First Cup: Tuesday

  • David Aldridge of NBA.com: "This was the Summer of Dichotomy in the NBA. A lot of teams were active, and spent grandly. But individual players didn't get the huge paydays of years past. The relative haves spent money like it was going out of style, going tens of millions of dollars above the luxury tax threshhold. But many more teams, for one reason or another, stood pat. So, is the NBA, in this still-lagging economy, relatively speaking, okay? Or is it in dire economic trouble? That question will serve as the backdrop for the beginning, on Tuesday, of negotiations between the league's special labor relations committee, and the National Basketball Players' Association on the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current CBA runs through the 2010-11 season, and the owners could extend it an additional year, but no one expects anything but a re-opening, and both sides have agreed to get talks started sooner rather than later in hopes of heading off a work stoppage/lockout in two years."

  • Barbara Barker of Newsday: "Whoa. Wait a second. Didn't the Knicks just get rid of a prima donna guard with a bad attitude? With Stephon Marbury gone, isn't that chapter of ugliness supposed to be over and done at Madison Square Garden? That's what I had thought. And then a report leaked out that Knicks president Donnie Walsh had met with Allen Iverson's agent Leon Rose to discuss the possibility of A.I. joining the Knicks. Iverson is not the Knicks' first or even second choice. He's a long shot candidate as they will likely make an offer to Ramon Sessions or Jamal Tinsley later Monday or Tuesday. Still, the fact that he's even a candidate at all just boggles the mind, especially after the way he gave up on Detroit last season. The 23-year-old Sessions would be my top choice for the future of the Knicks, but I don't have a huge problem with the Knicks giving a short contract to a past-his-prime point guard. I would have loved it if the team had brought Jason Kidd aboard for a couple of seasons. Tinsley is also not a bad stop-gap measure. It's one thing, however, to be past your prime. It's quite another to be past your prime and a whiner and complainer who doesn't like to practice. Iverson so hates practice that a rant on the subject is a YouTube classic."

  • Don Seeholzer of the Pioneer Press: "Timberwolves fans anxiously awaiting the hiring of a coach likely will have to hold on until the end of the week, at the earliest. Wolves owner Glen Taylor, chairman of the NBA's board of governors, will be in New York today for a meeting between the league's labor committee and players union and has board meetings scheduled through Thursday. That makes Friday the first day Taylor likely will be able to sit down with a prospective coach, which Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn has said will precede any hire. ESPN/ABC analyst Mark Jackson, Los Angeles Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis and Houston assistant Elston Turner are the finalists. Taylor said Monday that he could end up meeting with one or more, 'depending on how they are stacked up.' The Wolves are the only NBA team without a coach and have been in the market since June 17, when they announced that Kevin McHale would not return."

  • Marc Berman of the New York Post: "'White Chocolate' has a chance today to replace 'KryptoNate.' According to a source, the unretired Jason Williams will be at the Knicks' Westchester campus today for a workout/interview as he bids to become the Knicks' backup point guard, supplanting fellow hot dog, Nate Robinson. The Knicks were awarded exclusive negotiating rights to the eccentric Williams until Thursday after being put on waivers following his reinstatement. Williams, 33, stunningly retired last August after signing with the Clippers, citing personal reasons relating to his wife's pregnancy."

  • Joe Davidson of The Sacramento Bee: "There was a light moment in the Kings' players lounge Monday afternoon. And this is a franchise that can use a few laughs. Before a media session, freshly signed free agent Sean May held up his new jersey, bearing his trademark No. 42. The 6-foot-9 power forward showed both sides of the garment, prompting Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie to crack, 'Same number on the back, too?' Yep, same number. But it belongs to a new man. 'When I worked out for the Kings (in Las Vegas last month), I felt my career was on the line,' May said. 'I still feel like that with the season coming. I am ready for a fresh start. I will definitely get back to where I once was. ... My NBA career, if I wrote a book, none of this would be in the chapters. A lot of people in my position have folded, and I refuse to do that. Sitting out was tough emotionally. It took a lot out of me. It was the first time I had struggled. I read the comments and heard them. People who know me know I work extremely hard, and I don't think a lot of people understand (microfracture surgery), the hours or rehab, how it takes 10 months to come back.' "

  • Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: "Of all that excites Bryan Colangelo in this summer of change -- and so much does -- nothing gets him quite as enthusiastic as talking about his new coach. Jay Triano wasn't the easy hire or the obvious hire but as August begins and the Raptors training camp is almost two months away, it's apparent that if Colangelo liked Triano before, he's crazy about him now. 'It's not just me,' Colangelo said on the telephone. 'I'm getting glowing reports from USA Basketball about Jay. I'm getting glowing reports from Mike Krzyzewski and (my father) Jerry Colangelo about what he's doing at the U.S. camp. It's one thing when you think you see something. It's something else when others see the same thing you do. It just feels good. It feels good in terms of our relationship, it feels good in terms of the structure of our team. You need certain things to be successful and coaching is a big part of it. I just see a guy growing into the job and I can't wait to get going.' "

  • Bill Nichols of The Dallas Morning News: "Center Ryan Hollins won't be returning to the Mavericks. Hollins, a restricted free agent, signed an offer sheet with the Minnesota Timberwolves that the Mavericks do not plan to match. On his Twitter account, Mavs owner Mark Cuban congratulated Hollins and wished him well in Minnesota. The Mavs have little reason to match. Hollins was reportedly offered a three-year deal worth $7 million, which would have translated to $14 million for Cuban because of the luxury tax."

  • Truman Reed of Bucks.com: "As a newcomer to Milwaukee, one of the best things Amir Johnson could possibly do is join a club. There are plenty from which to choose: The Polar Bear Club. The Kiwanis Club. The South Shore Yacht Club. There's even a group called the Tall Club of Milwaukee, which ought to be
    tailor-made for the 6 foot, 9 inch Johnson. The ideal club for Johnson to join, though, would be a national one. Its members include Scott Skiles, the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, and four other men who used to wear Bucks uniforms: Bobby Simmons, Kevin Duckworth, Dale Ellis and Alvin Robertson. Its reigning Grand Pooh-Bah is Danny Granger of the Indiana Pacers. The club, which originated in 1986, includes the 24 individuals who have been honored as the National Basketball Association's Most Improved Player. And the 22-year-old Johnson, acquired by Milwaukee on June 23, 2009 in a three-way trade that included Richard Jefferson and involved the Detroit Pistons (Johnson's previous team) and the San Antonio Spurs, ought to have a golden opportunity to join its ranks. 'For me, I think it's a great opportunity to prove myself in the NBA,' Johnson said. 'Having been with great, veteran players like Chauncey (Billups), 'Rip,' (Richard Hamilton) and 'Sheed,' (Rasheed Wallace), I feel like I've gathered a lot of knowledge. Now I'm really to prove myself, and also offer my experience to the younger guys in camp here.' "

  • Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post: "Nuggets guard J.R. Smith's tweets are raising questions among fans. Several recent posts by Smith on his page are written in a way that is commonly associated with the Bloods street gang. Words that would have a 'C' in them are replaced with 'K,' or if a word has both in them, the 'C' is removed altogether. Smith has nearly 15,000 followers on his Twitter page. 'Those are still little messages that are being transcended back to some of the neighborhoods,' said Rev. Leon Kelly, executive director of Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives in Denver. 'Not to say in no way is he promoting a gang. But people got to understand that a lot of these kids come from gang neighborhoods. Their friends are still involved in doing what they do. Just because one was able to get out of that lifestyle, many of them don't forget where they come from.' ... On a post Sunday, Smith exclaimed 'Vegas here I kome!' Last week he wrote that he 'Kant wait to get bak in the swing of things.' ... Smith, 23, is aware of what is posted on his account. Monday morning he implored those writing messages to 'watch what you say on here it gets me in a lot of trouble!' "

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "The name of the Orlando Magic's new arena will sound familiar. The team and Amway Global have reached a 10-year $40 million naming-rights deal to call the new facility Amway Center. The agreement comes as the recession has made it more difficult for sports franchises to secure advertising and sponsorship deals. But in Orlando's case, the team had a trump card: Magic Owner Rich DeVos also is the co-founder of Amway, which already held the naming rights on the Magic's current home, Amway Arena. The latest agreement is tied for the sixth-largest total price for an NBA naming-rights agreement, according to Sports Business Journal, which first reported the deal on Monday. 'I think that it's a good deal [for the Magic],' said Smith College professor Andrew Zimbalist, who has written extensively about sports economics. 'The thing about naming-rights deals is that the market is very thin. It's sort of like selling a luxury house. If the right person comes along at the right time, you can get a good price.' "