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First Cup: Tuesday

  • Mike McGraw of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald: "The NBA's summer began with seven significant restricted free agents sitting around waiting for some action. Now with the start of training camp less than a month away, Luol Deng, Emeka Okafor, Josh Smith, Andre Iguodala, Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins have re-signed with their current teams. That leaves just one of the seven still in a holding pattern -- Bulls guard Ben Gordon. Gordon has to be wondering why Isiah Thomas couldn't have lasted a few more months as president of the New York Knicks. Remember, Thomas stepped forward with sign-and-trade offers when ex-Bulls Eddy Curry and Jamal Crawford became restricted free agents but now is no longer in the picture."

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "The Heat is expected Tuesday to formally introduce Jamaal Magloire, which would make him the fourth center under contract. Still, one of the biggest questions in the middle for the Heat is a center who will not be under contract at the Sept. 27 start of training camp. But that doesn't mean Alonzo Mourning won't be back, not after all the work he's put in since last December's devastating knee injury."TrueHoop First Cup

  • Mike Baldwin of The Oklahoman: "Professional sports critics complain it's unfair the 'average fan' has been priced out of stadiums and arenas across the country. Their reasoning is tickets have become too expensive, in large part, to pay salaries for overpaid multi-million dollar athletes and coaches. Setting aside arguments on both sides of the debate, 'the average fan' certainly can't complain about ticket prices for Oklahoma City's new NBA team. When team officials announced ticket prices last month the major revelation wasn't prime seats doubled in price compared to Hornet season tickets. The news flash was the common fan will have an opportunity to attend games at a reasonable price."

  • John DeShazier of The Times-Picayune: "... before leaving, he said, he called Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. George Shinn didn't speak directly to either man, he said, but left both the same message. 'If there's anything I can do, don't hesitate to let me know,' he said. If it meant standing shoulder-to-shoulder, or in the background, or in the audience, Shinn wanted it known that if his presence in any way would help with recovery, he'd be available. ... it seems like the owner, who insists on his players and coaches doing as much community services as he can get them to perform, is more than willing to do the same. It doesn't make him a saint. It just makes him a guy who doesn't forget to care."

  • Rob Dugdale of BBC Sport: "GB takes on Israel on Wednesday in Tel Aviv, with NBA star Luol Deng in the team for the first time this summer. 'Whenever you have a guy like that added to the team it gives you a chance to win every game,' said Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who was GB's top scorer in Turkey. 'I'm excited to see what we can do with him on the court,' he told BBC Sport."

  • Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal: Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace acknowledged Friday that the team hasn't exactly unearthed a second coming of Hakeem Olajuwon for the upcoming season. But Wallace stopped short of labeling Iranian Hamed Haddadi a project, and cautioned others to do the same with regard to the 7-2 center's ability. 'I don't like to use that term because it suggests that he's not someone who can contribute in the short term,' Wallace said. 'And that's not the case. He's going to need some work in certain aspects of his game. But he's 7-2. You can't teach height. He can rebound and block shots, and he can score around the basket with his left hand. He has an outside shooting touch, and he's fared well in (summer league and Olympic) games.'"

  • Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News: "If anything, their fear was this: Manu Ginobili would survive the Olympics only to collapse in December or March. This way, Ginobili got to play, and now his ankle will be fixed. Who knows? Maybe his absence the first month of the season helps Roger Mason blend in. Still, even with these circumstances, Ginobili likely wondered how Gregg Popovich was taking the news. Given what Popovich had said before, Ginobili had reason to wonder if some things would be awkward. Popovich isn't above an I-told-you-so speech. R.C. Buford has certainly heard one before. But Popovich is far too smart to spend time dwelling on what is done. Ginobili has always been one of his favorites, and, just as Popovich has lived with his aggressive mistakes on the court, he will live with this."

  • Jason Quick of The Oregonian: His mood never dwells on his apprehensions. It seems every time they arise, he gathers in his surroundings, be it listening to the June bugs, taking in the scenery at the secluded pond he fishes, or embracing the comfort of family. It seems to ground him, and he becomes the man that is so familiar in Portland: gentle, respectful and humble. 'Things come to you in due time,' Travis Outlaw says late one night. 'If God has it in his will, then that's how it's gonna be.' So he is content to wait another year, perhaps two, for his personal aspirations to take precedence. But he wants to make one thing clear: He is not content remaining with the status quo of his game. 'I don't want to be a sixth man forever,' Outlaw says. So he emphatically declares that Portland fans will see a different Outlaw this season. One who is confident. One who will hit the corner three-pointer. One who can create his own shot. And one who will rebound. In fact, his personal goal this season is to average 16 points and eight rebounds, marked increases from his career-high averages last season of 13.3 points and 4.6 rebounds. 'I'm rejuvenated. I came home,' Outlaw said. 'I'm ready. I'm ready for the season now.'" Video

  • Jan Hubbard of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "Hang around Wrigley Field for several days and it's difficult to find someone who is not enamored of the possibility of the Mavericks' owner buying the Cubs and their celebrated 95-year-old baseball park. And if you want to find some true zealots, go into the Cubs' clubhouse. 'I love him,' said pitcher Ryan Dempster, who met Cuban earlier this month at a Chicago charity event. 'I loved him before I met him.' 'He has a track record,' first baseman Derrek Lee said. 'He owns a sports franchise and he's made it successful. That gives him the edge in my mind. He seems like he's a great guy. I hope he gets the team.' 'He's always made the moves to win championships,' former Ranger Mark DeRosa said. 'You want to play for guys like that.' Cuban's popularity stems from his very public approach to not only owning a team, but also making it successful.
    Some of his controversial personal traits may have irritated those in authority, but they are traits venerated by fans and players because they are seen as examples of Cuban's passion."