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September 30, 2014 | 10:13 PM ET Update

Gay exercised his player option worth $19.3 million to remain a King, with talks about a contract extension to follow. Not having a contract or agreement beyond this season is fine with Gay. He's focused on this season and will allow his representatives to worry about negotiations. "We started (negotiations) before I went to Spain with the USA team, stopped and haven't picked it up yet," Gay said after Monday morning's practice. "It's something that I really don't need over my head right now. I'm trying to make this team better and also be better myself. And I didn't need it over there. That's something that I think will handle itself." Sacramento Bee

Gay isn't opposed to more talks. But he has no desire to be involved in the art of making a deal. "I'm not going to get involved until it's near the end, or both sides feel it needs to happen," Gay said. "Then I'll make a decision." The Kings want Gay beyond this season. Had Gay left, the plan was to aggressively pursue a trade for a small forward. Sacramento Bee

Gay was asked if he can see himself in Sacramento long term. "I think so," Gay said. "I'm enjoying California, NoCal. It's cool. It's not as bad as I thought it was. You play in NBA cities and you expect Sacramento to be like L.A. or the Bay, but it's not; it's its own little thing. It's a family city, and that's what I'm growing to be, more of a family person." Sacramento Bee

Sam Amick: More Martin: "No way anybody in my press conference believed I was serious." I blame @Jerry Zgoda for this silliness - ftw.usatoday.com/2014/09/kevin-… Twitter @sam_amick

September 30, 2014 | 06:57 PM ET Update

Though Rockets coach Kevin McHale called the Rockets’ power forward position open, saying he needs to see more physical defense and rebounding from the position, a vote of confidence for his returning power forwards, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas, is expected before the season begins. The Rockets intend to pick up their fourth-year option on the contracts for both players, a person with knowledge of the plan said on Tuesday. In keeping with their policy on such moves, the Rockets will wait until the Oct. 31 deadline to pick up the contract options for the 2015-16 season for both players should unforeseen developments influence that decision. Houston Chronicle

SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEOS: THE BEST OF VINE AND INSTAGRAM

Adding to our social media tools, you can now watch here all the videos NBA players are posting online – including those by Nate Robinson, Iman Shumpert and JR Smith, of course.

   
September 30, 2014 | 05:49 PM ET Update

COMMERCIALS: ALL DURANT, ALL THE TIME

Kevin Durant has come second in the draft and MVP votings, but nobody in the NBA can touch him nowadays when it comes to pitching products - whether it's shoes, video games or soft drinks. He leads our Commercials Rankings and No. 2 (Kobe Bryant) is not even close.

   
September 30, 2014 | 05:16 PM ET Update

Q: It was reported this summer that you went to Los Angeles this summer to present a contract extension to LaMarcus Aldridge. Can you talk about why you did that? Paul Allen: I just thought it was very important that we have a direct discussion with LA. It went great. We presented him with a couple of options and obviously he thinks the option of being unrestricted next season and of course looking at a very long extension is the one he chose to pursue. We understand that, but we thought we should talk through all those things. It was just great to be able to sit down with LA and get a chance to really understand his thinking about the team. He’s very excited about the team. You guys talked to him at media day yesterday and I hope you got that sense, too. Forward Center

The swingman made that clear after Tuesday's first practice as the Bulls' front office and Butler's agent, Happy Walters, continue to try to hammer out an extension before the Oct. 31 deadline. "I want to be here," Butler said. "I think the Bulls want me here. So however long it takes, as long as we get it worked out. Basketball is my main focus, not really the contract situation". ESPN.com

Butler is hoping the process doesn't take too long, but he is going to take everything in stride. "I don't really think about it too much," Butler said. "I grew up without money. I think I'll be all right for a couple more days. I just play basketball. That's what I know. And if you play basketball the right way, the contract situation will handle itself." ESPN.com

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN TRAIL BLAZERS HISTORY

Only four Hall of Famers, but plenty of fantastic names in the Top 50 of the storied franchise.

   
September 30, 2014 | 03:32 PM ET Update

Former NBA star Kenny Smith and his family will appear on a reality show on TBS in the spring. The 49-year-old Smith is a basketball analyst for Turner, TBS's parent company. The network said Tuesday it had ordered six episodes of "The Smiths." The show will follow Smith, his wife and five children between the ages of 2 and 20. USA Today Sports

COMMERCIALS: ALL DURANT, ALL THE TIME

Kevin Durant has come second in the draft and MVP votings, but nobody in the NBA can touch him nowadays when it comes to pitching products - whether it's shoes, video games or soft drinks. He leads our Commercials Rankings and No. 2 (Kobe Bryant) is not even close.

   
September 30, 2014 | 02:52 PM ET Update

The Miami HEAT announced today that center Justin Hamilton underwent a procedure at South Miami Hospital on Monday to repair an atrial flutter. After experiencing light-headedness during practice, he was sent to Doctors Hospital where the diagnosis was discovered. NBA.com

Houston Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale announced today that he has hired former Houston assistant T.R. Dunn to his staff. Dunn joins the Rockets after spending three seasons as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves. NBA.com

Russell Westbrook isn't the only Thunder player in the eyewear game anymore. Kevin Durant and Nike have collaborated on a line of frames which will release this season and in early 2015. The adult collection releases in the next few weeks, while the Young Athlete version (NK 5530) will be available in January. Oklahoman

 

SOCIAL MEDIA PICTURES: PHOTOS PLAYERS POST

Just like everybody else, NBA players are spending more and more time on social media sites and photo-sharing services. Check all the pictures they are posting on Instagram, Twitter and more here.

   
September 30, 2014 | 01:08 PM ET Update

Rondo again said he wants to remain in Boston. While he has been a polarizing figure among fans for several years, he has become somewhat comfortable, evidenced by his spending most of the summer here instead of his native Kentucky. “The fans, the people here, make me want to stay,” said Rondo. “The organization has been great. I can’t say enough about Danny and [majority owner] Wyc [Grousbeck]. When I walk down the street, the fans embrace me from Day 1. Even when we won a championship, people don’t just appreciate us winning. It’s more of a thank you. It’s a love for the game. These people here know the game and they care for it. They know when you’re not playing as hard as you can. The love I get is kind of overwhelming in Boston. Why wouldn’t I want to stay here?” Boston Globe

The most important player this offseason was Greg Monroe, who couldn't come to terms with the Pistons on a deal this summer, preferring to sign a one-year qualifying offer that will make him an unrestricted free agent next summer. "Greg's a great player, not just a good player," Gores said. "We want Greg to be on board for a long time. We'll have a good enough season where we'll attempt to do that. "We talked to his representatives. We said how much we respected Greg as a person. But ultimately it's Greg's choice. We were disappointed we couldn't make the ultimate deal, of course. Just because we didn't make the deal isn't the end all." Detroit News

The Kevin Love trade that didn’t happen for the Warriors was revisited as training camp gets going, and from Minnesota’s perspective, the Warriors could have gotten the deal done before the star forward was sent to Cleveland. “Golden State we came fairly close, but they decided not to go ahead with the deal,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor told NBA TV, adding that Minnesota wanted players back that would help them in the future. “And finally Cleveland said that they would give us three draft choices.” Contra Costa Times

Marcus received $20 million over four years. The contract extensions start next year. Markieff and Marcus will play this season under their rookie contracts — $3.15 million and $3.11 million, respectively. That part really did not matter to them. It all goes to the same household — and even the same bank account for how they co-exist at work and home. "It didn't matter if it was me getting $5 million and Mook (Marcus) getting $8 million," Markieff said. "We told them it didn't matter. If they just put $13 (million) a year for the Morris twins, that would've been great. They wouldn't even have to say our names. "We're $52 million players." Arizona Republic

Now reunited with James with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miller offered insight into the degree of that ire, with James leaving the Heat in free agency in July to return to the Cavaliers. "LeBron thought it was an unnecessary change," Miller told Northeast Ohio Media Group. With Miller spending last season with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Heat came up short in their bid for a third consecutive title, falling 4-1 to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. "I'm not saying I would have been a difference-maker," Miller said. "San Antonio was unbelievable last year and there are a lot of things that go into a season, but it was difficult for LeBron. South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"It was difficult for all of us. It was difficult for me. I had to uproot my family and move again. It was tough. I think he was disappointed because he understands legacies and he understands what he wants to do in life. That's what makes him special." The irony is that the Heat actually will be paying Miller more this season than the Cavaliers. While Miller will receive $2.7 million this season from Cleveland, he also will receive the $6.6 million he was due on the final year of the Heat contract he signed in 2010 to join James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Heat. South Florida Sun-Sentinel

But all that was then and the now sees Love wearing Cavs colors, teaming with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to make Cleveland the NBA’s latest “It” team. Yes, Love can still be a 2015 free agent — as can James with an opt-out — but with all the movement that took place, the league’s latest mega-marriage hardly seems destined for a one-year run. Love won’t consider anything else. “I’m a Cleveland Cavalier and I’m happy to be here,” Love predictably said. “All that [Knicks talk] is in the past now. I’m here now and I’m not focused in on 2015. I’m focused on today and getting in the gym.” New York Post

Dirk Nowitzki has occasionally half-joked that his German blood makes him a pessimist by nature. But there’s nothing but positivity flowing through the big German’s veins as the Dallas Mavericks open training camp. “We got all the talent in the world,” Nowitzki said, not shying away at all when asked whether this roster compares favorably to the Mavs’ 2011 championship team. “We just got to make it work. The chemistry has got to be there.” ESPN.com

Ian Begley: Amare is confident that he can play 30 MPG this year. He also says starting was "important" for him last year. More: es.pn/ZlY1dM Twitter @IanBegley

Derrick Rose enters camp with two questionable knees, rust on his jumper, and some serious distrust from the outside world concerning his durability. His confidence, however? Never shaken. Ever. “It may not be this year, it may not be next year, or whatever, but I know that we have one [in us],’’ said Rose when asked whether the window for a title is closing. “I know I’m going to win a championship soon, so I’m not worried about that.’’ Chicago Sun-Times

Maybe that's not exactly how the coach's summer went, but he arrived at Boston Celtics media day with a list of changes that should help his team. The Celtics didn't make the serious roster upgrades they wanted, but Stevens still considers improvement an attainable goal. "I just want a more aggressive mindset overall," Stevens said Monday afternoon. "Offensively and defensively, more pressure. More pace. And hopefully do so with greater consistency. I thought at times we did that well. I thought at times we didn't. I felt like the details of the game were average on our team at best last year. And quite frankly, that's not OK. That's my job and we need to do a much better job with that. Booth Newspapers

Playoff declarations or statements that foreshadow coaching dismissals 50 games into a season are certainly on his docket. As he strolled confidently into Pistons' Media Day Monday, he wouldn't dip a toe into those waters. "Bold (predictions)?" asked Gores rhetorically. "When Stan and I met, the thing we agreed on was trying to win now and not sacrificing the future. We haven't won in a long time." Detroit News

Kostas Papanikolaou: A few hours later I watched my first NFL game, with the Texans hosting the Bills. There I met, Spero Dedes, another fellow Greek that is very successful on TV, as a play-by-play announcer on the CBS network. We met for few minutes, during halftime, and he is an exceptional guy. They even let me watch them while they were broadcasting the game live on TV. It was a great experience. I will meet with Spero again, when I will be in Los Angeles for the opening night game against the Lakers. NBA.com

BUZZ METER: WHO'S TRENDING IN THE NBA TWITTERSPHERE?

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   
September 30, 2014 | 11:00 AM ET Update

They selected Ellis in the 2005 NBA Draft, but after 39 other players had heard their names. No matter—three years later he was putting pen to paper on a $67 million deal, so yeah, Monta Ellis was not used to coming up short, to losing, to defeat. He succeeded in everything he tried, from bowling to games like dominoes and spades to high school tennis (he never lost a match). And so, as the losses began to pile up, Ellis found himself struggling inside. He didn’t know how to cope with constant defeat. He couldn’t figure out how to adjust. Eventually, all the desire that had been used as fuel had been extracted, like water from a sponge. “I just didn’t love basketball anymore,” the nine-year vet says. “I wasn’t happy and I didn’t feel like the teams I was with wanted to win. To me, winning is all that matters and we weren’t even close.” SLAM

And really, that’s all Ellis ever wanted—to be put in pressure situations. He’s been given that chance in Dallas. Now, for the first time in years, Monta Ellis is happy. His numbers might not have changed, but he certainly has. “All I wanted was one more chance, to go out as a winner and show my son that his dad is not what people say he is, and Dallas gave it to me.” SLAM

A three-peat quest without Miller didn't fare well. Not to say that Miller would have put them over the top of the San Antonio Spurs, however, his departure was definitely felt. It was a departure James was highly against. "LeBron thought it was an unnecessary change," Miller revealed to Northeast Ohio Media Group. "I'm not saying I would have been a difference-maker. San Antonio was unbelievable last year and there are a lot of things that go into a season, but it was difficult for LeBron. "It was difficult for all of us. It was difficult for me. I had to uproot my family and move again. It was tough. I think he was disappointed because he understands legacies and he understands what he wants to do in life. That's what makes him special." Cleveland Plain Dealer

With some luck, a small-market team can use the draft to balance the advantages that glamour teams have in free agency. There is a fear that evening out the lottery odds would chip away at that advantage; folks raised the same issue right away about the more creative Draft Wheel proposal that would rotate picks around the league. It’s hard to know now if this concern is valid, and there appears to be broad support among the league’s 30 teams for the NBA’s proposal, per several sources. Ownership groups could vote on it as early as this season, and a powerful distaste for Philly’s multiyear tanking adventure is driving the reform movement. Grantland

The cap is at $63 million today. If it leaps to $70 million next summer and approaches $80 million for 2016-17, a team like the Rockets can load more bullets into the free-agency chamber. A big-market team without any visible plan beyond a vague goal of luring stars might suddenly have room beyond two max-level slots — crucial for convincing stars to join an empty venture in Los Angeles or (eventually) Brooklyn. This is one reason the league might introduce new TV revenue in a way that spreads the cap increase over a longer period of time, per several sources familiar with the matter. The union has a seat in that discussion, since it has to sign off on any change to the formula that determines the cap, and it may not want Anthony Davis earning $10 million more per year on his max contract than Kyrie Irving does on his max just because Davis had the dumb luck of entering the league a year later. Grantland

 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN ROCKETS HISTORY

Average height of the main three players is 6-foot-10. It's truly a big man franchise.

   
September 30, 2014 | 08:31 AM ET Update

Aldridge, a free agent after this season, reiterated his vow made after last season that he will sign a new deal with the Blazers next summer. He will then be eligible for a larger, longer-term contract with Larry Bird Rights. "Me not re-signing (last summer) wasn't a sign I didn't want to be here," he said. "It didn't make (financial) sense on my end. I'm not trying to hide from it. I just don't want that to be the focus. I want our focus to be to get better, to try to advance further than last year." Portland Tribune

Kobe Bryant watched on television as Derek Jeter walked off the field at Yankee Stadium for the last time last week. The Los Angeles Lakers guard hopes to eventually walk away just like Jeter did. But he also hopes to delay that day by a couple years. "The biggest key for anybody in retirement is you always want to retire by choice," Bryant told Yahoo Sports. "Hopefully, I will be fortunate enough to have that option. You don't want to see another catastrophic injury or something like that. When you walk away, you want to feel like you walked away on your terms." Yahoo! Sports

Gasol on whether he might sign an extension in December instead of waiting for free agency until June: “You don’t’ know how you’re going to feel seven months from now in June. You don’t know how you’re going to feel and how the season is going to go. But I can tell you how I feel right now, and how happy I am to be here, and how excited I am about the season and the city, and about my teammates. That’s how I feel right now.” Memphis Commercial Appeal

Thompson, who will either agree to an extension with the Warriors by next month or become a restricted free agent next summer, indicated he was focused on his game rather than on contract negotiations. "I just let (agent Bill Duffy) and the front office sort it out," Thompson said. "I know if I just keep my mind on hoops and staying healthy, I know everything else will take care of itself." Contra Costa Times

The Nuggets and Kenneth Faried's representatives are in negotiations for a new deal, and have been for the last couple of months. Under NBA rules, they have until Oct. 31 to have a new deal signed, and I think that will definitely happen. There have been some who have predicted Faried would get a max deal, but given the comparables at his position, power forward, and the fact that he's still got his best basketball ahead of him, there's no way this contract will be a max deal. But it will be a significant jump in salary. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to see it end up around an average of $12 million per year. Denver Post

Veteran point guard Nate Robinson is in the final year of a two-year contract worth $4.1 million. Robinson was a huge spark off the bench for the Nuggets last season, averaging 10.4 points and shooting 42 percent before suffering a torn ACL in January. Asked if he'd like to come back to the Nuggets after this season, he said, "I believe so. I'm too old to be moving around too much more. I don't know if I have too many more years doing that. For me, I would love to stay here. I've taken a liking to Denver; it's been fun. The city is great, the fans are great and this team is awesome. I would love to be here if they would love to have me." Denver Post

Q: You still feeling good about the group, especially considering how young everyone is? Kevin Durant: "Yeah, I mean look, we're all 25, 26 years old, and stuff happens. Injuries happen. Bad breaks happen. It's a part of sports, and we understand that. Look, we're excited about the team we have, excited about Russ (Westbrook) and Serge (Ibaka) being back healthy, but you never know what happens. We want to just take it as slow as we can man, a day at a time, continue to help our young guys get better and we get better as well. Just trust in each other and know that you can't predict what will happen in June right now, but we can kind of dictate it in the way we approach our jobs." USA Today Sports

Q: Speaking of Reggie, how do you see his situation in terms of starting vs. coming off the bench? (Jackson, who is hoping to secure an extension before the Oct. 31 deadline, has made it clear he wants to start this season) "Yeah, I mean, as kids we're taught that being a starter means that you're it. But I've seen starters average 10 minutes a game, and not finish games. But Reggie finishes games for us, and I think that's more important. I also think that in his head, playing behind Russell, (and considering) they're the same age, but he finishes games for us and I think that's what's important to him. USA Today Sports

Q: You talk about being more open with how you see things, and the fact that it's ok for you to get upset, and it reminds me of a moment I saw in the playoffs where you were chirping with a woman in the stands in San Antonio. Is it hard not to respond sometimes? A: "Yeah, I mean I've got a quick trigger with people talking (expletive) to me. Whether it's other players or whether it's fans, (Thunder media relations director) Matty (Tumbleson) tells me all the time, 'Don't say anything,' but it's hard. "I remember we played Dallas and I fell into the stands, and I was talking trash back and forth with some lady and she threw the middle finger at me, and we've been great friends since then. I go over there and hug her every game, and we've been really good friends, because I understand that. I don't take it personal. I get pissed on the court, because it's just like, 'Man, I've got to take my anger out somewhere' and it's on the court. But those moments like that man, I just learned that it's not about losing your cool but about how this might push me over the top and get me to the space where I need to be in order for us to win this game. But the pressure on top of that is, I learned not to care no more. Either you're going to win or you're going to lose, and of course I'd love to win but I'm going to be me all the way through and live with the results. That's always how I've been these last few years, actually. Since 2012, I've really been feeling comfortable with myself." USA Today Sports

Rubio is at his best when he's running free, charging up the court on a fast break, putting the defenders on their heels as he prepares to let a no-look pass fly toward the rim. Last year, the Wolves offense was centered around Love and Nikola Pekovic, two bruising players who do their best work under the rim. "For me, it's just strange," Rubio said of Love being gone. "Of course we're going to miss him. He's one of the best, if not the best, power forwards in the league, but we just have to move on. We had a good trade. I think if the young guys do what they're supposed to do and what we expect them to do, it's gonna be great." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Marcus said Markieff's cut should have been higher. He also said they were not willing to wind up with different teams in free agency next year. "This deal doesn't show how good of a player I am," Marcus said. "This deal is about our financial stability for our family. I'm worth $52 million. They say I'm four-year, $20 million but, at the end of the day, $13 million is coming in our household every year. I'm worth $52 million and Keef's worth $52 million." Arizona Republic

Smith described last season — one where he launched a career-high 265 3-pointers — almost like a nightmare he couldn't wake up from. He tried to mask it with a joke but it appeared he was truly bothered by at least the result, if not the why. "It was real tough. It was very cold and losing on top of it, it got hard," said Smith, who spent virtually every year of his life before last season in Atlanta, except for one year of high school. "But I started off losing in this league so I'm appreciative of the moments of winning." Detroit News

And there's a certain field leader Shaw wants to take Lawson to visit in order to show him what he expects of him. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. "One thing I wanted to do with him," Shaw said, "and still may do before we get too heavy into is I want to take him to a Broncos practice so he can see Peyton Manning and how he directs traffic, and how everybody falls in line behind him. But they only do that because they know the work ethic that he has and the time he puts in, and they respect that." CBSSports.com

A photographer’s assistant at one station, making small talk, asked Durant if he had already opened his birthday presents. “When you turn 26, you don’t get presents no more,” Durant replied. “It’s just texts.” Oklahoman

J.R. Smith admittedly took until “the last 30 games” to regain form following a tumultuous start to last season, following knee surgery, a suspension for violating the NBA’s drug policy and multiple fines, including one for untying the shoelaces of opponents. “I think it’s definitely a clean slate. I think it will be a more productive start of the year for me,” Smith said. “There’s nothing hanging over my head whether it’s injuries, suspensions, stuff like that. So I’m starting out from Day 1 with my team and it’s a great feeling.” New York Daily News

Aldridge turned down a chance to play with the U.S. national team, and it wasn't the first time. This time, he said, he wanted to make he didn't suffer an injury -- as happened with Indiana's Paul George -- that might keep him from achieving his goal of helping the Blazers go deep in the playoffs. "It was about my personal preference," Aldridge said. "Having a big season coming up, I didn't want to risk anything crazy out there. "I was disappointed to not be in that group. I wanted to be a part of that group for a long time. Things keep coming up. This time, the major part was me and my agent and (officials from) my team sat down, and we felt like we didn't want to take that risk right now." Portland Tribune

BUZZ METER: WHO'S TRENDING IN THE NBA TWITTERSPHERE?

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   

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