Carmelo Anthony

Northwest Notes: Durant, Westbrook, Dixon

Free agency won’t be the only item on Kevin Durant‘s summer schedule, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The former MVP plans to be part of the U.S. Olympic team and may be the biggest name on a roster that has already lost Stephen Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Stein reports that Durant is considered a sure thing for the team, along with Klay Thompson and Paul George. They will join DeMarcus Cousins, whose participation was first reported by Marc Spears of The Undefeated. Kyrie Irving is considered almost certain to join the team, while officials are waiting to hear from LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. The full 12-man roster is expected to be announced soon.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Westbrook is making a smart decision to skip the Summer Games, contends Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. With Rio de Janeiro beset by a financial crisis, reports of drug-resistant super bacteria on the beaches and possibly the Zika virus present, Tramel believes that presents too many risks for NBA players.
  • At age 38, Nazr Mohammed has probably played his last NBA game, according to Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. Mohammed signed with the Thunder in March, but appeared in just five games and served mostly as a mentor to younger players, in particular giving defensive tips to Enes Kanter. Mohammed said he won’t try to play again next season and would like to someday become a GM. “That’s my five-year, 10-year plan,” he said. “To one day run my own organization.”
  • Mike Dixon Jr. has received a passport from the nation of Georgia and will participate in the Blazers‘ free agent camp Monday, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Dixon was a senior at Memphis in 2014 and played in the Czech Republic this season.
  • The Nuggets are facing an unpredictable draft with three picks in the first round, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Dempsey lists shooting, shot blocking and toughness as Denver’s top needs and speculates that a significant roster shakeup could happen by draft night.

Atlantic Notes: Ingram, Anthony, Ferrell, Love

The Sixers will bring in Duke small forward Brandon Ingram for a workout on Monday, according to Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com. This confirms a Twitter item from The Vertical’s Shams Charania on Friday that Ingram was coming in for a workout with Philadelphia. The Sixers are expected to select either Ingram and LSU power forward Ben Simmons with the top pick in the draft. Ingram will be the only participant in the workout, Seltzer continues. Philadelphia has not held a workout since June 2nd because president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo was overseas, visiting 2014 lottery pick Dario Saric and scouting in Italy. The Sixers have conducted five other workouts sessions with six invitees in each one, Seltzer adds.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek believes Carmelo Anthony still has the ability to carry the team, though he needs some help, Hornacek stated on the Boomer and Carton radio show via Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. “I think [Anthony] just turned 32, so he’s right at that prime time for him,” Hornacek said. “He’s going to help to carry this team but we can’t put it all on him. The other guys have to step up and if he’s having a tough night the other guys are able to fill in.”
  • Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell displayed a good shooting touch in workouts with the Nets and Knicks last week and may have boosted his draft stock, sources told ESPN.com’s Ian Begley. The Knicks don’t have a draft pick but are hoping to acquire one, according to Begley. The Knicks have worked out several prospects in recent days with an emphasis on the triangle offense, Begley adds. Ferrell is currently ranked No. 80 on ESPN Insider Chad Ford’s Big Board and No. 63 by Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony.
  • The Celtics must decide if a Kevin Love trade is worth pursuing and how they would fit the Cavaliers’ power forward into their offensive scheme, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald opines. Love thrives when the offense revolves around him, as it did when he played for the Timberwolves, but the Celtics — like the Cavs — have a score-first point guard in Isaiah Thomas, Bulpett continues. Love’s defensive shortcomings are also a major consideration since he’s due approximately $68MM over the next three years, plus the Celtics’ wealth of draft picks probably wouldn’t interest a title contender like Cleveland, Bulpett adds.

Knicks Notes: Lin, Lawson, Hornacek, Jackson

The Knicks will be looking for a point guard in free agency, but won’t consider Jeremy Lin or Ty Lawson, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. A source tells Berman the team isn’t impressed with Lin’s defense and thinks Lawson’s off-court problems, which include two DUI offenses, make him too much of a gamble. Mike Conley is considered the best free agent point guard on the market and will probably be the Knicks’ first target. Berman writes that Carmelo Anthony prefers Rajon Rondo, but many in the team’s front office believes he dominates the ball too much. Some other possibilities are Brandon Jennings, D.J. Augustin and Tyler Johnson.

There’s more this morning out of New York:

  • New coach Jeff Hornacek, who was officially hired this week, said his three-year contract was timed to coincide with team president Phil Jackson’s deal, Berman writes in the same piece. “He had three years left, so he wanted to make it as mine,’’ Hornacek said. “Phil wants to bring winning basketball back to New York. I’m excited he brought me along to help do that.’’
  • Another possible answer at point guard is Seton Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead, Ian Begley posts on ESPN Now. Whitehead worked out for the Knicks Saturday and reportedly had an impressive showing. Jackson prefers tall points guards, and Whitehead qualifies at 6’5″, plus he grew up in the New York area, so the pressure of playing in the city shouldn’t affect him. The Knicks are hoping to acquire a draft pick, and Begley speculates that they may have to trade into the late first round to land Whitehead.
  • Former Knick J.R. Smith, now in the NBA Finals with the Cavaliers, says he feels bad that Anthony is stuck in an unstable situation in New York, writes Fred Kerber of The New York Post. Hornacek will be Anthony’s fifth head coach in nearly seven seasons with the Knicks. “When he first got there, I’m sure he felt they were going to work toward something, which he did being the second team in the Eastern Conference at one point and then the drop-off,” said Smith, who was traded to Cleveland midway through the 2014/15 season. “I’m sure it was disappointing for him. But he’s a soldier. I’m sure he’ll get through it.”
  • The development of Kristaps Porzingis will determine how successful Hornacek is in New York, contends Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post. Vaccaro says the new coach’s biggest challenge will be to ease Anthony into a second-fiddle role while building the team around Porzingis.

Latest On Kevin Durant’s Free Agency

League insiders believe the second-round win over the Spurs was enough to keep Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical. In a video, Marks says the most likely scenario is for Durant to sign a one-year deal with the Thunder worth about $25.9MM that includes a player option for 2017/18.

Next summer, Durant will have 10 years of NBA experience and will become a Tier Three Max player, which means Oklahoma City could offer him more than $200MM over five seasons. If Durant opts for a long-term deal this offseason, OKC can offer five years at about $145MM. Risks involved in choosing a single-season deal are Durant’s injury history and the possibility of a new collective bargaining agreement next year that would shake up the league’s salary structure. Marks lists the Spurs, Heat, Celtics and Warriors as teams expected to make a run at Durant, while ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter) adds the Rockets, Knicks, Lakers, and Wizards to that list.

Durant told Sam Amick of USA Today that he was able to push the free agency issue aside and concentrate fully on every playoff game. “If this would have happened four years ago, I would have been everywhere – my mind would have been everywhere,” he said. “So I’m happy that I was able to focus and lock in and give my all to my team every single night.” Whether it’s a clue to his decision or not, Durant later added, “I see bright things for this team. And it’s great to be a part of it.”

San Antonio, Miami and Golden State are the top contenders if Durant decides to go elsewhere, writes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Isola contends the Knicks could be helped if Durant opts for a one-year contract because it gives them another season to improve, along with another year of growth for rookie Kristaps Porzingis.

The Knicks hurt their case when they fired coach Derek Fisher, Durant’s former teammate, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Two advantages they have are that Carmelo Anthony, who has a good relationship with Durant, wants to be part of the recruitment process, and that Durant’s father is a longtime fan of the Knicks. However, New York assistant Brian Keefe, who was Durant’s workout partner in Oklahoma City, reportedly won’t be part of Jeff Hornacek’s new staff.

The odds against Durant signing with the Heat are even greater than they were against LeBron James coming to Miami in 2010, argues Ethan Skolnick of The Miami Herald. Skolnick writes that team president Pat Riley’s best chance is to sell Durant on the possibility of winning a championship with the Heat. However, the 55-win Thunder are also serious title contenders, Durant doesn’t have a close relationship with any of the Miami players like James did with Dwyane Wade and the new restrictions on sign-and-trade deals make it more difficult for players to recoup whatever money they give up to sign with another team.

Durant and the Clippers could both change their postseason fortunes if they unite, writes Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. Woike notes that L.A. won’t have the money to pursue the OKC star because two thirds of its cap room is tied up in Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but he argues that it might be worth trading one of those three to create the room to sign Durant.

Durant’s friendship with James Harden and the addition of an offensive-minded coach in Mike D’Antoni give the Rockets a least a fighting chance of landing Durant, according to Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com. In addition, Rex Kalamian, who may join D’Antoni’s staff, coached both Harden and Durant when he was an assistant with the Thunder.

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Hornacek, Kerr, Grant

Carmelo Anthony had no role in the decision to hire Jeff Hornacek, but he likes the choice, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Hornacek was a surprise name added to the Knicks’ coaching search when news of his imminent hiring leaked Wednesday. Contract details are still being finalized, but Berman hears a formal announcement could come Monday. Anthony commented publicly on the situation for the first time Saturday in an interview with WNBC, saying he welcomes the changes that Hornacek’s faster-paced offense will bring. “I played against him a couple of times when he was the head coach out there in Phoenix,” Anthony said. “Everybody knows he likes to play an up-tempo pace of game, likes to get out in transition, likes to speed the game up a lot. So from that standpoint, I’ll definitely be looking forward to that.” Anthony has said he wants to see how the Knicks’ offseason plays out before deciding to whether to waive his no-trade clause, so his approval of Hornacek may be a big step toward keeping him in New York.

There’s more Knicks news this morning:

  • Steve Kerr, who turned down the Knicks job two years ago to become coach of the Warriors, thinks Jackson made a good decision with Hornacek, Berman writes in a separate piece. “I thought he did a phenomenal job in Phoenix,” Kerr said. “That first year he got them to within a game of the playoffs in a loaded conference in a year when they were supposed to be a high lottery team. This guy has a great knowledge of the game, great feel and he’s a really top-notch human being.”
  • Anthony is hoping for a 20-year NBA career, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. The 31-year-old will have to play seven more seasons to reach that goal. “I think I’m in the prime of my career right now,” Anthony said in an interview with CNBC. “I have years to go in this league. I see guys playing 20 years. That’s a goal of mine — to play 20 NBA seasons.” Anthony has two years left on his current contract, plus an early termination option for 2018/19.
  • The Knick who may benefit most from the Hornacek hiring is point guard Jerian Grant, Begley writes in a separate ESPN Now post. Hornacek is expected to bring more pick-and-roll plays to New York, which is something Grant excelled at during his time at Notre Dame. Begley cites Synergy Sports stats that show Grant was in  the 72nd percentile in the nation on the pick and roll during his senior season, and the Irish averaged 1.1 points on those plays, which was in the 90th percentile.
  • Hornacek’s interview with Knicks president Phil Jackson lasted about 5 1/2 hours, Hornacek’s father tells Kevin Armstrong of The New York Daily News“Jeff must have said something right,” John Hornacek said.

Latest On Jeff Hornacek, Knicks

Knicks president Phil Jackson was “blown away” by Jeff Hornacek in Monday’s job interview, but only after Jackson couldn’t sell anyone on keeping interim coach Kurt Rambis, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Berman reports Jackson made the final decision to hire Hornacek, who is still finalizing contract details with the team.

In selecting Hornacek, Jackson ignored cries from the media and fans to pick up former Indiana coach Frank Vogel, who was hired Thursday by Orlando, or ex-Cleveland coach David Blatt, who was the preferred choice of GM Steve Mills. Hornacek reportedly got a strong recommendation from Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who is close with Jackson.

Berman says Jackson was influenced by criticism of Rambis from inside and outside the organization. Mills wasn’t sold on Rambis, nor were Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, with Anthony expressing his views through the media. Other players also voiced reservations in their exit interviews about keeping Rambis. Owner James Dolan wasn’t on board either, though he was letting Jackson make the final choice, and Jackson reportedly had his own questions about Rambis’ leadership skills.

Anthony supports the hiring of Hornacek and likes the move away from the triangle, Berman writes in a separate piece. Anthony believes Porzingis will have a larger role in the new offense and thinks that will benefit the Knicks in the long run. He would have also been happy with Blatt, according to Berman.

Berman speculates that Rambis could be retained as an assistant coach with Hornacek, who was his former teammate in Phoenix, or he could join Jackson in the front office.

Jackson has liked Hornacek since his playing days, but didn’t contact his representatives until two weeks after the search began. Jackson’s first choice, according to Berman, was new Lakers coach Luke Walton, whom he talked with two days after launching the search.

In bypassing Rambis, Berman believes Jackson may have paved the way for an easier exit from the Knicks. Jackson has an opt-out clause to leave the organization after next season, and many believe he will head back to the Lakers to reunite with fiancee Jeanie Buss. Berman writes that Jackson might have felt an obligation to stay in New York and oversee Rambis if he had been the choice, but that pressure is now gone.

Rockets Expected To Pursue Al Horford

After a disappointing regular season and an abrupt first-round exit from the playoffs, the Rockets figure to make some changes to their roster this summer, and according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, the team’s top target in free agency will be Hawks big man Al Horford.

Horford, who turns 30 next month, will have no shortage of suitors this offseason, with his current team in Atlanta expected to make him a max offer in July. However, it’s not yet clear whether the Hawks intend to offer Horford a full five years to go along with a max salary. While Atlanta appears to be the strong frontrunner to lock up the nine-year veteran, Houston and other clubs figure to make pitches as well, if given the opportunity.

According to Deveney, Ryan Anderson will be a potential target for the Rockets this summer as well. General manager Daryl Morey also figures to be creative when it comes to exploring possible sign-and-trades involving stars like Blake Griffin, Jimmy Butler, or Carmelo Anthony, Deveney writes, though any of those scenarios would be longer shots.

The Rockets currently only have about $46MM in guaranteed salary on their books for the 2016/17 season, per Basketball Insiders. That figure doesn’t include Dwight Howard‘s $23MM+ salary, since Howard has a player option and is widely expected to opt out.

In Hoops Rumors’ most recent free agent power rankings, Horford ranked fourth, one spot ahead of Howard.

And-Ones: Grizzlies, Dudley, ‘Melo, Blatt

Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace stressed the need for the team’s next coach to focus on player development and communicate with the front office and said the team is prepared to pay whatever’s necessary to make the right hire as he spoke Wednesday in an interview with Peter Edmiston on WHBQ-AM (See all six Twitter links here). The extension and pay raise that the Jazz gave Quin Snyder on Friday helped fuel former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger‘s frustration with the Memphis front office, which was in no rush to give him a similar deal, a source acknowledged to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Wallace, in the interview with Edmiston, also downplayed the significance of a dinner he had with former coach Lionel Hollins, which led to speculation that the Grizzlies are interested in rehiring him.

“Why can’t you have a bite to eat and catch up with an old friend?” Wallace said. “Why can’t you [do] that in today’s world?”

See more from Memphis and the rest of the NBA:

  • Wallace also pointed to the autonomy of the Grizzlies front office when it comes to shaping the roster. “We make the final decision on the personnel brought into the organization,” Wallace said to Edmiston. “The buck stops with me on that.”
  • Soon-to-be free agent Jared Dudley expressed interest in joining the Timberwolves, said he’d take a fan’s proposal of a three-year, $25MM deal from the Bucks and added that he’s enjoy playing for Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry again as the Wizards forward conducted a Q&A Wednesday on Twitter (All five Twitter links here). Dudley also addressed the Raptors, saying Toronto is a great city and that players love playing there but lamenting the high taxes, and he said he thinks Frank Vogel is the best available head coach.
  • It’s a “gross exaggeration” to say Carmelo Anthony likes the idea of the Knicks hiring David Blatt, league sources told Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, refuting an earlier report. It’s unclear whether Anthony would support or oppose a Blatt hiring, as he hasn’t expressed any opinion thus far, Begley hears.

Carmelo Anthony Not Waiving No-Trade Clause

Carmelo Anthony made it clear today that he doesn’t plan to waive his no-trade clause over the offseason, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (ESPN Now link). Speculation has suggested that Anthony would become open to a trade this summer if the Knicks don’t make strides in free agency, and multiple reports have indicated that Anthony would like the team to choose a coach other than Kurt Rambis, who’s reportedly the preference of president Phil Jackson.

“Oh yeah, you’ll see me [playing] for the Knicks, absolutely,” Anthony said today at the TechCrunch Disrupt Summit, an entrepreneurial convention in New York.

Anthony would see a financial windfall in the event of a trade, since his contract includes a 15% trade kicker, but he’s continually expressed his affection for playing in the spotlight of New York. No serious trade rumors have emerged concerning Anthony since his name was linked to three-way talks with the Cavs and Celtics shortly before the February deadline.

Still, the high-scoring small forward tends to dance around the issue of his long-term commitment to the franchise, saying that his goal is to retire with the Knicks but putting pressure on Jackson to conduct a broad coaching search. Anthony suggested that he has faith in the Zen Master only because no other alternative exists, and he’s admitted that he’s thought about playing on the same team with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul at some point late in his career, adding that he’d probably want to do so in “someplace warm.” Anthony, who turns 32 later this month, is under contract through the 2018/19 season and can opt out in 2018.

Atlantic Notes: Butler, Bazemore, Blatt, Rambis

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg saw the controversy that stemmed from Jimmy Butler‘s criticism of his coaching style as simply a phase of growth for their relationship, and the pair had a “strong” exit meeting, sources told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. The Bulls would insist on at least one marquee player, one rotation-caliber player and multiple first-round picks in any trade scenario involving Butler, according to Johnson, suggesting that the team’s appointment of the swingman as its representative at next week’s draft lottery is a sign that he’ll be sticking around.

See more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Soon-to-be free agent Kent Bazemore said his body wasn’t 100% this year and that he couldn’t play above the rim as he’s usually capable of doing, but he’s eager to regain that ability with a full summer of training, observes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bazemore, who had a breakout season despite the limitations, wants to re-sign with the Hawks“I would love to return here,” Bazemore said. “I think the past two years I’ve taken a tremendous leap. Not only my professional year but personally. I’m growing more into myself and figuring out life. This place [is] a special place in my heart. I grew up right up the street in North Carolina. Super close to home. Not close enough. Has its perks here. The weather is great. Golf is great. God is great.”
  • Carmelo Anthony likes David Blatt, who’s drawing sincere consideration from the Knicks for their head coaching job, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post. Anthony likes and respects interim coach Kurt Rambis, but he has reservations about him and believes the ex-Cavs coach would be better for Kristaps Porzingis than Rambis would be, Berman hears. Blatt interviewed last month with team president Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills, but owner James Dolan wasn’t in the meeting, a league source told Berman.
  • The Knicks are looking to trade for a second-round pick, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). New York is without a pick in either round.

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