First Cup: Tuesday

  • Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News: The revamping Mavericks agreed to contract terms Monday night with free agent guard O.J. Mayo, the third pick of the 2008 draft. Mayo, 24, tweeted the news at about 10:30 p.m., saying “I will be signing with Dallas!” Moments later, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tweeted, “Welcome to the family OJ. We are fired up !!” All of the Mavericks’ summer acquisitions had been one-year agreements, but a source said that Mayo will get a two-year contract, with a player option for the second season. Mayo has averaged 15.2 points during his four NBA seasons, all with Memphis.

  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: Charlottean Antawn Jamison has chosen the Los Angeles Lakers over his hometown Bobcats, the Observer has learned. Jamison, who starred at Providence High and North Carolina, gave serious consideration to finishing his NBA career as a Bobcat. But late Monday he decided to sign with the Lakers for a chance to pursue a championship, an informed source told the Observer. Jamison is on vacation in Europe. He’s expected to sign with the Lakers once he returns to the United States later this week.

  • Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times: On the day Blake Griffin had arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, Chauncey Billups held a news conference at the Clippers' training facility Monday to explain why hewanted to remain with the team. The Clippers also made contact with free-agent forward Grant Hill, who appeared less likely to join the Lakers despite conversations with Kobe Bryant and Coach Mike Brown. ... Billups had drawn interest from other teams but said re-signing with the Clippers, for one year and $4.3 million, had been "Plan A" all along — though he acknowledged it was something he wouldn't have considered before he was acquired by L.A. after the New York Knicks used their one-time amnesty provision to waive him last December. "I said all along, I wanted to be back here," Billups said. "I see something special with what we have and I want to milk it."

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: Lin’s value as a marketing force, tapping into either the vast Asian community in New York or the Rockets ties from the Yao Ming years, can add to his value, the executive said, but the basketball considerations must come first. “I think Jeremy has proven that he’s a starter in the league,” the executive said. “In the right situation, with the right coach, the right spacing, you have to account for his production in the paint. I think Houston will use him in the right way. If nothing happens with injury or something like that, he can be a good player. I’m sure at some level the Asian market factored into Houston’s decision. It’s probably ancillary. He has to stand on his basketball merit. Once they make the basketball evaluation, the branding evaluation will be helpful in finding the right contract number. They did well.” They will soon find out if they did well enough. Then Lin will get his chance to show what remains when the hysteria is removed.

  • Marcus Thompson II of The Oakland Tribune: By no means is Lin the perfect player. Nor do I think he’s the difference between a title or no. But matching his contract far outweighs not. If they let Lin walk, not only will they get nothing for one of the greatest finds in team history, but they will lose out on and off the court. They have three years to figure out what to do with that third year. In the meantime, they get a pretty valuable asset for $5 million a year. The only reason not to match him is the third-year money, and since when did the Knicks care about that?

  • Howard Beck of The New York Times: Lin electrified Madison Square Garden and became a global star in February when he seized the Knicks’ point guard job and sparked a seven-game winning streak, saving their season. His made-for-Broadway story was irresistible: Harvard-educated. Undrafted. Overlooked. Waived twice. The son of Taiwanese immigrants. An Asian-American in a league with no others. Lin’s No. 17 jersey became a top seller in days. “Linsanity” T-shirts flew off the racks at local sporting-good stores. Sports Illustrated put him on back-to-back covers. “Saturday Night Live” devoted skits to him. Restaurants named sandwiches and shakes after him. Creating Lin puns became a sport unto itself. But Knicks fans are a tormented, anxious lot, scarred by years of bad basketball, bloated payrolls and underachieving players. The thought of devoting $25 million to a virtual rookie with a 26-game résumé strikes some fans as less than sane. Others cannot bear to see Lin leave, no matter the cost.

  • Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: For those who want to pass blame for Jimmer Fredette's up-and-down play as a rookie and to start summer league on coaches, teammates and other conspiracies, you might want to read what Fredette said after Monday's summer league game. "My mindset I wasn't being myself," Fredette said. "I wasn't being as aggressive as I should have been, passed up some shots and everything just trying to fit in." Fredette's job isn't to fit in. He needs to shoot. He needs to look for his offense. Fredette did that in scoring 30 points in the Kings loss to the Houston Rockets. Fredette playing in the summer league like BYU Jimmer (as I like to call him after games like today's) came after the news the Kings would be signing free agent point guard Aaron Brooks. Brooks happens to play Fredette's position and threatens to keep Fredette buried on the bench. "I didn't even know until barely before the game," Fredette said of Brooks news. "That had nothing to do with it."

  • John Reid of The Times-Picayune: New Orleans Hornets rookies Austin Rivers and Darius Miller came into Monday night’s summer league game driven to give the kind of performance they enjoyed in college. Both struggled in their NBA debuts on Sunday night, with Rivers making only 3-of-13 shots from the field and Miller finishing with just three points against the Portland Trail Blazers. In Monday night’s 76-68 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at the Thomas & Mack Center, Miller successfully took a step forward while Rivers had difficulty again executing exclusively as a point guard. . ...But Rivers, the Hornets’ 10th overall pick in last month draft, couldn’t establish his shooting rhythm. Instead of beating defenders off the dribble, he tried to go through them. He fell hard to the floor several times. In the first quarter it appeared Rivers injured his left elbow after a collision on the baseline. After a timeout, Rivers quickly re-entered but he never got going offensively.``I played bad,’’ said Rivers, who made four of eight free throws. ``I didn’t make too many shots. But I just got to keep being aggressive and keep moving forward. It’s a learning curve right now.’’

  • Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: This is a column that should probably be written with great care. The ingredients should be properly measured and the claims not overstated . . . because we may have to eat this thing one day. Fab Melo could turn out to be the steal of the 2012 NBA draft. At this precise moment, the Celtics 7-footer is still frighteningly raw, steak tartare raw, but seeing him up close, it is hard to ignore the physical elements and the flashes of true basketball understanding that one doesn’t generally see in a 22-year-old who’s been playing the game a half-dozen years. People have been talking more of Jared Sullinger, who came one pick ahead of Melo at No. 21, as the best potential slider, and they could well be right. But Melo is downright intriguing.

  • K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: The Bulls' three-day clock to match Omer Asik's three-year, $25.1 million contract doesn't begin until general manager Gar Forman receives the paperwork from the Rockets. Most involved in the situation expect that to happen Wednesday in Las Vegas after the Rockets hear back from the Knicks on Jeremy Lin's offer sheet. If the Bulls match on Asik, they will enter luxury tax territory for the first time. They are expected to pursue minimum-salary-type big man like local product Nazr Mohammed if they don't match.

  • Ray Richardson of the Pioneer Press: As of Monday night, July 16, Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey had not changed his mind about matching the Timberwolves' four-year, $46.5 million offer sheet to forward Nicolas Batum. If Olshey holds firm and matches the offer by Wednesday night's 11:59 p.m. deadline, the Wolves will have to put Plan B in action and shift focus to other free agents at the shooting guard-small forward positions. Knowing Olshey's intentions, the plan already might be in place. During a conference call with reporters Friday, Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn eyed the positive if Batum stays with Portland. "It would leave us significant room under the cap to pursue other players," Kahn said.

  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: After dumping one player who didn’t fit into plans to create a bit of financial and roster flexibility, the Raptors are about to sign a vital piece of their future. Jonas Valanciunas, the 20-year-old Lithuanian centre who is seen as a key cog in the roster’s improvement, should be officially signed, sealed and delivered in the next couple of days. Sources say the letter of clearance — a formality to get Valanciunas to the NBA — has been received by the league, one of the final steps necessary before the 7-footer can sign his contract. The No. 5 pick in the 2011 NBA draft is currently with the Lithuanian national team preparing for the London Olympics.

  • Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: A group advising Robert Pera through the process of his bid to buy the Grizzlies will be in town this week to meet with team and business leaders, The Commercial Appeal has learned. At least three people in Pera's inner circle plan to spend the next several days meeting with Griz executives, the team's recently formed advisory board and prominent Memphians in the business community, according to sources with knowledge of the trip but who were not authorized to speak publicly. Pera will not travel to Memphis this week. The Grizzlies' 34-year-old prospective owner is said to be out of the country due to business with his company, Ubiquiti Networks.

  • Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal: Free-agent point guard Jonny Flynn worked out with for the Cavaliers on Monday, and there remains strong interest on both sides. Flynn has battled hip injuries in the past, but is healthy now and making a tour of NBA camps. He has already worked out for the Cavs, Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks and has more teams on the schedule. He isn’t close to making a decision, according to a source close to Flynn. The Cavs have held internal debates about whether or not it’s necessary to sign another point guard. Kyrie Irving and Donald Sloan are the only pure point guards on the roster, and Sloan is on a non-guaranteed contract. Dion Waiters can certainly run the offense and Daniel Gibson, when healthy, can handle the point guard role in an emergency. But coach Byron Scott said he’d feel more comfortable with another true point guard, particularly in case Irving gets injured again.

  • Langston Wertz Jr. of The Charlotte Observer: Since having ankle surgery in April, NBA star Stephen Curry has spent considerable time working on his game and body. His muscular arms and back are evidence of how much he has worked. He doesn’t much resemble the skinny kid who thrilled fans at Charlotte Christian and Davidson. Still months away from the start of NBA training camp in October, Curry, the Golden State Warriors’ starting point guard, spends many mornings at Accelerate Basketball, a training facility for youth, college and professional athletes. ... “It’s crazy stuff, but it helps a lot keeping my body in shape and keep my fundamentals and motor skills at a high level when it comes to basketball, without a lot of stress on my ankle,” Curry said. “It’s very different, some of the ways they stay above the curve with the different technologies they’ve found.”

  • Jason Quick of The Oregonian: Before leaving for Las Vegas, where 23 NBA teams are assembled for Summer League action that ends Saturday, Neil Olshey said he is looking for a “teacher” and a “motivator” in the next Blazers coach. The initial pool of candidates is large -- bigger than the seven to 10 he estimated it would be last week -- and the majority are assistants on NBA teams. On Monday, Olshey interviewed Golden State assistant Michael Malone, Chicago assistant Adrian Griffin and former Orlando assistant Steve Clifford as well as Phoenix assistant Elston Turner. Atlanta assistant and former Oregon State standout Lester Conner also interviewed. Up next for Olshey will be Indiana assistant Brian Shaw, Memphis assistant David Joerger, and former Orlando assistant Patrick Ewing. San Antonio assistant Mike Budenholzer and former Knicks assistant Phil Weber also are expected to get interviews. On Sunday, Olshey interviewed Miami assistant David Fizdale, but Fizdale on Monday said he has withdrawn because he wants to stay in Miami and get more seasoning under Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra and Ron Rothstein.

  • Michael Lee of The Washington Post: Barring a last minute trade, the Wizards are becoming more inclined to designate forward Andray Blatche as their amnesty player, according to source with knowledge of the situation. The Wizards continue to seek a trade partner for Blatche, who has spent his entire seven-year career in Washington, but that remains an unlikely scenario with Tuesday’s deadline looming. By using the one-time amnesty provision on Blatche, the Wizards would remove the $23-million remaining on his contract from the salary cap. Blatche would still receive all of his money and become a free agent unless a team under the salary cap claims him on waivers.

  • Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: The Pacers roster for the start of the 2012-13 season is set barring a trade. With that said, there’s been a lot of questions about what the rotation will look like next season. The starters are set. The same can be said about backup point guard, power forward, small forward and center. Backup shooting guard is up in the air unless coach Frank Vogel plans to go with a three-man rotation with Paul George, Danny Granger and Gerald Green like he did with George, Granger and Leandro Barbosa last season. Vogel will likely give Lance Stephenson a shot at backing up George at shooting guard.

  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: Late last week, James Anderson arrived here in the desert, where it is always hot as Hades, feeling as if he’d landed in purgatory. Anderson is a member of the Spurs’ Summer League squad, but not a member of the Spurs. He is an unrestricted free agent, auditioning for his next job while still wearing the uniform of the team that cut him loose. “I just came out here to show what I can do,” said Anderson, a 23-year-old shooting guard preparing for his third NBA season. “All the coaches are here. They’ll see what you can do on both ends.” It is a situation Anderson could not have envisioned two summers ago, when the Spurs made him the 20th overall pick out of Oklahoma State. At the time, Anderson was the team’s highest draft choice since Tim Duncan in 1997. The reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, Anderson was a scoring star with exciting potential and a promising future in the organization. Two years later, Anderson’s most likely future is elsewhere.