First Cup: Tuesday

  • Daniel O'Leary of the New York Daily News: Carmelo Anthony apparently thinks the Knicks’ title chances this season are much like the photos posted to his Instagram account on Monday: Shockingly slim. The All-Star forward, who much like LeBron James last week, appeared extremely trimmed down on the social media site, told Spanish-language newspaper Primera Hora what sensible Knicks fans already know: “I don’t expect to win a championship this year.” Anthony, who was in Puerto Rico as part of his involvement with the “Courts 4 Kids” charity, re-signed with the Knicks for five years and $125 million this offseason. But he was the only big name the new-look Knicks brass, led by Phil Jackson, landed after targeting Pau Gasol and dreaming of bringing in Kevin Love or James, who both ended up in Cleveland. “That is something that takes time, and everything has to be in sync, from the front office to the players,” Anthony said, according to a story on the paper’s website, Primerahora.com. “We have a lot of work to do, but that is something that motivates me. I know we can start creating the basis for what we want to accomplish eventually. And this is a great start for the process.”

  • J. Michael of CSN Washington: The team was open to him joining the coaching staff -- the offer never was official -- but Al Harrington is going to play in China instead. In a phone conversation Monday, Harrington said he'd play for the Fujian Sturgeons for what he says will turn out to be significantly more than the $1.448 million veteran minimum deal he would've gotten from an NBA team. "I wanted to play there next year," Harrington said of Washington. "You look at some of the signings and stuff like that, so instead of me sitting the bench I just felt, 'Let me re-invent myself for real.' My knee feels good. My body feels good. The Chinese situation is where they're going to need me to score 30 points a night instead of playing 10 minutes, being 1-for-3 on threes and go sit down. It's an opportunity to go out and play the game the way I want to play at a high level. The CBA isn't the NBA but it's high-quality basketball and it's respectable. It's a chance to go out and push my body and see what I've truly got left."

  • Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel: It was a bad break but not a devastating one. Damien Inglis, the 19-year-old forward chosen 31st overall by the Milwaukee Bucks, thought he was ticketed for a first-round selection before he suffered abroken right foot in a workout in Oklahoma City. Instead, he became the top pick in the second round and wound up with the Bucks, the team with the worst record in the league last season. The native of French Guiana still sees the bright side in joining a rookie trio that includes No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker and power forward Johnny O'Bryant, taken 36th overall. "I was surprised but I was so happy for that," Inglis said of being chosen by Milwaukee. "The Bucks are a young team, and I'm so glad to be part of this project." Bucks management made the decision to bring Inglis to fall training camp rather than keeping him in Europe for another season. He is still in a walking boot due to his injury but said in a recent interview he should be out of the boot soon. Inglis has the size (6 foot 9 and 240 pounds) and mobility that make him an appealing small forward prospect in the NBA.

  • Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News: The Greg Monroe watch is entering its seventh week, with another seven weeks remaining before there’s a guarantee his restricted free agency will be resolved, one way or another. While the Pistons big man has not pursued an offer sheet from another team, he has pursued sign-and-trade possibilities, and Monroe is “definitely” willing to take the one-year qualifying offer worth $5.3 million from Detroit in order to ensure his unrestricted free agency next summer, a source familiar with Monroe’s thinking told The Detroit News. The source requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the contract talks. Monroe has until Oct. 1 to agree to a deal or sign the qualifying offer. Part of Monroe’s thinking could be the Pistons’ likely stance of matching any contract offer, even if the max is well above their reported offer of four years and $50-plus million, similar to the deal Josh Smith signed last summer. Through his Twitter account, Monroe has disputed being offered a deal with that framework, or the five years/$60 million that has been reported by other outlets. “(I) can’t reject anything that was not offered to me,” Monroe wrote Sunday, shortly after returning stateside from a trip to Africa through the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program."

  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: Six weeks into free agency, Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver expressed how he still wants to sign Bledsoe to a long-term contract with the Suns. He also just wants to be able to talk to Bledsoe. "We value Eric as a player," Sarver said. "I hope at some point we'll be able to sit down and meet with those guys and make a deal." A Comcast SportsNet Northwest report quoted a source who said the Suns' relationship with Bledsoe "is on the express lane to being ruined." ESPN.com's Chris Broussard reported that the relationship is going in the "wrong direction." "Maybe that's just posturing and negotiating," Sarver said of the reports. "We haven't heard from the guy in four months, so I couldn't tell you. I do know that when he played here, he felt good about the organization, his coaching staff and his teammates at the end of the season. We had the same feelings toward him."

  • Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times: After Derrick Rose had rehabbed his ACL for nearly a year, there was a clamor for him to return for the end of the 2012-13 season. He could help the Bulls make a playoff run, advocates said. Look at how quickly the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson had returned from a similar knee injury, they said. The thinking went that it was better to get some of the rust off at the end of one season than at the beginning of the next. I didn’t see it that way. I saw it as risky business to throw Rose back in for the playoffs, when the game is ratcheted up that much more. He and the Bulls took the conservative approach, the right approach. If that looks like a contradiction given my stance on the importance of Rose playing for Team USA, look again. He’s coming off a torn meniscus, a less severe injury than a torn ACL. He needs to play basketball — serious basketball — to strengthen his body and his confidence. The more, the better. And, eventually, a better, healthier Rose.

  • Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun: As for his critics who have been picking apart his game since he was in high school, only now in a much bigger way, Wiggins again avoided a direct answer. When asked if he reads or listens to people like ESPN’s Jason Whitlock who suggested recently that Wiggins (and Canadians in the NBA in general) don’t want to win as much as Americans or Europeans in the league, Wiggins replied he “listens to his music and his family.” In all honesty, hearing Whitlock’s idiotic comments, we fully endorse that approach. Wiggins may just be refusing to give the Whitlock’s of the world any further credence but suffice to say he has no problem using that sort of criticism for his own motivational purposes. “I think every player, every competitor should play with a chip on their shoulder no matter what,” he said. “Everyone has something to prove.” Asked specifically if he plays with a chip on his shoulder, Wiggins sounded surprised the question was even asked. “I’m a competitor, so yeah,” he said leaving out the “Duh.” Wiggins said the key for him dealing with the Jason Whitlocks of the world — or even the upheaval a trade like the pending one has to bring — is the love and support of his family.

  • Staff of The Dallas Morning News: On adding six players this offseason who were starters for other teams last year: Mark Cuban: “I didn’t even think about it that way, but that’s probable true. We were looking to improve. We were looking to add depth. ... The thing about the NBA is that it’s becoming much smarter. There’s a lot more analytics. The new owners that have come in since I’ve been here are just really smart guys. So rather than always doing it the old-school way, the way it’s always been done, teams have to be a lot smarter and the league evolves a lot more quickly. And I think one of the reasons we were able to give San Antonio such a run is that we had a high basketball IQ and we were able to make adjustments that they didn’t expect. I think if our basketball IQ was a little bit higher, then we should have beat them — we could have beat them, we would have beat them — and that’s what we were looking for this summer: guys with high basketball IQs, guys who can play multiple positions, guys who were unselfish and were willing to move the ball and guys who could hit an open shot."

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: The formulation of the NBA schedule is a delicate process, the league's 2014-15 calendar still a work in progress until it formally will be unveiled Wednesday. But when it erupts, it will arrive with four blasts of LeBron-vs.-Miami Heat drama that could overshadow the rest of what the league has to offer to Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and what remains of James' former team. According to a league source familiar with the preliminary schedules forwarded recently to teams, the Heat's first meeting with James' Cavaliers is scheduled for Christmas at AmericanAirlines Arena, in what the preliminary schedule lists only as a "night" game. The Cavaliers also are listed on the preliminary version of the schedule to play March 16 at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat's two trips to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland are scheduled for Feb. 11 and April 2, the first time in five years the Heat will arrive there to face James in visiting colors.

  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: The Charlotte Hornets plan to formally submit a bid Tuesday to host either the 2017 or 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend, a source close to the process said Monday. The team and the Charlotte Sports Foundation have called a news conference for Tuesday morning. It’s expected that’s when a formal announcement of the Hornets’ pursuit will be made. The All-Star Weekend was in Charlotte once before, in 1991, when the original Hornets played here. While it’s been no secret the Hornets are interested in hosting the annual mid-February event at Time Warner Cable Arena, there are potential complications. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during a March visit to Charlotte that an All-Star bid would be contingent on the city agreeing to various upgrades to the arena.