Michael Lee of The Washington Post: The Wizards’ have reached an agreement in principal with free agent swingman Martell Webster, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed. The deal – expected to be worth close to the league minimum for one year – could be signed as soon as Friday. Webster, the former sixth overall pick of the 2005, has established a reputation as a perimeter threat over his time with Portland and Minnesota but he struggled last season while recovering from two back surgeries. He averaged 6.9 points and 3.6 rebounds but shot a career-low 33.9 percent in 47 games, including 26 starts, for the Timberwolves.
Gerry Fraley and Barry Horn of The Dallas Morning News: On Mark Cuban blasting Jason Kidd on air: Fraley: “It sounded like his feelings got hurt a little bit. If you have a verbal agreement, you get it done. You don’t let the guy out of town. It sort of puts Kidd in a negative light too. It just sounded like his feelings got hurt a as much as anything.” Horn: “I don’t know if the Mavs are better off without (Deron) Williams, but they are better off without Kidd. This is not a team that needs an ancient point guard that can give you 10 minutes a night. Maybe the whole thing from start to finish was not handled properly.”
Tony Bizjak and Sam Stanton of The Sacramento Bee: The now annual Sacramento Kings question has lifted its dark head once again: Are they leaving or not? Perhaps even the Kings don't know. Team officials declined Thursday to respond to a published report in a Virginia paper that the teamwill join Comcast-Spectacor and Live Nation in pitching an arena proposal to Virginia Beach city officials next week. Citing anonymous sources, the Hampton Roads Business Journal said team owners are expected to be in Virginia on Tuesday when Comcast unveils an arena proposal. But a Kings representative, speaking on background because he was not authorized to comment, said team officials would not be in Virginia Beach when the City Council meets next week. ... Mayor Kevin Johnson and NBA officials said Thursday they have gotten no word of any Kings involvement in the Virginia Beach proposal. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the team has not filed an application for relocation to a new city.
Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News: The latest entry concerns the venerable Tim Duncan, sure-fire Hall of Famer and the cornerstone of the Spurs four championship teams. A simple question is posed: Is Tim Duncan still effective? ... It’s a legitimate query at this point of his career, especially when you look at numbers that illustrate not just what he does, but how he does it. My favorite Duncan stat of all, albeit one with less depth than you’ll find at sites like MSS and Hoopdata.com, is the simple comparison between his per-36 minute averages as a rookie and last season, his 15th in the NBA. Not even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s standard-bearer for longevity, can match those numbers. While the Captain’s scoring remained virtually identical from Year 1 to 15 (24.1 ppg per 36 to 23.6), his rebounding and free throw attempts dropped by roughly a third.
Robert MacLeod of the Globe and Mail: Jay Triano, former national team player and coach, was formally introduced as the new head coach of Canada's senior men's team on Thursday. "He qualified [as a player] in three Olympics, coached in one, coached in the NBA," said Steve Nash, the general manager of the men's program, not to mention the new point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. "So to be able to call one of our own and have a resume and qualifications that he has is pretty special." Nash was on hand for the news conference when the announcement of Triano's appointment was made at the Air Canada Centre. Triano said the goal is obvious. "With the dedication of Steve and the staff that we've brought in, I'm really looking forward to helping develop those players...so Canada just doesn't get to the Olympics once in a while, it becomes something that is consistent and something that is expected from Canadians," Triano said.
Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: As a “stretch 4,” Ryan Anderson led the league in 3s made and taken, and was voted as the NBA’s Most Improved Player. The Magic won’t have that long-ball option at the 6-10 Anderson’s size in this, the first of several rebuilding seasons. So the club will have no choice but to return to more of a traditional power forward unless little-used 6-10 Justin Harper can break out. He appeared to be working on his 3-point shot during the summer-league games while also showing that he had put on muscle. Newly acquired veteran Al Harrington, 6-9, might be the starting power forward if Hedo Turkoglu starts at small forward and Big Baby at center. Harrington can go outside as well as inside, but isn’t as proficient beyond the arc (101 of 303 last season for 33 perecent) the past few seasons. The other power forwards are veteran Josh McRoberts and two rookies, Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn.
Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald: The Heat did not immediately offer former Knicks center Josh Harrellson a contract after his workout for Miami on Thursday, but indicated that he's one of a few centers they're considering. Pat Riley was out of town and not at the workout. "Still looking for my opportunity somewhere," Harrellson tweeted Thursday evening. Harrellson's agent, Merle Scott, said: "It was a good workout, interesting for both sides. They are going to evaluate other situations they have and Josh is going to do the same. We are scheduled to talk again next week." ... The Heat previously made an inquiry about former Nuggets center Chris Anderson - as it did in July with Darko Milicic - but as of Thursday evening, had not made an offer or booked a visit with Anderson, who's very interested in Miami.
Tim Bontemps of the New York Post: Donte Greene will soon be the latest player to join the Nets, as their massive roster overhaul this summer continues. The 6-foot-11 forward tweeted, “HELLO BROOKLYN” along with a picture of the Nets logo inside the team’s facility in Brooklyn yesterday. That came shortly after Yahoo! Sports reported the Nets had agreed in principle with Greene. A league source said the deal will be non-guaranteed. Greene’s agent, Chris Luchey, told The Post it was premature to say a deal had been signed, but that all signs point to Greene officially joining the Nets in the near future.
Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times: He is a new guy on the Lakers, but [Antawn] Jamison's built a solid reputation beyond his consistent scoring and longevity. Various accounts say he's a positive locker room presence. The Lakers will have plenty of leadership from Bryant, Nash and Gasol. But it will be valuable for the reserves to have their own leader. Jamison will play mostly with the reserves and they'll need a go-to option. The rest of the reserves have a team-first mindset, including Blake, Ebanks, Jordan Hill and Jodie Meeks. But last season, the bench lacked an identity. Jamison would be a good model to follow because of his work ethic and positive attitude. ... The Lakers mainly like Jamison for his scoring. But his ability to play both forward spots add to his value. Injuries and matchup concerns could make it necessary for Jamison to play multiple positions in an array of lineup combinations. His team-first mentality and versatility make him suited for this role.
Ken Belson of The New York Times: The Knicks and the Rangers are on pace to sell out nearly all their available season tickets for this season after both teams qualified for the playoffs for the second straight year. More than 95 percent of Knicks season-ticket holders have renewed their plans during the off-season, while more than 90 percent of Rangers season-ticket holders have already done so, according to the teams. Last season, the Knicks’ renewals were over 90 percent and the Rangers’ more than 85 percent. The high renewal rates suggest that fans are willing to pay more if their teams are winning. The Knicks, who have sold out their season tickets the past two seasons, will increase prices by an average of 4.9 percent this year.
Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: Kim English, who was drafted in the second round in June, said Detroit reminds him of his hometown of Baltimore. “I love Detroit,” English said. “I love this area. It’s a lot like Baltimore and I feel kind of like home here. It’s a tough, blue collar city, just like where I’m from, so I just feel comfortable.” But English, 23, isn’t doing too much sight-seeing in his new city. He is busy getting ready for the start of training camp, which opens Oct. 1. He gets up daily for lifting sessions at the Pistons’ practice facility and is on the floor with teammates and the coaching staff by 10:30 a.m. That will be his routine with only the weekend of Sept. 8 off — that’s when he’ll go see his alma mater Missouri play the Georgia Bulldogs in the Tigers’ first SEC football game ever.
Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer: Cavaliers rookie Dion Waiters finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting by rookies for an NBA.com survey released on Thursday. Waiters earned 5.9 percent of the vote, while New Orleans rookie Anthony Davis, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, received 47.1 percent, followed by Damian Lillard of Portland at 17.6 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Charlotte and Thomas Robinson of Sacramento with 11.8 percent each. Waiters also tied for third with Houston's Royce White as best playmaker, a category won by Phoenix's Kendall Marshall with 45.7 percent. Waiters also got some votes as funniest player. Cavs rookie Tyler Zeller finished tied for third in voting for most overlooked, along with Jae Crowder and Jared Cunningham of Dallas, Kim English of Detroit and John Jenkins of Atlanta, each of whom got 5.9 percent of the vote. Draymond Green of Golden State, Perry Jones of Oklahoma City, Andrew Nicholson of Orlando and Tony Wroten of Memphis each got 8.8 percent of the vote.