified as a fluke, but Boozer's propensity for getting injured was one of the cons listed when the Bulls signed him as a free agent over the summer. He has missed 145 games in eight NBA seasons because of a variety of injuries, including a total of 80 games his first two seasons in Utah."

  • Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com: "When ESPNChicago.com reported several weeks ago that the Bulls were having internal discussions about the possibility of dealing Joakim Noah to Denver as part of a deal for Carmelo Anthony, I was told repeatedly by team sources that while there had been discussions, Noah wasn't going anywhere. It wasn't just the Carmelo deal that was out of the discussion. I was assured he wasn't going to be part of any deal in the foreseeable future. I can already hear people asking the same questions right now though? Is Noah really worth $60 million? And why wouldn't the Bulls include in him in a possible deal for Anthony? Let's go with the money issue first. Whether you agree with the Bulls line of thinking or not (and there are certainly plenty of people on both sides), the team always held steadfast to the belief that it was much closer to a championship with Noah than it was without him. He is, without question, the vocal and spiritual leader of the squad. He has total respect in the locker room and he is the player that all his other teammates feed off of."

  • Michael Wallace of The Miami Herald: "After spending a week on a military base in the Panhandle learning a new system, Heat forward LeBron James resumes the process of getting adjusted to his new city. But don't expect James to spend too much time taking in the South Florida scenery on commutes from Coconut Grove to AmericanAirlines Arena. In fact, that entire 'taking my talents to South Beach' statement James made in July to announce he was signing with the Heat might have been a bit misunderstood. As the Heat's preparation for the season shifts back to Miami this week, James insists his complete focus is on growing more familiar with the team -- not the city. 'It's important for me to learn these guys, to learn this system, to learn this team and for us to continue to get better,' James said of his to-do list. 'I think it's a great city, of course. But my only goal was not to come to Miami for the city. It was to come to Miami for the Heat and represent the city, not learn the city.' The Heat accomplished many of its goals during its weeklong training camp at a military base that offered the public and media limited access to the team. That granted players such as James, Chris Bosh and several other key newcomers a chance to work and bond with few distractions."

  • Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News: "If you weren’t excited enough about Derrick Favors’ 14-point, nine-rebound performance tonight, this postgame quote should be all the convincing you need: 'I’d say it was an okay day,' Favors said, without a hint of arrogance, following the 108-70 victory over Maccabi Haifa. Okay? In his first professional game, Favors took eight shots and made six of them. His first shot was an alley-oop dunk. His second shot was a dunk. His third shot was a dunk. He attacked the rim with reckless efficiency, providing a spark and energy to an otherwise listless game. His most impressive dunk didn’t count: the 19-year-old jumped OVER a Maccabi Haifa player on the baseline but was called for a charge. 'It’s all good,' Favors said. If this trade for Carmelo Anthony fizzles completely, Favors will be the youngest player in team history. It’s not a bad way to build a wining franchise."

  • Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post: "It is known that Carmelo Anthony wants to be traded to a big market, in efforts to both win a title and maximize his marketability. Sources previously said he was interested in going to New Jersey, a franchise that will move to Brooklyn in a couple of years. Anthony, who has never gone public with his demands, was asked about his marketing prowess, and he said: 'As far as marketing, it comes from winning. If I ain't winning, then nobody wants me to market their product.' So he was asked: 'Then why would you want to play for the team that won 12 games last season?' Anthony then said: 'I never said I want to play for the Nets.' "

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: "Everybody and their uncle has been asking Dwight Howard to expand his game. Well, Dwight says he will be adding something new to it: Silence. Howard had clearly expanded his game the past few seasons to include more barking at the referees. At times, his complaining has been dominating, impressive in its sheer volume and startling accumulation of technical fouls. It has become as much a part of his arsenal as his mighty array of dunks, blocks and Twitter followers, for crying out loud. With the NBA police vowing to crack down on the players' behavior with the refs, Howard said Sunday that he'll try harder to bite his tongue and downsize his demonstrative debates. This is a good thing. The league apparently will be blowing whistles at every stern stare and irate gesture. Thankfully, it is looking to quell the constant arguments, making the product more pleasing to the eye for fan and sponsor alike. Fines for technicals have doubled, although that doesn't affect Howard's budget. 'I'll be fine,' Howard said. 'My teammates have asked me to do a better job of not getting frustrated, not showing so much frustration.' Howard is often treated like a 6-foot-10, 275-pound heavy bag, with players going to the body. He has felt that his only recourse was to sound off at the men in striped shirts. And that hasn't worked out at all."

  • Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times: "To Ron Artest, these are hardly exhibition games. He is treating the Lakers' first foray outside North America in 19 years as a proving ground. He has never heard from Team USA and wants to show what its officials are missing. 'This will be like my Olympics. I never get invited,' Artest said. 'I've been calling for five years, trying to get invited to the tryout, and every time somebody pulls out, they always ask somebody else. I'm one of the best defensive players ever to play the game, but I can't play in the Olympics. I can't even get a tryout. I'm not mad or anything. I'm just going to go out and play hard, especially when we play against Barcelona. I can't wait to play against them.' "

  • Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe: "The two-sport athlete is practically extinct at the professional level, and when it comes to basketball players -- some of the most talented athletes -- there weren’t many to begin with. But Nate Robinson -- like LeBron James, Allen Iverson, Rajon Rondo, and several others -- once starred in two sports, basketball and football. Robinson was the Seattle Times Class 3A player of the year in both sports coming out of Rainier Beach High School, then played both sports his freshman year at the University of Washington. Ultimately, though, he had to make a choice. Considering the five-year career he’s carved out for himself in the NBA, he doesn’t regret the decision. 'But I honestly think if I’d have played my natural position, running back [in college], I would have still been playing football today,’ said Robinson, a defensive back for the Huskies. Two decades ago, there was an abundance of two-sport athletes. Bo Jackson was running along outfield walls one season and running over undersized defensive backs the next. Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan flip-flopped between baseball and football."

  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: "DeMar DeRozan breaks into that silly grin of his and puts on his ‘aw shucks’ face when he’s asked about the shiny new red kicks he was sporting at the Raptors’ intrasquad game here Sunday. 'You’re going to see a lot this season,' he said, looking down at his feet. 'I’m wearing wild shoes. Crazy colours. I don’t know why, I’ve always been like that, I want my shoes to stand out.' And, finally, some personality may be emerging from a team that really doesn’t have an identity or an identifiable face. DeRozan played the role of subservient rookie for most of last season, content to sit back and see how the world of professional basketball worked before trying to impose any kind of will on it. As a 20-year-old fresh out of college, he didn’t talk an awful lot and didn’t say much when he did. But now, with so many voids to fill on a team chock full of question marks, the Californian seems more than willing to assume great responsibility. He seems to be just what the franchise ordered, an exuberant, supremely talented young player who wants to have fun more than anything else."

  • Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: "After a breakout sophomore season that made him co-runner-up in voting for the NBA's Most Improved Player, the next step in guard George Hill's development is on-court leadership. The Spurs' coaching staff wants Hill to be more assertive and vocal on the court -- not an easy transition for a player who prefers to let his game do the talking. After leading all scorers in Sunday's public scrimmage at the AT&T Center, Hill made it clear his game still shouts. The combo guard from IUPUI made six of 12 shots and all eight of his free throws, scoring 20 points in a 48-minute Black vs. Silver game played with a running clock. The vocal leader role remains a work in progress. '(I've added) a little bit of maturity, something Coach (Gregg Popovich) wanted me to really focus on: being more vocal out there and being more of a leader and not always just taking a backseat. That's something I've tried to do by watching video and just talking to some of the players on the team and also working with (assistant coach) Jacque Vaughn. That's helped me tremendously. I give them all the credit.' Hill admits he lacks a 'rah-rah' personality but is working to be more vocal."

  • Marlon W. Morgan of The Commercial-Appeal: "The Grizzlies and FedExForum generate an annual economic impact of $223 million, according to a study performed on the eve of the franchise's 10th season in Memphis. 'We thought after 10 years, it was time for an update to put a reality to some old conversation and debate that ensued at that time,' said John Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, which commissioned the study by Younger Associates. 'Was it a wise investment? Now we know that it has been. ... There's no denying it any more. All those arguments are now moot.' Moore was referring to the controversial relocation of the NBA's Grizzlies from Vancouver in 2001 -- and, specifically, the publicly funded, $250 million FedExForum project."

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "Of all the measures of the Rockets' marriage with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, none might better indicate the success of their yearlong partnership than the D-League title they won together or the way the reminder of that championship was received Sunday. 'When they work to achieve what they want to achieve, we're going to benefit,' Vipers president Bert Garcia said. 'From hiring one of the best D-League coaches (Chris Finch) to sending down Mike Harris during our playoff run, obviously we benefit.' But the Rockets did not join forces with the Vipers to win D-League games. That is not a consideration when building the Vipers' roster. The potential for a player to help the Rockets is not just a part of the evaluation of D-League players; it is the only consideration. 'It's really the only focus,' Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. 'Obviously, not everybody down in the minor leagues is going to have a really high chance of making the NBA, but our focus is to never put anyone on the team that doesn't have some chance to some day contribute on the NBA level.' The goals are not in conflict. The Vipers benefit from the expenditure in staffing and scouting a D-League team would never take on. For the Vipers, it is a leap of faith. Their management had never heard of Finch, who was coaching in England. The Rockets can find a home for players who don't fit on their 15-man roster and develop them."