Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times: “Odom wasn’t overjoyed to hear he might come off the bench if Jackson’s plan of a Bynum-Odom-Gasol front line doesn’t meet expectations. Entering the last year of a contract that pays him $14.1 million this season, Odom didn’t like the idea of being a sixth man in favor of Trevor Ariza, a possibility trotted out last week by Jackson. “He must have woke up and bumped his head. He probably hit his head on something — boom,” Odom said of Jackson. “To start off like that, you’ve got to be out of your . . . mind.” Odom did not think he would lose his starting spot to Ariza, but, if it happened, well, you know . . . “Everybody knows on my team I’ll do whatever for the team,” Odom said. “If you want me to be the mascot, whatever you want me to be. I’ll be the doormat, the rug, whatever you want me to be.”"
Jeff Eisenberg of The Press-Enterprise: “Maybe he thinks Coach Phil Jackson’s just playing mind games. Maybe he’s wary of offending Lamar Odom. Maybe he’s simply being coy. Whatever the reason, Trevor Ariza showed only limited enthusiasm about the possibility of starting at small forward for the Lakers despite Jackson suggesting it was an option if Odom struggles with the transition from power forward during training camp. “Whenever it’s time for me to be on the court, I’m going to do my job,” Ariza said. “I’ve been in the NBA for a while now, so I know nothing happens until the ball goes up. I’m just going to wait my turn and see what happens.”"
Alan Hahn of New York Newsday: “Zach Randolph said he heard the trade rumors but is fine with still being a Knick and vows to do whatever Mike D’Antoni asks of him, even if it means coming off the bench. “If that’s going to help our team win,” Zach said, “then that’s what I’m going to do.” Funny moment came when Frank Isola asked him about the team drafting a player they expect to eventually fill his role as power forward and Zach quickly cut him off with a perturbed, “Who?!” Um, Zach, have you met Danilo?”
Chris Tomasson of The Rocky Mountain News: “Denver gave up 107 points per game last season, next to last in the league. “A lot of people are saying that our defense left when Marcus Camby left, so I think that gives us motivation to prove to everybody we’re going to come together and play defense,” forward Carmelo Anthony said of the team’s top defender having been traded. Without Camby, Karl said the defensive philosophy will change toward players rotating more quickly to the perimeter.”
Rob Parker of The Detroit News: “”I don’t know if people should believe,” Chauncey Billups said. “You never know. You can’t really judge things until it’s over. We have the same team, a different coach. That’s a big piece of the puzzle.” Indeed. Curry is the unknown. His impact could be huge. Then again, it might not matter at all. “A lot of the responsibility falls on my shoulders,” Curry said. There’s more change than just Curry, however. In the Pistons’ practice facility, there used to be a big mural of the 2004 championship. It’s gone. The message is simple: Too many players were living off that magical season. It’s been four seasons since the Pistons tasted champagne. The team that was told it couldn’t and did has become a team that has been there, done that. Simply put, other teams — Miami, Cleveland and Boston — wanted what the Pistons had experienced more.”
Warriors.com: Welcomes Back Monta Ellis [Video interview]
Clips Nation: “Given Miami’s luxury tax situation and their apparent skepticism about Shaun’s future, I can’t see them offering him any more than a one year minimum deal (maybe with a team option in the second year, which is no advantage to Liv of course). So in Shaun’s worst case scenario (that his career is sadly over) the Clippers’ offer is likely worth TWICE what any other offer is worth. It’s already Tuesday in Miami as I write this. By the time you’re reading it, Shaun will no doubt be tossing passes to Dwyane Wade at the Heat’s training camp. But the longer he remains unsigned, the more likely it becomes that he’ll end up back in LA – he has a standing offer, it’s better than he’s going to get elsewhere, and it’s hard to imagine that teams are going to give him guaranteed money to come into camp LATE given his status.”
Michael Wallace of The Miami Herald: “But at some point, Haslem and Beasley might have to set the pleasantries aside and wage perhaps the biggest, most intriguing position battle of training camp. They not only share a position, they were taught by a mutual mentor. Beasley was a consensus All-American his lone season at Kansas State under Miami native Frank Martin. Martin coached Haslem 10 years earlier at Miami Senior High. That gave the relationship a starting point after both did their research on one another before Beasley arrived. ”We’re kind of cut from the same cloth,” Haslem said. “He played for Frank Martin, so you’ve got to shut up [and listen]. I played for Frank Martin, so I know what it is to shut up. Even in the summertime, when we were playing a couple of pickup games, I would say something to him and he didn’t have anything to say.””
Phil Jasner of The Philadelphia Daily News: “That’s the 6-9, 254-pound Brand’s game. He holds career averages of 20.3 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.1 blocks; he’s one of just four active players with career averages of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, joining an elite class of Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal. And by all accounts, those sills remain fully intact after missing all but the last eight games of last season because of surgery to repair a torn Achilles’ tendon. “The fans here, they’re passionate about their teams,” he said. “They want you to win. They come out and support you; that’s why there’s the so-called pressure to play well. All eyes are on you in Philadelphia during the basketball season. That’s definitely going to be different than playing with the Clippers, and being in the Lakers’ kind of shadow.”"
Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: “Stoudemire said he wants to alter his defensive ways but not his pick-and-roll plays. He said playing power forward, instead of center, will enable him to get more blocks and steals and draw more charges. “It allows me to guard the guys I want to guard,” he said. “I’m going to guard David West. I want to guard Dirk Nowitzki and the Kevin Garnetts.” He wants to stick to pick-and-rolls with Nash. “I can’t think of one team that has stopped it,” Stoudemire said. “You can’t stop it.” But they will run it less. Nash said the perpetual pick-and-roll motion in last season’s fourth quarters contributed to him being “a little tired” in the playoffs.”
Sam Amick of The Sacramento Bee: “To the naked eye, they finished a respectable sixth in the league in scoring last season. But the fine print to the seemingly respectable effort told another story. They were last in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.25. Translation: It was the antithesis of Kings basketball of old, when ball movement and team play propelled the organization’s rise to elite status. As the long road back to relevance began anew with Monday’s media day at the team’s practice facility, the new faces and renewed optimism was joined by the admission the offense just might look new and improved as well. Kings coach Reggie Theus is implementing the vaunted triangle offense.”
Michael Grange of The Globe and Mail: “He doesn’t even mind paying Canadian income taxes which, based on the $22-million (U.S.) he’s slated to earn this season and next, is saying something. “My financial adviser was saying, yeah, you’re just getting killed in taxes,” said O’Neal, a six-time NBA all-star acquired by the Raptors from the Indiana Pacers in an off-season trade after a chaotic, injury-plagued finish to his eight-year run with the Pacers. “And I was like, look, I’ve made a lot of money over my 12 years in the NBA, and I’ve made a lot of money the last few years in Indiana. But I did not think about money one time when I was miserable.”"
Ross Siler of The Salt Lake Tribune: “Nine players were part of the Jazz’s last two playoff runs. The only new faces belong to veteran point guard Brevin Knight, rookie Kosta Koufos, and maybe Mehmet Okur, considering the beard he grew this summer. Of course, it’s not so simple for the Jazz. There was no shortage of questions at Monday’s media gathering about the seven players who could become free agents after this season. What effect that has on a team that could be on the verge of a breakthrough after winning three playoff series the last two years remains to be seen.”
Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: “When Reggie Miller retired, the Indiana Pacers lost more than his 18 points per game and clutch shots.They lost their leader. Team president Larry Bird has been looking for one since, even though Jermaine O’Neal was anointed with the role before being traded to Toronto during the offseason. “Just because you make the most money doesn’t mean you’re the leader,” Bird said last month. “A lot of guys didn’t want to step on toes. Not only here, but other places I’ve been at. They’d say, the guy makes the most money, that means he’s the leader. That’s not the case. The leader comes from the guy doing the right thing, the guy that’s going to be there every day at practice, the guy that plays through pain without complaining. They do the necessary things to prepare themselves.”"
Brian Windhorst of The Akron Beacon Journal: “On his outlook for this season: ”This is the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here, especially to start off the season. To see the talent from one through 14 on the roster, everyone can contribute. As an individual, I know I have improved five times since Game 7 of the Boston series. When you play all summer with 11 of the best players in the world, you have to get better.””
Patrick McManamon of The Akron Beacon Journal: “Brown also admitted that working on the offensive side was new to him when he became the Cavs’ coach. Then, too, he had James, the game’s best player and best passer. So he gave James a lot of leeway on offense. That’s why James sometimes took charge of a play by stopping the play and doing his thing. Brown gave him that freedom. The logic: James is better than most, so he usually is going to come up with the right play. It’s not correct to say James didn’t trust or respect his teammates. He just felt his option was the best option. (And there were times it couldn’t be argued). Now, there is enough talent the Cavs should not need that to happen as often as it did a year ago. Brown can call plays for several players, and the Cavs want to trust in the entire team when a key offensive possession arrives.”
Marc J. Spears of The Boston Globe: “Has the NBA projected how the struggling economy will affect teams? “We haven’t projected quite yet because we think [ticket sales] will be down day of game, but groups would be up,” Stern said. “So we’ll have to see how those finally work out.” What did he think about ex-NBA referee Tim Donaghy going to jail last week, for 15 months on gambling charges, and the upcoming release of an independent review of the officiating? “We are awaiting the Pedowitz Report on one hand,” Stern said. “On the other hand, we don’t take any great solace from [Donaghy going to jail]. We very much want to be in a position to put it behind us. At this point we want to focus on the healing process. Hopefully, for even Tim Donaghy, he can finish his term and move on with his life.”"
- Check out last night’s Highlights for more recommended reading