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First Cup: Monday

  • Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "To all NBA players who stand unified against the godless owners, read these words of warning from a former NHL player about the reality of losing an entire season: 'It’s not worth it. Get a deal done,' former Dallas Stars forward Bill Guerin said during a phone call last week. There was not a single NHL player during the Great Lockout of 2004-05 who was a bigger proponent of the union’s fight than this man. No one believed in the cause more than Guerin, and to hear him admit this is a bit stunning. 'I learned a big lesson: It’s not a partnership. It’s their league, and you are going to play when they want,' he said. Today, Guerin has hindsight and his experience serves as a giant caution to any player who thinks losing a game, much less an entire season, to this lockout is a good idea. His message is simple: Get what you can; start playing; you are not going to win what you think. 'It is not worth it to any of them to burn games or to burn an entire year. Burning a year was ridiculous,' Guerin said."

  • Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer: "As is the case with the NBA, the NHL players were being asked to pay for some really stupid moves by their league and didn't want to do so, but they also got terrible advice and failed to grasp the resolve of the owners. It turned out that the world could go on without them for a while, much to their surprise. The NBA players would be smart to study that lesson. They are going to lose this one, and probably lose it really badly. The league will get healthier for the owners, even if they can't fix the real problem, which is that there is no Johnson, Bird, and Jordan to save it this time. The golden age has been tarnished by a generation that believes one-on-one isolation play is the pinnacle of the sport and - at least compared to the thriving college game - the NBA has become an inferior spectacle manned by superior players. That's a tough exacta to hit, but the NBA has managed it somehow."

  • John Canzano of The Oregonian: To recap: Everyone agrees Paul Allen was present. Everyone agrees he said nothing. And so we have our first official point of undisputed agreement in 114 days of insidious bickering between the league and its players.Allen was wallpaper. And man, how long can this lockout last with all this agreement going on? Peculiar development, though, as the NBA sought out The Oregonian on Friday, and scrambled to arrange an interview with Silver to make sure everyone knew the billionaire was silent. Again, no one disputed this fact. Still, the NBA went into damage control and planted its message on the doorsteps of the very fans who know Allen's heavy-handed billionaire schtick best. Also, Blazers president Larry Miller offered that the team is not for sale. Do these cats know what they're trying to sell? ... I don't dislike Allen. He's become a cartoon character, though. I don't think this NBA franchise can win a championship with Allen calling the shots. And when I see Allen walking the hallways at the arena, I don't see a guy with passion for his hobby anymore. I'd love to listen and believe as Allen explained to us all how in love he is with the NBA and the Blazers. How dedicated he is. How he wants badly, still, to win a title. If Allen wants to say so, we're all ears. I know. I know. Allen didn't say a word."

  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: "Something is becoming very clear through all of the rhetoric, however: The lockout is being fueled by small-market owners who feel powerless in a league of big cities, mammoth television contracts, and state-of-the-art arenas. After Thursday’s talks produced nothing, Players Association executive director Billy Hunter pointed out that the larger-market owners have tended to stay away from the sessions, while owners such as Dan Gilbert of Cleveland, Peter Holt of San Antonio, and Paul Allen of Portland are the front men, making a deal nearly impossible with their hard-line stances."

  • Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News: "It seems that Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert and Phoenix owner Robert Sarver aren’t alone in feeling the wrath of players for some of their anti-union comments during negotiations. Spurs owner Peter Holt is being roasted for comments he reportedly made during a recent bargaining session. Several media sources, including ESPN.com, Hoops World.com and Hoops Hype.com have reported that Holt said that players haven’t felt enough discomfort during the lockout to end it. Those words are a marked contrast for Holt, who has steered clear of controversy during his tenure as the Spurs majority owner. But his reported comments have certainly caught the attention of the NBPA this time."

  • Tom Reed of The Plain Dealer: "Pro sports rarely elicit public support during work stoppages. But while fans are not on the side of these multi-billion-dollar enterprises, history is. tatistical analysis compiled from the last seven major American labor disputes -- ones that forced cancellation of regular-season games -- shows fans eventually return to the arenas and stadiums. Although talk shows and Internet message boards roil with anger and invective as games are being lost, supporters rarely stay mad forever. They come back to their couches, their PSLs, their fantasy leagues. If their teams are winners, as was the case with the 1995 Indians, they often rejoin the cause in record numbers. 'It might take a season or two, but fans usually forgive and forget,' said David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute and author of Money Games: Profiting From the Convergence of Sports and Entertainment. 'Sports still play a vital role in our society. A lot of people see them as a pleasant diversion, a respite from the grind.' "

  • John Rohde of The Oklahoman: "For the first 47 minutes, Sunday night's US Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational hosted by Kevin Durant was an NBA exhibition game during which little defense was exhibited. In the 48th minute, however, the crowd rose to its feet, and a lighthearted competition suddenly turned serious. A closing flurry in regulation forced overtime, and the end result was Durant's White Team posting a 176-171 victory over the Blue Team before a near-sellout crowd of 13,000 inside the Cox Convention Center. Though the NBA lockout was in Day 115, on this night there were no catcalls directed toward players. Fans screamed for autographs. Cellphone cameras were all the rage. No one left early and the players left to a standing ovation."

  • Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com: "In early August, Adam Aron decided he wanted a new career challenge. Aron was a long-time successful business man in the travel industry, who had worked with Joshua Harris for 15 years. Harris was the honcho of a group buying the Philadelphia 76ers and Aron, a Philadelphia native, wanted to run the team. Aron walked into Harris’ office and said just that. We can assume the conversation went well because this past week Aron was extremely busy fulfilling his duties as CEO of the Sixers – his first week wearing that hat in an official capacity. Aron, who is also an investor, couldn’t be happier spending many hours designing ways to improve the experience for fans who attend Sixers games, whenever those games come to fruition. The NBA has been in a lockout for 114 days and counting."

  • Colin Stephenson of The Star-Ledger: "Nets point guard Deron Williams, who is playing in Turkey for Besiktas during the NBA lockout, tweeted that he and his family are all right after the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck Turkey today. 'Thanks everyone for checking on me I'm OK the quake was very far from Istanbul,' Williams wrote on his Twitter account a few minutes ago. The quake occurred in Eastern Turkey, hundreds of miles away from Istanbul, where Williams' team is based. Fears are that as many as 1,000 people may be dead after several buildings collapsed in the area. Besides Williams, Nets second round draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic also plays in Istanbul, for Fenerbahce, as does former Net Sasha Vujacic, who plays for Anadolu Efes."

  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: "Is Dwight Howard outta here, Orlando? Take it for what it’s worth, but that’s what the writer who conducted the recent Esquire interview with Dwight believes. He believes the Orlando Magic big man is unequivocally headed for brighter lights and a bigger city. In an interview the other day on our Open Mike radio show, Scott Raab, the writer who recently conducted a 2-hour interview with Howard for Esquire said: 'My honest feeling is that there’s no question in mind that he’s gone — none,' Raab said. Of course, Raab is only guessing and going on a gut feeling just like the rest of us, but you can certainly understand why he feels this way. Howard did, after all, make some comments in the Esquire interview that have caused Magic fans much angst over the last week."

  • Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: "[Jazz President Rand] Rigby has watched the Jazz evolve. He worked his way up through the organization while Karl Malone and John Stockton ruled the hardwood and a still-elusive NBA championship was within Utah’s grasp. He was behind closed doors during a dramatic 2010-11 season, when the Jazz fractured and fell apart, Sloan resigned and Williams was traded away. Rigby has also watched the Salt Lake City region change. Once, the Jazz were enough. Now, Real Salt Lake is rising, the University of Utah has grabbed the spotlight in the Pac-12 and Brigham Young is as popular as ever. All while the NBA is fighting a labor war, with owners and players battling for revenue and power, and small-market teams struggling for their existence. Rigby’s seen almost everything during his 25 years with LHM. But his answers to the challenges the Jazz face remain the same: keep evolving, keep changing and, most importantly, keep making money. 'You can’t always stay on top of the mountain. That’s sports,' said Rigby, during an exclusive interview with The Salt Lake Tribune. “But to keep showing that we’re relevant … to build loyalty — that’s one of the important things that we try to keep doing.' "

  • Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: "One of the concerns with the Pacers – and every other team in the NBA – is what kind of shape the players will be in when they report to training camp once the lockout ends. Training camp will likely be condensed from a month to a couple of weeks if there’s a 2011-12 season. Players don’t want to be labeled the Shawn Kemp of the 2011 lockout. I don’t think conditioning will be a problem for the Pacers because their rotation players are spread around the country working out on their own or playing with other NBA players in cities like Los Angeles and New York. Center Roy Hibbert plans to head back to San Antonio and work with future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan again. Their issue could be familiarity with each other. The Pacers are expected to make at least one substantial move once free agency starts."

  • Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel: "Kevin Durant said Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings might be 'overdosing' on lockout basketball. Not that Oklahoma City's Durant has been shy about seeking games from coast to coast while the owner-imposed lockout drags on, now nearly into November. But Jennings, who just turned 22 last month, has been 'hooping' up a storm from Rowley Park in south Los Angeles to Atlanta to New York City to Baltimore to Washington, D.C. In an interview Friday, the Bucks guard said he has slowed his pace just a bit but will still be tweeting to find games and staying close with his L.A. friends, a group dubbed AIS (Alwayz Into Something). 'I'm still working out, still finding places to play,' Jennings said. 'This is our first time to have a summer like this since high school. I just keep hoopin'. Everywhere I went there was a large crowd. It's letting fans get a chance to see us up close.' Sports Illustrated recently profiled Jennings and detailed his willingness to take on all comers, at any place at any time."

  • Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "While explaining his decision to participate in Chris Paul’s charity game in his home town of Winston-Salem, N.C., earlier this month, Wizards free agent forward Josh Howard joked that “people still want to see me play.” But being around that thrilling, high-flying environment convinced Howard that he should organize his own event in Dallas, the city he still considers home since being traded to the Wizards in the deal that shipped Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson to the Mavericks at the trade deadline in 2010. With the lockout wiping out the first two weeks of the regular season and more cancellations expected to follow after failed negotiations last week, Howard is taking advantage of the opening to host a charity game on Nov. 12. Players expected to participate include Howard’s Wizards teammates John Wall, Andray Blatche and Nick Young; his former Mavericks teammates Jason Terry, Marquis Daniels, DeSagana Diop and Quinton Ross; Portland Trail Blazers forward and Dallas native LaMarcus Aldridge; New Orleans Hornets guard Jarrett Jack; Mavericks guard Corey Brewer; Minnesota forward Anthony Randolph; Toronto forward Reggie Evans; Sacramento Kings draft pick Isaiah Thomas; and former NBA player Damon Jones."

  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "Remember the NBA? No, not the current NBA. That NBA is the one nobody likes. The lockout goes down like a Spalding through the esophagus. Try remembering Tom Ambrose's NBA if you want to muster a smile beyond NBA TV's reel of classics. In his book Notes from the WACKO! File And Tales from the Madhouse on McDowell, Ambrose, who ended a 37-year career in the Suns' front office last year, will walk you from the franchise's inception to the last game played at the Coliseum as an insider. He is like the uncle with the best family stories. Ambrose was there for nearly all of it, from simpler times when the Suns played exhibitions at high schools, postgame locker rooms were filled with smokers and the thump of a dribble was audible at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. He assembled his anecdotes, from hilarious to historical, in the 276-page book, which will be followed by a sequel to chronicle the US Airways Center years."