First Cup: Monday

  • Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "Early in the third quarter of his team’s 135-134 victory over the Los Angeles-based Drew League, Goodman League commissioner Miles Rawls looked down at the opponent to his right and said, 'It’s a long flight to L.A. with an ‘L’ on the chest.' The words elicited laughter from the crowd but seemed to fire up the players from the left coast as they immediately overcame a double-digit deficit to eventually take the lead as James Harden drove and dunked and Brandon Jennings, scored, flipped on his back and later danced. The visitors silenced the stunned overflow crowd until Wizards point guard John Wall and District native Kevin Durant brought back the Goodman League -- Wall with his quick feet and nifty passes; Durant with his high-flying dunks -- and set up a thrilling finish. ... The event proved to be worth it for players who decided to participate in what might be the last basketball game featuring NBA players for a while. That is, unless these teams can get together for a rematch sooner than later. After losing a heartbreaker, the Drew League is already hoping to see the Goodman League again – in Los Angeles. 'We can do it,' Harden said. 'We made this trip, they can make the trip as well.' "

  • Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman: "This season is going to be delayed and likely cut short, if it happens at all. That is a hard reality to swallow. It's made even harder by what Durant has done this summer. He has gone from superstar to darling in Oklahoma City. If you have big games in series-clinching contests in the playoffs, you take your stardom to another level. But if you go around saying things like “I let the city down” after a less-than-stellar performance, you endear yourself to this city forever. That's what makes all these offseason exploits a little hard to handle. So, keep doing your thing, KD. Keep scoring in bunches. Keep making YouTube highlights. Keep doing all those things that we've seen you do so many times. Just know that the idea of not being able to see all of that here in Oklahoma City this season feels like one of those Rucker Park 3-pointers. A dagger."

  • Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "Goodman League Commissioner Miles Rawls said on Sunday he would make sure that fans who purchased legitimate tickets but were denied entrance to Saturday’s star-studded summer league clash featuringKevin Durant and Wizards players John Wall and JaVale McGee, among others, will be reimbursed in full. Rawls’s local Goodman League defeated the Los Angeles-based Drew League, 135-134, in an East-West showdown for pro-am supremacy, but the excitement inside was somewhat muted because hundreds of fans were sent away after the Trinity University gym reached full capacity (about 1,500). Rawls explained that the major problem was the result of individuals producing and selling counterfeit tickets for the biggest summer league game the District has seen in years. After looking over the tickets collected from the game, Rawls realized that some of them had been duplicated. ... Rawls is already hoping to schedule more summer league showdowns, with the Drew League already discussing the possibility of a rematch in Los Angeles some time in late September. He said Atlanta Hawks guard Jamal Crawford has already suggested having the Goodman League come to Seattle for an exhibition."

  • Darnell Maynerry of The Oklahoman: "Kevin Durant is ready for his close up. The Oklahoma City Thunder star is on the verge of finalizing a deal to star in a major Warner Bros. film, The Oklahoman has learned. The film, which has a basketball subplot, has not yet been named, but it's scheduled to go into production in mid-September, according to sources. Filming location for the feature-length picture has been narrowed to Oklahoma City and Baton Rouge, La. Neither Durant nor his representatives could be reached for comment. The film, however, will mark the biggest off-the-court venture Durant has undertaken in his four-year pro basketball career. It also will solidify Durant's growing status as a superstar. The film's impending announcement will only keep Durant in a spotlight he's thoroughly sequestered throughout an NBA offseason that has been clouded by a lockout."

  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: "Even before he walked into that humid, jam-packed locker room in the nation’s capital Saturday, Gary Neal knew he was out of his element. With no Gregg Popovich around to call his number and no Manu Ginobili to set him up, Neal figured his chances of standing out in the exhibition between two legendary summer pro-am leagues — Los Angeles’ Drew League and the D.C.-based Goodman League — were slim. His spot-up game and role-player mentality aren’t built for streetball, even streetball played indoors. 'No, not at all,' said Neal, a Spurs guard and Baltimore native who played for the Goodman team. 'My point guards are (Denver’s) Ty Lawson and (Washington’s) John Wall. Just have to hope they’re in a distributing mood.' They weren’t. Neal finished with six points, 38 shy of the 44 pumped in by NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant, who earned MVP honors in Goodman’s 135-134 victory."

  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: "Will Dwight Howard stay with the Orlando Magic? That is the $100 million question and one mayor Buddy Dyer hinted the other day that he may have the answer to. Dyer says he has been told by Magic CEO Alex Martins that the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement could include a new rule that would allow the Magic to outbid other suitors for Dwight’s services. ... That would certainly be good news for Magic fans, but the question is how much more money will the Magic be able to offer than, say, the Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey Nets or Boston Celtics? Would it be $1 million-a-year more or $10 million? If it’s $10 million than, yes, that would probably keep Dwight in Orlando. If it’s $1 million, that would likely have minimal impact his decision. Dyer, though, seemed fairly confident that the Magic will be able to keep Dwight, but then again he is a politician. Even when it comes to sports, he’s going to tell us what we want to hear."

  • Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register: "While Kobe Bryant’s name has been popping up constantly in speculation about him playing in Turkey or China (or now even just in exhibitions in China), the Lakers’ other All-Star has been immersed in the game with the Spanish national team. But Pau Gasol might have another big-time basketball project on the way: He could join Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and other locked-out NBA stars in a series of three exhibition games in Australia later this year, according to Australian newspaper the Herald Sun. Assuming the NBA lockout persists, the games would take place at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, where Gasol buddy Rafael Nadal is usually the Spanish sports star doing work during the Australian Open tennis tournament."

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "First, the good news: America doesn’t hate LeBron James nearly as much as it can’t stomach Paris Hilton, Charlie Sheen, Britney Spears or Kanye West. The not-so-good news: The Miami Heat forward finished 10th in a recently conducted poll of the '10 Most Unpopular Personalities' conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs. Beyond Hilton, Sheen, Spears and West, who topped the list, James finished behind Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, Kim Kardashian, Mel Gibson and two percentage points behind No. 9 Donald Trump."

  • Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times: "In a summer of NBA lockout uncertainty, Kevin Love is choosing to play somewhere different as well — a few steps south of the Manhattan Beach pier. The Minnesota Timberwolves forward will be there later this week, trying to break ground in a sunnier, sandier corner of the sports world at the Manhattan Beach Open. At 6 feet 10, he might be the tallest player in the beach volleyball tournament, but his experience is limited. He never played volleyball in high school or at UCLA, meaning the last few weeks have been his first in the sport. ... Despite its laid-back reputation as a bunch of dudes from the dunes, beach volleyball isn't as easy as it appears. Shaquille O'Neal looked foolish and immobile when he tried it a few years ago for his short-lived TV show. O'Neal partnered with Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Todd Rogers but lost to two-time women's gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor."

  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: "It was an interesting week for Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, who attended what was supposed to be former teammate Kendrick Perkins’s all-star game in Beaumont, Texas. Perkins was arrested by Beaumont police early in the morning Aug. 13 on a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication. Rondo was not involved in the incident, according to his representatives. Then there was an excerpt from Shaquille O’Neal’s latest book, written with former Globe reporter Jackie MacMullan, regarding a fund-raiser attended by Celtics players in March at the Museum of Fine Arts with President Obama. According to the book, the president asked Ray Allen, in front of a group of people, when he was going to teach Rondo how to shoot. Shaq said Kevin Garnett told him Rondo was bothered by the comments, embarrassed that the Commander-in-Chief publicly called him out about his shooting struggles. In the six games after the event with Obama, Rondo went 16 of 56 from the field (28 percent). In a four-game stretch, he scored only 8 points, including a scoreless outing in which he attempted just two shots in a 92-80 victory over Indiana."

  • Wendell Maxey for The Deseret News: "In Saturday's game against Belgium, Enes Kanter flashed a quick drop step, scored in the paint with a soft left handed hook, and hustled back on defensive to collect a rebound. It was a glimpse of what could come in Utah alongside a young nucleus of Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and veterans Devin Harris and Al Jefferson. Until then, Kanter is focused on playing for Turkey, who won a silver medal over the United States at the 2010 World Championships. They return the majority of an NBA packed roster that includes Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu, Ersan Ilyasova formerly of the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago's Omer Asik, and Semih Erden from Cleveland. ... The NBA lockout now leaves Kanter considering his overseas options. Last month Kanter's agent, Max Ergul, confirmed his client already has offers from two teams in China. Unfortunately for Kanter and other players in the Association, China may not be a final destination. The Chinese Basketball Association recently decided to block all players under NBA contract despite an earlier FIBA ruling. So is playing in Turkey a possibility? 'I really don't know what is going to happen. Right now my focus is on playing for the national team and then after EuroBasket I will discuss my future with my agent and we shall see what happens.' "

  • Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: "Tyrone Corbin has turned the NBA’s broken game clock into a personal journey, temporarily pausing the hectic life of the association to reconnect with his family. He recently returned to his South Carolina roots, spending time with his mother while receiving the key to his hometown of Columbia. Corbin also again became a full-time husband to his wife and a father to his children, rather than just being the 48-year-old man alternating Jazz workout clothes with sharp suits and known to most only as 'coach Ty.' 'It was really refreshing just to sit back a little bit and enjoy your family,' Corbin said. Part of the joy came from passing his family’s torch on to the next generation. Corbin’s son, Tyrell, has taken the first steps toward becoming a man at the same time that the NBA is stuck in limbo. Tyrell is enrolled in his second summer session at UC Davis, knocking out initial classes while dreaming of Division I collegiate hardwood. The former West High standout has already dealt with being homesick, overcoming the gnawing pain by following the advice of his father. It’s a road that Corbin crossed when he transitioned from Columbia to DePaul University in Chicago. Now, the father is helping to guide his son along the same path."

  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: "Danny Green packed his bags and boarded a flight for Slovenia on Saturday evening, off to live and work in a country he’s never visited and until recently had never considered. He doesn’t speak the language and doesn’t eat the food. He readily admits this could be a disaster. 'I’ve heard horror stories about playing overseas, and I’ve heard good stories,' Green, the young Spurs’ swingman set to pass the NBA lockout in Europe, said in a phone interview with the Express-News. 'I don’t know what to expect.' No matter which way his European adventure goes, Green hopes to board a return flight sooner rather than later. Though he appreciates the opportunity to play anywhere while the NBA is shuttered, it was never his dream to play in Slovenia, or anywhere else. In this, he is not alone. Green says his decision to play abroad was not made lightly. He likely would not be going if not for an out clause in his Slovenian contract that will allow him to return to the Spurs once the NBA’s labor impasse is resolved."

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "On March 6, a rare Sunday night at home during the season, Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy tried to unwind by watching one of his favorite TV programs, '60 Minutes.' When he saw that one of the segments was going to focus on homeless children in Seminole County, he immediately called his family into the room to watch. It spurred them to action. Kim Van Gundy, Stan's wife, volunteered to help the Families in Transition program for Seminole County Public Schools. About 1,700 homeless children attend the county's public schools. ... Kim and Stan Van Gundy hosted the event this past Friday night. Aided by the expertise of some Magic employees who volunteered their own time, including Community Relations Manager Robyn Guokas, the event raised at least $75,000. The Van Gundys hope that the event also started conversations that will energize people to help children."

  • Bob Young of The Arizona Republic: "Scotty Robertson, a former Suns assistant coach, passed away last week of lung cancer at age 81 and was laid to rest Sunday in Ruston, La. Robertson was a Suns scout before moving to the bench when Paul Westphal took over for Cotton Fitzsimmons. Of course, those were the days before the Internet and 24/7 news cycles when a reporter could sit courtside with an assistant coach before games and talk basketball rather than having to worry about 'blogging' or feeding the monster that is Twitter. And Scotty always was willing to share insight, a story or a wise crack. We recall specifically how he lamented the downfall of Richard Dumas, whom he called 'as talented as anybody who ever laced up sneakers.' When a reporter approached, Scotty always was ready with a smile and the greeting, 'My man!' The guy knew his stuff, too."