First Cup: Monday

  • Chris McCosky of The Detroit News: "Two weeks ago, news leaked out of Denver that the Nuggets were interested in acquiring Billups. Denver vice president of basketball Mark Warkentien called Pistons president Joe Dumars to apologize for the leak and a conversation ensued. Warkentien confirmed that the Nuggets were interested in Billups and asked who the Pistons might be interested in. Dumars said Anthony. As the conversation progressed, Dumars added Prince to the discussion because, obviously, Prince plays the same position as Anthony. Warkentien said the Nuggets weren't looking to trade Anthony at that time, and asked if Dumars would be interested in Marcus Camby or Allen Iverson. Dumars said no. If the Nuggets wanted Billups, then they were going to have to give up Anthony. The discussion ended there. Again, that was two weeks ago."

  • Percy Allen of The Seattle Times: "Bad penny or guardian angel? It's tough to tell with Wally Walker. 'Maybe it's time we stopped demonizing him?' asked a basketball fan, who watched the former Sonics player and executive testify Friday in the team's trial. Through good times and bad times, Walker has been a polarizing figure for the Sonics."

  • Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman: "Long before the Sonics were a gleam in Oklahoma City's eye, Seattle was on NBA commissioner David Stern's hit list. The city had built or refurbished three sporting venues in basically a decade. Palaces for football and baseball, and a white elephant for basketball, a sport that offers its franchises options for locale. And that's why various parties are in a Seattle court, haggling over when the Sonics move to Oklahoma City and making superstars out of Clay Bennett's lawyers."

  • Greg Stoda of The Palm Beach Post: "He should decline. Dwyane Wade is expected to be one of a dozen players named to the U.S. Olympic basketball roster when it is announced today. He ought to say, 'Thanks, but no thanks.' He ought to say, 'I don't deserve it.' He ought to say, 'I need to think more about the Miami Heat than about myself or, yes, even more than about my country.' But he won't. He'll instead subject, at least partly for selfish reasons, his left knee to the rigors of Olympic preparation and competition."

  • Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News: "The one who makes the most sense for the Spurs is the one with the least sense. That would be J.R. Smith, the flawed diamond of this summer's free-agent class. He has been everything the Spurs are not, and he also has everything the Spurs need. For one, he can dunk. So he's worth a look. And if the Spurs go in that direction on July 1, and if they interview Smith, then what follows will hinge on this: Can Gregg Popovich see something he likes in someone he shouldn't?"

  • Jan Hubbard of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "NBA general managers will spend the next few days not only lying to reporters but to each other as well. It is no secret, and they do not apologize for it. In fact, they revel in their deceptive ways."

  • Jeff Caplan of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "Maybe Rick Carlisle will order up The Karate Kid on the team plane as inspiration, but establishing open communication, a knock on Carlisle's reputation during his stints with Detroit and Indiana, is Job 1 this summer as he sets the stage for October's training camp. ... While Nowitzki's mind-set is on propelling the Germans, and Kidd concentrates on returning gold to the USA, Carlisle's focus is solely on the Mavericks, and that job has only just begun. 'The summer is an opportunity,' Carlisle said. 'So we have to take advantage of it.'"

2008 NBA Draft

  • Mike McGraw of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald: "The NBA's final four teams from this season don't provide much of a blueprint for the Bulls, because they all had tall, high-scoring wing players (Pierce, Bryant, Manu Ginobili, Rip Hamilton) and a 7-footer who could score near the basket (Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan, Rasheed Wallace). The Bulls have none of the above, so they'll have to try to generate a new formula for winning. It all starts with Rose."

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Point guards making their own points. It is why while many see Memphis freshman Derrick Rose as the only legitimate point guard at the top of Thursday's NBA Draft, Riley sees the possibilities of others. It is why confidants say Riley is so intrigued by Southern Cal's O.J. Mayo, even though the Heat already has Dwyane Wade at shooting guard. It is why Riley thinks Jerryd Bayless, after a high-scoring season at Arizona, can step in next season as a pro point guard. 'Pure point guards? That's not the way the game is being played today,' Riley said as he continued deliberations over the Heat's No. 2 selection. 'You take a look at Steve Nash; his head's under the rim more than anybody in the league.'"

  • Israel Gutierrez of The Miami Herald: "Let's admit for a second that nobody actually knows what John Hollinger's hybrid statistics really mean. However they translate, Hollinger (basketball's version of baseball's Bill James) says the college numbers have Beasley projecting higher than any player since 2002. That's better than Kevin Durant. Better than Carmelo Anthony. Better than Wade. Whether or not Beasley turns out better, isn't it worth finding out? The Heat might be hesitant to place its future in Beasley's hands, but the front office folks should look at some recent history before convincing themselves to pass on him."

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "The Wolves will shape the rest of the draft with that third pick, after Chicago and Miami are expected to take Memphis guard Derrick Rose and Kansas State forward Michael Beasley, in either order. Will they select arguably the most talented player left in Mayo, whose career Wolves boss Kevin McHale jokes can be tracked back to third grade on YouTube? Will they deem the pe
    digree and old-school skills of Love -- son of former NBA player Stan Love -- the perfect front-court offensive complement to star Al Jefferson? Or will they opt for need over everything and choose Lopez, a 7-foot center?"

  • Don Seeholzer of The Pioneer Press: "If the Timberwolves select Southern California's O.J. Mayo with the third pick of Thursday's NBA draft, they will be getting a shooting guard with enough ballhandling ability to play some point. And they say the fact that they already have a combo guard on the roster in Randy Foye won't be a deterrent. 'When you have one combo, you'd like to have two combos, just because then they could play off each other and the positions are a little bit interchangeable,' Wolves general manager Jim Stack said after Mayo's Saturday workout in Chicago. 'I think O.J. can defend. That's one of his strengths and I believe Randy Foye, it's going to become more and more one of his strengths. They can guard different size guys.'"

  • Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal: "'Knowing the first two picks, you then have to start to trickle down,' said Griz director of player personnel Tony Barone Sr. 'I don't think there's a whole lot of difference between three through eight. From nine down to probably 18 there's not a lot of difference. And then once you get into the 20s things start to get crazy.'"

  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: "Do I think the Bobcats would offer Adam Morrison to get something else done? Of course. Do I think another team would give up something of consequence to acquire Morrison? Not unless that team has what my financial planner would call a long investment horizon. I'm not knocking Morrison. I am saying his injured knee makes him such a question mark right now that his trade value is dubious."

  • Dwight Jaynes of The Portland Tribune: "The Trail Blazers Thursday night are supposed to make the No. 13 pick in the NBA draft. And I'm still saying what I said a month ago -- they will either trade the pick or make a selection for another team. As attractive as the Portland management has tried to make some of the prospective picks seem during the workout process over the last couple of weeks, I just don't see one of these kids becoming a Blazer. It just doesn't make sense. This team has too many young players to develop as it is. And this season, a big share of that development time will be spent with Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez -- two players with huge promise."

  • Jerry Brown of the East Valley Tribune: "Joe Suns Fan envisions Luol Deng or Andre Iguodala in Phoenix, Rajon Rondo or Rudy Fernandez in purple or Kevin Garnett for AmarĂ© Stoudemire. He looks at the holes in the championship blueprint and is determined not to let another draft day go by without being the team that gets an 'A' from draft critics. Keeping the 15th pick and adding a player who can immediately help the core? Not enough. Let's roll them bones. Trade Leandro Barbosa. Trade Boris Diaw. Move up. Get in the lottery. Add a pick. Make Thursday more than another 115-degree yawner. It sure sounds fun. As a writer who's had to sit through the last four drafts only to see the Suns keep a total of two players, I understand the frustration and feel the pain."

  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "The Suns held a closed draft workout Sunday, looking at two projected first-round big men in Rider power forward Jason Thompson and Ohio State center Kosta Koufos, as well as Washington State point guard Derrick Low. Phoenix will be part of a group workout Tuesday for Texas A&M center DeAndre Jordan. They also have an individual workout slated for Kansas power forward Darrell Arthur this week."

  • Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News: "The Sixers have seen DeAndre Jordan in a formal workout privately arranged by Jordan's representatives at PCOM attended by several teams. They watched 7-foot Ohio State center Kosta Koufos in a session directed by the New Jersey Nets. They have brought in Marresse Speights of Florida, JaVale McGee of Colorado, J.J. Hickson of North Carolina, Callistus Eziukwu of Grand Valley State (twice) and others. They intend to view Darrell Arthur of Kansas, probably Jason Thompson of Rider, and others. Any thought of checking out Stanford's Robin Lopez was placed on hold when Lopez suffered an ankle injury. A voice in the league familiar with predraft machinations suggests the Sixers might be giving serious consideration to Alexis Ajinca, a 20-year-old 7-footer who averaged a modest five points with Hyeres-Toulon in France. Bouna Ndiaye, Ajinca's agent, said his client was expected to be en route to Philadelphia sometime today; he is scheduled to work out tomorrow."

  • Tim Buckley of the Deseret News: "The Jazz don't want their 2008 NBA Draft to be all about one person. 'I know this has been tagged 'The Roy Hibbert Draft,'' general manager Kevin O'Connor said Sunday. 'That's not the situation that we're in. I mean, we're trying to evaluate a lot of players.' But with Hibbert paying a second visit to Utah on Sunday, O'Connor's club obviously in the market for a big man and many early Internet mock drafts making the 7-foot-2 Georgetown center their projected selection at No. 23 overall in Thursday's draft -- the Jazz's pick -- it's hard not think about the potential harmony of it all."

  • Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle: "... maybe somebody will come to the Rockets' rescue before it's their turn to pick Thursday night at the NBA draft. Maybe somebody will make a no-pain, high-gain offer that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and coach Rick Adelman cannot refuse. Just in case, though, the Rockets should brace themselves for making do with picking at their assigned No. 25 spot or thereabouts. Morey insists he's confident he can unearth a player at that spot who can work into the Rockets' rotation, but what else is he supposed to say?"

  • Tom Enlund of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "John Hammond said the league may have to come up with a system such as the combine that the NFL conducts before its draft so that every player can be evaluated by all of the teams. That would alleviate some of the workout problems that are occurring now."