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First Cup: Monday

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "Chris Duhon hadn't heard any feedback from his teammates about the NBA's tentative labor deal as of Sunday afternoon. But the Orlando Magic's representative to the National Basketball Players Association expects the league's players to ratify the agreement when it comes up for a vote. 'It's a deal that satisfies both sides,' Duhon said. 'Obviously, the owners wanted more than they were able to negotiate, and obviously we wanted more. But this is something that we'll both be satisfied with and will get us to be able to go out and work and start a new season.' Several of Duhon's teammates would not comment on the tentative agreement Sunday."

  • K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: "With full details of the pending labor agreement distributed to players and teams, the Tribune's report that Rose is in line for an increased maximum contract extension has been confirmed. By virtue of winning a Most Valuable Player award on his rookie contract, Rose 'is eligible to receive a maximum contract that provides for a starting salary of up to 30 percent of the salary cap.' With a salary cap expected near $58 million, Rose's extension will start at $17.4 million as opposed to $14.5 million under terms of the old CBA. With 7.5 percent raises, Rose is looking at a five-year deal worth between $100 and $101 million. That's roughly $17 million more over the life of the deal than he would've made."

  • Howard Beck of The New York Times: "There is, however, one minor caveat for the amnesty watchers and World Peace enthusiasts: most teams will not use the provision. 'I don’t think there will be very many at all,' said one team executive,who asked to remain anonymous while the lockout remains in effect. At most, three to six teams will take advantage of the amnesty clause this year, the executive said — a view that was echoed by others around the league. The reasons are varied and complicated. Some teams are so far above the cap that removing one player will not provide room to sign free agents. A few teams have such low payrolls that they would dip below the minimum-payroll requirements. At least 10 teams have no obvious candidates for amnesty. And many teams might simply hold onto their amnesty card for a future year. According to a draft of the rule, a team can use the provision in any off-season, subject to two restrictions: the player must have been signed before July 1, 2011, and must be on the team’s current roster. In other words, a team cannot sign or trade for a player now and apply for amnesty later. The provision is meant for past mistakes, not future cap calamities."

  • Israel Gutierrez of The Miami Herald: "The Heat never has been about waiting to get lucky. Riley and Arison always have been aggressive, leaving nothing out of play. Remember how ridiculous it sounded that the Lakers would take back Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and Butler for the most dominant big man in the game? Acquiring Nash, who’s in the last year of his contract with Phoenix, doesn’t sound so insane in comparison. Even when Riley has let Heat fans down, it wasn’t for lack of trying. He signed Eddie Jones and Grant, not knowing Mourning’s kidney illness would derail his title hopes, and as a result he was stuck with two players not capable of carrying a franchise. So don’t underestimate him this time, either. The Heat is not the defending champion at the moment. That means there’s still work to do. And Riley knows only one way to go about that. Think big."

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "An expected windfall for NBA contending teams in search of affordable talent could wind up short-circuited by the league's soon-to-be-approved collective-bargaining agreement. The Sun Sentinel confirmed Sunday that instead of players being released under the league's 'amnesty' provision going directly to the open market, a bidding system has been put in place for teams operating below the league's salary cap to add such players at a deep discount. 'That's what the clause is in there for,' a party familiar with the impending process Sunday told the Sun Sentinel. 'It's so the Lakers can't go in and scoop up all the players.' ... For teams currently operating well below the cap, such as the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards and New Orleans Hornets, it could provide a pennies-on-the-dollar windfall. 'This just makes it more attractive or appealing for a team to pick up a contract on waivers, because they're obviously not paying the whole thing, they're only going to be paying the part that they bid on,' another party involved in finalizing the process told the Sun Sentinel."

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: "How much would you pay to finally make Brandon Roy a Timberwolf? Or would you at all? Would you still be willing to take a chance on those bone-on-bone knees that have made him just a portion of the player he once was but still allowed him to wow for one quarter in last spring's playoffs? ... His knees might be 57, but the rest of him is only 27 and the kind of guy you'd want in your locker room (unless he fails to come to the realization that he's not the player he once was). If the Blazers indeed do release Roy -- owner Paul Allen certainly doesn't need the money, but it'd help him re-sign restricted free agent Greg Oden -- the Wolves at least will have an inside, informed opinion: New assistant coach Bill Bayno has seen both the old and the current Brandon Roy. Bayno, just hired away from the Blazers, has seen Roy play every night since Roy came into the league."

  • Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Judging by the comments of my blog people, Tweeps and the radio interview I did yesterday, Marvin Williams is the people’s choice to be waived under the amnesty clause. The move would reduce Atlanta’s salary commitments for 2011-12 from $65 million to about $57 million. Assuming the accounting down to the final cent comes to about that figure, Atlanta’s team salary would be just below the expected salary-cap level. That doesn’t do much for the Hawks. ... I suppose the Hawks could choose to use the amnesty provision on Hinrich. The drawback is that, unlike with Marvin, this would provide no tax/cap relief beyond 2012-13. Hinrich also figures to be a decent trade chip. I’d also add that, no matter what you think of Hinrich, his contributions wouldn’t be as easy to replace with a cheaper player. Same thing goes for Zaza, who is making less than the full MLE anyway. The bottom line: If ASG wants to add productive, veteran players, they are going to have to pay one way (luxury tax) or another (amnesty plus replacement salaries). The only question is how much do they want to pay."

  • Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: "The Grizzlies' first and major priority will be to re-sign restricted free agent Marc Gasol -- arguably the best center in franchise history. Memphis has already committed lucrative deals to Rudy Gay, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph. Locking up Gasol, entering his fourth season, is considered the final move toward solidifying the team's nucleus. But there doesn't seem to be any reason to fret about Gasol's signing. The Grizzlies can sign Gasol to a longer contract and pay him more money than any other team. Memphis also has the right to match any offer sheet Gasol signs with another team."

  • Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: "At first glance, it appears the Thunder is set. OKC has 13 players under contract, a rookie in 24th overall pick Reggie Jackson who'll soon make 14 and a key restricted free agent in Daequan Cook who'll bump the roster to the maximum 15 bodies if he is re-signed as expected. But let's not forget who's pulling the strings here. GM Sam Presti has proved to be a master monger. If Presti can't pluck a player through outright free agency, he's proven himself to be willing to barter for ballplayers."

  • Bob Kravitz of The Indianapolis Star: "The Pacers were in great shape heading into this offseason, and there's reason to believe they're in even better shape heading into this truncated, wild-and-wooly mini-offseason. If president Larry Bird and general manager David Morway have done their jobs, they should be able to take full advantage of the fact several big-dollar teams will be scrambling to get under the luxury tax. There will be bargains out there, and the Pacers, as one of the few teams with ample cap space, should be among those who seize this opportunity. A power forward? They're going to get one. (At least they'd better.) There's been a lot of talk about free agents such as David West, Nene and former Purdue star Carl Landry, but the move that makes the most sense is a trade to Utah for Jazz power forward Paul Millsap. The Jazz are top-heavy with power forwards and need to move somebody. Millsap would be a perfect fit, a rebounding wizard who averaged 17 points per game last year. And he's far more cap-friendly than any of those aforementioned free agents."

  • Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News: "Hamilton/Stuckey: Both have had their share of run-ins with former coach John Kuester, but it's likely both will take different paths before the season tips off. Hamilton's contract runs through 2012-13, and his remaining money (close to $21 million) makes him a prime candidate for the amnesty rule, should the Pistons choose to use it. It's also possible they'll explore trading him (again), and it's worth noting they've almost succeeded a couple of times over the past two seasons. Stuckey is a different case. Even with the drafting of Knight, it doesn't mean Stuckey's days in Detroit are numbered. He's 25, capable of playing both guard spots and a restricted free agent, which means the Pistons have three days to match any offer sheet he signs. Even if the Pistons didn't want Stuckey back — and they have given no indication that it's the case — he's also valuable via sign-and-trade. Stuckey likely will return with a modest contract increase — unless someone decides to overpay."

  • Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post: "Now that NBA 'if' questions have become 'when' questions, here's one for Front Range fans: When the season gets going, who will be the Nuggets' leading scorer? A logical suggestion would be Danilo Gallinari, who plans to return from his side job as a pro player in Italy in time for Nuggets camp Dec. 9. 'Gallo is entering his fourth year, and I think it's an opportunity for him to break out and emerge as a star player in the league,' said Gallinari's agent, Lee Melchionni of the Wasserman Media Group. ... 'When he initially signed in Milan (during the lockout), the team didn't want him to become the focal point, knowing that he would return to the NBA once the lockout had ended,' Melchionni said. 'But once the season started for them, he moved into the starting lineup. He's playing well. They won several Euroleague games. Gallo really has enjoyed not only being home with his family, but getting to play high-level basketball during the lockout.' "

  • Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: "By all accounts, the Celtics will look quite different when they arrive for training camp next autumn. And even if expiring contracts Allen and Garnett come back on short deals, the team will have to lean more on others. Yet as he bellies up to the season for last call, Allen is undeterred by the obstacles that face his club in the next few weeks and beyond regarding putting a proper group together. 'I’m not concerned,' Allen said. 'I have faith in the organization and in Danny. For the last four years he’s put together a team that could contend for the championship and be one of the best teams in the league.' Allen further figures the Celtics situation will be mitigated because they won’t be alone in the boat. 'It’s going to be league-wide,' he said. 'Every team is going to be facing the same problems or challenges.' "

  • Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: "Jazz center Enes Kanter is unsure when he'll move to Salt Lake City for the 2011-12 season. If the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) proposal is approved, training camp will begin Dec. 9. Kanter does not have a date set for his relocation, though, since the CBA still must be voted on by players and owners. The No. 3 overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft has recently spent time in Chicago and Los Angeles, training during the 150-day lockout."

  • Bob Cooney Philadelphia Daily News: "So now a hurried season - which for the Sixers includes new ownership, a new mascot and a lineup that still will feature Iguodala - should get under way in 28 days, ready or not. Complicating matters is the fact that the Sixers can't play a home game in the Wells Fargo Center until early January, due to the Disney on Ice show that annually invades the arena during the holidays, along with a Duke-Temple basketball game and a Flyers game. So expect the Sixers to be playing out of their suitcases for the first five or six games of the season. The original schedule had the Sixers on the West Coast during the holidays. Whether that's where they'll start when the new schedule comes out is a big topic."