<
>

First Cup: Wednesday

  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald: Dwyane Wade, appearing on The View Tuesday as part of his promotional tour for his new book on fatherhood, said his surgically-repaired knee is “OK” and “ahead of schedule.” He has said he will be ready for the Oct. 30 opener.… Wade told a Houston radio station: “I won’t say the Lakers are the favorite. On paper, they look great. But you can’t discredit what teams have done and the chemistry teams have built.” In his interview on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on CBS tonight (taped early-evening today), Wade talks mostly about fatherhood and said his knee is "good to go." Letterman asked him about Jeremy Lin ("quickest jump to celebrity I've ever seen in my life," Wade said) and the Nets' move to Brooklyn (a question which wasn't interesting when Letterman asked the same thing to LeBron James two months ago). Does Letterman know of no other NBA questions to ask? Erik Spoelstra told WQAM's Jorge Sedano on Tuesday that he wants to play at an even faster tempo this season.

  • Dan Woike of The Orange County Register: The Clippers made the inevitable official Tuesday, announcing Gary Sacks as Neil Olshey’s replacement as vice president of basketball operations. Olshey left the Clippers in the offseason to become the general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers. Working without a “general manager,” though that’s not the official title, Sacks, team president Andy Roeser and head coach Vinny Del Negro took the reigns for what was a very active offseason. The Clippers were able to sign star forward Blake Griffin to a long-term contract extension and re-sign veteran guard Chauncey Billups. The team acquired forward Lamar Odom, guard Willie Green and center Ronny Turiaf via trades and signed shooting guard Jamal Crawford and center Ryan Hollins in free agency. “I’m excited to take on this new role with the organization,” Sacks said in a released statement. “We have a very strong roster with great depth of talent. I look forward to helping to build on the success we had last season. I am very excited to see how far we can go this year, plus we are well-positioned for the future.” Sacks is starting his 19th season with the franchise. “Gary has been a valuable and loyal member of our organization for the past 18 years,” Roeser said in a statement

  • Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: At no point leading up to this summer's crucial free agency period was Brooklyn coach Avery Johnson comfortable enough to believe that point guard Deron Williams was a lock to re-sign with the Nets. Williams grew up in the Dallas suburb ofThe Colony and narrowed his free agent choices to the Dallas Mavericks and the Nets. Eventually, Williams signed a five-year, $98 million contract with the Nets after seriously considering returning home to play for the Mavericks. Johnson, who spoke Tuesday at the Fort Worth Dunbar High School assembly, said he and Nets general manager Billy King were never overconfident about Williams' desire to remain a part of the Nets. "We felt we were going to be able to re-sign Deron," Johnson said. "We felt it was like 80-90 percent, but it was the 10 percent that you were worried about. That was the whole key. But I'm glad that's all behind us now and we can move forward and we can have a team that we're hoping is going to be pretty competitive when we get it on the floor."

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: Point guard Scott Machado, who led the NCAA in assists last season and excelled in the Rockets’ final summer league games in July, will sign with the team this week, a person with knowledge of the deal said Tuesday. Machado will sign a three-year, partially guaranteed deal, most likely on Thursday. Machado, 22, averaged 9.9 assists for Iona last season but went undrafted in June. After a slow start in Las Vegas, he finished strong, getting 10 assists in the third game and 20 points in the tournament finale, replacing Courtney Fortson as the starting point guard. Machado will join a group of players competing to be the primary backup for Jeremy Lin. In addition to Fortson, Toney Douglas and veteran Shaun Livingston will likely see time at the point in the preseason. The Rockets will sign Machado after opening a roster spot by releasing Sean Williams.

  • David Mayo of MLive.com: The Pistons commonly will face size disadvantages at point guard, except when Stuckey shifts there. For all of Brandon Knight’s upside, his 1.46-1 assists-to-turnovers ratio, and 3.8 assists per game, must improve before the Pistons can boost their 90.86-point team scoring average last year (27th in the NBA). Will Bynum is coming off his worst pro season, when he didn’t respond well to playing so deeply behind a rookie, didn’t show the same pluck coming off the bench that he did in two previous seasons with the Pistons, and often was dropped from the playing rotation. He’s a minimal 3-point threat (24.7 percent career) who needs the offense to run through him to be effective. The Pistons’ iffy situation at shooting guard could limit how much Rodney Stuckey plays the point.

  • Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star: Tom Anselmi, the new president of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, says he feels your pain, Toronto sports fans. Anselmi’s job now is to find a way to end this city’s championship drought — heck, getting into the playoffs regularly might be enough — and help get the Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup, the Raptors to the NBA Finals, the Marlies to the Calder Cup and Toronto FC to the MLS Cup. ... “This is probably one of the most coveted titles in sports,” said Richard Powers, assistant dean of the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto. “You can’t underestimate the value of the Maple Leafs brand.” ... Brian Burke remains president and general manager of the Leafs. Bryan Colangelo remains president and GM of the Raptors. Burke has one more year left on a deal believed to pay him $3 million annually. Colangelo has one year left — plus a team option for 2013-14 — at a salary estimated at $4 million. “From the fan’s point of view, (Anselmi) is the guy who’ll decide on Brian Burke and Bryan Colangelo,” said Powers. “Tom’s going to be very hard-pressed not to make changes if those two sports teams don’t turn around this year.”

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: While LeBron James holds an ownership stake in Premier League mainstay Liverpool, the Miami Heat power forward apparently is not also the British soccer team's social director. In the wake of dual newspaper reports in England about James offering Liverpool players a Las Vegas celebration with Kanye West in return for on-field success, both James' U.S.-based publicist and Liverpool officials shot down the reports. "The stories posted. Liverpool was asked about it. They followed up with our team. We told them the quotes weren't in fact LeBron's, and it got taken down," U.S.-based Adam Mendelsohn on Tuesday told the Sun Sentinel, emphasizing that the action was taken by Liverpool officials and not specifically under James' orders.

  • Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News: Don Nelson, who has long deserved this, will be inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday; and his presenters will be: Chris Mullin, Bob Lanier and Satch Sanders. Of course, it’s Mullin’s presence that is notable given the cold recent history of the two men. Nobody knows the benefits and severe costs of being professionally associated with Nelson better than Mullin, I can assure you that. It’s a tribute to Mullin’s ability to move past tricky history and embrace Nelson for one singular thing–the way Nelson coached Mullin, Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and the rest. Nelson shoved Mullin aside at the end of their Warriors tenure a few years ago. That fact hasn’t changed. But Mullin is there for the coach, not for the political schemer.

  • John Canzano of The Oregonian: The legendary voice of the Portland Trail Blazers has an airplane to catch, and a speech to write, and the Basketball Hall of Fame waits for no one, but before that, there's more important business. "I'm getting a haircut right now," he said on the other end of the telephone. Bill Schonely got that haircut on Tuesday. He packed his bags, and looked over an itinerary that will include a flight for him and his wife, Dottie, on Wednesday morning to Newark, N.J. then a limousine ride to Springfield, Mass., where he'll be honored on Thursday with the Curt Gowdy Award for Broadcasting. This is big stuff in Schonely's life. As close as a Hall of Fame induction gets for a broadcaster. And so a professional life spent describing the actions of others culminates with Schonely left to speak about himself.

  • Ryan Lillis of The Sacramento Bee: As a task force formed by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson engaged in a public relations crusade last year to develop a financing plan for a new basketball arena, its effort was funded in large part by one of the parties with whom city officials would end up negotiating: the Sacramento Kings. That funding stemmed from an arrangement worked out by Johnson, and agreed to by the Kings, that stipulated that 10 percent of the millions of dollars in corporate sponsorships the mayor helped raise for the franchise last spring would be funneled into his Think Big committee. None of the donations – designated on official forms as being from the Kings to a foundation created by the mayor – were revealed until months after negotiations between the city and the Kings owners had collapsed. That is well beyond the state deadline for local officials to report such donations, according to newly released documents filed with the Sacramento city clerk. As a result, the state Fair Political Practices Commission is examining Johnson's network of nonprofits.