Joakim Noah attempted to sell Carmelo Anthony on the idea of joining the Bulls this summer when the two spoke at the All-Star break, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. The Knicks star was non-committal, though he expressed admiration for the way Chicago plays, Broussard notes, adding that the conversation began with Anthony asking Noah what it’s like to play for Tom Thibodeau (All four Twitter links). Broussard also hears that Derrick Rose, who’s notorious for refusing to recruit other players to the Bulls, would love Anthony to join Chicago and would reach out to him if the team asked him to (Twitter link). I touched on the possibility of the No. 2 player on the Hoops Rumors 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings joining the Bulls when I examined Anthony’s free agent stock Wednesday. Here’s more on Anthony’s current team as we check the latest from the Atlantic Division:
- The Knicks have been linked to 2015 free agent Kevin Love on numerous occasions, but if Anthony re-signs, Love’s poor defense and an offensive game that’s too similar to Anthony’s would make him a poor fit, opines Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal.
- Soon-to-be free agent Jordan Crawford has fond memories of his time with the Celtics, who traded him to the Warriors in January, and he greeted Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge warmly before Golden State’s game in Boston on Wednesday. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald has the details.
- Rudy Gay will hear plenty of boos when he returns to Toronto with the Kings on Friday, but Raptors ownership deserves blame for setting up the compromising situation that led to Gay’s acquisition last year, argues Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com looks at a recent report from Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report about the future of Joe Dumars in Detroit. Dumars is weary of the criticism he has received in trying to rebuild the Pistons after constructing a franchise that went to the Eastern Conference Finals six years in a row. The criticism fails to account for the dismal Detroit economy and restraints placed on Dumars while the team was up for sale and changing ownership, as Bucher notes, and Moore points to the success the team had early in Dumars’ tenure. Still, Moore advocates for a change. The Pistons are currently 24-36, three games out of the 8th spot in the East.
More from around the league:
- During a rough season, Bucks GM John Hammond is being praised for drafting a “gem” in Giannis Antetokounmpo, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com. The “Greek Freak” is averaging 7.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.9 APG over 24.5 MPG.
- Evan Turner is still getting acclimated with the Pacers, but both he and the team think it’s been a good fit so far, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Turner has played in five games with the team, and has averaged 9.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 22.2 MPG. How Turner adjusts to the Pacers will impact if he is in their plans going forward when he becomes a free-agent after the season, writes Kennedy.
- Danny Ainge said that the Celtics had asked Rajon Rondo to travel with the team last week, but instead Rondo chose to stay in Los Angeles to celebrate his 28th birthday, writes Royce Young of CBSSports.com. Ainge said, “In the end, him and I had a long talk about it. He planned it before and he had reason to believe it would be OK. I understand his reason because of what he’s grown up with and what he’s witnessed. You won’t see it happen again, and we’ve just moved on from it.” This isn’t expected to change the team’s immediate plans regarding keeping Rondo, according to Young.
Should the Knicks decide that it’s in their best interest to keep Carmelo Anthony and try to surround him with the requisite pieces needed for title contention, it’s almost a given that one plan would involve adding a big-name free agent during the summer of 2015 – when names such as Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo could hit the open market and New York would have plenty of cap room to work with. Such a plan might not be that appealing to Anthony, as rumblings indicate that the Syracuse star’s camp is only interested in what gets done this summer and not in 2015, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
Here’s a roundup of more significant points from Isola’s piece:
- By July 2015, Anthony will be 31 years old; the thought of added mileage from another NBA season without the proper reinforcements could possibly be enough to dissuade the Knicks star from committing to New York long-term,
- James Dolan would be wise to bid farewell to Carmelo this summer rather than give him five years and $127MM to stay, especially when the alternative involves clearing valuable cap space and still having a first round pick in what would most likely be a rebuilding year in 2014/15.
- As for Love, Isola hears word that the 6’10″ big man’s current train of thinking involves either re-signing with the Timberwolves or heading to the Lakers once he hits free agency.
- While Rondo’s success includes a championship in Boston, Isola adds that the 28-year-old point guard’s personality, his clashes with Celtics coaches in the past, and that he played a role in Ray Allen‘s decision to leave for Miami make him a less-than-ideal fit next to Carmelo.
This summer, the Knicks will have a load of expiring 2015 contracts, including Tyson Chandler, who could be used as a pawn in a trade bid for Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (Marc Berman of the New York Post). One league source didn’t mince words when commenting about New York’s chances at dealing for the 6’10 big man, telling Berman: “They’re selling New York fans land in New Mexico.’’
Carmelo Anthony recently spoke about Love’s game, and when specifically asked about the similarities between them as stretch-fours, Anthony didn’t see a comparison: “I didn’t know we had similarities…He’s a guy who became a stretch 4 but never was a stretch 4. He worked on his shot, his 3-ball and stretching the floor and spreading the floor out. He can also go inside. He’s one helluva rebounder. He’s a big load. He’s gotten better every year since been in the league and still is.’’
Here are more miscellaneous news and notes to pass along tonight:
- Former NBA coaches George Karl, Avery Johnson, and P.J. Carlesimo weighed in on the state of the Knicks, the Warriors‘ title hopes, and who should have been moved during the trade deadline, among other topics (ESPN Insiders only).
- The Suns are poised to make their first postseason appearance since the 2009/10 season, thanks in large part to an All-Star caliber season from Goran Dragic. The 27-year-old point guard recently shared his thoughts on the season with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, speaking with the confidence one would ideally expect from a seasoned veteran: “I’m more relaxed…I know all of the situations I’m put in and I know how the opposing teams are going to guard me. I’m just more relaxed. It feels like I’m playing basketball with my friends back home, with no pressure. I just go out there and do my job. I’ve gotten some great support from my teammates and I’m just having fun. It’s not like I’m thinking too much or anything. I’m just having fun.”
- Luol Deng and Marcin Gortat are two players that the Mavericks should go after in free agency this summer, opines Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW.
- Brad Stevens’ emphasis on establishing a winning culture along with the players’ continued commitment toward playing hard is proof that the Celtics haven’t given up on the season just yet, explains Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston.
The Eastern Conference’s glut of struggling teams means the worst clubs in the Western Conference have an advantage as they jockey for lottery position, explains Tom Ziller of SB Nation. East teams don’t have to play as many heavies as their Western Conference counterparts do, leading to more wins and fewer ping-pong balls. That helps perpetuate the East’s mediocrity year after year, Ziller writes. Here’s more from the NBA’s weaker side:
- Phil Jackson tells Sam Amick of USA Today that he remains an “unpaid adviser” to Pistons owner Tom Gores. Jackson, who reiterates that he doesn’t want to coach again, helped the team with its search for former coach Maurice Cheeks, who was fired a couple of weeks ago.
- Another championship coach is feeling no urge to get back to the sidelines, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel observes. “I’m six years out of coaching right now,” Heat president Pat Riley said. “Look at me, man, I’m full of vitality to have some fun. Six years ago, when I was coaching, I would wake up 5:00 a.m. and it was dark and I was depressed. Not anymore.”
- The contract that Mike Muscala signed with the Hawks last week is a four-year pact for the minimum salary, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reveals. This year is fully guaranteed and next season is partially guaranteed for $408K, but the deal otherwise contains no guaranteed salary, Pincus tweets. There’s a team option on the final year.
- Gerald Wallace expressed his displeasure with winding up on a rebuilding Celtics team when the Nets traded him to Boston this summer, but the veteran says he enjoyed his first year in green, as he tells Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe. “I just hope the fans didn’t take offense to me saying I didn’t want to be here as me not wanting to be a part of the organization,” said Wallace, who’s out for the season with a knee injury. “My main thing was the rebuilding process, I didn’t want to go through a whole rebuilding process where you have to start all over 13 years into my career.”
Heat president Pat Riley says that he made a play for Caron Butler but ultimately things didn’t work out. ”We reached out to him. But he was very definitive with what he wanted. I don’t think it’s something we could have promised…We’re pretty deep. When you got James Jones and Udonis Haslem, Rashard Lewis in those positions, they’re waiting,” said Riley, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter links). More out of the East..
- Within today’s article, Winderman has more from his talk with Riley, including a chat about the future of the Big Three and Dwyane Wade‘s recent emergence.
- Brett Brown knew that this would be a rough season, but the rookie 76ers coach admits that he really didn’t realize how difficult things would be, writes Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “To say I knew it was going to be like this is false,” said Brown. Philly is 15-44 and has lost 13 consecutive games after Saturday night’s home loss to the Wizards.
- Coach Mike Woodson says the Knicks didn’t consider guard Jimmer Fredette before he hooked on with the Bulls, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- Sam Smith of Bulls.com gives his early impressions of new Bulls guard Jimmer Fredette. The guard spoke to the media about his time in Sacramento and what he hoped to do now that he’s in Chicago.
- Thanks to the state of the Celtics roster, new callup Chris Babb could see even more burn than he could have possibly envisioned, writes Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. Babb, who came up from the Maine Red Claws, says he was caught off-guard by his promotion.
SATURDAY, 8:30pm: The Celtics have officially confirmed that Wallace is done for the rest of the season, writes Royce Young of CBSSports.com. Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com tweets that Wallace could have surgery as early as Tuesday.
1:34pm: Wallace has given thought to playing through his injuries, though Ainge thinks he’ll opt for surgery, tweets Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com.
12:50pm: Celtics president of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge confirms that Wallace is out for the season, as Washburn writes in a full story.
FRIDAY, 11:33am: Gerald Wallace has suffered a torn meniscus in his knee and is also dealing with bone spurs, injuries that are likely to keep him out for the rest of 2013/14, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (All Twitter links). Coach Brad Stevens says that the 13th year veteran will be out for an indefinite amount of time, but A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com seconds Washburn’s report, calling the return of Wallace “doubtful” (on Twitter). Wallace’s ailments add to a litany of maladies for the lottery-bound Celtics, who are also missing Vitor Faverani, Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley.
Wallace, 31, is by no means the player he once was, as witnessed by his career-low 10.1 PER this year. He’s nonetheless played a significant role in Boston’s rotation, averaging 24.4 minutes per game. The Celtics were unsuccessful in finding a taker before the trade deadline for his inflated contract, which pays him slightly more than $10.1MM each season through 2015/16. His injuries surely won’t help Boston have any more luck trying to trade him in the summer.
Boston added Chris Babb on a 10-day contract today, adding depth to its depleted roster to help make up for the loss of Wallace and others. Still, there’s little incentive for the Celtics to win, as they sit at 20-39, in 12th place in the Eastern Conference and seven games out of the final playoff spot.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey said today that he asked Mark Cuban about acquiring Dirk Nowitzki this summer out of fears the Warriors would keep Dwight Howard from coming to Houston, according to ESPN (Twitter link). Cuban didn’t realize Howard hadn’t committed to the Rockets, and interpreted the proposal as a taunt over the Mavs‘ failed pursuit of Howard. Morey made his remarks at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and we’ve got more from that meeting of the minds as we pass along the latest from the NBA:
- Former Raptors and Suns GM Bryan Colangelo admitted that he attempted to tank a few seasons ago, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. Presumably, that happened during his Raptors tenure.
- Jimmer Fredette piqued the interest of the Celtics, but it ”wasn’t a good fit for either side,” as president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told reporters today, including Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).
- The Timberwolves have no interest in Fredette for “myriad reasons,” according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link).
- Some within the Lakers organization wanted to retain Pau Gasol through the trade deadline to keep his Bird Rights, but Gasol writes in his blog that L.A.’s financial advantage to re-sign him won’t play into his decision (translation via HoopsHype). The 7-footer says he wants to go where he can help a team win a title, but he’s not ruling out a return to the Lakers.
- Caron Butler‘s role on the Heat would have been similar to the one Mike Miller played in recent years, and part of his decision to instead join the Thunder centered on the chance for more playing time, notes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter links).
- The top half of the lottery picks in this year’s draft will be a star-studded bunch, but there are still other potential franchise-changing players in the mix, writes Zach Harper of CBSSports.com, who examines five potential steals.
The Celtics aren’t planning to agree to a buyout with Keith Bogans, tweets Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. A source recently told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald that Bogans intended to “stick it out” with the team the year, presumably an indication that he didn’t want out of his contract, which pays him more than $5MM this season. The 33-year-old has been away from the team since early January, when he and management agreed to informally part ways over Bogans’ frustration with a lack of playing time.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge last month deemed Bogans a trade chip, suggesting that a swap was more likely in the summer than at the deadline. That was another hint that a buyout was unlikely, since retaining him allows the Celtics to offer him up to other teams as a de facto expiring contract. Bogans’ deal runs through 2015/16 with salaries in excess of $5MM each year, but the only guaranteed salary is for this season. The Dan Fegan client scored the over-market contract as part of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce blockbuster. The Nets needed to add to the swap to make the salaries match, prompting them to throw Bogans in via sign-and-trade. Sign-and-trade deals must cover three seasons, but only the first year needs to be guaranteed.
Bogans and the Celtics have until the end of Saturday to have a change of heart in time for the 11th-year veteran to be eligible to play for a team in the postseason. The shooting guard is one year removed from starting 23 games for a Nets team that made the playoffs, but he’s only appeared in six games this season.
FRIDAY, 11:15am: The Celtics have officially signed Babb, the team announced. The move brings Boston’s roster to 15 players.
THURSDAY, 7:22pm: The Celtics plan to sign guard Chris Babb to a 10-day contract on Friday or Saturday, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Babb has been playing with the Maine Red Claws in the D-League.
Babb went undrafted in 2013, but played in the summer league for the Suns. He then signed with the Celtics on September 30th, 2013, but was subsequently waived by the team on October 26th. He joined the Red Claws on October 31st.
Babb has played in 32 games for the Red claws this season, and has averaged 11.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.3 APG, and 1.2 SPG, while logging 37.5 MPG.