First Cup: Wednesday

  • Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Times: "Dear Donald, I hate to be the one to tell you this but Elgin Baylor just hung them up. Come on, you must remember. Tall, distinguished-looking former NBA great? Headed up your Clippers' front office the last 22 years? I knew you'd remember! Oh, you knew about this? Actually, it turns out that you hung up Elgin's shoes with Elgin still in them, officially handing his duties to Coach Mike Dunleavy. Actually, Dunleavy has run the basketball operation for four seasons, if you count the last one when you put Mike on ice and no one ran it. Elgin is 74 so it was your prerogative to pension him off. On the other hand, it would have been nicer if it hadn't ended bitterly so you could hold a night for him instead of seeing him allege a 'dispute' and refer people to his legal team."

  • Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer: "As Mo Williams was leading a fastbreak after an opponent made a basket ... Not sure I've ever written that in a Cavaliers story in the Mike Brown era. Not the Mo Williams part (he's new), but Cavs consistently motoring the ball up the court in high octane after the other team scored. But that's what Williams can mean to this team, as was clear during the Cavs' 104-84 loss to Toronto in their first exhibition game of the season Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena."TrueHoop First Cup

  • Jason Quick of the Oregonian: "There was [Greg] Oden, in his first NBA 'game', finishing with 13 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 20 minutes. He tired easily, but of his five baskets, four were dunks, many of them coming after he patiently waited for his opening to rise above the rim. He also emphatically sent back a dunk attempt by Sacramento center Spencer Hawes and he drew nine fouls on Kings players. When he left, the Rose Garden crowd gave him a standing ovation, with some bowing to him with outstretched arms. 'It was all right,' Oden said of his performance. 'But there's always room for improvement. I know I'm not in the best shape of my life and all I can do is work through that.' While Oden remained humble, at least one of his teammates publicly said what many on the team have been predicting since they watched Oden work out this summer. 'I think he is going to be Rookie of the Year,' LaMarcus Aldridge said. 'I'm going on record and saying that Greg is a man-child.' Don't look now, but Oden may have some stiff competition for Rookie of the Year from one of his teammates: [Rudy] Fernandez. In a simply electric performance, Fernandez had the crowd chanting his first name after a series of flashy plays. He dunked off a lob pass from Rodriguez, a longtime friend and countryman, and then later caught another lob from Rodriguez and in a dipsy-do move, drifted under the basket and blindly banked it high off the backboard. And there was more. Fernandez threaded a pass through the legs of Jason Thompson that Aldridge converted, and later made a sharp bounce pass in traffic that Aldridge dunked. He also lobbed a pass that Martell Webster dunked, putting the finishing touches on a six-point, five-assist night."

  • Chris McCosky of The Detroit News: "Rasheed Wallace went at Kwame Brown full-throttle at the end of practice Tuesday. It started when Brown said that he would put Wallace 'in the trunk and lock him up.' Wallace went off. There is no way on God's green earth that you can lock me up, ever, ever, ever,' he said. 'You couldn't lock me up in when you were in D.C. or L.A., nowhere. You're lucky you never had to face me in high school.' Brown hooted on Wallace for sitting out the last couple of minutes of the scrimmage, telling him, 'Go get your rest, old man.' That only fired Wallace up more. 'Yeah, I need my rest because I am working. I'm not out there lollygagging like you,' Wallace shouted. Brown soon scored on two aggressive plays, but Wallace wasn't impressed. 'Yeah, Kwame, two baskets in two-and-a-half hours,' he said. After practice, Wallace put his arm around Brown and the two exchanged a laugh. Coach Michael Curry loved every minute of it."

  • Jan Hubbard of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "Before the game, it wasn't hard to imagine a few people might bring signs. They did -- but they were supportive. 'Josh Howard Rocks' was on one sign behind one of the baskets. 'Let's Go JHo' was another sign. Howard, again, was humble after the game. 'Like I said, I'm here to play basketball,' Howard said. 'That's in the past. I think I'll take a page out of Steve Nash's book and try to win one fan at a time and that's it. And just play my game.' His game looked quite good. He hit 7 of 11 shots, scored 15 points and had six rebounds and two assists."

  • Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic: "Like him or not, Kobe Bryant shined over the summer. He represented his country with sophistication and dignity, conducting interviews in three languages. He came home with a gold medal and a new coat of image. It's time for Shaquille O'Neal's response, and this one must take place on the court, without lyrics and a microphone. 'I'm always going to be a force,' O'Neal said. 'Whatever team I'm on is going to have a great shot.'"

  • K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: "So much for bringing Derrick Rose along slowly. To which Rose, as is his style, replies with a big aw-shucks. 'Whoever deserves to start will start,' Rose said. 'It isn't like anybody hating on another person. We just want to win. It's up to the coach if I need to learn stuff. Everybody thinks they deserve to play. But if sitting on the bench helps us win, I'll do it.' This genuine lack of an agenda is partly why Rose has been so impressive. Well, that and blinding speed, a professional practice approach that has him arriving hours early and his quick grasp of an offense that's heavy on the screen-and-roll."

  • Fran Blinebury of the Houston Chronicle: "Good thing the Rockets made the trade. If Ron Artest hadn't shown up in the first 12 minutes of the exhibition season, the Rockets might still be trying to break into double figures. No Tracy McGrady (knee) for the entire night and no Yao (rust) to make his presence felt in the first quarter. But there was Artest, the newbie, looking like much of what the Rockets wanted of him as he made his Toyota Center debut."

  • Brian Hanley of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Tyrus Thomas, the fourth overall selection in the 2006 draft, credits David Thorpe and the staff of IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla. -- where Thomas and Luol Deng spent time over summer -- for his attitude adjustment. 'They did a great job with me overall; my attitude and the way I approached the game, the way I handle the media,' Thomas said. 'Just everything. They helped me become a better person. They did a real good job of just preparing me to be more of a professional. Not to say that I was unprofessional, but just to maximize my professiona

  • Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee: "Kings forward Mikki Moore is done with all of it -- the protein shakes, biscuits and gravy, or any other high-calorie option he thought might fatten his lanky frame. Less than a month from his 33rd birthday and still as skinny as ever, the 7-foot, 225-pounder said he finally has accepted his body the way it is. 'I can't worry about gaining weight anymore,' Moore said. 'My frame ain't going to change. My best bet is to beat (his defender) down the floor and beat him that way anyways.' Which works just fine in the current context. With a focus on playing up-tempo on offense, Moore will be asked to run the floor more. He said he is in good condition, having returned to Sacramento at the end of August to begin training with Kings strength coach Daniel Shapiro."

  • Aaron J. Lopez of the Rocky Mountain News: "It has been nearly three years since Chris Andersen took the floor for a game at the Pepsi Center. Always a fan favorite in Denver, the 'Birdman' is hoping to take flight again when the Nuggets open their exhibition schedule Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Andersen has been slowed by a nasty bruise directly behind his left knee, but he anticipates being ready to go by Friday. 'I didn't sit out two years to be injured,' he said Tuesday. 'I want to play. That's always been my mentality.'"

  • Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: "With the EA Sports 'NBA Live '09' video game hitting stores Tuesday with Spurs point guard Tony Parker adorning the cover, Parker fielded requests from some of his game-playing teammates for copies of the popular game. He also took some kidding about the cover photo that shows a heavily-muscled Parker, on the dribble. 'He looks all 'swole up' on the cover,' said swingman Ime Udoka, one of the Spurs' stronger players, 'and I know he's not that big in person. That's the one thing I noticed. It looked like they put my body on his face.'"