Carmelo Anthony

Atlantic Notes: D. Williams, Celtics, Carmelo

Nets execs believe there’s a trade market for Deron Williams, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com tweets.  While Williams is obviously nowhere near what he once was, those execs feel that another team will find that he is just in need of a change of scenery.  Of course, a skeptic would point to his surgically repaired knees as a larger problem than personalities clashing in Brooklyn. Here’s more from the Atlantic..

  • The Celtics don’t have a history of landing difference makers in free agency, but they have every reason to believe this summer will be different, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com writes.  Blakely points to Boston’s major market appeal and their available cash as major reasons for hope.  Conversely, however, players and agents have indicated to him that they won’t be landing one of the top three or four players via free agency.
  • The Celtics will be prioritizing high-character guys in free agency and they showed a commitment to that philosophy in the draft, as Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald writes. The C’s, for example, had interest in Robert Upshaw, but were turned off by his substance-abuse issues.  “With a young team, I don’t think we really needed to deal with that,” a C’s source said of Upshaw.
  • After reports indicated that Carmelo Anthony was unhappy with the selection of Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks star reached out to the rookie, Ian Begley of ESPN.com writes.  “Carmelo reached out to Kris after all of that. It was beautiful that a player of that profile can do something like that. It’s great,” Porzingis’ older brother, Janis, confirmed on Monday during an appearance on ESPN 98.7 FM’s “The Hahn and Humpty Show.”
  • New Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. says he will use Knicks president Phil Jackson’s critical remarks about him Friday as motivation, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.   Jackson said he believed Jerian Grant has more of the attributes the Knicks want from a guard. “Once I heard him say that, all hands on deck now,” said Hardaway, who was sent to Atlanta in exchange for the pick that was used to take the Notre Dame standout. “Obviously as a basketball player, you take that to heart. So, it’s time to move on, get better, and when the time comes, the time comes. Right now, it’s all about Atlanta basketball.”
  • Jackson’s recruiting strategy is to sell prospective free agents on winning with the Knicks rather than New York business opportunities, an NBA exec tells Berman.
  • Celtics GM Danny Ainge says draft-and-stash prospect Marcus Thornton will most likely be in the D-League or in Europe next season, Adam Himmeslbach of The Boston Globe tweets.  Thornton, a product of William & Mary, is not to be confused with the veteran guard of the same name.
  • Raptors GM Masai Ujiri says his team will be “open-minded and open for business” while still keeping its core intact, Eric Koreen of the National Post writes.  The core he is likely referring to is the trio of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Jonas Valanciunas.
  • The Raptors are finalizing an agreement to hire former Thunder assistant Rex Kalamian as part of Dwane Casey‘s staff, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Eastern Notes: Anthony, Pistons, Knicks, Sixers

Here’s the latest from the Eastern Conference, with the start of free agency four days away:

  • Carmelo Anthony is more upset about losing Tim Hardaway Jr. via trade than the Knicks‘ decision to draft Kristaps Porzingis, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News had reported that Anthony was ired over team president Phil Jackson‘s selection of Porzingis with the No. 4 pick in the draft, though Isola also noted Anthony wasn’t pleased with the Hardaway Jr. trade. Via his Instagram account, Anthony said he was “far from upset”, and that Porzingis is “a steal.” However, a source told Berman that Anthony wonders how long it will take Porzingis to make an impact.
  • Pistons president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy said that two unrestricted free agent small forwards top his wish list, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets. Van Gundy didn’t elaborate but it’s expected that the Pistons will pursue DeMarre Carroll of the Hawks and San Antonio’s Danny Green. If the Pistons don’t get one of those two targets, they will pursue two restricted free agents at that position, Langlois’ tweet adds.
  • The picks that the Sixers are getting from the Knicks in the Guillermo Hernangomez trade are New York’s 2020 and 2021 second-rounders, reports Derek Bodner, writing for Philadelphia magazine.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Sixers, Hernangomez

Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony is upset with the team’s dealings on draft night, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News writes. Anthony’s displeasure centers around team president Phil Jackson selecting Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis with the No. 4 overall pick, as well as the trade of Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Hawks in exchange for the rights to Notre Dame combo guard Jerian Grant, Isola notes. Porzingis, while talented, is considered a project who won’t contribute immediately. Anthony told a close friend regarding Porzingis, “Are we supposed to wait two or three years for this guy?” The veteran also reportedly called Hardaway after the trade was announced to express his frustration with the team’s moves, Isola adds. Knicks officials are aware of Anthony’s feelings, the Daily News scribe notes.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets did not dangle forward Bojan Bogdanovic as trade bait in an attempt to move up from the No. 29 overall pick, a league source told Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link).
  • Spanish center Guillermo Hernangomez, for whom the Knicks dealt two future second-rounders and cash to the Sixers, will likely play overseas during the 2015/16 campaign, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com relays (on Twitter).
  • The Sixers‘ selection of Duke big man Jahlil Okafor with the No. 3 overall pick has done nothing to move the team closer toward contending, Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Ford cites the presence of big men Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid on Philadelphia’s roster, and the team’s needs for outside shooting and backcourt depth as reasons why the pick could be considered a setback in GM Sam Hinkie‘s rebuilding plan.
  • With improving their defense a priority this offseason, the Raptors are optimistic about what first round pick Delon Wright can do to help the team in that regard, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca writes. “We’re really excited about Delon,” GM Masai Ujiri said. “We saw him as a big point guard that can guard and takes great pride in it. [He] still needs to develop even if he’s a four-year [college] player. I think we also see him as a late bloomer a little bit, so we’re hoping there’s a little bit more development there. But he knows how to play. We watched him a lot and we like what he does.

Knicks Rumors: Jackson, Isiah, Free Agency

Knicks president Phil Jackson mentioned the need to add big men multiple times within an interview with Scott Cacciola of The New York Times, leading Tim Bontemps of the New York Post to speculate that the team is zeroing in on reported target Greg Monroe (Twitter link). Jackson suggested to Cacciola that the team would have drafted a big man, likely either Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor, if it had landed one of the top two picks in the draft. The Zen Master admitted the lottery setback that gave the team only the No. 4 pick resulted in a change of plans that figures to have a ripple effect on the rest of the summer.

“We know there are a limited number of guys we can bring in this year,” Jackson said about free agency. “We think we’ll get competitive guys to play. I think we’ll complement the guys we have here, and we’re going to move forward. We do know we’re going to have big guys in that group. We’re going to have to search out some big men.”

We’ll pass along more revelations from Jackson’s interview with Cacciola here:

  • Jackson told Cacciola that he and GM Steve Mills expressed their concerns to owner James Dolan when he presented them with the idea of hiring of former Knicks executive Isiah Thomas as president of the New York Liberty, a move with which Jackson was reportedly uncomfortable. “Jim Dolan had talked to us about it over dinner, maybe a month before it happened,” Jackson said. “We said, ‘Are you cognizant of the fact that this at least has the look of putting the fox in the henhouse?’ Is that a good term? In reviewing the history of it, we were told what the approach was by the Garden and how it went down. Jim said, ‘If you have any suggestions that you want to come back with, I’m open.’ And not being in that field, I didn’t have any information. It’s not where my head is at. So we’re not giving them any advice, and it’s going both ways.
  • Mills is “the future of this franchise,” Jackson told Cacciola, making it clear that he envisions a longer tenure for the GM than for himself.
  • All of the Knicks players expressed in their exit interviews that they’d like to return to the team, Mills said to Cacciola. The team only has fully guaranteed contracts with Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Cleanthony Early.
  • Jackson once more touted the triangle and expressed full confidence in his abilities as an executive after subpar results in his first full season in charge of the roster. “Without a doubt,” Jackson said in response to Cacciola’s question about whether he still would have taken the job last year, knowing what he knows now. “I knew it was going to be a challenge. We just didn’t have any room to work last year. We knew that we were going to have to make big changes with the limitations that we had, being in a locked-in situation as far as the salary cap goes. That’s why when I said recently that I didn’t know why I wasn’t given some votes for Executive of the Year, I wasn’t kidding. I was really serious. We had a yeoman’s job of having to get rid of a lot of fat on our roster to get to where we are. I saw Mitch Kupchak got a vote, so I know some people valued what the Lakers were doing obviously.”

Eastern Notes: Heat, Wizards, Anthony

The Heat own the No. 10 overall pick in the upcoming draft and Surya Fernandez of Fox Sports Florida wonders if the team should trade its lottery pick. Fernandez cites Dwyane Wade‘s age and the urgency to win now as reason for the dilemma. If the Heat keep the selection, Fernandez believes they are likely to draft a guard to complement Wade and Goran Dragic, assuming the latter re-signs with Miami.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Heat will work out Trey Lyles, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). Arthur Hill of Hoops Rumors recently profiled the Kentucky forward.
  • Martell Webster didn’t have the sort of season he or the Wizards envisioned, but his contract, with a guarantee of almost $5.614MM for 2015/16, is one reason Brandon Parker of The Washington Post cites as he posits that the Wizards are unlikely to trade the 28-year-old this summer.
  • Carmelo Anthony says his rehab from left knee surgery is progressing well, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes. “Rehab is going very, very well. I’m actually ahead of schedule [compared] to where everybody predicted I would be at this point in time,” Anthony said.

And-Ones: Okafor, Towns, Carmelo, Coaches

Timberwolves coach/executive Flip Saunders likes Jahlil Okafor better than Karl-Anthony Towns, but most of the rest of the team’s staff prefers Towns, as Chad Ford of ESPN.com hears for his latest Insider-only mock draft. Ford believes those those pro-Towns staffers will ultimately win Saunders over and lists Towns atop his mock, also passing along word from sources that the Magic are zeroing in on Kristaps Porzingis at No. 5. There’s plenty more on the draft and other NBA issues amid the latest from around the league:

  • Zach Links of Hoops Rumors adds the Hawks, Clippers, Bulls, Magic, Bucks and Knicks to the list of teams working out Harvard point guard Wesley Saunders (Twitter link).
  • The Mavericks were willing to bring Chris Smith, the brother of J.R. Smith, onto their summer league team as part of their effort to woo Carmelo Anthony, a former teammate of the brothers, this past summer, a source told Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling. Anthony instead re-signed with the Knicks and Chris didn’t end up with the summer Mavs, but Chris is aiming for a return to the league after a period in which he was hospitalized with anxiety attacks. Those episodes stemmed in part from his exasperation with the notion that the Knicks signed him only because his brother was on the team, and the criticism he endured because of it, as Zwerling explains.
  • College coaches who jumped directly into NBA head coaching jobs haven’t had much success in the NBA of late, aside from Brad Stevens, but NBA GMs are open to them, and with Billy Donovan and Fred Hoiberg on winning teams, there’s ground for a new trend, as Dana O’Neil of ESPN.com examines. Still, that depends on how well Donovan’s Thunder and Hoiberg’s Bulls fare, O’Neil cautions.
  • Longtime NBA front office executive Joel Litvin is stepping down from his post as the NBA’s president of league operations and will assume a role as a consultant, effective September 1st, as the league announced and as a source originally told Grantland’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link). Litvin, whose wide-ranging duties included work on the collective bargaining agreement, was an innovative force in his 27 years with the NBA, Lowe tweets.

Atlantic Notes: Russell, Nets, Hollis-Jefferson

D’Angelo Russell doesn’t seem like a strong fit for the triangle, but his game would complement Carmelo Anthony‘s if the Knicks draft him, and the Ohio State combo guard has the tools to become a strong defender, as Ohm Youngmisuk and Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com examine. Here’s more on the Atlantic Division as the June 25th draft draws ever closer:

  • The Nets would like to use cash to buy second-round picks to find draft-and-stash candidates in over the next few years, when they’ll have a sharply limited number of draft picks, in the hopes that one or more of them becomes a rotation piece, as NetsDaily explains. GM Billy King and CEO Brett Yormark hinted recently that they want to again have a one-to-one D-League affiliate, though that’s unlikely for this coming season, as the NetsDaily scribe adds.
  • Small forwards Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of Arizona and Justin Anderson of Virginia highlight today’s Celtics predraft workout, as Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com relays (Twitter link). Jonathan Holmes (Texas), Branden Dawson (Michigan State), LeBryan Nash (Oklahoma State) and Levi Randolph (Alabama) are the other prospects Boston is auditioning today, Forsberg notes.
  • Hollis-Jefferson will also work out for the Raptors this week, reports Kevin Rashidi of Canada.com (Twitter link). UNLV shooting guard Rashad Vaughn, Minnesota center Mo Walker and Stanford center Stefan Nastic will do the same, as Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun reports (Twitter link).

Atlantic Notes: Casey, Knicks, Lopez

Dwane Casey will probably return as Raptors head coach next season even though the team got swept by the underdog Wizards in the playoffs, Eric Koreen of The National Post opines. Casey has one guaranteed year remaining on his contract and Koreen anticipates the team’s management will give him another chance unless a proven coach that GM Masai Ujiri likes, such as the Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau, becomes available. The Raptors will likely cut ties with all of their unrestricted free agents, a list that includes Landry Fields, Amir Johnson, Greg Stiemsma, Tyler Hansbrough, Chuck Hayes and Lou Williams, according to Koreen. The Raptors need to upgrade at the forward spots and improve defensively to become a serious contender, which is why no one on the roster is a lock to return next season, Koreen concludes.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks need more veteran leaders in their locker room even if Carmelo Anthony becomes more of a vocal leader next season, according to Ian Begley of ESPN New York. The Knicks had several of those players, including Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby, in 2013/14 when they won 54 games, Begley points out. David West might fit that description if the Pacers forward declines his $12.6MM player option for next season, Begley adds.
  • Brook Lopez‘s strong finish makes his decision on whether to exercise his $16.7MM player option for next season a difficult one, Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops.com reports. It might be wise for the Nets center to opt out and seek long-term security this summer, given his rising stock and injury history, Scotto continues. On the flip side, Lopez might be competing for offers with a number of other high-profile centers who will enter the market this summer, including Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler and Omer Asik, Scotto adds. One GM who thinks Lopez would put himself at too much risk for injury if he opts in tells Scotto that he believes the center would merit salaries around $16MM on the open market, essentially mirroring the value of his option.
  • Luigi Datome made a point of praising the Celtics on his Facebook page Monday, Braden Campbell of Boston.com reports, a strong indicator he hopes Boston will re-sign him. Datome, who will be unrestricted free agent this summer, was dealt to the Celtics by the Pistons at the trade deadline. Datome, who praised everyone from the team’s management to arena workers, added in the Facebook post that he would value every proposal that comes his way this summer. He probably won’t get one from Boston, since Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has already expressed doubt that the team would have a roster spot available for Datome next season.

And-Ones: Bhamara, Jazz, Brooks

Satnam Singh Bhamara, a 7’1” 290-pound player from India, is considering declaring for the 2015 NBA Draft, Pete Thamel of SI.com writes. While the 19-year-old is unlikely to be selected this June, Bhamara is considered India’s best chance for producing its first NBA player, Thamel notes. Sim Bhullar became the first player of Indian descent to play in the NBA this past season, but Bhullar was born in Canada.

Bhamara will be represented by both Relativity Sports and WME/IMG, and his advisers felt the best course of action for the player would be to develop and refine his skills instead of attending a junior college, the SI scribe adds. “I do think he’ll end up in the NBA because I’ve seen his progress over the last four years,” said IMG Director of Basketball Kenny Natt. “I’ve been in the league and know how guys like Satnam are looked upon. He has size, strength and touch. He has good hands and can run the floor. Those are the types of things that NBA teams value.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey‘s moves have resulted in Utah notching a record of 19-10 after the All-Star break, and the team being on the rise heading into the 2015/16 season, Doug Robinson of The Deseret News writes. Robinson points to the hiring of coach Quin Snyder, the selection of Dante Exum in the 2014 NBA draft, and matching the Hornets’ offer sheet to Gordon Hayward last summer as some of Lindsey’s recent successes.
  • History is not on Thunder coach Scott Brooks‘ side in regards to retaining his job, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes. Tramel points to a number of instances where long-tenured coaches were replaced mainly to provide a new voice for the players, and the teams experiencing an uptick in performance as a result.
  • The Knicks‘ difficult season at least allowed Carmelo Anthony to have surgery without impacting his team’s postseason chances, a luxury ‘Melo wouldn’t have had if he signed with a different franchise last summer, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “It was at a point if this was any other team he had to gone to, then they’d be taking away a lot of playoff hopes,’’ team president Phil Jackson said. “In our situation it was something he could do and we could accept it and move forward because next year was a real important year for him to come back and play at the highest level he can play at.’’

Phil Jackson On Draft, Free Agency, Carmelo

The triangle, the presence of Carmelo Anthony, and the past success that Phil Jackson‘s staff has enjoyed will be the selling points for the Knicks in free agency this summer, Jackson said today to reporters, including Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link). Of course, that staff didn’t have much success this season, a 17-65 debacle for New York, and Jackson acknowledged that he doesn’t expect to suddenly win a title next year, notes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). Instead, the Zen Master is shooting for a playoff berth and a winning record, as Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal relays (Twitter link). Here’s more from his chat about his plans for achieving that:

  • The Knicks will look for defenders and a player who can get to the basket, Jackson said, as Begley notes in a pair of tweets. Jackson also suggested that the team sorely needs a rim-protecting big man, Herring adds (on Twitter).
  • Jackson suggested he would be more likely to trade New York’s first-round pick if it falls to fifth, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post (Twitter link). There’s a 12.3% chance the Knicks end up with the fifth pick after the lottery, as the odds show. Should the Knicks keep their pick, a big man will be the priority, Jackson said, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. Jackson also indicated that he likes the depth of the draft through the top 15 prospects, as Zagoria passes along (Twitter link).
  • Regardless of how the draft shakes out, Jackson doesn’t expect to end up with an immediate game-changer, as Herring relays (Twitter link). “[Our pick] isnt going to step on the court immediately and be an MVP,” Jackson said. “So a lot of our contingencies are on free agency. They have to be.”
  • The Knicks may have to “sit on our hands” for a year as their top draft pick develops, Jackson suggested, as Zagoria chronicles in a full piece. “So we’re certainly not going to walk away from a situation like that even if it takes the fact that we might have to sit on our hands for a year in the growth process and watch Carmelo come back off an injury and then regenerate for another year after this, provide more support as we go forward,” Jackson said.
  • Jackson seemed to convey a measure of displeasure about Anthony’s decision to play in the All-Star Game despite the ailing knee that kept him out the rest of the season, as Herring relays (Twitter links). Anthony “pushed himself” to play, Jackson said, according to Herring. “[Him playing in the All-Star Game] wasn’t that important to us, but it was important to him,” Jackson said.
  • Jackson responded affirmatively when asked if he’d be OK with merely setting the foundation for the Knicks to win a championship rather than winning a title during his time with the team, Herring tweets. Jackson just completed the first year of a five-year contract, and there have been hints that he might not stay the entire term.