First Cup: Thursday

  • Conrad Brunner for Pacers.com: "They haven't traded, cut, bought out or otherwise made Jamaal Tinsley go away. They haven't signed Danny Granger to a contract extension. Not yet, anyway. When anticipated events take longer than expected, it's natural to develop a concern they might not happen at all. But see, here's the thing: they will. Whether this summer or next, Danny Granger's future with the Pacers will be secured by a long-term contract. As for Tinsley, well, I met with Larry Bird earlier this week and here's what he had to say: 'Jamaal will not be on our team this year.'"

  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: "I can't fault Adam Morrison for playing a bit tentatively right now. He'd never had a major injury before his left knee blew up in a preseason game against the Lakers, and he still needs to prove to himself that joint is normal."

  • Janis Carr of the Orange County Register: "Luke Walton got a sneak preview Tuesday of what the Lakers missed for half the season last year -- Andrew Bynum's dominance -- and gave the center a thumbs-up. Walton said getting Bynum back will be key to the Lakers returning to the NBA Finals, something he believes they can do this season, barring injuries. 'He looked amazing,' said Walton, who is coming back from ankle surgery. 'Obviously it was sloppy pick-up basketball, but as far as his hook shots and blocking the ball and making dunks and cuts, it was good. I was watching knowng that he's back in the middle, clogging it up, which made it even harder for me not to be out there. Because before he got hurt, I was getting two or three assists a game, throwing alley-oops up to him. So, he looked really good, I was pretty excited.'"TrueHoop First Cup

  • John Hollinger for the New York Sun: "But for now, (Donnie) Walsh doesn't have much choice but to wait. Sure, he'd like to press a magic button and be rid of Zach (Randolph) in two seconds, but that's not how it works. The reason Walsh was so successful in Indiana was because he didn't force things -- if there wasn't a good deal to be had, he waited. And given that he still has two years to pull the trigger on a trade, the proper course is to be patient. Besides, we've already seen the damage an impatient executive can do. So as hard as the thought of more Randolph may be to stomach for Knicks fans, who want only to see every vestige of the Isiah era erased from MSG as quickly as possible, it's the best way to ensure as rapid a recovery as possible. As a result, we could be seeing Z-Bo around these parts much longer than we initially expected."

  • Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee: "Physically, [Kevin Martin's] once-fragile frame took yet another offseason step toward sturdy. His game that had already taken historical steps in terms of statistical progress should be refined, with an emphasis this summer on everything from strengthening his weak hand on the dribble to playing lower to the floor rather than his penchant for staying upright to improving defensive positioning and awareness to finishing with exclamation point dunks more than ever. Kings assistant Jason Hamm paid a visit to this hoops classroom as well and -- like myself -- was impressed with the detail, intensity and game-relevance of the workouts. While Martin sometimes works out with the likes of fellow [David] Thorpe clients Tyrus Thomas and Luol Deng of Chicago, the better-known talent this week was NBA D-Leaguer Elton Brown and former NBA player Daniel Santiago (who has been making millions in Europe and is a free agent but has no business not being on an NBA roster with his big-man skills). "

  • Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer: "Braylon Edwards mentioned how LeBron James is not a Browns or Indians fan, which most people in Northeast Ohio know. Is it poor local public relations to cheer for the Yankees at a Tribe playoff game, or pull for Dallas at the Browns game? You bet, and James knows it. He also doesn't care. It's like this is the one area of rebellion in his otherwise pristine public persona. Most fans excuse it because of all he has accomplished with the Cavaliers. Watching him for five years, it's obvious he desperately wants to deliver a title to the NBA team in his hometown. That's why Edwards dropped the ball (as he did Sunday too many times) when he questioned James' feelings toward the Cavaliers. His comments seem to imply that James can't wait to get out of town and play somewhere else. If that were the case, the Cavs star would have skipped signing the extension back in 2006 -- which keeps him here through the summer of 2010. Who knows what two more years may bring when it comes to James and the Cavaliers -- but certainly Edwards has no clue."

  • Matt Steinmetz of The Examiner: "For two years, Marcus Williams has been an unwrapped gift, if you will, and now it's Christmas. Williams has gotten everything he could have wished for and more. He's playing in the uptempo-est of uptempo offenses, has the inside track on being a starter and is now playing for a coach (Don Nelson) known for giving players unprecedented freedom. How does Williams respond? Will he show that he can be an NBA starter? Can he defend well enough on a consistent basis? Will he get into good enough shape to play 30-some minutes per game? Does he have leadership skills? How about intangibles? We'll know about all that stuff. We'll also know whether Williams or Frank was the problem in Jersey. And it's all going to be fascinating to watch."

  • Jason Friedman for Rockets.com: "I know you've also had a chance to go head-to-head with guys like T.J. Ford and Damon Stoudamire this summer. How much has that helped your game? Aaron Brooks: 'I think it's helped a lot defensively. I mean, those are two great scorers so, defensively, I've improved a lot because it's given me a chance to work on my footwork. Offensively, going against somebody quicker than me and also even a bit shorter than me, my midrange game has gotten better. So I think that's really going to help me out in the long run -- it's not just getting to the basket now, it's being able to pull up and shoot the midrange.'"

  • Mike Baldwin of The Oklahoman: "Thunder officials announced Wednesday night that approximately 3,000 season tickets will be available today for anyone with Thursday select-a-seat appointments. The majority of season tickets remaining are $10 and $20 seats at the top of the Ford Center. Team spokesman Dan Mahoney stressed there are advantages to anyone who purchases season tickets today, even if fans are disappointed all lower level and all renewable club level seats have been sold. 'Buying an upper level season ticket prioritizes the ticket holder ahead of partial season ticket plans and individuals who are placed on a waiting list,' Mahoney said. 'We don't know how long the 3,000 re
    maining tickets will last. We are encouraging anyone with Thursday appointments to come as scheduled and see what's available.'"

  • John Reid of The Times-Picayune: "With upcoming preseason games in Barcelona and Berlin, the NBA has granted the Hornets approval to start training camp Sept. 27 at the Alario Center. It is the earliest start for the Hornets since relocating to New Orleans in 2002. Most teams will not open camp until next month, but the Hornets, Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets and Washington Wizards can begin this month because of their participation in NBA's Europe Live."