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First Cup: Tuesday

  • Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Dallas Mavericks guard Delonte West was suspended Monday night by the team, according to a source, for conduct detrimental to the team. West apparently was involved in an ugly outburst in the locker room after the Mavs' 123-104 win over Houston. West played 17 minutes and scored two points in the game. A few hours after the suspension, West took to Twitter to issue an apparent apology. In his first tweet, West wrote: "Sorry moma.'' In a followup tweet two minutes later, West wrote: "I showed off on ur birthday again...''

  • Tom Moore of phillyBurbs.com: Doug Collins is anxious for star center Andrew Bynum to make his 76ers debut. Collins and Bynum, who is sitting out the preseason due to a bone bruise in his right knee, would love for it to be in the Oct. 31 season opener against the Nuggets. But Collins, while acknowledging how important the home opener is to the organization, insists the Sixers aren’t “going to do anything silly and have another setback” with Bynum. “This kid’s 24 years old,” Collins said prior to Monday’s 107-75 preseason victory over the Celtics. “We’re going to listen to him and his body. When he’s ready to play, he’s going to be out there and be playing.” Monday’s announcement that Bynum is scheduled to receive a Synvisc shot to lubricate the knee next Monday in New York will mark the third straight time he’s had it done going into the regular season. The shot isn’t related to the bone bruise, according to a team release. “This is not like the first time he’s gone through this,” Collins said. “He knows how to handle it.”

  • Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times: Salary dumps are designed to save teams money while shedding extraneous players. They don't normally help them land a Hall of Famer. Salary dumps allow teams to rid themselves of aging veterans. They don't usually help them find up-and-comers they are eager to bring back. Salary dumps let teams unload players with questionable pasts. They don't inevitably result in the acquisition of ones with promising futures. Being frugal has rarely been as lucrative as it has recently for the Lakers, who have parlayed a series of trades largely intended to reduce payroll into the arrival of Steve Nash and blossoming reserves Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre and Darius Morris. Lakers fans can send their regards to Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and Sasha Vujacic, who were sent packing along with their bloated contracts, ultimately making room for the newcomers. Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said Monday that financial concerns are becoming an increasingly important factor in every trade his team makes as it approaches more punitive luxury taxes set to arrive in the 2013-14 season.

  • Howard Beck of The New York Times: It was a debut and a dress rehearsal all in one, an introduction between team and borough, players and fans and even between screws and brackets. This is, after all, the preseason, and some hiccups are expected. The Nets were a little shaky Monday night in their first game on Brooklyn soil. Their new arena was still working out its own kinks. Seats were being bolted and wires tamped down as tipoff approached. The public-address announcer fumbled a few names. The crowd was alternately energized and passive, feeling its way by the minute. But everyone left Barclays Center happy after the Nets pushed through for a 98-88 victory over the short-handed Washington Wizards. As the Nets pulled away down the stretch, the crowd stood and roared its approval and serenaded the new home team with elongated chants of “Broook-lyn.” “Our fans were terrific, oh my gosh,” Coach Avery Johnson said. “When we get even more people in the building, it’s going to be crazy.”

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: Finally, how Royce White got to the game was a non-issue. Getting there was the easy part. White would be an advocate for his cause, but he could be a player again, too. After his much-discussed absence from training camp and three games missed while he tried to catch up from the time lost, White got in a preseason game for the first time midway through the first quarter Monday night, then struggled before showing glimpses of the potential the Rockets saw in him when they made him the 16th pick of the draft. They were flashes, far from enough to turn things back around with the Mavericks well on their way to a 123-104 blowout of the Rockets. They were not even enough to change how he felt about his night. But they were a start, a chance to outrun the initial nerves. “I thought I played pretty bad,” said White, a 6-8 forward. “I seemed to be out of place a lot. I tried to catch a rhythm, just working at it. As far as today goes, I didn’t think I played well at all.” White, 21, played nine minutes in the first half without getting a rebound or assist. He missed his three shots. But in the second half he made a few plays. He got his first bucket when he grabbed his first rebound and took it the length of the floor through a Jae Crowder foul for a three-point play.

  • Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News: Swelling has returned to Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki’s right knee, diminishing his chances of avoiding arthroscopic surgery. After sitting out Monday night’s preseason victory over Houston, Nowitzki revealed why, telling about a dozen reporters assembled around his locker that the only glimmer of positive news is that the knee didn’t swell as much as it did during last week’s trip to Germany and Spain. Nowitzki, 34, said his goal is still to avoid surgery, but this latest setback clearly has him feeling less optimistic. … Nowitzki said the plan is for him to stay off the court for the next few days. He will continue to do cardiovascular work in the swimming pool and on the elliptical machine and ice the knee. The hope is that the swelling will subside and he can avoid surgery.

  • Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times: There have been times through the first three preseason games that the moment has appeared to be too big for Marco Belinelli. On Monday, the Bulls shooting guard admitted that so far it has been. “I don’t want to use this as an excuse, but for me it’s a new system, and for me this is really the first time I’ve played with a top-level team,’’ Belinelli confessed. Obviously, life with playoff-challenged teams such as Golden State, Toronto and New Orleans over the last five seasons hasn’t prepared the 6-5 scorer for the Bulls, or more specifically, life with coach Tom Thibodeau. But Belinelli might want to get over those feelings of being overwhelmed real soon, like starting tonight when the team hosts the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center. There are big plans for this team, as far as Thibodeau is ¬¨concerned, and it’s either all-in or in the way.

  • Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: Doc Rivers and Doug Collins were standing just feet apart on the sideline as the Celtics met the 76ers, and their names have been in even closer proximity in regards to a job opening. The two are among the few names being mentioned most prominently as potential head coaches of the United States men’s national team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In separate discussions yesterday, they both took steps to assert they are not campaigning for the position. “Honestly, I’ve given it zero thought,” Rivers said. “It’d be an honor, but that’s out of my hands.” … “First of all, there are a lot of guys that job would have a tremendous amount of meaning to,” Collins said. “I mean, Gregg Popovich has been a part of two national coaching staffs, he’s a military guy — Air Force — and he’s won championships. He’s arguably one of the best coaches in the history of our game. His name has been mentioned. Doc and what he’s done with Boston and in the rest of his career would be good.”

  • Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post: The Nuggets' point guard was dizzying and dazzling, whirling past defenders, whirring defenseless passes. The Nuggets' point guard, though, was the Nuggets' point forward. That's the role the 6-foot-6 Andre Iguodala played for much of Monday night, his Pepsi Center debut in white and blue. The new Nugget tallied a game-high seven assists in Denver's 104-98 exhibition victory against Golden State. While he struggled finding his release on his shot — 2-for-9 from the field — the former 76er showcased his smart, sharp passing to the 11,621 sports fans in Denver who didn't watch the Broncos game.

  • Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer: Kyrie Irving admitted he brought a different mindset to Monday night's 114-110 overtime victory over the Orlando Magic at US Bank Arena. "I definitely started out with a different aggressiveness than I have in the other preseason games," Irving said. "In the other preseason games I started out trying to run the offense and get everybody involved as much as possible. Tonight I was just making plays, whether it was for my teammates or myself." As a result, Irving looked more like himself, finishing with a preseason-high 22 points, making five of eight field goals, including a 3-pointer, and all 11 free throws. He came into the game averaging 10.8 points while making just 11 of 46 shots (23.9 percent). He had missed the first six 3-pointers he took. Coach Byron Scott figured it was just a matter of time until the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year came around. "I told you I wasn't worried," Scott said.

  • Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: There will be four gunners forming a committee to replace departed guard O. J. Mayo's scoring responsibilities off the Grizzlies' bench. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. The Griz have effectively reloaded in a way that makes the backup shooting guard position their most versatile on the roster. Granted, coach Lionel Hollins won't look down his bench and see the likes of an established Sixth Man award winner such as Jamal Crawford or Jason Terry. Hollins, though, is counting on different options that will allow him to find firepower behind starter Tony Allen on any given night. Newcomers Jerryd Bayless and Wayne Ellington have already witnessed Hollins' penchant for playing with lineup combinations to exploit matchups. Returnees Quincy Pondexter and Josh Selby know to be ready to step in at a moment's notice. The question is who will step up as the guy Hollins can and will count on the most?

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Erik Spoelstra insinuated that the 13 players with guaranteed contracts apparently are safe going forward, with second-year center Dexter Pittman among that group. That would leave two jobs available among centers Mickell Gladness and Josh Harrellson; forwards Rodney Carney, Robert Dozier and Jarvis Varnado; and guards Terrel Harris and Garrett Temple. Complicating Spoelstra's analysis has been the injury absences of Pittman, Varnado, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers, none of whom played in the pair of exhibitions against the Los Angeles Clippers in Beijing and Shanghai due to nagging injuries. Among the longshots who stepped forward half a world away was Carney, the journeyman veteran with 299 games of NBA experience who was held out of the preseason-opening road loss to the Atlanta Hawks but then scored 11 points off the bench against the Clippers in the victory in Beijing and 15 points off the bench in Sunday's loss in Shanghai.

  • Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: Although Pistons guard Brandon Knight made the all-rookie second team last season, he still had his critics. The top criticism? His average of 3.8 assists per game, a low number for a starting point guard. Through his first three exhibition games, Knight appears to be making an effort to shed his reputation as a shoot-first point guard. He has been trying to get his teammates involved, knowing his offense will come later. "I'm just trying to get the guys to know that I'm going to be looking for them early," Knight said Monday. "It's just making the right play. "If I got three guys around me, I'm going to have somebody open all the time. That's what it is: to give guys open shots. If I get a lane, nobody steps up, lay-up." He took just two shots in the loss at Toronto on Friday night and six Saturday in the loss at Milwaukee. He is averaging 6.3 assists per game, but he had six turnovers against the Bucks.

  • Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner: The more Jan Vesely plays, the more he may start to cede his minutes to Booker, who isn’t even healthy. Vesely was 0 for 3 from the field with zero points, five rebounds and five fouls. It’s hard to shake his media comment of “maybe some pounds, not much,” when asked if he’d put on any weight in the offseason. The Wizards aren’t going to make him stronger; he’s got to figure out how to do that for himself.

  • Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: The Pacers liked Gerald Green so much that they signed him to a three-year, $10-million contract in July to be their primary scoring option off the bench. Green's value is up there right behind the starters because of the constant struggles the bench had last season. … The chip that sits on Green's right shoulder is just as big now as it was when he was out of the league. He took it personally that the Pacers and the Nets were the only two teams that showed serious interest in him during the free agency period. He's averaging 11 points on 53 percent shooting, 4 rebounds and 3 assists while starting in place of the injured Granger (knee) at small forward in two preseason games. "I feel like so many other teams overlooked me," Green said. "I don't know if they thought my character wasn't going to be right or what. I'm going to prove I'm a better professional, I'm a lot better player and I'm all about winning. I'm not about individual statistics. When you win everybody looks good."

  • Ray Richardson of the Pioneer Press: Lou Amundson started taking guitar lessons four years ago as a hobby to get away from the pressures of the game. He said he's still in the "early stages of my skill level," but he admitted the day might come, after basketball, when he would consider playing with a band. And he's got a new music buddy in Love. On one team flight this month, Amundson pulled out his I-pad tablet and showed Kevin Love how he produces beats for songs. "We're not going to start a boy band anytime soon, but we talked a lot of music in Mankato and Fargo," said Love, whose uncle, Mike Love, is the lead singer of the Beach Boys. "I do want to learn the piano. I figure the music gene is in me somewhere."

  • Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times: It isn’t often a yoga instructor becomes an equipment manager for an NBA team. But that’s precisely what happened to Jay Namoc. After teaching yoga in San Diego the last three years, Namoc received a telephone call from Bucks general manager John Hammond to see whether he was interested in becoming the team’s equipment manager. Hammond had received a referral from Keith Jones, the Houston Rockets’ long-time senior vice president of basketball operations/head athletic trainer. Namoc had worked with Jones and the Rockets from 1994 until 2007. With the hiring of Namoc, Mike Sergo, who had been the Bucks’ equipment manager last season, is back being a video coordinator.

  • Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak of The Sacramento Bee: Goodbye, Power Balance Pavilion. Hello, Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings and Sleep Train Mattress Centers announced Monday they have signed a five-year deal to rename the team's Natomas arena for the West Coast bedding chain. Dale Carlsen, founder and CEO of Sleep Train, based in Rocklin, said the deal will boost his company's community profile and possibly help solidify the team's uncertain standing in Sacramento. "We're hopeful they'll be here a long time," said Carlsen, a season ticket holder for 25 years. The deal contains an insurance policy in case that doesn't happen, however. Carlsen said Sleep Train has the option to end the contract or renegotiate if the Kings decide to leave Sacramento within the five-year period. Kings officials expressed delight Monday over their team's new sponsor.

  • John Cot√© and John King of the San Francisco Chronicle: After months of speculation, details are emerging about the arena that the Golden State Warriors want to build on San Francisco's Embarcadero - how it might look and what it might cost city government. The team is proposing a 17,500-seat glass-covered arena on the southeast edge of Piers 30-32, with retail buildings along the Embarcadero and 8 acres of terraced plazas in between. Beneath the plazas would be 630 parking spaces. The arena's height would be 135 feet, roughly the same as the top of the upper deck at AT&T Park. The design and finance plans, which are being presented Tuesday at a community meeting at the Delancey Street Foundation, also include such water-specific uses as kayak docks and a fireboat landing, part of the effort to win state approval for the project that the team seeks to finish in time for the NBA's opening day in 2017.