First Cup: Friday

  • Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel: Make no mistake about it. Caron Butler wants to play. And now the 33-year-old small forward will be playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, the team he grew up watching as a boy in Racine. … Butler will be starting his 12th pro season this fall and believes he has plenty to offer to a revamped Bucks squad. "Everything was handled the right way, in a very classy way," Butler said of the Suns. "The Bucks had made inquiries about me, and I thought this would be a great opportunity for me and my family. My son (Caron Jr.) will be in eighth grade this year in Racine." … "I talked to coach Drew and John Hammond (Bucks general manager), and we talked about my role on and off the court," Butler said. “They will ask even more of me, and I embrace that challenge, being a leader and a mentor. And I'll be in my own town doing it. I didn't think it would ever happen, that this dream I had many years ago could become a reality. That's funny."

  • Jeff Simmons of Sportsnet.ca: Rudy Gay is serious about improving game this off-season. The Toronto Raptors forward had laser eye surgery earlier this summer to help improve his declining shooting numbers and now he’s putting in the time to develop his post-game in Houston. Gay posted an Instagram video of a workout with Houston Rockets legend, and former Toronto Raptors center. Throughout his NBA career, Gay has been criticized for settling for jump shots and not using his size (Gay is 6-foot-9) to his full advantage. So this workout with Olajuwon is a very logical move for the Raptors’ go-to scorer., Hakeem Olajuwon.

  • Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News: Not a lot of news has been coming from the 76ers lately, except for the acquisition of guard Tony Wroten and the news of assistant Lloyd Pierce joining new coach Brett Brown's staff. Yesterday the Daily News talked to general manager Sam Hinkie about the past, present and future plans of the franchise. Q: There has kind of been an air of secrecy surrounding this organization since you took over, and the fans have felt distanced. Why have you chosen this route? A: I think our fans will find me to be plenty open when we get to know each other. Our coaching search took quite a while and that may have caused that. Every little edge you can get is important. There is some level of secrecy as teams try not to let on to what they're doing. If we were to have had Nerlens Noel come in and work out before the draft, that would have caused a stir being that we had the 11th pick, and the kind of things that happened on draft night (trading Jrue Holiday to New Orleans for Noel) possibly couldn't have been possible. So we chose not to let teams know who we are working out, and a lot of forward-thinking organizations do that with the comings and goings of potential players. We did a lot of trading in the second round and that was because people didn't know our interest in (Arsalan) Kazemi (eventually landed in the second round via trade).

  • Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee: While I was finishing an hour-long interview with new Kings coach Michael Malone in his office at the Sacramento Kings practice facility, there was a knock on the door. Who walks in? Kings GM Pete D'Alessandro, accompanied by a grinning Vlade Divac. The former Kings center - whose No.21 jersey hangs from the rafters inside Sleep Train Arena - was coy about the purpose for his visit and said he planned to remain in Sacramento very briefly. When I asked if he would be joining the new regime as an international scout or in some other capacity, he just laughed. Currently, the Kings icon lives in Belgrade, where he heads Serbia's Olympic effort. "The most important thing is that the Kings stayed," said Divac, who as usual, was wearing jeans and a short-sleeved T-shirt. "It will take some time (returning to elite status). People have to be patient. But the team is here."

  • Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun: The FIBA Americas tournament tips Friday morning in Caracas, Venezuela, when Canada’s senior men meet Jamaica to get things rolling. … Though Canada Basketball plays it down, this tournament is immense for the program. Simply put, the team must find a way to qualify for the World Cup. Forget who isn’t playing, Canada still has as much NBA talent as any opponent in Venezuela, plus some accomplished overseas vets and former NBAers. The North Americans face the toughest adjustment, since the other squads are well-versed in FIBA rules, venues and the international atmosphere, plus are far more used to playing with each other (with a few exceptions). However, talent is still important and these tournaments often come down to hot shooting. Canada has a number of players that can hit from outside.

  • Staff of The Sacramento Bee: Former NBA player Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who has worked in the Kings' front office for three years, has been named the general manager of the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Development League. Abdur-Rahim, Sacramento's 36-year-old director of player personnel, will oversee basketball operations for the Bighorns, the Kings announced. The Kings also said Chris Gilbert, entering his first season as basketball operations coordinator, will be the Bighorns' assistant general manager. The Kings and Bighorns announced a partnership last month. Sacramento controls the Bighorns' basketball operations, while Reno's owners have primary responsibility for the business side.

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: New season, new shoe. Says who? Says LeBron James on Instagram, when he sent out photographic proof. "It's about that time again! #LeBron11 #CantWaitToHitTheCourtInThem #CrazyKickGame." Clearly a quality product, considering it comes accompanied with three hash tags. Per Nike, "The LEBRON 11 King's Pride will be available on Oct. 12 globally. The LEBRON 11 Terracotta Warrior will be available on Oct. 1 in Greater China, and on Nov. 27 in North America and the rest of the world." … As for the Nov. 27 domestic release date for the LEBRON 11 Terracotta Warrior, the Heat will be in … Cleveland. Read into that what you please.