Last summer, Dwight Howard decided to leave $30MM in extra earnings on the table in order to find a situation that gave him the best chance to win – a situation that Carmelo Anthony faces in July if he decides to opt out of his contract. Based on the Rockets’ success this year, Sam Amick of USA Today says that there’s no better blueprint for Anthony to follow than Howard’s. Dwight, who says he spoken with Carmelo about that dynamic, offered some advice:
“I know he has just got to do what’s best for him…I’ve been through it. I’ve seen it. The same people that love you one day, if you don’t do what they want you to do, then they’re going to hate you. You’ve got to always remember that you’ve got to do what’s best for you at the end of the day. If people don’t like you, you can’t stop that.”
Here’s more of what we’ve gathered from the Atlantic Division tonight:
- Following a recent loss to the Hawks, Anthony told reporters: “It’s definitely testing me…The frustration has definitely sunk in, just from the simple fact we’re losing games the same way over and over and we’re just not learning from that.” After last night’s crushing loss to the Mavs, he told Clifton Brown of the New York TImes, “You score 40, 44, 44, 44, all losses — you kind of ask yourself is it worth it.”
- 76ers head coach Brett Brown says he isn’t annoyed that Danny Granger would rather play for a contending team instead of Philadelphia, writes Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times. Brown also discussed the team’s rebuilding situation: “This is a very different rebuild than the others…It is completely at the bare bones. It just puts a pretty definitive timeline and set of reality checks on all of us that we have a lot of work to do.”
- Brown added that he has plenty of faith in the front office: “I trust Sam Hinkie’s judgment on the process that just happened and the process that’s coming up…I can’t wait to be a part of it, with all of our draft picks. Draft night is one of my favorite nights.”
- Jimmer Fredette‘s family would be ecstatic if he could somehow find his way to the Knicks once he’s bought out by the Kings, writes Christian Red of the New York Daily News.
The Nets didn’t end up taking on Jordan Hill and the $17MM tax hit he would have cost them, but their expenditure in the deal to add Marcus Thornton prompted “a lot of angry eye-rolling” from other teams, writes Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Brooklyn’s lavish spending could push the league into another work stoppage in 2017 in an effort to cut off the Nets’ spending, Lowe adds.
Here’s what else we’ve gathered from around the Atlantic Division tonight.
- Attorney Michael McCann, in a piece for SI.com, lays out the Knicks’ options amid legal trouble for Raymond Felton. The 29-year-old point guard – facing two counts of weapon possession – posted bail earlier this afternoon and will be due in court next on June 2nd, tweets ESPN New York’s Ian Begley. It’s also worth noting that according to the law under which he was charged, Felton could avoid jail time even if he’s convicted of his felonies, says Scott Cacciola of the New York Times (Twitter link).
- A panel of ESPN experts weigh in on the future and current state of Knicks basketball – discussing Felton’s situation, what organizational changes need to be made, and if Carmelo Anthony should leave New York.
- 76ers head coach Brett Brown tells Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times: “You’re going to see a lot of people come in here over the last 25 games” (Twitter link).
- Brown also tells Moore (via Twitter) that 6’8″ forward Hollis Thompson is a “keeper.”
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
After previously being part of a Spurs coaching staff that helped San Antonio win three titles, Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown tells Keith Pompey of The Inquirer that bringing a championship culture to the 76ers is much tougher than he anticipated:
“It’s much harder…It’s something that I didn’t judge properly. It doesn’t diminish my enthusiasm being here. I just recognize the monster ahead of us…Trying to build a program to the level we hope to build it to requires so much work and so much luck. And there is no wiggle room. You can’t skip a single step.”
You can find some more miscellaneous links worth passing along out of the Atlantic Division below:
- Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire is more than eager to be a contributor and asserted that he’s ready to play without minute restrictions: “From a doctor’s standpoint, there hasn’t been (minute) limitations since the first week of the season…So we can’t keep saying limitations; that’s a coach’s decision at the end of the day. I feel great. I am ready to play. But it’s up to him if he wants to play me or not” (Frank Isola of the New York Daily News).
- Stoudemire added that he’s spoken with head coach Mike Woodson about increasing his role: “Yeah. I talk to Coach all the time about it. He knows I am ready. He knows how hard I train. He watches me in the weight room and also on the basketball court. The whole training staff knows, the Knicks organization knows how hard I train. I am ready to play. But it depends on how the game is played.”
- In response to Mike Wilbon’s recent argument on ESPN that the Bulls should look to add Carmelo Anthony on the premise that stars win in this league, ESPN New York’s Ohm Youngmisuk thinks the same can be said for why the Knicks must do what they can to keep him in New York.
- Henry Abbott and David Thorpe of ESPN discuss why Tyson Chandler hasn’t been able to make the same defensive impact we’re used to seeing from seasons past.
- Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News explains why Raymond Felton isn’t fit to be the team’s starting point guard.
- Tim Bontemps of the New York Post looks at how Shaun Livingston orchestrated his mid-season turnaround. The Peoria native put up 9.2 PPG on 46.1% shooting to go with 4.5 RPG and 1.5 SPG in 29.7 MPG during Brooklyn’s 10-3 stretch in January, and is averaging 18.5 PPG on 51.9% shooting over his last two contests.
76ers prospect Nerlens Noel hasn’t let his knee rehab prevent him from working on other parts of his game, as Dei Lynam of CSN Philly reports that head coach Brett Brown has been tutoring the young big man on defensive principles in addition to working with him on his shooting form. As per Brown:
“I am thrilled [with] what he has done with his shot…We said from the very beginning that this is an opportunity and one that I hope he never has again…There is far more fluid to his shot and I think the carryover from this year will be significant if we can get it right for his future.”
Here are a few more minor notes to pass along out of the Atlantic Division:
- In his latest Celtics mailbag, Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston answers questions about Jordan Crawford‘s emergence, what happens to the rotation once Rajon Rondo is cleared to play, and which players have improved their trade value since the start of the season.
- According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is taking a cautious approach with the team’s Atlantic Division-leading 10-14 start to the season (Subscribers only).
- Eric Koreen of the National Post writes about how Greivis Vasquez‘s affinity for playing for playing pick-and-roll basketball on a Raptors team that welcomes plenty of those opportunities will be an important development as the team looks to move on from Kyle Lowry.
- Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops explores the Knicks and Nets’ proposed deals with Toronto for Lowry and discusses whether or not they make sense.
Magic Johnson tells the “Max and Marcellus Show” on ESPNLA 710 that he’d be willing to help the Lakers recruit free agents during what he calls a “crucial summer” ahead. “If it’s (Lakers co-owner) Jim Buss going up against Pat Riley, he’s going to lose that battle. He needs help,” Johnson said. “You have to have a recruiter. Jim needs a recruiter with him.” Johnson touched on plenty more about the Lakers and their recent past, and Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com rounds up the highlights. Here’s more from opening night in the Association:
- LeBron James tried to recruit Taj Gibson to the Heat when Gibson was a year away from restricted free agency, but Gibson doesn’t think he’ll return the favor with James poised to hit free agency this summer, as Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times details.
- Kevin Garnett has yet to make his official debut for the Nets, but he’s already the “heartbeat of the team,” according to fellow offseason addition Alan Anderson. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News has more.
- Kevin Love tells Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune that he and Ricky Rubio have spoken about a long-term future together, but for now, they’re focusing on the present. Both Timberwolves can become free agents in 2015.
- Sixers GM Sam Hinkie is confident that the city of Philadelphia can be a selling point for marquee free agents when he’s ready to make a run at them, but Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer wonders if local fans will turn on him before he gets to that point.
- Brett Brown admits that the challenge of coaching the Sixers is harder than he envisioned when he took over the team in August, observes Tom Moore of The Intelligencer.
- Xavier Henry remains on a non-guaranteed contract after making the Lakers out of camp, but he’s drawing raves from coach Mike D’Antoni, notes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link).
Here are some links from around the Association as we come inside 10 days before the regular season starts:
- The New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence compares and contrasts the different ways LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have handled their possible impending free agency next summer. That’s when both can opt-out of their current deals with the Heat and Knicks, respectively.
- Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich told the Miami Herald’s Joseph Goodman he dreams about LeBron James and Ray Allen almost every night after the Spurs’ tough loss to the Heat in the Finals last season.
- Austin Daye told the Toronto Sun’s Ryan Wolstat he chose the Raptors this offseason in free agency – despite receiving some interest from the Heat - because he believes in the organization and thought he’d get more playing time.
- Sixers coach Brett Brown will “deal with” Lavoy Allen missing practice today after he claimed to have overslept, writes the Intelligencer’s Thomas Moore.
- K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter against the Pacers on Friday night and will be out indefinitely.
- Harrison Barnes expects to play in the Warriors season opener against the Lakers on October 30th, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. Barnes has missed the last three preseason games with a left foot inflammation, and there’s no word on whether he’ll dress for the remaining two preseason games.
- Ridiculous Upside’s Keith Schlosser reports that D-League players want to be paid more.
- Foreign clubs routinely offer more money than the NBA’s D-League, so the impetus to stay and compete is low unless a certain club expresses direct interest in a player and asks them to play.
- Schlosser suggested individual NBA teams could pay the salaries instead of the NBA itself, but there are only 17 D-League franchises right now with a number of teams sharing the same affiliate, so it’s unclear which team would pay which salaries.
Despite the Knicks having their best year since the 1990s, their coach, Mike Woodson, is on the hot seat, writes ESPN Insider Amin Elhassan [subscription only]. Elhassan goes through five coaches entering the 2013/14 campaign on the hot seat, where their team's success could determine whether they're brought back for the 2014/15 season.
The other four coaches mentioned include Mike D'Antoni of the Lakers, Monty Williams of the Pelicans, Tyrone Corbin of the Jazz, and Randy Wittman of the Wizards.
Conversely, when Roderick Boone of Newsday spoke with new Nets coach Jason Kidd, the new face in Brooklyn told him there was "exciting nervousness" as the team entered training camp. It will be the first training camp for Kidd as a head coach and the first training camp he hasn't begun as a player since the summer before he entered the league in 1994.
Kidd went on to explain to Roderick why he's lucky to start as the coach with the veteran-laden Nets:
"The nice thing about this opportunity with this team is guys being able to sacrifice," Kidd told Boone, "and that's another thing with these guys. Maybe sacrifice a shot or two. Maybe even some of the younger guys will say, 'Yeah, I don't mind not playing the fourth quarter,' and that's sacrifice. It's less minutes and less shots and it gets us a win."
Here's more from around the top-heavy Atlantic division…
According to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report, Mike Bibby - who is reportedly well-liked by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich - was invited to San Antonio's training camp and had a good chance of making the team. However, the veteran guard now won't be able to attend because of a foot/heel injury (Twitter link). It's been a bit of a Jazz fest as far as news goes this evening, but here are some other noteworthy links we've gathered up from around the Association:
- Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com ranks the league's top ten frontcourts (Insiders only).
- Stephen Graham could possibly have an invitation to participate in Bucks camp this fall (Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times via Twitter). There hasn't been any further mention of an official invitation, but we'll look to relay any updates as they surface.
- 76ers rookie head coach Brett Brown doesn't feel inclined to bring along a former head coach as an assistant, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer: “I don’t feel with this team that it’s mandatory that I have to surround myself with perspective or wisdom or, you know, an Owl that’s been there, done that…I feel that this year’s team is about development. And I feel like it’s about … teaching, relationships and energy more than NBA wisdom."
- Former Pistons head coach and Lakers assistant John Kuester, however, has been rumored to be a potential candidate for Brown's coaching staff in Philadelphia.
- The Score's Mark Deeks discusses Paul George's max contract extension as well as a potential one for Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. While Deeks understands the logic behind securing George for the long term, he feels that offering the same type of deal to Cousins would be an enormous gamble.
New 76ers head coach Brett Brown sat down with the media for a 35-minute press conference today. Let's take a look at the reports coming out of Philly a day after they officially signed first round picks Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams:
- Royce White, who the team acquired in July, is officially participating in pre-training camp workouts with the Sixers and is expected to be present for the team's Media Day on Friday, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey. Based on Brown's comments, it sounds like the Sixers plan to try to bring him along slowly, and this news certainly qualifies as a step in the right direction considering his rocky stint with Houston.
- According to Pompey, Brown compared the scoring potential of Temple product Khalif Wyatt to that of Gary Neal, his former pupil in San Antonio. Another thing Wyatt shares with Neal, according to Brown, is a body type for a guard that necessitates a concentration on fitness. Pompey adds that Wyatt's conditioning was called into question in his time at Temple.
- Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com writes that Brown's fixation on conditioning extends far beyond just Wyatt, adding that the new coach believes in the talent of Evan Turner, who is headed into the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. Brown will count on Turner as a team leader, writes Moore.
- Both Pompey and Moore report that Brown is still searching for another assistant coach. He has already hired Chad Iske, Lloyd Pierce, Greg Foster and Billy Lange. Although Brown implied NBA experience is not an absolute necessity on a team this inexperienced, Moore lists former Sixers assistant and Pistons head coach John Kuester as a candidate due to a previous connection with Brown. Last week there was a report that Kuester was the favorite to be hired as Brown's top assistant.
A number of outlets have relayed the TMZ report last night that 33-year-old free agent forward Lamar Odom has been battling a "hardcore" drug addiction for the past two years. Odom hasn't failed an NBA-mandated drug test since 2001, but the report claims he entered a drug treatment facility in San Diego last summer and was clean during the 2012/13 season with the Clippers before beginning to use again this summer.
Odom averaged a career low 4.0 PPG and 1.7 APG in 19.7 MPG while appearing in all 82 games with the Clippers last season. Here's what else is happening around the league during a quiet, late-August Saturday night:
- Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer spent the day with new Sixers coach Brett Brown's family in Portland, Maine.
- Adam Zongoria of Zagsblog.com describes how SMU coach Larry Brown landed the top class of 2014 high school point guard, Emmanuel Mudiay, who announced his decision at halftime of Brooklyn's Elite 24 game tonight. Zongoria opines that Mudiay will be a one-and-done player and a likely lottery pick in the 2015 draft.
- The Trail Blazers made a lot of moves to improve their league-worst bench from last season. One of those additions, Dorell Wright, is profiled by the Oregonian's John Canzano.
- HoopsWorld's senior NBA writer Bill Ingram tweets that the rumors Dwight Howard issued an ultimatum that Mike D'Antoni be fired and Kobe Bryant amnestied in order to re-sign with the Lakers "seem silly" since Howard chose the Rockets early on. Ingram also wonders, via Twitter, what it says about Howard (assuming the reports are accurate) for him to think he has anything on Bryant.
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban answered questions on the new "Fox Sports Live" program last night, as transcribed by The Dallas Morning News. He discusses flip-flopping on wanting Dwight Howard in free agency this summer, whether the Mavs are rebuilding this coming year, and the health of 35-year-old franchise star Dirk Nowitzki.
- The Mavs are also one of the eight teams wearing the new GPS tracking devices, reports The Dallas Morning News.
- ESPNNewYork.com's Jared Zwerling tweets that former St. John's star Justin Burrell, who has played overseas since graduating in 2011, will play for Italy's Montepaschi Siena this coming season.