Carmelo Anthony

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.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Turner, Blake

Carmelo Anthony wants the Knicks‘ next head coach to be a good communicator who can see things from the perspective of his players, as Marc Berman of The New York Post relays. “I think being able to hold guys accountable, but also having a relationship with the player,” Anthony said regarding what he wants to see from his next coach. “Kind of seeing things from a player’s perspective as well as a coach’s perspective. I think if you can build that camaraderie between a coach and a player, I think you’re onto something. You have to be willing to do that [seeing it from a players’ view], you have to be willing to accept that as a coach. It can be hard being a coach and accepting the fact that sometimes I have to see things from an athlete’s perspective, that can be hard. That’s like an ego play.

The veteran scorer also reiterated his desire for the team to consult with him during its coaching search, Berman notes. “Because you gotta think about it: This is gonna be a long-term journey of playing and you consider me being part of that plan, then I would want to know what’s going on,’’ Anthony said.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Evan Turner is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and coach Brad Stevens would like the swingman to return to the Celtics next season, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe notes. “I love Evan Turner,” Stevens said. “I think he’s a great teammate. I think he’s a hard worker. I think he loves basketball. I don’t think you can overvalue that. He loves basketball, and he never once — we didn’t have two conversations about starting or not starting. It was never about him. It was always about how to help us put our best foot forward, and he knew his role in helping us do that.”
  • Steve Blake, whom the Nets acquired last summer before shipping him to the Pistons for Quincy Miller, didn’t want to play for Brooklyn, and the team would likely have worked a buyout arrangement with him if it was unable to find a taker in the trade market, NetsDaily relays (on Twitter).
  • The Sixers own the first-rounders of the Heat (No. 24) and Thunder (No. 26) in this year’s NBA draft, and given their need for outside shooters, they should consider nabbing French shooting guard Isaia Cordinier, St. Joe’s small forward DeAndre Bembry or Michigan swingman Caris LeVert with those selections, opines Derek Bodner of Philadelphia magazine in his weekly mailbag.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Wizards, Pistons

Carmelo Anthony doubled down today on his belief that the Knicks should have a broad coaching search, adding as he spoke in an appearance with Frank Isola of the New York Daily News on SiriusXM NBA Radio that team president Phil Jackson hasn’t consulted him for his input on the coaching job. The Knicks reportedly didn’t reach out to Tom Thibodeau, who was apparently Anthony’s preferred choice, and Anthony told Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com he thinks Thibodeau would have taken the Knicks job if offered (ESPN Now link).

“I’ve said this and I’ll continue to say it, there needs to be a process,” Anthony said to Isola. “As long as there’s a process and you go through the proper channels to figure out exactly what you need to do, I don’t have no problem with that. But if you don’t go through that process and at least look to see what’s out there, then we have a problem with that.”

See more on the latest ‘Melo drama amid news from the Eastern Conference:

  • Anthony defended the triangle offense when he went on The Dan Patrick Show today, Begley points out (Twitter link), and he said in his SiriusXM spot that his goal is to retire with the Knicks and that he believes in Jackson, as Isola notes in the same piece. Still, Anthony made it clear that he feels he has no choice but to ride with the Zen Master, Isola relays. “I have to. My fate is in his hands,” Anthony said. “I have to believe in him. If I believe that I’m going to be here, I don’t have anybody else to kind of put my fate in.”
  • The Wizards made a strong push to acquire Pelicans stretch four Ryan Anderson via trade at the deadline in February, but Washington didn’t want to give up the first-round pick that ultimately wound up going to Phoenix in the Markieff Morris deal, according to TNT’s David Aldridge. Morris is under contract for three more seasons while Anderson is set to hit free agency this summer.
  • The Pistons will target a big man who can shoot, and backup point guard is a major need, too, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy confirmed in a press conference today that finding a backup point guard will be a priority, notes Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link).

And-Ones: ‘Melo, Batum, Hield

Carmelo Anthony wasn’t at the Knicks triangle seminar this week after all, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, despite an earlier report that he was. Some say the seminar was mandatory and others called it voluntary, Isola hears, adding that one player said team president Phil Jackson only invited a few Knicks. Anthony is believed to be receiving therapy on his left knee, Berman writes, and the triangle sessions were mostly review, a source told the Post scribe, who downplays the significance of ‘Melo’s absence. Still, 10 other Knicks took part, Berman hears, including Kristaps Porzingis, who’s recovering from a shoulder strain and recently had a routine visit at the Hospital for Special Surgery, notes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (ESPN Now link). The other attendees, according to Berman, were Jerian Grant, Cleanthony Early, Langston Galloway, Tony WrotenSasha Vujacic, Jose Calderon, Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn and Kevin Seraphin.

See more from around the NBA:

  • Nicolas Batum isn’t definitively out for the rest of the Hornets‘ first-round series against Miami, tweets Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, dispelling an earlier report, but he’s unlikely to return unless it goes at least six games, Bonnell says. Batum is poised for free agency this summer.
  • Indiana freshman small forward OG Anunoby won’t enter this year’s draft, the school announced (Twitter link). He was a late second-round prospect for this year, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, who ranks him the 50th, but the 6’8″ 18-year-old has first-round potential for next year, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress slots him 20th in his 2017 mock draft. Anunoby saw limited action this season, putting up 4.9 points in 13.7 minutes per game.
  • Long-shot draft prospect Moustapha Diagne will enter this year’s draft, but he’ll do so without an agent so he can retain his college eligibility, a source told Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The 6’8″ 20-year-old from Northwest Florida State, a community college, is a former Syracuse commit, Rothstein notes, and he was 68th in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index coming out of high school last year. Neither Ford nor Givony ranks him among the top 100 draft prospects.
  • Top-10 prospect and former Oklahoma shooting guard Buddy Hield has signed with agent Rob Pelinka of Landmark Sports, a source told Darren Rovell of ESPN.com (ESPN Now link).

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Atkinson, Larkin

Former Knicks swingman Landry Fields noted that New York could have evolved into an Eastern Conference power if it had waited to sign Carmelo Anthony when he hit free agency rather than gutting the team to acquire him from the Nuggets, Ian Begley of ESPN.com relays (ESPN Now link). “It would have been a major, major play for New York if we had kind of the young talent of [Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler] and Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo. It would have been a team that just would have been so impactful throughout the league and one that probably could have created a dynasty,” Fields said. “But I don’t want to speak too much to that because you don’t want to get [into] all of this, ‘Rah rah, what could have been’ because that’s not what happened. There were possibilities there for such an incredible team to be assembled but at the same time, we can’t harp on what never happened.

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Jeremy Lin, who’s set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, had all positives to say about new Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, who was an assistant with the Knicks when “Linsanity” broke out during the 2011/12 season, NetsDaily relays. “I’ve kind of been saying it was just a matter of time for him because I know how good he is, I know how much he was there for me in New York,” Lin said. “When you’re around him, you kind of understand there’s something different about him: his energy, his passion, the juice he approaches his work with. He doesn’t leave any stone unturned. He’s always the first one in, and I’m saying first one in by, like, hours.
  • Nets point guard Shane Larkin, who has a player option for 2016/17 worth $1.5MM, says the coaching change from Lionel Hollins to Tony Brown this season hurt his development, notes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. “It’s tough, especially as a point guard because you’re an extension of the coach on the floor,” Larkin said. “I mean, at the beginning of the year, there were several articles saying, ‘Oh, it’s Larkin’s breakout year, he’s finally found himself, averaging this and that, shooting well from the three.’ I was really comfortable with Coach Hollins. But after 37 games, to be exact, Coach Hollins was out of here and Billy King was released or whatever it was so it was like we didn’t really have a lot of direction. Coach Tony was kind of just handed the job like, ‘All right, here you go.’ It was kind of like, ‘Just like go play basketball.’ It’s just difficult, when I’ve now been with four coaches in three years. It’s definitely easier when you’re with a team for a while and you know what your coach wants and you know what he expects from you. He knows what you can do, he knows the pros and cons to your game and he could put you in a position to be successful.”

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