First Cup: Tuesday

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: With center Marcus Camby choosing to return to New York, the Rockets agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with the Knicks on Monday, acquiring guard Toney Douglas, forward Josh Harrellson and center Jerome Jordan, along with second-round picks in 2014 and 2015, a person with knowledge of the deal confirmed Monday night. The Rockets plan to keep Douglas, 26, a 6-2 combo guard who would help bolster their depleted roster at that position. Plans for Harrellson and Jordan are undetermined. Camby hoped to return to the Rockets, but with the team’s being unable to keep Goran Dragic, dealing Kyle Lowry, and retooling to become much younger, Camby and the team worked on a sign-and-trade in which the Rockets would pick up assets and he could sign a contract worth $13.2 million over three years. With the deal, the Rockets have six players with non-guaranteed contracts, potentially giving them assets to facilitate potential trades.

  • Nate Taylor of The New York Times: The Knicks made two moves Monday to build their roster in hopes of contending for an N.B.A. title. They acquired 38-year-old Marcus Camby in a sign-and-trade deal with the Houston Rockets, with Camby agreeing to a three-year, $13.2 million contract, $10 million of which is guaranteed. The Rockets will receive Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan and second-round picks in 2014 and 2015. The Knicks also sent the Rockets $2 million. The deal came hours after the Knicks re-signed Steve Novak to a $15 million guaranteed, four-year deal. Both Camby and Novak will sign their contracts when the N.B.A. lifts its signings moratorium at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. ... In the end, Camby felt most comfortable with Knicks management. “Glen Grunwald and Allan played a big role,” the person briefed on the negotiations said. The Knicks will use Camby to back up Tyson Chandler, who was the defensive player of the year last season. Before the deal was struck, Chandler said he would welcome Camby if he came to the Knicks. “I need a backup, and I think he would be great in that position,” Chandler said Monday. “He’ll be a great addition who can rebound and still finish around the basket.”

  • Howard Beck of The New York Times: Deal or no deal, a seismic shift has already occurred. Other than Stephon Marbury — who simply wanted to be closer to home — no N.B.A. star ever demanded a trade to East Rutherford. Elite players now view the Nets as legitimate, and Brooklyn as desirable — on par with the glamour teams inLos Angeles, Miami, Chicago and, yes, Manhattan. “Brooklyn is going to be huge,” Deron Williams, a member of the United States national team, said before Monday’s practice at U.N.L.V. “It definitely factored into my decision, starting a franchise in a place that hasn’t had a franchise since the ’50s, a city that wants basketball there.” ... Williams was asked if this conversation would be happening at all if the Nets were still in Newark, or East Rutherford. He shook his head — three times, four times, five times, without saying a word. Even at their apex — when Jason Kidd led the franchise to back-to-back finals in 2001 and 2002 — the Nets were never on par with the Knicks in the public consciousness or in the minds of marketing-conscious players. The Nets were 10 miles from Midtown, but they might as well have been playing in Mayberry. The big-city lights will be shared now. And the Nets, with or without Howard, are poised to challenge the Knicks’ supremacy on the court and in the boroughs.

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: No trade can be made official until Wednesday, the day the NBA's moratorium period on player transactions ends. But if a deal does occur, it has the potential to become the most unpopular trade in Magic history, even though team officials knew going into this month that they would not receive equal value for Howard. Magic fans on Monday lit up Internet message boards and Twitter. Many of them wrote it would be a mistake to tie up too much money in a long-term deal for Lopez, a potential injury risk who often struggles on defense and as a rebounder. In addition, any first-round draft picks that would come directly from the Nets would almost certainly be in the mid- to upper-20s in future drafts because Brooklyn would become an Eastern Conference contender with a trio of Howard, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

  • Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Hawks have engaged the Magic in trade talks involving Howard, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. That person did not want to be identified because the teams involved have not discussed the negotiations publicly. The Hawks could offer Orlando better players than the Nets. But Atlanta could run the risk of trading away valuable assets only to lose Howard in free agency when his contract expires after next season. Howard has given no indication he's willing to commit beyond next season to any team other than Brooklyn. He recently told Yahoo Sports that if a team other than the Nets acquired him, he planned to play out his contract and become a free agent next summer. That makes dealing for Howard potentially risky for all teams but Brooklyn

  • Bob Kravitz of The Indianapolis Star: Roy Hibbert’s return is not official yet, but it will be in due time. The Indiana Pacers will match the Portland Trail Blazers’ free agent offer sheet, according to my amigo, Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star. Is it just me, or was this the all-time no brainer? It amazes me this was even a question in the Pacers’ front office, which makes me a little leery of the current administration in charge of the NBA franchise. Look, the Pacers are never going to be a major player for free agents. They were fortunate they landed power forward David West last summer, but by and large, the Deron Williamses of the world have no taste for glitter-challenged Indianapolis. They want to go to New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. And Indiana will always be limited by payroll restrictions, especially as they continue to struggle at the gate. The point being, they have to keep their own good players. Point guard George Hill will soon be signed, sealed and delivered. In time, Hibbert will be, too.

  • Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: When word began to leak Monday that Spurs guard Danny Green had agreed to terms of the first guaranteed, long-term contract of his NBA career, his cell phone blew up with calls that interrupted the very reason he was offered such security. “I’m at the gym, trying to work out,” Green said when another phone call imposed. “Got to get stronger and sharpen my skills.” Bill Duffy, the agent for the hard-working 25-year-old swingman, confirmed Monday that Green will sign a contract with the Spurs worth $12 million, fully guaranteed, over a three-year span. His first opportunity to sign the deal will be Wednesday, when the NBA-imposed ban on free-agent signings is lifted. The three-year veteran and former North Carolina Tar Heel played last season for the veteran’s minimum of $854,389, prorated for the lockout-shortened season. “I’m very excited,” Green said. “The Spurs are really the only team I’d like to be with. Now I don’t have to worry about non-guarantees, and it’s a lot more money than I’ve played for before.”

  • Jason Quick of The Oregonian: Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey said he will begin interviewing head coach candidates later this week at the Las Vegas Summer League. “We have vetted all the candidates, and we have our list,’’ Olshey said. "I will have some clarity at the end of the week in terms of names that will be on the interview list. Right now, I plan on conducting interviews in Vegas. It’s the atmosphere most conducive to a search. we can see almost all the guys, who are on staffs, so we can bang through it pretty quickly and efficiently.’’ ... Although Olshey did not offer names, if he goes the route of choosing an assistant, he is expected to consider Indiana's Brian Shaw, Golden State's Michael Malone, Miami's David Fizdale, Oklahoma City's Rex Kalamian, San Antonio's Mike Budenholzer and Memphis' Dave Joerger. Blazers assistant Kaleb Canales, who went 8-15 as interim coach last season after Nate McMillan was fired, is also expected to be a candidate.

  • Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: When the NBA free agent period began July 1, the Grizzlies raced toward well-known and highly productive guards — with a $5 million mid-level exception in tow — only to be met by stop signs at every turn. Memphis moved through the moratorium period unable to pick up commitments from any free agents other than its own. Verbal agreements between teams and proposed trades can be consummated at 11:01 p.m. CDT Tuesday, yet the Grizzlies' approach will be a downshift from the start of free agency. However, general manager Chris Wallace remains confident that the Griz will satisfy their goals of adding a shooter and backup point guard. ... Snubbed by Allen and Terry, and unable to get an audience with several other established players, the Grizzlies' road in free agency has narrowed with guards Willie Green, Jodie Meeks and Jordan Farmar now in their sights, according to sources.

  • Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee: On Monday, Colangelo learned Cousins won't bare fangs when you tell him to calm down. "Everything's cool," Colangelo said when reached later in the day. "He wanted an explanation. I was trying to be more encouraging than anything else." The USA Basketball czar also admitted he felt ill when asked about Cousins in the late-afternoon teleconference Saturday and Monday still didn't feel good. So let's just assume the famously poised and polished basketball executive had a bad day. It happens even to those of us who don't spend our waking hours dreading and conspiring against another bronze medal and 2004 Athens Games. Nonetheless, while there was virtually no chance Cousins was going to be added to an experienced, athletic but undersized roster – that reputation thing again – in yet another dramatic Kings-Lakers twist, Kobe Bryant unintentionally stoked the debate by lobbying Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski for Cousins' inclusion. ... So who's uncomfortable now? It's definitely not Cousins. When he sat and discussed the matter with a handful of reporters after practice, a backpack slung around his massive shoulders, he was impassioned and thoughtful, insightful and honest, and intent on finishing with a positive spin.

  • Michael Lee of The Washington Post: John Wall is in Las Vegas hoping that the opportunity to compete against elite point guards such as Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams would help him elevate his game. Wall, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving and Philadelphia 76ers point Jrue Holiday are the players who have been assigned to help the U.S. prepare for the London Olympics by running offensive sets from other international teams. The experience has been part humbling and enlightening for Wall, with the level of play exceeding what he has faced in regular season games. Wall admitted that he struggled in the first scrimmages, with the overly-aggressive Olympic team smothering him every time he touched the ball. ... Scrimmages have been closed to reporters, but some observers of the practices said that Wall has encountered some initial problems getting the team into sets and still needs to improve his jump shot. But Colangelo and Triano both said Wall has improved with each scrimmage.