First Cup: Thursday

  • Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com: There's obviously some tension between the two - and seemingly more from Taylor's side, which seems unwarranted considering Taylor admitted this week that, in retrospect, he should have given Love the max deal after all. Taylor and then-GM David Kahn were the ones who deemed Love not worthy of a five-year max contract two years ago. This contractual snubbing paved the way for what we all saw coming - Love holding a grudge against the organization and eventually bolting for a new team. From a human perspective alone, Love's departure isn't unreasonable at all. Sure, he could have handled it in a way that left him on better terms with Wolves fans, but maybe he just doesn't care. And sure, Love has some flaws as a player and as a leader, but he is still one of the top 10 players in the NBA. And let me ask this: Who has more flaws, Love as a player or Taylor as an owner? Most people would say Taylor without hesitation. That's why his parting shots were so unwarranted.

  • Erik Horne of The Oklahoman: Kevin Durant is a free agent and he has a decision to make. Not about where he's going to play (that's not until 2016). Under Armour and Nike are currently in a tug-of-war for Durant's services. Reports surfaced last week that Roc Nation, which represents Durant, informed Nike that it had an offer on the table from Under Armour worth between $265-285 million over 10 years. Nike has the right to match any offer, but Durant can still choose Nike even if its offer comes in lower than Under Armour's. Numerous reports cited Wednesday as the deadline day for Nike to make a decision. Well, Wednesday came and people started talking. Durant's gone off to Under Armour for 10 years, $325 million. Under Armour has signed Durant for 10 years, $285 million. And nothing happened. Nothing has been confirmed. Nothing has been announced. ESPN's Darren Rovell says Nike still has time to match Under Armour.

  • Michael Kaskey-Blomain of The Philadelphia Inquirer: Sixers’ 2014 lottery selection Joel Embiid has drawn a lot of attention for his comical use of Twitter since his selection by the Sixers. The seven-foot center has used the social media platform to court Kim Kardashian and Rihanna,and he even tried to recruit LeBron James to the 76ers before James announced his intention to return to Cleveland. While developing a popular presence on the internet isn’t necessarily one of the central steps to his recovery, you can still count Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie as one who has been amused by Embiid’s online antics. “I told him I want him to take over my Twitter account,” Hinkie joked on a conference call with media members on Tuesday. “Maybe my followers will pick up. I think I’m at like 20 or so now.” ... Hinkie did acknowledge the timing of the tweets however, and made mention of the fact that Embiid’s humor may not always fall favorably. “Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of February, or late in March, or in the middle of a road trip, and some of that humor doesn’t go over as well,” Hinkie said. Translation: The Twitter-talk is fine and funny in the offseason, but when the Sixers are 12-45 in February, struggling through a road trip, his teammates might not find it so funny.

  • Rachel Whittaker of The Times-Picayune: January 3 was a very scary day for the New Orleans Pelicans and Ryan Anderson. The 25-year-old suffered two herniated discs in his neck at Boston that night and missed the rest of the 2014 season with an injury that could have been career-threatening. But Anderson has been working his way back through rehabilitation and feels "great," as he told sports reporter Rachel Whittaker this week. The Pelicans begin training camp in October and the regular season Oct. 28 at the Smoothie King Center. Anderson said he's thrilled to have a healthier cast of players around him as well. So many of his teammates also underwent surgery that left the Pelicans with a shell of the team they'd hoped for.

  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald: Seeking help at backup shooting guard behind Dwyane Wade, the Heat on Wednesday signed journeyman Shannon Brown, who has played for seven teams in eight NBA seasons. Brown has averaged 7.7 points and shot 42 percent overall and 33.1 percent on three-pointers in 403 games, including 58 starts. The Heat offered him a contract after he worked out for team officials on Tuesday. ... The Heat has spent several weeks looking for a shooting guard that it liked and was willing to accept the veteran's minimum. Miami auditioned Chris Douglas-Roberts and also had direct contact with Jordan Crawford. Leandro Barbosa also received consideration.

  • Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press: Ten-day contracts, stints in the NBA Development League, stops in Golden State, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta and Chicago. Cartier Martin has done it. “It has been a lot of dedication, staying committed and not giving up,’’ Martin said after working out Wednesday morning. “I know I can play in this league." So now Detroit is possibly home for two years and, at 29, he still has the fire and energy to get it done. That’s how Pistons president and head coach Stan Van Gundy described the fourth small forward under contract with the team. Martin will be the third oldest player on the roster behind Caron Butler, another small forward, and Will Bynum once training camp starts in October. “This has allowed me to get some experience under my belt as far as playing basketball," Martin said.

  • Scott Horner of The Indianapolis Star: The list of professional athletes taking up rap music is long and, naturally, Robbie Hummel is next. Yes, Hummel, the former Purdue University basketball star, posted a photo of himself on Instagram claiming to be in a studio working on an album called "ROB: Road to Redemption." Excited to announce that I've been in the studio grinding and have finally finished my first hip hop studio album, ROB: Road to Redemption. Look for it in stores and on iTunes this fall. #getmysnareup #turnmyheadphonesup!!! ... Is it for real? We're not sure, and neither was the Minnesota Timberwolves public relations department. Hummel dropped some sample lyrics after his initial post. "219/On my grind/Got them haters on my mind/The ACL/Can burn in hell/Ride of die/From Parker drive."

  • A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com: The Maine Red Claws will have a new man in charge this season as Scott Morrison is set to become the team's new head coach. He replaces Mike Taylor who amassed a 45-55 record in two seasons with the Red Claws, the Development League affiliate of the Boston Celtics. Morrison was a scout and assistant coach with the Red Claws last season. He also spent 10 seasons as the head coach at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, finishing with a record of 185-174 which included winning the Ontario University Athletics men’s basketball championship in 2012 along with a second-place finish in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s basketball championship in 2013.