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First Cup: Monday

  • Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times: "First Anthony Randolph had his record-tying performance topped by teammate and friend Anthony Morrow. Now, he gets jobbed out of summer league MVP honors. Big deal? Not really. But it's a dis nonetheless. I just learned that Blake Griffin was named MVP of the Las Vegas summer League. I don't know who chooses, but certainly they spent too much time at Margeritaville. Anthony Randolph shoulda been MVP. Certainly, Griffin had more hype. He cemented himself as one of the most dominant rookies in summer league history and many expect him to have a stellar rookie season. And, no doubt, many of the voters, whoever they are, may not have seen much of Randolph since the Warriors played the first half of the schedule and most people came for the second half, when Griffin arrived. Randolph did miss his last game. Still, a look at the stats would've been enough to crown Randolph the winner: Randolph: 26.8 points, 60.9 FG%, 8.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. Griffin: 19.2 points, 50.0 FG%, 10.8 rebounds and 0.4 blocks."

  • Steve Silver for The Washington Times: "Although he's not a big man, second-year guard Nick Young dominated summer league competition and could see increased playing time this season. Young led the Wizards at 23.8 points a game in four appearances -- third best in the league. ... One player who probably isn't high on anyone's list is former Gonzaga star Josh Heytvelt. Despite garnering swarms of fans seeking autographs and photos, Heytvelt barely played and was underwhelming when he did leave the bench. Averaging 6.6 minutes a game, Heytvelt shot 3-for-9 in five appearances and only averaged 1.6 rebounds. 'I think I can still add something to an NBA team, but I'm really not sure what is next for me,' Heytvelt said."

  • Tom Knott of The Washington Times: "LeBron James is so lame. We know this from his facial contortions, agony-filled grimaces and woe-is-me facade whenever someone has the temerity to brush up against him on the basketball court. We know this from his looks of disbelief whenever a referee fails to recognize the human-rights violations being perpetrated against him. We know that when the going gets tough, the so-called king gets wimpy and threatens to take the basketball home with him. None of this means James is a bad guy. He never has had a run-in with the law. His peccadilloes away from the court, whatever they may be, have been airbrushed out of the public picture of James. That is as Nike would have it. The shoe giant has millions of dollars invested in James, and it is not about to let anything damage that investment if it can help it. That includes confiscating the video showing a college player dunking on the head of James during a recent pickup game at his skills camp in Akron, Ohio."

  • Scott Cacciola of The Commercial Appeal: "There was a celebratory atmosphere among a large chunk of the Clippers' fan base when the team struck its deal with Memphis. The franchise itself appeared to want Zach Randolph, 28, nowhere near Blake Griffin, the top overall pick in last month's NBA Draft and the Clippers' latest potential savior. So Randolph was, in short order, shipped two times zones away -- for Quentin Richardson, an oft-injured role player nearing the sunset of his career. This is the third time Randolph has been traded, and there is an unsettling trend at work. The three teams that have dealt him have gotten little in return -- besides Randolph's absence, which might have been the point. For example, when Portland traded him to New York, the Blazers received Channing Frye, who had averaged 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds the previous season, and a washed-up Steve Francis. 'How many 20-and-10 guys get dealt for Channing Frye?' asked Kevin Arnovitz, who runs ClipperBlog.com. And last November, Randolph was averaging 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds for the Knicks -- their leading scorer and rebounder -- when they bounced him to the Clippers for Cuttino Mobley, a once-productive player then in decline, and Tim Thomas. 'Another one of those guys who's uniquely talented and does nothing for you,' Arnovitz said of Thomas. 'And as for Quentin Richardson, bless his heart, but he has a bad back and an $8.7 million contract. So it's all telling you that Randolph is a guy who commands very little compensatory value.' "

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "The thing about Lamar Odom is he wants to be wanted, wants to be appreciated for the unique skill set he provides. Perhaps it comes down to the unceasing recruitment he enjoyed coming out of high school. Perhaps it was the attention he received from the Heat and others before the 1999 NBA Draft. What works in the Heat's favor is the Lakers' limiting their offer to about $9 million guaranteed a season. That would mean earning $3 million less next season than Andrew Bynum, $7 million less than Pau Gasol. The frustration is understandable, considering how Odom sacrificed a starting role and statistics to help the Lakers win a championship. But at the mid-level with the Heat, it would leave Odom earning $2 million less than Mark Blount next season, about a quarter as much as Jermaine O'Neal, less than Udonis Haslem, and only nominally more than Michael Beasley or James Jones. It's still a longshot, and an issue that should be settled relatively soon. The odds and the numbers, though, certainly are not in the Heat's favor, no matter how hearty the embrace."

  • Sam Amick of the The Sacramento Bee: "As always, Kevin Martin is working hard in the offseason. After staying off the ankle for nearly a month after the season, he began a routine inspired by Kobe Bryant. The Lakers star has long been known for beginning his offseason workouts at 6 a.m., pushing himself to wake up when it's dark and arrive at the gym long before anyone else. Martin pushed the schedule back a bit, starting at 6:30 a.m. four to five days a week for much of the summer while lifting weights four days a week as well. He arrives with two of his closest friends from his hometown of Zanesville, Ohio, then executes the workout routine provided by his personal coach, David Thorpe, before returning at night for another session. 'I just decided I was getting up early to see where my dedication was because we're trying to turn this team around -- the mentality on the team and the whole organization,' Martin said. 'Turn the lights on and then turn them off, too. That's what I'm doing this summer. It's a lot tougher than what I thought it was.' Martin had learned from Bryant up close last summer, playing with him on the Team USA Select team and impressing among the Olympians. But he wasn't invited back this summer, with Martin insisting he wasn't disappointed or surprised and spending his time with other endeavors instead."

  • Chris McCosky of The Detroit News: "Joe Dumars knows this new model won't please everybody. With more than $18 million to spend this summer, some fans might have
    expected the Pistons to sign a more marquee-type player. Dumars knew that, not only were those players not readily available, signing one big name player was not going to facilitate long-term success. Imagine what would have happened if Dumars either had not traded Billups when he did, or decided to save the cap space for the summer of 2010, when more marquee free agents were hitting the market. With the economic downturn, Dumars would have been left holding an empty bag. The league set the salary cap at $57.7 million this year and expects it could drop as low as $53.6 million next summer. All those teams who positioned themselves to be big shoppers in 2010 are now in major-scramble mode. Those thinking they could buy two elite players now hope to get one. Instead, Dumars signed two rising stars in Gordon and Villanueva who will be in their prime through the entire length of their contracts, took a calculated, low-risk gamble on a player like Wilcox, who has never been given the chance to be a starter in his seven seasons, and bolstered the bench with four hungry and promising rookies. It's not a perfect roster, by any measure. It's thin upfront. Defense and rebounding will be concerns. But don't get too hung up on the defensive shortcomings."

  • Chris Beaven of the Canton Repository: "Forget Anthony Parker's age. That was part of the message delivered by the veteran guard-forward when the Cavs signed him last week. Yes, he knows he's 34, and in NBA years, a 34-year-old wing often can look like a guy running on his last legs. But Parker is confident he's an exception since the bulk of his career was spent playing overseas with a much lighter game schedule. 'I didn't have that heavy 82-game plus (NBA) schedule to deal with,' Parker said in reference to five years spent playing in Israel and one in Italy. He played a total of 265 games in those six seasons - the equivalent of just more than three NBA seasons. 'People call me a young 34,' Parker said. 'I feel like I'm kind of on par with somebody that's 29, 30 in the NBA.' "