Stephen Graham had already heard about Marquis Daniels before they faced off on the basketball court. People talked in the Florida basketball circuit, and Daniels was known as one of the best players on the Orlando-area Edgewater High School team. Graham, then a junior at Brandon High School near Tampa, was impressed by the senior guard who garnered attention with this athleticism and dunking abilities.

“I just knew he was going to be a really good player,” Graham said in a telephone interview.



JESSICA CAMERATO

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Like snowflakes or Rajon Rondo jump shots, no two NBA offseasons are exactly the same. The summer of 2009 was supposed to be the prudish precursor to the wild hedonism of 2010 when teams with oodles of cap space and money to burn would cash in on the greatest free agency class ever.

Throw in an underwhelming draft class and this summer should have been more about maintaining the status quo. It hasn’t quite worked out that way.



In the end the anticipated bidding war for Glen Big Baby Davis never really materialized, and if there was going to be one the Celtics did a good enough job of making sure other teams knew it would be a waste of their time to start one in the first place.



"I don’t know what’s going to happen," Glen Davis said while working out in Houston. "It’s still too early to tell. We’ve still got a long ways to go as far as negotiating with the Celtics."

Davis’ stance hasn’t changed.



JEFF GOODMAN

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Two years ago, Rajon Rondo pulled up for one jumper after another at the 2007 Las Vegas Summer League. His goal was apparent -- after being left wide open on the court during his rookie season, opponents were practically scoffing at his midrange game by daring him to shoot.

"He's not going to be Ray Allen," one NBA coach said at the time.

He doesn't have to be. Two years later, being Rajon Rondo is good enough.



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It was a few minutes after Rasheed Wallace’s introductory press conference and Paul Pierce was talking about the need to cut down on his minutes. It was no secret during the playoffs that Pierce was operating at something less than 100 percent. Whether he was injured – and Pierce swears he wasn’t – or just wiped out from logging more than 3,000 regular-season minutes (something he hadn’t done since the 2005-06 season), something had to be done about the Captain’s workload.



Las Vegas is known for glitz and glamor, but for two weeks in July it is more than a hedonistic escape. It is where 22 teams of hungry players come to make a name for themselves in the pros, execs come for business and the occasional All-Star drops in to check out the talent.

This year, faces in the crowd included Paul Pierce, Chris Paul, James Posey, Kevin Durant, Ryan Gomes, Antawn Jamison, Sebastian Telfair, Rudy Gay and Kevin Love.



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All around the league, power forwards are finding new homes, or returning to their respective franchises. Rasheed Wallace, Brandon Bass and Antonio McDyess all found new addresses and Anderson Varejao, Carlos Boozer and Zaza Pachulia elected to stay put. Meanwhile, Utah’s other free agent big man, Paul Millsap, signed an offer sheet with Portland.



WALTHAM -- There were six microphones set up on the dais, which seemed an extraordinarily large amount for an introductory press conference for one player, even one as important as Rasheed Wallace.

So, as the time crept past the scheduled 4 p.m. start time, the question was: Who would be joining Rasheed? The mystery was soon solved as one by one, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and yes, Kevin Garnett, joined Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge on the podium with Wallace.



When Rasheed Wallace was a freshman at Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, he could already do just about everything on a basketball court.

Well, there was one thing that gave him trouble.

“Rasheed couldn’t make a lefty layup to save his life,” said his coach Bill Ellerbee, a legend in high school coaching circles. “He would go off the wrong foot all the time.”