First Cup: Monday

  • Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "Dirk Nowitzki did not do any interviews immediately after propelling Germany to its first Olympic berth since 1992. He couldn't. The Dallas Mavericks' best player was in the locker room in Greece bawling Sunday, like a baby or newlywed or player who has finally delivered on a promise to his country, his coach and himself. He had been thinking of this moment long before he dreamed of MVPs and NBA championships. Anybody who even kind of knows The Big German is giddy for him, with the possible exception of Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who is certainly no fan of NBA players in the Olympics. And even he is happy for Dirk. 'My issues on the Olympics are not with Dirk or the players,' Cuban said via e-mail Sunday. 'I'm thrilled for Dirk. It's a dream of his, and there is nothing that could make me happier for him.'"TrueHoop First Cup

  • Joe Freeman of The Oregonian: "After two weeks of summer league practices and games, this much has become evident about the player Portland acquired in a draft-day trade with Indiana: Jerryd Bayless is a fierce competitor, aggressive athlete and tireless worker. And the 6-foot-3 guard appears fearless. 'That's what we said in our evaluations -- this kid has a chance to be fearless,' Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard said. 'He's proven that he's willing to get hit five times and get up five times. I think he has a chance to get out there and play and really compete this season.'"

  • Ethan J. Skolnick of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Michael Beasley showed up in South Florida late last month as the No. 2 pick of the 2008 draft. The Heat, rebuilding after a 15-67 debacle, now expects Beasley to serve as a cornerstone of a revival, along with rehabilitating franchise guard Dwyane Wade. 'All eyes are going to be on him,' Kenyon Martin, now a Denver Nugget, said of Beasley. 'So he's got to be ready for it. It's not going to be easy.' Lawrence Frank, now the Nets' head coach, was an assistant when the franchise drafted Martin. Frank said that all rookies must answer this question: 'Can you be relied upon?' That means giving consistent effort regardless of the travel stresses and lifestyle changes. 'That's the number one problem that every rookie faces regardless of talent,' Frank said."

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "Sometime, somewhere today, dictated entirely by habit and reflex, Donté Greene will have his eyes wide, mouth open and arms raised or hands outstretched just itching for a chance to catch and inevitably shoot. This was his role with the Rockets' Summer League team. It fit with his most NBA-ready skill, and it was enough for Greene to demonstrate why he is convinced and the Rockets hope he was a steal with the 28th pick taken in the draft last month. But the key as he moves from the Summer League to the regular-season Rockets will be adding to his unusual length and uncanny touch to be enough of a well-rounded player to get playing time with the veterans."

  • Ivan Carter of The Washington Post: "Before the Wizards left Washington for the NBA Summer League, second-year guard Nick Young threw his arms around fourth-year forward Andray Blatche and second-year forward Dominic McGuire and declared, 'This is new Big Three right here.' Only time will tell whether Young, Blatche and McGuire can be anywhere near as productive as the Wizards' current high-scoring trio of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, but they did have an opportunity to show what they can do this week. The results were mixed. The Wizards finished with a 2-3 record following Sunday's 88-69 loss to the Phoenix Suns, but the team's youngsters clocked plenty of playing time and gained valuable experience that should carry over to training camp in October."

  • Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Scott Skiles liked what he saw during the Milwaukee Bucks' nine-day run in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. 'It was fantastic,' Skiles said of the Bucks' overall showing. 'We challenged the guys on the first day to represent the Milwaukee Bucks with an all-out effort on the defensive end. I think we had the best team here.' Rookies Joe Alexander and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute got their first taste of the professional game and impressed Skiles."

  • Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "There is talk of Houston starting a summer league to go with others in Las Vegas, Orlando and Salt Lake City, where the Rocky Mountain Revue is now under way. That could impact the number of teams that ultimately decide to play in Las Vegas in 2009. But Warren LeGarie said he is getting indications from around the league that he might need to make room for more teams. 'Chicago is coming next year, Boston is talking about returning and so is New Jersey,' LeGarie said. 'I think 24 teams is the max to maintain the quality of the league.'"

  • Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: "Forget about the Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, and the Wichita Thunder of the Central Hockey League, there's the Oklahoma Thunder of Tulsa and the World Football League. The law might not prohibit Clay Bennett and Co. from using the name, but marketing experts say they shouldn't want to. 'You don't want your team confused with anybody else's even if it's in another sport. That doesn't help your brand,' said Vince Orza, dean of the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University. Sit tight. We aren't likely to know the truth for another couple of weeks. Unless of course another few brave souls spill the beans."

  • Tim Cowlishaw of The Dallas Morning News: "As a native son, it is past time for me to welcome our neighbors to the north to the NBA. You are going to love it. One word of warning: Don't expect a winner anytime soon. Or ever. You think just because the Seattle Sonics went 29 years without a title means the Oklahoma Team With No Name or Colors is due? Guess again. The NBA title is the toughest in pro team sports. It's not baseball, in which 17 franchises have won the World Series in the last 25 years. And they didn't even play one in 1994. You think 29 years entitles you to something?"