First Cup: Tuesday

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: "Hired-gun lawyer David Boies late in the day on Monday announced the players were withdrawing that lawsuit filed in Northern California last week and consolidating it with the one they filed in Minneapolis at the same time. So the lawsuit filed here that had Anthony Tolliver, Derrick Williams, Caron Butler and Ben Gordon named as plantiffs now also gets many other names added to it, most notably Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Steve Nash and Chauncey Billups. So why here? Simply timing. Boies said the move was made for expediancy's sake, which means he thinks they'll get a court date set faster in Minnesota than the March date set by the Northern California court. All of this, of course, is intended never to get that far."

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "The crucial moment occurred as the clock approached midnight on Nov. 10. After another marathon negotiating session, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that the owners had put an offer on the table. Players either could accept it or instead face a much worse deal. Players viewed that statement as an ultimatum. Minutes after Stern completed his press conference, Magic player representative Chris Duhon told me, 'This ultimatum is just going to make most players angry and go the distance.' That’s exactly what happened. The players rejected the deal. Their elected leaders decided to dissolve their own union and take their battle to the court system. What intrigues me is how Stern, and the owners he works for, could’ve made such a drastic miscalculation (assuming, of course, that they wanted a deal in the first place). They should have known that the union never would’ve accepted an offer under that level of public duress. If the union had agreed to the deal, the union’s leaders would’ve looked like weaklings."

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "For all the shots Shaquille O’Neal has taken in print and in promotion at Pat Riley’s expense when it has come to his new autobiography, 'Shaq Uncut: My Story,' one somewhat leaps off the page. That would be Page 180, when he talks about Riley’s 'Gestapo conditioning.' Monday, at a Miami Heat Thanksgiving event at the Miami Rescue Mission,Riley took a moment from assisting to address some of what recently has come his way from his former star center. 'He’s marketing. He’s a marketer. He’s just marketing right now,' Riley told the Sun Sentinel with a dismissive laugh. 'That’s all he’s doing.' Riley then was asked specifically about the use of the term 'Gestapo.' 'I’m trying to figure out whether or not Hannibal Lecter, the Gestapo or John Gotti, I don’t know which one is worse,' Riley said of the characterizations he’s received from O’Neal over the years. 'They’re all equally insulting.' ... Riley joked to the assembled media at Monday’s event that they should wish O’Neal a happy Thanksgiving. And then he said he has moved past the friction that led to O’Neal’s trade to the Phoenix Suns in 2008. 'He’ll use anybody and say anything to market whatever it is he has to market,' the Heat president said. 'So right now he’s marketing his book.' "

  • Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee: "The quality of play in these charity games is pretty dreadful – and not worth the risks. Blow out a knee. Sprain an ankle. Fracture a cheekbone. Under normal circumstances, when a player sustains a significant injury during the offseason, he has access to the team's medical staff and some of the most advanced orthopedic care in the world. But that doesn't happen during a lockout. Players are locked out of team premises, barred from contacting team officials and, more importantly, precluded from consulting members of the medical staff. 'Do I worry about getting hurt?' DeMarcus Cousins repeated, pausing thoughtfully, after Sunday's Goon Squad exhibition at UC Davis. 'I fell last night while I was walking down the street. You can get hurt doing anything. You don't let yourself think about it.' It's probably time to think about it, which might explain the no-shows at these events and why the players at the Pavilion didn't get close enough to each another to catch a cold."

  • Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News: "Spurs guard Tony Parker is sounding more like a businessman the longer he stays with ASVEL Villeurbonne. Parker told Basketactu.com that he will remain playing with his French team for the rest of the season if the NBA is canceled because of the lockout. And he also plans to make a bid for French forward Boris Diaw if the lockout continues. Diaw hasn’t chosen to go overseas, but has hinted he might join Parker if the season is wiped out. Parker has been successful since beginning with his team. His team is playing in the 2011 Eurocup as he’s won MVP of the month and week since joining the team. As the lockout continues, Parker is becoming more engrossed with his French team. He will return to the Spurs as soon as the lockout ends, but it sounds like he’s busy with his own team."

  • Marcus Thompson II of The Oakland Tribune: "It is common practice for rookies -- especially first-rounders, millionaires-in-waiting -- to get a loan from their financial adviser. Some, like Thompson, however, don't want to accumulate debt. So he's 'living like a broke college student' while staying at home with his parents. Tyler is living with his brother in Cupertino. The hard part about the waiting, they say, is they have no idea when it will end. Eventually, they'll get paid, get to play on the big stage. Until then, their time is filled trying not to go insane. 'They need to work out,' Oakland-based agent Aaron Goodwin said. 'Take a class or two online. Do some work towards finishing their degree.' Both Warriors rookies said they work out daily. Preparing for camp, whenever it starts. Training for their debut, whenever it comes. Tyler, who's been training at Cal, said he is embracing the center position. He's trying to get in the best shape possible and work on his low-post game. Thompson trains at various spots in Southern California and plays pick-up with various NBA players in the area. Still, he acknowledged the monotony of it all. 'It's de-motivating,' Thompson said. 'Not knowing when the season is starting. Not knowing how long this will go on. We're doing the same thing every day. I'm not going to lie. It's hard to stay motivated.' "

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "Dwight Howard will not be playing in President Barack Obama's basketball-themed campaign fundraiser next month, after all. The online flyer for The Obama Classic Basketball Game on Dec. 12 in Washington, D.C., no longer lists Howard as one of the players 'confirmed to play.' Howard was listed on the same flyer over the weekend, and the Orlando Magic superstar himself indicated on Twitter on Saturday that he was going to play in the game."

  • Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "Andray Blatche may have missed out on his first NBA paycheck of the season last week – and might lose out on $6.4 million if the NBA lockout wipes out the 2011-12 campaign – but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to make Thanksgiving special for some families in need. Blatche plans to join Roger Mason Jr. and the National Basketball Players Association on Tuesday to hand out 100 turkeys on a first-come-first-serve basis at the Laurel Boys and Girls Club from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. I can’t do this, so I’ll give out some turkeys. (Alex Brandon - AP) Blatche has given away turkeys through his charity foundation in the past, but he rarely had the opportunity to connect with people since he was busy playing for the Wizards. But already this year, Blatche has given turkeys to single-parent mothers, breast cancer survivors and battered woman in his hometown of Syracuse, in South Carolina and Florida. He also volunteered over the weekend at a round-robin basketball challenge sponsored by the Maryland-National Capital Park Police."

  • Peter Vecsey of the New York Post: "One of the countless calamitous consequences of the negotiating impasse between NBA owners and players is the unavailability, because of the lockout, of game footage for anybody who might be facing a documentary deadline ... for example, Joyce Sharman. Forty seasons ago, her husband, Bill, guided the Lakers to professional sports’ longest winning streak, 33 straight. Joyce is co-producing the documentary. But the way things are going, by the time it’s finished it’s not going to be all that timely. Considering Bill Sharman is 85, and two stars from that team (Wilt Chamberlain, Happy Hairston) are deceased, while two others (LeRoy Ellis, Flynn Robinson) are battling cancer — and taking into account the team’s impressive imprint — you would think David Stern would have headed lickety-split to the appropriate location and personally unlocked the league’s film archives."

  • Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register: "Lamar Odom stood in front of his locker in Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center one night and did his best to explain to me what it is he feels he gets out of those Power Balance bracelets. Odom, a minority investor in the company that has its roots in Laguna Niguel in Orange County, now has to deal with word via the Sacramento Bee that Power Balance has declared bankruptcy and via TMZ that Power Balance is closing up shop after a $57 million class-action lawsuit settlement. ... UPDATE: Power Balance’s Jason Damata reached out to the New York Daily News to say the settlement was $1 million and the company isn’t going out of business but has filed for bankruptcy."

  • Tom Reed of The Plain Dealer: "The Cavaliers are losing one of their most valuable game-night contributors, a highlight maker whose work is respected throughout the NBA. Jonny Greco, the video production director renown for the team's pre-game introductions and spoofs, is leaving the organization to take a job with World Wrestling Entertainment. Greco, 32 and his staff have won three regional Emmys and three national industry-insider awards. Not a bad haul for someone who worked just seven seasons for The Q. Although fans might not know his name or face, almost any regular to The Q for Cavaliers or Lake Erie Monsters games would recognize his scoreboard productions that included mock interventions for Boston Celtics fans and Candid Camera parodies featuring 'Puff' Dog."

  • Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News: "Hip Hop is no more. Seeing as how there is no actual basketball to talk about during the NBA lockout, this qualifies as big Sixers news. After receiving hundreds of communications from fans, nearly all of them advocating the end of a symbol of a different era, the team's new ownership will announce today that the never-beloved mascot has been put out to pasture, literally. To spare the sensibilities of the one or two children who weren't scared to death by the rabbit, the team will say that Hip Hop fell in love, married and moved away to start a family. Apparently, it either was that or announce that they were going to boil him in a pot on a really big stove in a remake of 'Fatal Attraction.' ... The task of coming up with a replacement for Hip Hop will fall to two firms specializing in the business. One is Jim Henson's Creature Shop, which began as the workshop of the late creator of the Muppets. The other is Raymond Entertainment Group, whose founder is Dave Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic."