It’s protocol for a team’s brass to anoint a new acquisition with all sorts of titles: He has untapped potential…he was underutilized for so long…he’s an even better person off the court…he’s so unselfish and can’t wait to finish out his career here. Politically correct answers often infect press conferences, fans get blown up with new expectations, and the resulting hype either consumes or electrifies. Mark Cuban isn’t shy at all about talking up his players. He went so far as to say his team in Dallas is better off without Deron Williams. Hard to believe. But, Mavs’ fans have been riding with his new cap-friendly system in the Big D for a few years now, so we will too. Yet that’s not the only thing he’s saying. According to ESPNDallas.com, during a press conference to introduce the team’s new players, Cuban said he believes O.J. Mayo can be a star. Readers know we have some huge Mayo fans in the Dime office. We’re convinced he has more to offer than he did over the last two seasons when Memphis turned him into a glorified spot-up shooter. As great as the Grizzlies were, their talent and depth mitigated the impact someone like Mayo could have in 27 minutes a night. Sometimes he got shots. Other nights, they’d forget about him. Look at his contemporaries like Eric Gordon and James Harden. We refuse to believe the gap between those near All-Stars and Mayo is actually this big, especially after what he looked like as a rookie. Tyreke Evans hasn’t reached his potential yet either, but he still has it in him. We feel the same about Mayo … But a breakout year from Mayo is a double-edged sword for Dallas. His contract has a player option next summer, meaning Juice is looking at this season the same way Jamal Crawford looked at last season in Portland. It’s a way to make a name, prove himself, and ultimately, get paid (whether or not that’s in Dallas remains to be seen) … JaVale McGee is twice the comedian Kevin Hart is, and even though he’s cut most of the antics in Denver, the man still brings the laughs. On Twitter recently, McGee tried to have a free burrito party by inviting his followers to a Chipotle. The first 10 were getting free food and a picture with him. Unfortunately, only one person showed up. Undaunted, McGee tried again, this time inviting his followers to come get some free noodle soup at Noodles & Company. That’s embarrassing, like one of those goofy fourth graders who throws a party on the same day someone else does, and he’s left to cut the cake with his mom. Yet even if McGee’s getting stood up by his own fans, it’s at least good to see he’s settling in with the Nuggets … Harvard was the feel-good story of hoops even before the newly crowned king of New York, Jeremy Lin, and Spike Lee dropped by the Crimson’s game with Columbia in Manhattan last spring. On the way to the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament berth, the kids from Cambridge were upsetting every notion of being the nerdy sports school. While it’s nothing against the Ivy leader’s hoops skill, an “academic dishonesty” scandal on campus has implicated more than 100 players and according to Sports Illustrated, the team’s best scorer and rebounder, Kyle Casey. He’s expected to miss next season by withdrawing from school. That’s a tough blow for Hawvud and Tommy Amaker. Even if the season wasn’t about to start in a few weeks, you can’t exactly pull the closest JUCO stud out to play for you. … Keep reading to hear about Brooklyn’s new signee …
When they hooked up for some summertime workout sessions last year, it was cool. The lockout was going on, and we just wanted to see two of the best training to be ready for the season to start. Now? After a season that ended with the two matching up in the Finals, and then an Olympic run that showed they are the two greatest players in the league, by far, some think it’s weird that LeBron James and Kevin Durant are back in the gym together. Jordan and the Bad Boys would never do that, right? Magic and Bird wouldn’t either. Kobe and D-Wade wouldn’t give away their secrets. Right? It’s a new era, and stars are more friendly with each other than ever before. That’s still not going to take away from the competition. Think about going to the park with your boys, playing games of 21, three-on-three. Those often get heated right? In fact, we almost always go HARDER against people we know. There’s nothing like beating down your crew, and then talking smack about it afterwards. Durant was happy LeBron didn’t do much trash talking during the Olympics, but if he had wanted to, no one was stopping him. Fans want these dudes to hate each other. There’s no need. They’ll go just as hard regardless … Howard Beck of the New York Times is reporting Josh Childress finally found a team. He’s signing a one-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets. Besides unveiling a dope new court in their sparkling new arena, the Nets did a great job this summer filling out their roster outside of trading for Joe Johnson and splurging on Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez. Some of these new names – Childress, C.J. Watson, Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans – aren’t really difference-makers. But they are infinitely better than whatever the team had last year … In a rather sad development, Portland’s Elliot Williams needs surgery on a torn left Achilles tendon he suffered during a voluntary workout with the Blazers. Williams is only 23, so it’s not the fact that he’ll likely miss this season that has us upset. He also missed all of 2010-11 due to knee surgeries, and then was out for nearly the last month and a half of last year after a left shoulder problem … And get ready for one of the nicest sneakers of the year to drop. Remember when we showed you the “Orlando” versions of the Penny Vs? Now we have a release date: Oct. 3. They’ll be retailing for $150 … We’re out like Chris Brown‘s new neck tattoo.
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