First Cup: Monday

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: The Timberwolves on Sunday finally, officially extended that supersized $45.5 million offer sheet to restricted free agent Nicolas Batum. Portland now has three days to answer simply with the formality of matching it. ... A Wolves representative delivered the offer sheet to Trail Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey in Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon, a seemingly civil act in a relationship between two franchises that appears to have grown catty, if not outright contentious, over time. It's a history that, at least for the Blazers and their powerful owner Paul Allen, might pre-date the David Kahn era in Minnesota. The Wolves received permission to talk with Portland assistant GM Tom Penn late during their search for a general manager to replace Kevin McHale in the spring of 2009. At the time, the Wolves thought they might have found their man. In retrospect, Penn's agent orchestrated the visit to play Allen for raises for clients Penn and Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard, a power play that probably contributed to both men's dismissals when Allen eventually discovered he had been duped. Kajillionaires don't like to be duped, even if the Wolves only played unknowing pawns in the game. The same day after Penn withdrew from consideration for the Minnesota job, the Wolves renewed discussions with Kahn and hired him a few days later.

  • Joe Freeman of The Oregonian: After endless streams of Nicolas Batum drama, free agency speculation and coaching search curiosity, there was a welcome summer sight Sunday night: A Trail Blazers basketball game. And after a miserable first half that may have had fans wishing for a return to the tiresome offseason scuttlebutt, the Blazers eventually provided a nice reprieve, defeating the New Orleans Hornets 85-82 in their summer league opener. Meyers Leonard had a promising outing, Luke Babbitt continued to show growth and Wesley Matthews was in midseason form during a brief stint as the Blazers came back from a double-digit deficit to beat the Hornets at the Thomas & Mack Center. But the highlight of it all was the play of Damian Lillard, the rookie who general manager Neil Olshey has dubbed the Blazers' "franchise point guard." Lillard started the day with teammates serenading him with the "Happy Birthday" song at the Blazers' morning shootaround on his 22nd birthday. It ended with a 25-point, four-assist, four-rebound performance that backed up all the hype.

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: So, Jeremy Lin. What have you been up to since you left Houston? Must have played some basketball since the Rockets are hoping to get the right to pay you $25.1 million in the next three seasons. Still, it is far from that simple. Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, speaking atthe Team USA practice in Washington, called that contract “ridiculous.” J.R. Smith told SI.com that he could foresee issues with teammates when Lin is pulling down $14.8 million in 2014-15. The Knicks would surely point out that Anthony and Smith do not speak for the organization. But so far, they are the only employees speaking at all, which might have spoken volumes. ... The Knicks are certain to use every minute to make their decision official. After spending much of Friday and Saturday dodging the Rockets efforts to deliver Lin’s offer sheet – the summer version of Linsanity – they are disputing the Rockets’ and Players Association position that the Knicks have until 10:59 p.m. Tuesday to either match the offer sheet or let Lin walk, a person with knowledge of the process said. An NBA spokesman said the league will leave it to the teams to divulge the deadline for the Knicks to act, but it seems certain that the Kicks will make the Rockets wait until the midnight hour.

  • Staff of the New York Daily News: Want Jeremy Lin to stay with the Knicks? You may have to go on lin, er, on line. Created by someone called "I Am Linsane," there’s an Internet petition designed to convince James Dolan to match the Rockets’ “ridiculous” offer. “Jeremy Lin is the best thing that has happened to New York Knicks basketball in the last 20 years,” Linsane writes at www.change.org. “With Jeremy Lin as the team’s leader, the team won. Don’t let Jeremy Lin go — match the Rockets’ offer.” As of Sunday night, the petition had gotten a little over 1,000 signatures. Linsane was hoping for 100,000. Lin became expendable when the Knicks traded for Raymond Felton late Saturday night. The other issue is Lin’s backloaded offer from the Rockets, which would pay him $14.9 million for the 2014-15 season, a number that would force the to Knicks to pay $30 million in luxury tax.

  • Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: Besides basketball games, the NBA summer league turns this city into the hot spot for NBA transactions. ... Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie is keeping tabs on all the chatter. "You get a sense of the landscape and what other things might flow from that," Petrie said Sunday after the Kings scrimmaged the Memphis Grizzlies at Spring Valley High School. "It's always interesting to see how things play out, and there's still some big decisions that some of these teams are going to have to make over the next week or so." ... While some of the more prominent free agents have already signed new deals, Petrie believes there are still players who can help the Kings.

  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: Jacque Vaughn emerged from behind the curtain that served as the visitors’ locker room door at Cox Pavilion on Sunday, all teeth and all smiles. He had just guided the Spurs to an 82-76 victory over Atlanta in their NBA Summer League opener, a winner in his de facto head-coaching debut. Offered congratulations, Vaughn — the former Spurs point guard-turned-hot Gregg Popovich assistant du jour — could only laugh. “I’ve got shorts on,” Vaughn said. “It doesn’t count.” Someday soon, perhaps as soon as October, Vaughn might be wearing David Stern-approved attire and presiding over timeout huddles in a game that does. According to multiple reports, Indiana assistant Brian Shaw and Golden State aide Michael Malone have been crossed off the list of candidates for the coaching job in Orlando. That leaves the 37-year-old Vaughn, three seasons retired from backing up Tony Parker, as one of the leading applicants to fill Stan Van Gundy’s old chair with the Magic. Others remaining in the hunt include Utah assistant Jeff Hornacek, Chicago assistant Lindsay Hunter and Philadelphia aide Michael Curry, a former head coach in Detroit.

  • Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald: The new hot topic among Bulls fans is O.J. Mayo. The Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard is an unrestricted free agent, and the Bulls have interest. The big question is what they have to offer. The main competition appears to be Phoenix, which has about $8 million-$9 million of salary-cap room after New Orleans matched the Suns’ offer sheet to Eric Gordon. Complete details of the Kirk Hinrich acquisition and Kyle Korver trade to Atlanta have yet to be revealed, but those transactions should help the Bulls in the Mayo chase. If the Bulls get a second-round draft pick out of the Korver trade, they’ll have a traded-player exception worth $5 million. To use that on Mayo, they’d have to talk the Grizzlies into doing a sign-and-trade and send some sort of draft pick and/or cash in return.

  • Rayn Wolstat of the Toronto Sun: Bryan Colangelo is taking heat in some corners for inking Landry Fields to a three-year, $19 million U.S. contract given that Fields is coming off of a terrible season. However, the Raptors general manager is confident Fields will make his team better and return to the strong form he flashed as a rookie. Fields officially became a Raptor early Sunday morning, when the New York Knicks declined to match Toronto’s offer sheet. “He’s going to bring a lot to the table in terms of basketball IQ, athleticism. He plays both sides of the ball very well. We think in the flow of our team’s offence he’s going to be an efficient scorer, we feel he’s going to be a vital part of our defensive system,” Colangelo said on Sunday, before a summer league contest. The GM believes Fields will bring positive intangibles, as well as skills on the court.

  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: The Charlotte Bobcats chose to sit rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on Sunday night vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers to rest a sore left knee. The injury is not considered serious. In fact, Kidd-Gilchrist wasn’t scratched until tip-off of the Bobcats’ second game in the Las Vegas summer league. Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 2 overall pick, Hirt himself Friday in the victory over the Sacramento Kings. He sat out part of Saturday’s practice. The Bobcats came back from a 12-point deficit to beat the Cavs 68-64. They shot just 30 percent but forced 24 Cleveland turnovers to win it. “We’re trying to set a tone of defense first. Mission accomplished,” said coach Mike Dunlap. Asked about holding out Kidd-Gilchrist, Dunlap said, “He wanted to play. We’ve got to stay smart (in protecting) Michael.”

  • Tariq Lee of The Arizona Republic: Suns first-round pick Kendall Marshall stood next to teammates on the court as the National Anthem blared from the Cox Pavilion loud speakers in Las Vegas on Sunday. He sat on the bench cheering on teammates after they hit big shots, directly in the middle of coaching staff, next to Suns assistant coach Noel Gillespie, who talked to him constantly throughout the game. He just never entered Sunday's 99-84 victory over the New York Knicks. "I guess they didn't have his contract completely done yet. We expect him any day," Suns assistant coach and summer league head coach Dan Majerle said. "Hopefully tomorrow so he can play. It's a contract thing. He's been practicing with us, so hopefully next game he will be able to play." ... After the game, Marshall let go this tweet under the Twitter handle "KButter5": "Great team win! Business stuff sorted out, definitely playing in the game."

  • Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer: After the season, Cavaliers coach Byron Scott and forward Samardo Samuels had a conversation. Coach and player had not always been on the same page throughout the year, starting with Samuels' conditioning after the lockout and then his inconsistency playing the pivot when Anderson Varejao was lost for the season with a broken right wrist. Scott denied that he laid into Samuels. "I just told him the truth," the coach said. The truth was Samuels was squandering an opportunity at an NBA career. Given the Cavs' makeup, there were minutes available in the post, but Samuels had to do a lot of work to claim them. It appears he has. After losing 18 pounds and cutting his body fat from 13 percent to 9, the forward looks quicker and more explosive with the Cavs' summer league team. He has turned heads on the coaching staff, much to Scott's delight.

  • Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News: The Sixers’ Xavier Silas had successful facial surgery Saturday to fuse several sinus fractures after he was injured in Friday’s summer league finale in Orlando. Silas took an elbow to the head from teammate Solo Jones and also suffered a concussion. He went up to block a shot and was hit. He fell into a row of chairs courtside. A spokesman said he had no further information on Silas’ status. In a text message to teammate Evan Turner that Turner posted Sunday on Twitter, Silas wrote, “Feel better. Meds just having me sleeping a lot. Tell them I’m feeling stronger already. Tell em the young snake said that.”