First Cup: Friday

  • Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: "I should have known this was coming the minute I read the Colts were going to release defensive tackle Ed Johnson following his arrest on a charge of possession of the puff-puff, pass stuff. 'If the Colts can release Johnson, why can't Larry Bird do the same thing to Jamaal Tinsley and Shawne Williams?,' one person asked. ... Larry Bird and Co. don't have it as easy as the people over on West 56th Street or any other team in the NFL. ... Pacers owner Herb Simon would have to sign over a check for $21 million, which is what Tinsley will make in the final three years of his contract, if they release the point guard because NBA contracts are guaranteed. Read my words: NBA CONTRACTS ARE GUARANTEED. Can you blame Simon and Bird not wanting to just cut Tinsley?"TrueHoop First Cup

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: "Forward Pat Garrity, who had been with the Magic longer than any current player on the roster, announced his retirement on Thursday after nine seasons in an Orlando uniform. ... Admittedly not a great athlete, Garrity said he lasted longer in the NBA than he expected, largely on the strength of his textbook jump-shot. 'I got more out of it than I ever dreamed as far as financial rewards and the places the NBA has taken me,' he said. 'For as long as I played, I was never confident I'd have a 10-year career. I got more out of it than I could ever hope for.'"

  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "Amare Stoudemire never stops with pushing the Web site. He told me -- jokingly, mind you -- that he is following Chad Johnson/Ocho Cinco's lead and changing his name to amarestoudemire.com. Try getting that on the back of a jersey. Actually, his site's STAT TV is supposed to be posting some video of his Sierra Leone trip that might be worth a peek. 'It's something the world has never seen before,' he said."

  • Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun: "Dubbed the Big Cat, the Toronto native has been one of the NBA's biggest busts the past few seasons, incapable of playing to the level that made Jamaal Magloire an all-star in 2004. Desperate for a big body who can rebound and defend the post, the Miami Heat took a flyer on Magloire by signing him to the veteran's minimum of $1.3-million US, an amount the NBA partially funds. It's a low-risk move by the Heat, but for Magloire it represents a much-needed wakeup call, as if he needed further prodding. Magloire is only 30 years old, but there are so many questions and concerns hovering over him that it's possible this season could be his last in the NBA, even in a basketball climate where centers are so scarce."

  • John Reid of The Times-Picayune: "Despite the demands, Julian Wright is likely to develop into a key contributor because of his work ethic. Wright often stayed at the Alario Center after practices to work on perimeter shooting. But Byron Scott peeked in on one of Wright's voluntary workouts last week and did not like what he saw. 'He's not in the condition he needs to be in yet for training camp,' Scott said. 'We've got to be in great condition, because we plan to play 100-plus games this season.'"

  • Kate Fagan of The Philadelphia Inquirer: "The Sixers had, arguably, the busiest summer of an NBA team. The roster is revamped, new options everywhere. But here's the big question: What do you guys think out there? Was it all worth it? Are we going to be sitting here in two years talking about, 'Oh my goodness, why'd the Sixers get locked up in that one?' Most of the e-mails I received were of the 'Great moves, this team is exactly where it needs to be' variety."

  • Mike Baldwin of The Oklahoman: "There will be a waiting list for Thunder season tickets. Just not yet. Thunder officials announced Thursday night that slightly less than 1,000 season tickets remain. All remaining tickets are $10 upper deck seats that will go on sale at 8 a.m. today. 'We are down to a precious few remaining seats,' said team spokesman Dan Mahoney. 'We will be open and encourage fans to keep their Friday appointments. By purchasing them, you become a Thunder season ticket member and enjoy all the benefits that brings, including securing your opportunity for future upgrades.'"

  • Neal Rubin of The Detroit News: "As the executive in charge of the national anthem at Detroit Pistons games, Tim Dameron has received some 'incredibly wonderful' tapes from singers who'd like to play The Palace. He also has been sent a fair number of what he delicately calls 'incredibly what-were-you-thinking tapes.' After nine years, the game presentation manager for Palace Sports & Entertainment has come to realize that 'the universal truth is everyone thinks they're the best singer that ever was -- myself included.' Monday, anyone with an inclination and $25 will get a chance to prove it. ... The Pistons don't want to say it this bluntly, but the $25 audition fee is designed to discourage the sorts of people everyone laughs at on 'American Idol.'"

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "... your very own new Wolf is the one chosen for the cover of this season's EA Sports college-basketball video game, named NCAA Basketball 09 appropriately enough. Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo aren't on the cover. Kevin Love is the guy, a fact he attributes to the UCLA mystique and the Bruins' run to last season's Final Four rather than his rugged good looks. 'If you saw the cover, you would know that's not why,' Love said when asked if he was selected because of his handsome mug."

  • Jasen Lee of the Deseret News: "Jazz and Bees President Randy Rigby said that travel costs for the Jazz, who fly by charter jet, have increased by at least 10 to 15 percent in the past year. ... The National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball have union agreements that leave team financial managers with few options to alleviate higher travel costs, Rigby said. The NBA agreement stipulates that players must stay in top hotels, and they usually travel on charter flights. Finding ways to cut travel costs is difficult, so for now, his organization just has to 'suck it up' and look for additional ways to generate revenue, he said."