Now that the Sixers have waived JaVale McGee, the team is paying a total of eight players this season who are no longer with the franchise, John Smallwood of The Philadelphia Daily News notes. Out of this group that includes Jared Cunningham, Eric Maynor, Ronny Turiaf, Marquis Teague, Chris Johnson, Jorge Gutierrez and Andrei Kirilenko, only McGee has actually appeared in a game for Philly this season, Smallwood adds. “One of the ways we are trying to build our team is to transact with other teams,” GM Sam Hinkie said, “to try to help other teams to solve their problems and help other teams with the issues they have as a way to try to build our future.”
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- New Kings coach George Karl said that if he had had Phil Jackson‘s job with the Knicks, he would make it a priority to pair Carmelo Anthony, his former player, with an elite point guard, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes. “I would go get a great point guard and then find some good big guys. I think you have a stud scorer [in Anthony] — get me a brain, get me a quarterback and then fill in the pieces with maybe second-tier big guys,” Karl said. “The efficiency of big men in this league, there’s only about five or six of them.”
- Karl, who coached Anthony for parts of seven seasons in Denver, says that Anthony is at his best when paired with a strong point guard. Begley notes. “We had the most success when we had Andre Miller and/or Chauncey Billups — when we had a point guard that kind of orchestrated the rhythm of the offense,” Karl said. “And I just think, I’ve said for two years now, I think the NBA is a lot like the NFL. You get a quarterback and a good coach and you win games. And then the other pieces, you figure it out. I think Melo is still top three, top four, top five. I don’t know, some people put him in the top three. I personally wouldn’t put him in the top three. If he has a good orchestrator, he’s going to be a helluva scorer for you.”
- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said that Chicago is still exploring its options regarding adding another player, Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com tweets. The Bulls currently have 14 players on their roster.
Celtics swingman Jae Crowder‘s stock has risen, fallen and risen again following his inclusion in the Rajon Rondo trade, as Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com examines. The 24-year-old’s contract is up at season’s end, but Forsberg suggests it’s likely the Celtics will tender the qualifying offer worth more than $1.181MM necessary to match offers for him this summer.
Here’s more from out of the Eastern Conference:
- There are many around the league who question Carmelo Anthony‘s decision to play 30 minutes in the NBA All-Star game after missing significant time for the Knicks while nursing his injured knee, Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders writes. Chauncey Billups, ‘Melo’s former teammate, was vocal in his disappointment with Anthony’s choice, Beer adds. “If you are hurt and you know you are going to shut it down, just get the surgery and make that commitment that the Knicks made to him and just get better and not worry about playing for the fans and the All-Star Game,” Billups said. “I thought it was poor judgment but to each his own.”
- Billups also believes that Anthony needs a strong leader to help guide him in New York, Beer relays. “My perception of him [is] he really needed my guidance, he needed my leadership,” Billups said. “I don’t know that he quite knew how to lead a team or a franchise, but at that time he was young. I can’t expect him to. He was already a great player, but he is best served when he doesn’t have to be the leader of the team.”
- Michael Beasley was not re-signed by the Heat last summer due to concerns with his defense, consistency and maturity, but Chris Bosh’s season-ending injury changed Miami’s thinking regarding the player, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes.
- Sixers coach Brett Brown, when providing a status update for injured rookie Joel Embiid, said, “It would be misleading to say anything that’s promising about him playing this year,” Tom Moore of Calkins Media tweets.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Michael Carter-Williams believes that Sixers coach Brett Brown did not approve of the trade that sent the point guard to the Bucks, according to Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News. The 2013/14 Rookie of the Year award winner felt it was solely a front office decision by GM Sam Hinkie, the story continued. “I think the ultimate thing that it comes down to is coach Brown coaches and Sam does the moves,” Carter-Williams said. “I think that’s what it comes down to and I think that’s the agreement and that’s all I really know. I think that if it was up to coach Brown, I don’t think I would have been moved, to be honest.” Carter-Williams was still surprised because he felt he was in the team’s long-term plans along with lottery picks Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, Cooney added in a tweet.
In other news around the Atlantic Division:
- Derrick Rose‘s injury history was a major reason why Carmelo Anthony chose to stay with the Knicks rather than signing with the Bulls when he was an unrestricted free agent last summer, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Anthony, who is out for the season with a knee injury, told friends last summer that there was no guarantee he would win a championship in Chicago because of Rose’s recurring health issues, according to Berman. Rose could miss the remainder of the season after suffering another knee injury.
- Kevin Garnett mentioned the uncertain ownership situation surrounding the Nets when he spoke about his decision to waive his no-trade clause and join the Timberwolves, notes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post.
- Isaiah Thomas could be the long-term answer for the Celtics as their starting point guard, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com speculates. Thomas, who was traded by the Suns to Boston last week, has three years left on his contract and it could be more sensible to have him start alongside Avery Bradley and move rookie Marcus Smart to a sixth-man role, Forsberg adds.
- Knicks coach Derek Fisher is having a hard time adjusting to being a first-year coach of one of the league’s worst teams after playing for winning teams throughout his career, according to Fred Kerber of the New York Post. “I’m not comparing this to any other time in my basketball career. This is the first time I’ve been in this position,” Fisher said to Knicks beat reporters.
The Sixers don’t want a buyout with JaVale McGee, and he doesn’t want one either, notes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Still, coach Brett Brown indicated that the center has to prove his worth.
“We are coming into this whole thing with an open mind,” Brown said. “He is around a bunch of genuine people, coaches that care. That will give him every chance to keep moving and to be as good as he can be. And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But it’s not going to be on us.”
McGee, who’s making $23.25MM combined this year and next, has four points and five rebounds in 24 total minutes across two games with the Sixers so far. Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:
- The reason that Phil Jackson estimates that Carmelo Anthony will be out of action for four to six months instead of the eight-week timetable Anthony mentioned previously is because of a partial tear in Anthony’s left patellar tendon, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Knicks star played with that tear most of the season, according to Berman.
- The first call Danny Ainge placed to a free agent this past July was to Isaiah Thomas, Ainge told reporters, including Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Of course, the Celtics lost out on Thomas this summer but wound up with him via Thursday’s trade with the Suns.
- Lionel Hollins has consistently expressed enthusiasm about rookie Markel Brown in spite of his lack of playing time for the Nets, but now injuries to others and a stylistic shift have Brown seeing more minutes, as Tim Bontemps of the New York Post examines. The shooting guard drafted 44th overall this past June is without guaranteed salary for next season.
Celtics big man Jared Sullinger will be out indefinitely with a stress reaction in his left foot, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com reports. “Jared is going to be out a while,” said coach Brad Stevens. “Supposedly it happened in the Atlanta game and he was talking a little bit about it [Wednesday], with regard to feeling some discomfort and so he went through a little bit of practice, then pulled himself out. [Team trainer] Ed [Lacerte] took him to get the X-ray [Thursday], so that’s not good news on the Jared front, that’s for sure. He’s not going to play on this trip, and I don’t anticipate him playing any time soon.”
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- In an interview with Andy Gresh and John Wallach on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Celtics GM Danny Ainge inadvertently shot down rumors linking his team to Suns guard Goran Dragic, as Jimmy Toscano of CSNNE.com writes. “We are also looking to acquire players that are already under contract,” Ainge said. “We really don’t want to get rid of multiple draft picks for players with uncertainty in the free agent market, a situation like we were in with Rondo as an example. We’re not looking to do those kind of games, but we’re looking for more certainty. It’s more likely that we will be busier in the summer time and actually get more accomplished than here at the trade deadline.”
- The Knicks’ hopes to sign an impact free agent this summer took a big hit with Reggie Jackson headed to Detroit and Goran Dragic joining the Heat, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes. With both players expected to re-sign with their new teams, the Knicks will now have to scramble to attract some of the second-tier free agents, Begley adds.
- Carmelo Anthony underwent successful surgery today to repair damage to his left knee, and the Knicks‘ star is expected to be out of action for four to six months, Andrew Keh of The New York Times reports.
- The Celtics‘ acquisition of Isaiah Thomas is one that will help the team now and in the future, Jimmy Toscano of CSNNE.com opines.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The Knicks are aggressively pursuing trades for players they covet in free agency in order to secure their Bird rights and attempt to lower their cap holds, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. The Knicks are one of the teams chasing Suns point guard Goran Dragic, while the Magic’s Tobias Harris is interested in coming to New York. Kyler explains that Dragic’s cap hold of $11.25MM would allow the Knicks to preserve an extra $4.25MM or so in cap space to sign other players this summer. Harris has a cap hold of $5.91MM. Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Tim Hardaway Jr., Cole Aldrich and Andrea Bargnani are among the players whom the Knicks are shopping, Kyler adds.
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Carmelo Anthony says the Knicks should only be focused on the future as the team heads toward the trade deadline, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reports. Anthony has been shut down for the remainder of the season because of his balky knee. “The only thing that matters at this point is about where we’re headed as a team, as an organization for the future,” Anthony said to reporters after Sunday’s All-Star Game.
- Knicks president Phil Jackson said that New York is “in the mix” at the trade deadline, and that the franchise is hoping to make at least one move, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. Jackson also relayed that there isn’t much interest from other teams in Bargnani and Calderon, Berman notes. The Zen Master also said that the Knicks might not waive Bargnani, since the coaching staff feels he may be needed in the wake of Anthony being lost for the season and Amar’e Stoudemire‘s buyout arrangement.
- The Raptors have assigned Bruno Caboclo to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team has announced. This will be Caboclo’s second trip to the D-League this season.
- The Sixers would listen to any offers for Henry Sims, Luc Mbah a Moute, Jakarr Sampson, and Hollis Thompson, John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com writes. Gonzalez adds that he doubts any of those players would bring Philly a significant return.
- It’s unlikely the Celtics make any moves at the deadline, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com speculates. While Boston president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has expressed a willingness to be active, Forsberg points out that the Celtics have made only one deadline trade in the past three seasons.
Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.
2:11pm: Anthony is indeed out for the season, the Knicks announced (Twitter links). Team president Phil Jackson told reporters that he estimates it’ll be four to six months until Anthony is ready for action again, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.
10:48am: The Knicks are set to declare Carmelo Anthony out for the rest of the season, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). He’ll be having surgery soon on his troublesome left knee, Stein adds. The news is no surprise, particularly since Anthony acknowledged last week that it was “very likely” he’d stop playing after the All-Star break, hinting that the All-Star Game would be his final action in 2014/15. Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote recently that the “prevailing theory” has been that the All-Star Game would be his season finale.
Two sources close to the veteran forward have confirmed that Anthony has elected to have surgery on his knee, Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today report. The procedure is a knee debridement, which will remove scar tissue and calcification and other debris that is causing pain and discomfort, Amick and Zillgitt note. With the Knicks’ season a lost cause, having Anthony out for the remainder of the season should increase New York’s chances of securing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. The Knicks further improved their lottery odds when the team agreed to a buyout arrangement with forward Amar’e Stoudemire earlier this week.
Anthony is in the first year of a five-year, $124MM contract that he signed last July. In 40 appearances this season, ‘Melo has averaged 24.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 35.7 minutes per contest. His career numbers are 25.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 3.1 APG. His career slash line is .455/.345/.811.
A Western Conference team has been inquiring with the Celtics about Gerald Wallace, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The veteran forward makes nearly $10.106MM this season and the same salary next year, making him Boston’s highest-paid player and difficult to trade. The proposals the Celtics have received for him and others are “lowball” offers, Bulpett says, though in Wallace’s case, that’s certainly not surprising, given the albatross his contract has represented ever since Boston acquired him in the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade of 2013. There’s more from Bulpett’s piece on the Celtics amid the latest from the Atlantic Division:
- The Celtics reportedly have interest in Ty Lawson and Enes Kanter, but it’s unlikely either winds up in Boston come the trade deadline, as Bulpett writes in the same piece. Kanter’s public trade request is concerning to potential suitors, several league sources tell the Herald scribe.
- Some within the Knicks have for weeks wanted Carmelo Anthony to stop playing this season so he can tend to his injured left knee, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The summer ahead will show whether the Knicks under Phil Jackson can truly commit to a long-range plan or fall prey to the sort of quick-fix moves that have hurt the team in recent years, opines Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal.
- P.J. Carlesimo admits he’d like to coach in the NBA again and thought his productive, albeit brief tenure with the Nets two years ago might help boost his stock around the league. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News has the details via Twitlonger.
- Jerryd Bayless spoke glowingly about the time he spent with the Celtics and even admitted he would’ve liked to have re-signed with Boston when he was a free agent last summer, as Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe relays. Still, the seventh-year guard was quick to express a fondness for the Bucks, with whom he signed a two-year contract in July.
Charlie Adams contributed to this post.
When asked how quickly the Knicks would be able to improve as a franchise, Carmelo Anthony said he believes that the impetus for change begins off of the court, and not with the players, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes. “The fate is in the front office now,” Anthony said. “As players, the only thing we can do is go out and try to compete on a nightly basis and try to get wins and try to get better. But I think the onus is on the front office, and they’ve got a task ahead of them to start building for now and for the future.”
Here’s more out of the Atlantic Division:
- Knicks team president Phil Jackson says that he won’t be using the All-Star weekend in New York City to recruit potential free agents, Mitch Abramason of The New York Daily News writes. “That can’t be what I do here,” Jackson said. “I’ve got to be even-handed and friendly and this isn’t a recruiting tool.” NBA tampering rules would also prevent Jackson from trying to entice players to join the Knicks this offseason, Abramson notes.
- The moves that the Nets have made since Mikhail Prokhorov took over as owner have done more to raise the value of the franchise than to bring the team closer to raising a championship banner, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes.
- Jackson says that despite the Knicks‘ considerable struggles this season, he remains confident the franchise is on the right course, Neil Best of Newsday writes. “Things are working out just the way we want them to,” Jackson said. “They may not have gone splendidly in the first month, but you know, whatever. We’re forward. We’re forward thinking.”
- A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com doesn’t think that the Celtics should make an attempt to trade for Utah’s disgruntled center, Enes Kanter. The big man doesn’t appear to be a player who could significantly improve Boston’s frontcourt situation enough for Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, to try and get a deal deal done with Utah, Blakely notes.
FRIDAY, 11:24am: Anthony told reporters today that he has “not at all” ruled out playing after the All-Star break this season, notes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter links). “I’m going to see, I’m going to try,” Anthony said. “We have a whole week to figure that out.” The Knicks next play a week from today.
THURSDAY, 2:53pm: Carmelo Anthony acknowledged that “it’s very likely” that he will discontinue playing after the All-Star Game because of his sore left knee, adding that the All-Star Game could represent the final time he plays this season, as Anthony said today on ESPN Radio, as ESPN.com transcribes. The Knicks star has been dealing with the pain for months and aggravated the injury in Monday’s game. Anthony said earlier this week that it was growing increasingly likely that he’d undergo surgery that would knock him out for at least eight weeks, and the “prevailing theory” has been that he’d sit out once the All-Star Game was through, as Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote last week.
The deadline to apply for a disabled player exception has passed, and there’s little urgency for the Knicks to play well the rest of the season, since they have the league’s worst record and pole position for the No. 1 overall pick. The suggestion that the team would allow Anthony to play in the All-Star Game, even though it will take place in Madison Square Garden, and then sit out the rest of the season would signal the club’s lack of investment in its win-loss record down the stretch. The Knicks have four trade exceptions, three of which range in value from nearly $2.617MM to more than $5.982MM, but it seems unlikely Anthony’s absence would prompt team president Phil Jackson and company into using them before the trade deadline if they weren’t otherwise going to do so.
It’s already been a lost season in many ways for Anthony and the Knicks after the high-scoring forward re-signed with the team in free agency this summer. The Leon Rose client inked a five-year deal worth more than $124MM that was about $5.071MM less than the max. The 30-year-old has already missed 13 of the team’s 53 games this year, and he’s averaged fewer minutes, points and rebounds per game than he did a year ago.