First Cup: Wednesday

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: And on the next day closer to a Kevin Love trade ... Cleveland completed a trade with Utah that brought back three players with non-guaranteed contracts Tuesday, assets they can use to make a trade for the Timberwolves star work under the NBA’s complicated salary-cap rules. Also Tuesday, Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders pulled owner Glen Taylor out of the third quarter of the WNBA’s Lynx game at Target Center, presumably to attend to an urgent Wolves’ matter in the team’s upstairs arena offices. He returned to watch the end of the Lynx’s double-overtime victory and then quickly returned to the Wolves’ offices. In a matter of days, the Cavaliers have gone from insisting they absolutely will not trade No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins to positioning themselves for a blockbuster trade that’d acquire a third star to go along with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The Cavaliers did so Monday by swinging a trade that sent away guard Carrick Felix’s guaranteed minimum contract, a second-round pick and $1 million to Utah for guards John Lucas and forwards Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy.

  • Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times: If the Bulls are back in the Kevin Love sweepstakes, as ESPN reported Tuesday, that would be news to a source close to the situation. “I would like to know which side let that out," the source said, inferring that it sounded more like the Timberwolves were playing chicken with more serious bidders such as the Warriors and Cavaliers. The Bulls were one of the first teams to throw a serious package at the Timberwolves in June, headlined by Taj Gibson, Tony Snell and multiple draft picks, but it wasn’t to be.

  • Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun: Speaking with fellow ESPNer Keith Olbermann, Jason Whitlock, no stranger to controversial, attention-grabbing comments, said “Andrew Wiggins’ effort and intensity sometimes was inconsistent at Kansas and that might be a personality quark he’ll deal with throughout his career. “That’s why (the Cavs) would probably prefer to play with Kevin Love. This is what a lot of NBA people believe. American-born ... players have more intensity, they’re not as laid back.” Canadians were defiant at training camp at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday in dismissing Whitlock’s statements. “They say different things like that. We have many athletes in many different sports that can excel at many high levels,” said Carl English, a 33-year-old guard who has led the Spanish ACB, the world’s second-best league, in scoring. ... Orlando Magic forward Andrew Nicholson, who played extremely aggressively, getting himself into foul trouble a year ago, was stunned when he heard the quote. “Wow. I don’t agree with that. I know we have motivation, that’s why we are here,” Nicholson said. ... “It’s a wonderful sweeping generalization. Really good. Hit it on the head there. Our hockey team lacks a lot of competitiveness and determination for sure,” Steve Nash said, tongue firmly in cheek.

  • Cliff Pinckard of The Plain Dealer: LeBron James is a caring neighbor. Earlier this month, Cleveland Cavaliers fans and journalists arrived in droves outside of James' home in Bath Township as they waited for his announcement on where he would play next season. It caused quite a furor in the neighborhood, and extra police were called in to manage the crowd. James is aware of this and to make amends, he sent a note of apology accompanied with cupcakes to his neighbors on Tuesday.

  • Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel: Kendall Marshall describes himself as a "pass-first" point guard. That could be just what the Milwaukee Bucks need. So it was not too surprising that the Bucks jumped to make a waiver claim after the Los Angeles Lakers released the 6-foot-4 Marshall last week. One moment Marshall was playing for the Lakers' summer league team in Las Vegas and the next he was a member of the Bucks' suddenly changing guard corps. Or as he put it nicely on Twitter: #FeartheBeardedDeer. "I'm very excited about it," Marshall said Tuesday in a phone interview. "I like the young core they have. With the athletes they have it's going to be more probable to get in the open court." Marshall will be reunited with his former North Carolina teammate John Henson. The 22-year-old Virginia native provides a true point guard option to go along with Brandon Knight and newcomer Jerryd Bayless, both considered hybrid types that can play either point guard or shooting guard. ... Playing under new Bucks coach Jason Kidd, a future Hall of Fame point guard, is an opportunity Marshall relishes.

  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: The Celtics are banking that the Evan Turner who arrives at TD Garden is the one who averaged 17.4 points in 54 games with Philadelphia last season before being traded to Indiana. The Turner who played for the Pacers had no defined role or responsibility on a team that became increasingly dysfunctional. Turner walked right into the NBA’s version of “Bad Girls Club.” It’s a fresh opportunity for a kid who has received more scrutiny than he deserved. Turner is tired of talking about what hasn’t happened with his career and why. He won’t face that type of pressure in Boston, and Ainge and Stevens will give him ample opportunity to show he’s got game left. Now it’s about creating the right situation for that to occur.

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: After weeks referring to second-round pick Nick Johnson as if he already was a signed member of their roster, the Rockets will soon make it official. A day after the Rockets completed play in the Las Vegas Summer League, the Rockets expected the signing of Johnson to be imminent, a person with knowledge of their talks said. Johnson will sign a three-year deal. The Rockets are also expected to sign first-round pick Clint Capela. Johnson and Capela are, however, the only players from the large list of prospects whose rights the Rockets hold expected on the roster. Second-round pick Alessandro Gentile is expected to remain in Europe for at least another season. The Rockets last week did not come to terms with forward Kostas Papanikolaou after several days of talks.

  • Staff of The Dallas Morning News: On Chandler Parsons ... Mark Cuban: "I was pretty confident. Houston is a very logical organization. They do things by the book. They'll follow logic as opposed to some other human elements ... I guess I can't think of a better way to put it. And so, by the book, they were not going to match. We priced it so if they tried to do a sign-and-trade, they were up against the CBA's hard cap. And that would limit their options. We knew if they didn't do anything with Chris Bosh, it would create limitations for their future flexibility. If they did bring in Chris Bosh, they basically were going to have to get rid of everybody. We tried to make it as difficult as possible on them."

  • Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News: Mark Barnhill, senior partner at Platinum Equity, issued a statement Tuesday reflecting the sentiments of Pistons owner Tom Gores, in light of the Ilitch family unveiling plans for a $650 million entertainment district downtown. The Pistons are the lone pro sports team in Detroit that isn't downtown, and they are not currently weighing the possibility of moving from The Palace of Auburn Hills, Barnhill said. "We have a beautiful arena, and we have invested tens of millions of dollars over the past three years to modernize and improve that facility," said Barnhill in the statement. "At the same time, we would never close the door on alternatives if they made good sense for our fans, for our team, for our business and for Michigan." The Palace is the only arena among the four used by Detroit’s pro sports teams that was built solely by private funds -- by late owner William Davidson in the 1980s.

  • Scott Horner of The Indianapolis Star: Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert had some rather accomplished company for dinner Tuesday night -- basketball legends Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bird also happens to be Hibbert's boss as Pacers president. Hibbert's tweet indicates he got to ask them plenty of questions. Wonder if any were these: Can you teach me that sky hook? Who would win a game of H-O-R-S-E (hook vs. 3-pointers)? Inch-for-inch, which of you was better? Bird (6-9) averaged 24.3 points and 10 rebounds per game over 13 seasons, with three NBA titles, three straight NBA MVP awards and 12 All-Star Game honors. Abdul-Jabbar (7-2) averaged 24.6 points and 11.2 rebounds per game over 20 seasons, with six NBA titles, six NBA MVP awards and 19 All-Star Game honors.