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Thursday, October 15

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Gary Tanguay: Pierce told CSN he will re-work his contract to keep players in Boston. Twitter.com

Tim Kawakami: Warriors announce they've exercised 4th-year option on Brandan Wright (interesting) and 3rd-year option on Randolph (obviously). Twitter.com

"I'm just going to go and do what I did last year," Bryant said, a kind of pre-emptive warning to the rest of the league. "I just feel like I'm healthier and stronger." NBA.com

"Basically, to beat a dead horse, (Bryant) was just playing dirty," Jackson said. "He was getting favoritism out there. I'm not saying the refs were cheating. I'm not saying that at all. I think he was getting away with stuff that I couldn't get away with. And I didn't think it was fair." "So I reacted on it. And if it happens again, I'm going to react the same way." FanHouse

"I'm not going to bow down," Jackson said. "I'm not a fan of Kobe. I'm not somebody who looks up to him. I'm a grown man myself. So when I go out there and play the game, I play the game. I feel like I'm just as good as him. I might not get the publicity or notoriety he gets, but I feel like I can play with anybody in the NBA any given night. "I think everybody should feel like that. Everybody should be a competitor and I don't back down from anybody. I've never been like that and I'm not going to start today. ... It ain't envy. I ain't jealous of anybody. At the end of the day I'm still blessed to be in this game, taking care of my family. I think it's just the fact that what's fair is fair and I want to be treated fair as a man. Just like anybody else would." FanHouse

Of being a leader, Rondo said, "I wouldn't say it's difficult. I've been the key guy at everything I did growing up -- point guard in basketball, quarterback in football, in baseball I was a pitcher. It's a bigger level here, but now it's been three years, and they're very humble guys for three future Hall of Famers, and it's not hard to try to take charge." ESPN.com

"If I don't have to score as much, it would be a good thing. It would mean other guys are stepping up, and I won't have to do it all,'' Wade told FanHouse. "It's good if I'm playing fewer minutes, too. I don't care about winning a scoring title. I want to win games.'' FanHouse

"I'll say it this: I wouldn't have it any other way. When I'm on the court, I want the ball in my hands. I want to be making plays. But we need some of the young guys to break out,'' he said. "People keep talking about last season, but there still are things I can do better.'' FanHouse

"He's getting more and more comfortable," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said of Carter after the game. Van Gundy, earlier this preseason, praised Carter as knowing "how to play with other very good players. He's not a selfish guy. I don't see (fitting in) as a problem at all." USA Today

"Vince is a better scorer, to me," All-Star forward Rashard Lewis said. "We're still running the same offense; Vince is just playing that role that Hedo played." Carter, 32, has career averages of 23.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists, although his statistics have dropped in each of the past two seasons. Turkoglu, 30, has averaged 12.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists. "We want (Carter) to be aggressive on both ends," All-Star center Dwight Howard said, "especially … on the offensive end, trying to finish at the rack." USA Today

As I mentioned in my notebook today, Miller's relationship with James is so strong that he even named a son after James's business partner Maverick Carter. "Ever since I met Maverick, I liked the name and Maverick is a good dude," Miller said, explaining why he named his 6-year-old son Maverick. Washington Post

Miller has taken some heat since joining the Wizards for wearing James's signature sneaker, Nike Zoom Soldier III. Stevenson told Miller, "LeBron shoes -- we off that." But until the shoes give him problems, Miller is sticking with them. And, he will be wearing them tonight when the Wizards face the Cavaliers. Antawn Jamison initially urged Miller to ditch the kicks but has since backed off. "I told him it was okay," said Jamison, the team captain who shares the same agent as Miller. Washington Post

But Miller said he wouldn't let his friendship with James keep him from wanting to beat him. "He's a great basketball player," Miller said of James. "You always have friends in the league. That's how it is. The ball goes up, it's going to be us against them. It doesn't matter who it is." Washington Post

Caron Butler, the newest Hoopshype.com blogger, also shares a friendship with James, despite ending up on the losing end in their three playoff matchups. "He's a great player, a great talent," Butler said of James. "Basketball is one thing, but off the court is another. There are certain people you respect. You respect their accomplishments and like a soldier, you salute them. We share a mutual respect." Butler said he talks to James often, but on his blog he writes: "Mike Miller, whom I love, has to take those LeBron shoes off. That's just not acceptable around here. You heard that, Mike!" Washington Post

Stevenson, whose dislike of James is very personal, said he is really looking forward to this game, preseason or otherwise. "I'm sure it's going to be a playoff atmosphere," he said. "They got Shaq. We're going to go out there and try to win that game. I know I am. They got a great team. Everybody that's been here for the playoff runs, I think it's going to be serious. It's going to be an exciting game." Washington Post

After missing the final three months of last season and not playing much organized basketball to avoid injury while he was seeking a contract, Iverson reported to camp in woeful shape. After missing the Grizzlies' presaeason opener, Iverson was shelved for up to three weeks with a partially torn hamstring. Randolph, however, dropped a very noticeable 10 pounds coming into camp and has been an offensive force in the low post. "That's what I'm here for," he said. "That's what this team needs." SI.com

It's shaping up to be an important season for Gay, who, barring a sudden turn of events, will begin the season without a contract extension and become a restricted free agent next summer. Gay estimated he packed on 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason and says he is "100 percent committed" to making the Grizzlies a playoff team. Privately, though, there are some concerns within the organization that if Gay's shot totals start to decrease with Iverson and Randolph on board (not to mention an improved Mayo), the 23-year-old forward, who averaged 18.9 points per game last season, will try to compensate by doing too much. SI.com

Marc GasolMarc Gasol looks like his older brother. Literally. After dropping 25 pounds, Gasol reported to camp looking like Pau's identical twin. "They really look alike now, don't they?" Wallace said. "We wanted Marc to drop that weight. We had our strength coach over [in Spain] for a couple of weeks working with him. He's really put in the time this offseason." SI.com

On Tuesday, Thunder coach Scott Brooks shared the same apathetic attitude regarding the stat-based analysis. “I look at it,” Brooks said. “But very few of my decisions are based on plus-minus. I go with the players that I think are going to best help put us in a position to win games. And there are so many variables that go into plus-minuses.” For those that don’t know, plus-minus is a stat that documents how a score swung while individual players were on the court. For example, if Durant enters the game with the score tied at 50 and checks out with the Thunder ahead 60-50, he gets a +10. If he leaves the game and the Thunder trails 60-50, he gets a -10. Oklahoman

Brooks, however, isn’t big on nouveau statistics such as plus-minus, PER, true shooting percentage and rebounding percentage. “I’m probably not smart enough to internalize it,” Brooks joked. “But there’s so much feel that factors into the game. “I appreciate the work that stat people do. But I haven’t seen enough where you can tell me that you can coach the game on stats alone. The best players are going to play and are going to help you win…I just know Kevin is a pretty good player.” Oklahoman

Some jerk beat Chris Bosh to registering the domain www.chrisbosh.com. So Bosh went after the cybersquatter. All sorts of legal wrangling later, Bosh has won damages, his domain ... and a zillion other domains the same guy had been squatting. There are nearly 800 names in the list, and Bosh and his internet consultant, Hadi Teherany of Max Deal, say they'll return them all to their rightful owners for free. Which means a good chunk of the basketball world will be owing Bosh a favor. The list is thick with basketball players in the NBA, overseas, college and high school. There are also some football players, political sites, Britney Spears' child, singers, a site or two that sound raunchy, and the Mexican wrestler "El Octagon." ESPN.com

Andersen spent time at Yellowstone National Park with his fiancee, Brandy Newman, and some high school friends. He sports a thickening beard now, and insists he's not going to shave it until he gets married next June. "I'm the grizzly bird," he quipped. He says his body is healed and that he feels good. He has even taken up Pilates as a means of getting stronger. Denver Post

Sam Amico: LeBron to miss tonight's preseason game vs. Washington with the flu. Twitter.com

The Pistons just finished practice. Sounds like Tayshaun Prince could play tomorrow in Dallas but not definite. Prince cut his right toe in a freakish injury last night in Grand Rapids. Basically, he got kicked and somehow suffered a nasty cut. Freakish injury that John Kuester said he's rarely ever seen before. Detroit News

Professionally, can you identify a low point that took you the longest to bounce back from? Calipari: The hardest thing is when you don’t have people around you and you get dinged – you’re truly an island. I had things early in my career that brought anxiety. For example, my first month on the job at UMass I got a call late one night that some of the returning players had been arrested for breaking and entering. I looked over to Ellen and said, “Did we unpack yet?” I thought I was done. I didn’t think I’d ever get over that and that next week was so incredibly hard for me. But it was made worse because I had hardly any connections in the game – no one to really lean on. So that was hard for me. Early on, in the days I was an assistant at Kansas and Pittsburgh, while I was trying to find my way through the recruiting maze and I’m learning on the run – you learn early on that no one feels sorry for you. You wake up in a dead sweat thinking you lost every recruit, that you weren’t getting anyone, and you realize it was a dream. But again, you have no one to lean on and you think every thing that happens will be the last thing in your career. You don’t realize that life is a series of bounce backs. That’s another thing we discuss in the book – you will go through many bounce backs in life. The key is to learn from each one and become stronger. The Big Lead

What are your thoughts on the NBA changing the “one-year-in-college” rule? Many pundits have weighed in on this; some think high school players should be eligible, others think one year is fine; others yet think two years is a minimum. Which camp are you in? Without focusing on other sports, such as golf, tennis, college football, etc … for elite basketball players, do you think they should be forced to go to college for a year if it is just a stop-gap to the NBA? Calipari: Here’s where I’m at with that and you can decide for yourself: Think about the inherent flaws in today’s recruiting environment. Coaches I have spoken with over the summer share my concerns and are tired of the problems facing our game. Without talking about the issues openly, we make it impossible to find a solution. Granted, identifying those key topics to discuss will be challenging. But we’ve got to try something because the current model just isn’t working. The Big Lead

After thinking long and hard on the subject, I have come up with these four areas I think we should initially target. 1. Work with the NBA to give our student-athletes the same option as their classmates who play baseball enjoy. That sport’s players are allowed to either go straight to Major League Baseball from high school or, if they do commit to a college or university, are then required stay at least two years. 2. Eliminate the summer recruiting period all together and bring the game back to the high school level where educators can be more involved in the process which would help scale down summer basketball. I would still leave April and September long weekends open for AAU events (especially Labor Day) where AAU basketball could still have events to showcase and evaluate players against one another. 3. The elite players in the game today are eligible, through the NCAA to receive loans to pay for insurance policies. My suggestion is that those same players also be eligible to receive loans up to a certain amount for the school year. Those loans would be paid back upon graduation or when they receiving a pro contract and would be paid back by the athlete. The Big Lead

Why do you think the majority of college coaches fail in the NBA? Here are just a few recent names: Mike Montgomery, Rick Pitino, Jerry Tarkanian, Tim Floyd, Lon Kruger and yourself. Very few find instant success, or are given enough time for success. You actually got to the Nets to the playoffs one season… what would you say is the key to success for college coaches who make the leap? Calipari: They get bad jobs, that’s it. It’s as simple as that. The Big Lead

Prokhorov: But I love basketball, and I would like to see it in our country, well, at least comparable to our influence in ice hockey. As a business project, I’m not putting up a single penny. Because of this investment, I am taking a loan from a western bank. I take a loan from the western bank and refinance my new partners, who, because of the financial crisis can not. Nets Daily

How it will help the development of basketball in Russia? Prokhorov: I’ll answer you now, once on two questions. My management experience has led to believe that we have a sports but not a business technology (with basketball). It is exclusively charitable, not profit-based. And from our point of view, perhaps, that individual sports charitable approach is justified. From the point of view of the world, the world is building a business model. However, the budgets of our clubs are such that the market economy does not permit this. Therefore, in order to develop basketball, we need the necessary technology not just in the professional clubs, but as well as in student clubs. And my task is to ensure that those technologies of the NBA and American basketball, which do exist, are introduced to those training students in basketball, but also basketball for students in children’s sports schools. That is such an ambitious project system but I want to try to organize it…The task that I set for myself – is the development of a powerful system to take our basketball to a new level, if you wish… Nets Daily

Mark Cuban: First, let me say I love when I can talk about other leagues. It’s a freedom I really, really enjoy. But lets get to the issue. I’m guessing the NFL doesn’t really care about what Rush has said before on his show and on other platforms. If it were really an issue, they never would have let him in the broadcast booth a few years back. What they should be terrified about , and why they should keep him out, is what he might say AFTER he was an approved investor in the St Louis Rams. BlogMaverick

Mark Cuban: The NFL has plenty of owners who I am sure have very strong political opinions. I’m willing to bet that many of them back up those opinions with donations that are all part of the public record. I’m sure some of those probably don’t align with the best interests of the NFL or even the majority of their fans and customers. I can give you a minor example I have had with the NBA. I am never on the same page as the NBA when it comes to copyright issues. I believe we waste too much NBA money trying to fight piracy and other intellectual property issues. We have agreed to disagree on this and other issues. It’s not a problem. Nor do individuals who fall on either side of the copyright issue make their sports consumption decisions based on copyright positions. BlogMaverick

D'Antoni says that the team's medical and training staff believes the players would be more effective if they didn't have to practice at 10 a.m. the day of a game. Instead, the plan is to have the players arrive at the Garden by 3:30 p.m. for a team meal before going through a light workout. But in order for the players, most of whom live in Westchester, to get into Midtown by 3:30 they must leave their homes by 2:30 which is five hours before tip-off. "That's silly," said one league executive. "You leave five hours before the start of a game just to eat a team meal? I'll bet that most players would lose their edge." New York Daily News

Derrick Coleman, a Detroit businessman, former Detroit Piston and DPS graduate, has been named Detroit Public Schools’ new commissioner of athletics. “Detroit Public Schools has a storied sports history, with some of the world’s greatest athletes graduating from our schools,” Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager Robert Bobb said in a released statement. Detroit Free Press

The controversy involving the Greek basketball club Olympiakos escalated Wednesday as congressman Peter King asked commissioner David Stern to explain the NBA's involvement in the matter. Olympiakos recently visited the U.S. to play a pair of exhibition games against the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The trip was disrupted by threats that the Greek club's uniforms, airline tickets and other property would be repossessed. U.S. courts have ordered Olympiakos to pay $1.1 million to American player Chris Morris, an NBA veteran who played for the club in 1999, and $410,000 to his American agent Tom McLaughlin. Olympiakos failed to pay in full on their contracts to Morris and McLaughlin, the courts ruled. SI.com

Brandon Roy"It's on me," Roy said in response. "I don't blame them at all. I think it's something I have to at least call and say that whenever the next team event is, I want to be there. I think that's what they want to see out of me. I totally understand and I agree with what they're saying. I have to kind of take that next step to show them I want to be a part of the team." NBA.com

Or at least that maybe he does. While saying he would love to be part of the next Dream Team, Roy is hesitant to make the long-term commitment USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski want from players heading to 2010 and beyond. "It's something that I would like to do," Roy said. "It's hard for me to commit early to it because I want to make sure my body is healthy enough to go through it. I've had a number of injuries throughout my early career. My biggest focus is being 100 percent going into my regular season. The hardest part about that is you have to commit so early and it'd be hard for me to commit a year in advance. I want to make sure I'm healthy enough to go out there and perform at that level. If I'm not, I don't want to tell them 'Yeah' and then 'No.' It's a working relationship. But, yeah, every kid wants to play in the Olympics and represent his country." NBA.com

When he did not attend this offseason, if only to watch or attend meetings to be involved with the program without risking injury, it struck a particularly bad chord with the program. When he did not express a desire in the ensuing months to still be considered for a future role, it officially became an issue for Roy to fix. "It's unfortunate Brandon Roy has not been able to participate because of a series of injuries, contract issues, whatever," a USA Basketball insider said. "But it's difficult to break in unless there's communication and a level of interest." NBA.com

Marcus Thompson: I am told by a couple people who know that the Bosh-Warriors rumor is farfetched. Twitter.com

Marcus Thompson: To be sure, the Warriors would love to have Bosh. I think he's 1A on their list. Twitter.com

Jackson, however, would be interested in listening to a conversation about a buyout or any other means of getting out of Golden State. "If they want to send me home and pay me, I'm fine with that. No question," Jackson said. "If they decide to send me home and still pay me, I'll still be playing basketball somewhere. That's not going to stop. This is not the only team in the NBA." Asked if he would take a buyout, Jackson said, "It would have to be right. That's something that they would talk about with my agent and he'd get back to me. I doubt they'd do that." San Francisco Chronicle

"We're still going to try to accommodate him, but it's not that easy to do," Nelson said. Of course, Jackson disagrees. "I know there are a lot of teams that want me," Jackson said. "I'm a good player. ... I don't know exactly what the conversations are, but I don't think it's as hard as people say it is." San Francisco Chronicle

The agent for Shawne Williams and the Mavericks are discussing a possible buyout of the forward's contract. "We're just trying to figure out what's best," Happy Walters said. "Obviously, the Mavs have too many contracts and they're going to have to figure that out." Walters said Williams is willing to take less than the $2.4 million he's guaranteed for this season. Dallas Morning News

In addition, he said the reason Williams isn't with the team isn't necessarily because the Mavericks have told him to stay away. As much as the Mavericks don't want him around, Williams doesn't want to be a Maverick, either, Walters said. Dallas Morning News

The 6-foot-8 Alexander has not been able to practice yet or play in the Bucks' first five exhibition games, a huge setback for a player trying to gain coach Scott Skiles' confidence and battle for time at the small forward position. Hammond declined to comment Tuesday on the Bucks' intentions. It is rare for a lottery pick to have the first-year option declined under the current rookie-scale system, which began with the 2005 National Basketball Association draft. First-round picks are signed to two-year deals, with teams having the option to re-sign players for a third year and a fourth year. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The Knicks are no longer using retired Cuttino Mobley's expiring contract as a trade pawn, according to president Donnie Walsh. The Knicks still have to keep Mobley on the roster as they await the one-year anniversary of his Knicks' physical following their Nov. 21 trade. New York Post

Erazem Lorbek: "The NBA is not one of my priorities right now." Sport.es

Dwayne JonesThe Spurs trimmed their training camp roster by one Tuesday, waiving center Dwayne Jones. Jones appeared in the first three preseason games, averaging 1.7 points and 1.7 rebounds. Seventeen players remain on the roster. San Antonio Express-News

It made for an unsettling summer for Davis before he returned to the team he won a championship with as a rookie in 2007-08 and moved into the rotation last season. “Yeah, I was worried at first,’’ said Davis this week about the process he went through. “But business is business and you’ve got to take it as it comes. It was the way things work. I’m here now and I’ve got to move on with my career. “Every free agent is relieved when they sign. You want to know where you’re going to be. You just want to know where you’re going to lay your head down every night. I’m here and I’m glad I’m still here and I hope things pan out the way I want them to.’’ Patriot Ledger

“There was a point in time where I thought I wasn’t going to come back,’’ admitted Davis. “I was telling my girl friend that we’ve got to pack. It’s time to go. But it’s funny how things change so quickly. I’m happy to be back here.’’ Patriot Ledger

Asked if he could say there would be no further blow-ups, Jackson said: “I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see. I can’t predict the future.” San Jose Mercury News

Asked how much longer this stand-off could continue, Jackson said: “You tell me. I don’t know… Hopefully it doesn’t go on long.” San Jose Mercury News

"Anytime somebody takes $150,000 from you, your relationship is going to change, regardless of who it is," Jackson said. "If my mom took some money from me, I'd still love her to death, but I'd still be upset about it. He's not my mom, so you can imagine how I feel. ... "I have to listen to him on the court and that's it." San Francisco Chronicle

Jackson's attitude represents a sea change from when he was first named captain in 2007 and celebrated the event. Two years later, Jackson doesn't care about being a captain, doesn't want to play in Golden State and, according to a Warriors source, didn't look like he wanted to play basketball at all during Friday's game. San Francisco Chronicle

He returned to the Warriors on Tuesday after a two-game team suspension, meeting with coach Don Nelson and general manager Larry Riley before practice. When Nelson talked to a large group of media in the early afternoon, he was happy. "The prodigal son has returned," said a smiling Nelson. "It's good to have Jack back." Nelson also said, "He's going to be the same guy." San Francisco Chronicle

Delonte WestGuard Delonte West practiced with the Cavaliers on Tuesday, his first practice with the team since he was excused to deal with personal problems Oct. 7. According to coach Mike Brown, West will not play in tonight's exhibition game against Washington at The Q. However, Brown said he thought West would travel with the team to Texas for two preseason games this weekend. Cleveland Plain Dealer

Brown said he would not hazard a guess about West's availability for the start of the season Oct. 27 and said General Manager Danny Ferry was monitoring West's situation. "I'm going to coach whoever is here," Brown said. "I believe in Danny. I believe in Delonte. I believe in the system we have. I'm going to let events fall where they may and get ready with whoever is ready to go Oct. 27th." Cleveland Plain Dealer

But how do you keep from getting a swelled head? LeBron James: I admit that I like compliments. I'm OK with them. But I believe that I was put on Earth to do more than play basketball. That's what keeps me grounded. Orange County Register

What about the intense scrutiny you're under? Specifically, what about being called a bad sport after the last playoff loss? LeBron James: That didn't bother me at all. Everybody knows that I'm team-first. I've moved on. Orange County Register

As an executive producer on the film, you could have made sure that the Hummer incident was excluded. Why didn't you? LeBron James: I wanted everything to be out there. I didn't put any restrictions on the director. I gave him total control. Orange County Register

Any regret at all that you skipped college? LeBron James: Not really. I wish I could have played football or basketball in college, but no regrets. I felt my talent was ready for the next level. It was a dream of mine, and I thought I could help my family. Orange County Register

Count forward Michael Beasley among Heat players Beasley Interview who believe Arroyo is just the sort of addition second-year starting point guard Mario Chalmers needed. With a savvy, proven veteran to contend with in practice every day, Chalmers gets a taste of what Beasley goes through with Udonis Haslem. “Some of the guys who have been in here – not to downgrade guys, but – (Chalmers) has been a landslide better than them,” Beasley said of a group that has consisted of Chris Quinn, Marcus Banks, Shaun Livingston, Luther Head and current camp hopeful John Lucas. “Carlos can do it all. (Chalmers) not only has somebody to go head to head against, but somebody to look up to and to learn from.” Miami Herald

Beasley picked on Diawara because of his deep French accent. Diawara, a Pepperdine grad, shot back: “I’m an educated man. Put Pepperdine against wherever you went, college dropout. Did you even stay long enough to major?” Beasley, who spent one season at Kansas State before leaving to become the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, didn’t hesitate. “Yeah, I had a major. My major was Bucketology. You don’t know about that. I mastered in getting buckets.” Miami Herald

Gordon calmly offers another tune. "I'll play whenever they want me to play," he said. "I've come off the bench before. I've started. It really doesn't matter." Gordon, 29, came to Detroit with a gunslinger reputation. He averaged 20.7 points per game last year for Chicago and has an 18.5 per-game scoring average for his five years in the league. Booth Newspapers

Gilbert ArenasThe highlight of the 95-second deluge was when Arenas channeled his inner Rasheed Wallace and said, "Both teams played hard." It was that kind of night. Washington Post

The buildup for Arenas's first post-game media interview this preseason was far more entertaining than his actual responses (which were entertaining for other reasons). After Arenas grabbed his black shirt off of a hanger and slipped it over his shoulder, Brendan Haywood started shouting, "We want Gil! We want Gil!" "That's what the media is yelling, Gilbert," Haywood said. Washington Post

Arenas, holding back a smile, slowly buttoned his shirt, with his back to reporters. "C'mon, Gil. It doesn't matter how long it takes you, they ain't going nowhere ... You're almost out of buttons!" Antawn Jamison tried to help Arenas from his corner locker room stall. "You guys can talk to me. I'm ready," he said. Mike Miller, standing near Arenas, also tried to deflect attention. "You can talk to me. I'm wearing LeBron's shoes tomorrow. I figure you guys want to talk about that." Washington Post

The motivation for Blatche to change wasn't just that he wanted a clean slate with the Washington Wizards' third coach in the past year, Flip Saunders. He said it was mostly a long, weighty conversation that he had last season with his mother, Angela Oliver. "She said, 'You're too lackadaisical, like you're just out there goofing around with your friends,' " Blatche said. "After a while I was like, 'You're right: This is my job, this is my team, I need to go ahead and step my game up and be more focused.' " Washington Post

Blatche might appear to be a bit tardy in making his declaration to finally get serious about his career, but for Antawn Jamison, one of Blatche's most vocal critics, it's better now than never. "He's put a smile on my face," Jamison said. "That's what we need out of [Blatche]. If we can have him playing at a very high level, it makes us even more dangerous. I want him to achieve the best out of his talents. I thought in the past, he could've did more. But just seeing his approach and the way he's been playing and how seriously he's been playing, that's a good sign. He can make this season really good with his play." Washington Post

Asked if he needs more touches in the offense, Gallinari said, "My first thought is the team. I don't care how many balls I touch." "He's going to take 30,000 shots in his Knicks career, I don't think after 19 we need to start worrying about it," said D'Antoni, who praised the Knicks' defense. New York Post

Maybe it doesn't seem like a big thing, but in some locker rooms, where players are assigned is done with a purpose _ a young player next to an older, potential mentor, for instance. In the Knicks' new setup, top draft pick Jordan Hill, for example, got Jamal Crawford's old corner locker, where he's next to Al Harrington. The locker once occupied by the former All-Star, Vaseline-consuming point guard, meanwhile, is no longer a repository for empty Gatorade coolers, as it was after his departure last season. Now it's occupied by rookie Toney Douglas. Bergen Record

New Spurs power forward Antonio McDyess went to San Antonio prepared for an intense training camp under coach Gregg Popovich, whose reputation for toughness is well-known. But McDyess has been pleasantly surprised. "Honestly, I never expected camp to be this smooth," McDyess told Sporting News. "It's been as smooth as any camp I have been in. Sporting News

Francisco GarciaAnd cumbersome cast and depressing diagnosis be darned, the Kings' veteran swingman, who will miss at least four months because of his right forearm and wrist injury, already has found a few. He'll have a chance to be ambidextrous, of course, saying his eventual return just might be as a switch shooter of sorts. He plans to follow the path of Kings assistant Mario Elie as well, as the former player once known as "Super Mario" won a championship with San Antonio in 1999 after suffering a similar injury three years earlier while playing with Houston. "I think that'll rub off on me," Garc a said with a smile at the team's practice facility Tuesday night during his first interview since the incident Friday. "I'll win a couple championships here in Sacramento. That's the positive thing I'll take from it." Sacramento Bee

Spurs strength and conditioning coach Mike Brungardt said the team has used exercise balls — large, inflated balls on which players balance while doing assorted exercises — for many years. “We check them several times each season, and we've never had a problem,” Brungardt said. “We'll continue to use them, but we immediately eliminated their use in some exercises after we got the report from the Kings.” San Antonio Express-News

Magic SG Mickael Pietrus contemplated undergoing offseason surgery on his sore right wrist, but said he didn't like the trade-off. "I would have cost me training camp," he said. "I really didn't want to do that." Orlando Sentinel

You hear it every so often around the Jazz, the suggestion that while everyone else treats Sloan’s future as a year-to-year proposition, insiders believe he’s going to surprise people by how long he stays on the job. Salt Lake Tribune

Jackson has set more nebulous goals for the season. "I don't want the players to get that as a goal," he said when asked Tuesday about chasing the league record of 72 victories. "That's not a goal. The goal is to go through the season in an orderly fashion and build momentum through the end of the year. I think it just takes so much out of you to push that all the time, to just keep pushing it. "A lot of things could happen." San Bernardino Sun

It is hard to imagine a world without ticket stubs. But Comcast-Spectacor, the Flyers' and Sixers' parent company, has been investigating the use of paperless season tickets. The Phoenix Coyotes (no, that wasn't a misprint) were the first NHL team to experiment with the technology, but the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers pioneered paperless ticketing in 2006. Philadelphia Daily News

But some of the region's most influential men gathered Tuesday to sprinkle pixie dust on the organization, collaborating on an effort dubbed "Operation Sellout" with the hopes of helping the Kings get off the ground again. The program's objective is to sell out the Kings' first two home games Nov. 2 against Memphis and Nov. 4 against Atlanta. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson asked his local A-list of business associates to answer the call of Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof to "galvanize the business community" as they attempt a return to relevance. "We're really excited about this," Gavin Maloof said. "It gives us momentum going into the season and (will help) bring back the Arco magic." Sacramento Bee

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was slapped with a lawsuit yesterday, claiming the agency gave a "sweetheart deal" to Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner to bail out his controversial project that includes building an arena in Brooklyn for the NBA's Nets. The suit, filed by several lawmakers and grass-roots groups, seeks to annul the MTA's revised June deal with Ratner that allows the mega-developer to pay off $100 million he owes the agency over 22 years for the 8.5-acre Vanderbilt railyard site in Prospect Heights and also shave more than $100 million of the $345 million in transit improvements he had promised there. New York Post

The veterans convinced rookie Lester Hudson he would have to sing “Happy Birthday’’ to Pierce and Rivers at center court before last night’s game. “I was a little nervous at first,’’ Hudson said. “Doc told me about two minutes before the game. They did a pretty good job. I was nervous the whole time before the game. I still had to do it - I did it in the locker room. It’s all right.’’ Boston Globe

Al JeffersonSubway has spent heavily securing notable athlete endorsers for its "Eat fresh" message in recent years, but few if any of them are touting the brand as effectively as a basketball star the company isn't paying. Meet Minnesota Timberwolves' star Al Jefferson, 24, who was emerging as one of the league's best young talents last season before suffering a major knee injury. His attempted recovery is a major preseason storyline that's being closely followed by much of the sports media. Advertising Age

"Ham and turkey on wheat bread, footlongs; sometimes I eat two footlongs," Mr. Jefferson told the Pioneer Press. The paper added that "Jefferson's Subway diet in the offseason -- which helped him lose 31 pounds -- has given him a quicker first step at the power forward position and turned him into a role model for people with weight-loss issues. ... Jefferson weighed 293 pounds when his season ended in February because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. A few days after surgery, he began his diet of ham or turkey sandwiches from Subway -- complete with lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables. For dinner, he had salads and soups." Advertising Age

Shaquille O'Neal: Dear ashton kutcher, yo momma so stupid I told her go to sleep, she said ok can u pull it up on the gps for me. Twitter.com

Toni KukocFormer Bulls forward Toni Kukoc wants to be in Rio 2016 as a golf player. El Mundo Deportivo

In what many people found a surprising move, Lamar Odom recently married Khloe Kardashian after just three weeks of dating. In this video we talk to someone who is an expert on dating, actress comedian Luenell. You may remember her from the movie Borat. She says she knows how Khloe got Lamar. FanHouse

The garment bag stolen from Mayor Kevin Johnson in San Francisco over the weekend has been found. The bag was apparently found by a young man who was walking to a restaurant near Union Square with his girlfriend. That man called Johnson's office on Tuesday and described the contents of the bag, Johnson wrote on his blog. The suit was on its way back to Sacramento, Johnson wrote. Sacramento Bee

Olympiakos was in the United States over the weekend for a two-game exhibition tour against the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers. The agent, Tom McLaughlin, has been attempting since 2004 to recover more than $400,000 in lost fees for himself and $1.1 million in unpaid salary to his client, former Net Chris Morris. Another agent, Gary Ebert, assisted in the process and had Olympiakos owner Panagoitis Angelopoulos served a subpoena at the team's hotel in San Antonio last week. Ebert claims he received a threatening phone call Monday from an unidentified man. "He was like, 'Gary Ebert . . . listen to me, listen to me. Leave Angelopolous alone'," Ebert told Newsday in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I said, 'Who is this?' . . . He said, 'Listen, -- we will kill you'." Newsday

An NBA source said the league is aware of the litigation against Olympiakos and the death threat. Newsday was unable to contact a spokesman for Olympiakos Tuesday because the team left Cleveland to return to Athens. Ebert has been an agent for 22 years and has represented players such as Terry Catledge and Travis Best. He also represents several players who had international careers. Several players who have played overseas have told Newsday that breached contracts have for years been rampant in international basketball. Newsday

Morris is not the only player pursuing Olympiakos for unpaid wages. David Rivers, a star guard at Notre Dame, claims the team owes him $1.4 million. Rivers told Newsday that he, too, plans to take legal action against Olympiakos soon. Newsday

Rumeal Robinson got famous for his performance under pressure -- two free throws with three seconds left in overtime to clinch Michigan's 1989 NCAA basketball championship. But the Cambridge, Mass., public school security officer who raised Robinson after finding him abandoned at age 10 says he has fallen far from the image of someone you can count on. Helen Ford, 65, took Robinson into her home, and accuses him of cheating her out of her house. "It is one of the greatest forms of betrayal I can imagine," said Dennis Benzan, an attorney representing Ford. Detroit News

Ford cried while describing to a Detroit News reporter how she was evicted in April from the home on Rumeal Robinson Way in Cambridge where she and her deceased husband Louis raised nine children and provided temporary care to many more. "I didn't know I was signing my house over. I thought I was taking out a mortgage because my son asked me for help," Ford said. Detroit News

Ford lives in a two-bedroom apartment. She said she doesn't sleep well because, for the first time in her life, she is alone. She had raised five of her own, four adopted children and provided temporary care for many more foster children in the five-bedroom house. She was honored for her dedication during the halftime of a Boston Celtics game in 2006. Detroit News

Robinson's attorney, Hugo Rodriguez of Miami, said reports in a Miami newspaper are inaccurately saying Robinson is indigent and living in budget motels. "He rents an apartment. He's getting by," Rodriguez said. "I'm sure he's not living the lifestyle to which he was accustomed, but he's certainly not indigent. That has been sensationalized." Detroit News

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