After nearly being out of the league, Heat forward Shawne Williams is making the most out of the playing time that he’s earned this season, Shandel Richardson of The Sun Sentinel writes. “Man, one thing I noticed about being in this league is you can never be too comfortable,” Williams said. “I’m kind of always on edge. This business is a tricky business. I’ve learned from a lot of stuff that I’ve been through and a lot of stuff that I have been in to never be comfortable. I’m never satisfied. I’m going to stay hungry.” Through Miami’s first 15 games Williams is averaging 10.5 points and draining 50.7% of his three-point shots.
Here’s more from the east:
- Hassan Whiteside’s two-year deal with the Heat includes a partial guarantee of $100K for this season, but the second year includes no guaranteed salary, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link).
- If the Knicks aren’t careful in managing Carmelo Anthony‘s back spasms, they could put their star at risk for further back issues later in the season, Ian Begeley of ESPNNewYork.com writes. “He [Anthony] can wind up battling this all season if it’s not shut down appropriately to let him heal up,” Dr. Neil Roth, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine told Begley.
- The Nets haven’t notched a victory against a team with a winning record this season, notes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “I look at a win as a win,” head coach Lionel Hollins said. “The quality wins are the ones you get on the road. It’s nice to beat good teams, but we have to get to that level where we are consistently able to beat good teams. So we’re just taking wins where we can. That’s what it’s about — trying to win and get in the playoffs, and then when you get there, trying to hopefully get a matchup that favors you.”
Carmelo Anthony met with the Bulls, Rockets, Mavs and Lakers in addition to the Knicks this summer, but in a forthcoming documentary, he makes it clear that his final decision was between the Knicks and the Bulls, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post. Berman obtained a preliminary cut of the film, called “Carmelo Anthony: Made In NY,’’ that’s set to air next week on MSG Network, and Anthony’s statements in the movie demonstrate just how close the high-scoring forward came to wearing red-and-black.
“Chicago was the one from Day 1 [and] was something I was very impressed with,” Anthony said in the film. “They were looking for someone like me to come in and take them to the next level. So it was perfect. It was a perfect setup and perfect fit for me in Chicago. But also I had to think about just living in Chicago. Do I want to live in Chicago? Do I want to take everything I created in New York and move all of that? It came down to that. But there was one point in time I was like — oh, I’m going.’’
Berman shared several other revelations from the documentary in his full-length story, and we’ll summarize them here:
- ‘Melo’s camp concluded that they’d need to have the Knicks sign-and-trade him to Chicago for him to end up on the Bulls with a max deal, Berman writes. Anthony’s manager, Bay Frazier, said in the documentary that the Bulls could offer a total of only $74MM, according to Berman. There were various hypothetical scenarios in which the Bulls could have opened more flexibility, but it sounds like $74MM was the realistic amount on the table.
- Anthony spoke of affection for the winning attitude of the Bulls and said that Derrick Rose reached out to recruit him, as Berman details. Rose’s supposed unwillingness to go along with Chicago’s pitch to Anthony was reportedly at the root of tension between the team and its star point guard. “D-Rose is tough. He even hit me [up],” Anthony said. “I’ve been talking to him. Him and [Joakim] Noah. Noah’s more outgoing. But I’m glad we did them first.’’
- Anthony said he didn’t want to endure the “culture change” that would come with living in Texas and playing for either the Mavs or the Rockets, Berman notes.
- Kobe Bryant and Anthony have spoken about one day playing together, but the specter of changing teams just to find himself in another rebuilding situation made jumping to the Lakers an unappealing choice, Anthony said in the documentary, as Berman relays.
The Heat‘s expectation when they signed Josh McRoberts to a four-year deal this past offseason was that he would earn a spot in the starting lineup, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. But offseason surgery on his toe and the solid play of Shawne Williams has thrown a bit of a twist into those plans and cut into McRoberts’ minutes since his return from injury, notes Winderman. “I think I’m getting more comfortable. The more minutes that I’m on the floor, I’m more getting back into things,” McRoberts said. “I think we’ll gradually increase minutes. But I feel like my conditioning is fine.”
Here’s more from around the league:
- The Mavericks have assigned guard Ricky Ledo to the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League, Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com reports (Twitter link). This is Ledo’s second assignment this season to the Legends. The 22-year-old appeared in two contests during his first D-League stint and is averaging 12.5 points and 2.5 rebounds for the Legends.
- With the Hornets off to a slow start to begin the season, one bright spot has been the play of Brian Roberts, whom the team inked to a two-year, $5.5MM deal this offseason, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. “It’s getting there. I’m feeling pretty good out there on the floor, getting to play with these guys and know their strengths, and they get to know my strengths, too,” Roberts said. “I think that’s going to translate to help this team get some wins. Individually, it’s OK, but we’re trying to get some wins.” In 16 games thus far, Roberts is averaging 6.7 points and 2.5 assists per game.
- Knicks head coach Derek Fisher still holds the respect of his former Oklahoma City teammates, Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman writes. “He was huge for us,” Nick Collison said. “Really a unique voice. I haven’t ever played with a guy like that who could address the team so much, but do it in a way that everyone gets behind. It’s not preachy. He has a very good feel of what to say and when to say it. Just had all the respect from all the players. One of my favorite teammates.”
Trevor Ariza and Tyson Chandler were probably the most significant newcomers to the Southwest Division this past summer, but even devoid of an influx of star talent, every team in the Southwest has a winning record so far. I covered Ariza’s impact earlier today in my look at what the Rockets did over the offseason, and there’s more on Chandler amid the latest from around the division:
- Anthony Davis is up for a rookie scale extension in the offseason ahead, and he seems comfortable with his surroundings, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports details. “I love it here in New Orleans,” Davis said. “Great city. Great atmosphere. …We’re getting the fans back and New Orleans back buzzing for the Pelicans, a great organization. I love my team here. We’re definitely moving in the right direction. I don’t know what the future holds, but right now I’m definitely loving the team and the organization.”
- Knicks president Phil Jackson deferred to GM Steve Mills when it came to communicating with Chandler, as the now-Mavs center told reporters on Wednesday, notes Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I just don’t think I was in the [Knicks'] future plans to be honest,” Chandler said, according to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link).
- The Celtics sought to clear salary when they traded Courtney Lee to the Grizzlies less than 11 months ago, but his hot three-point shooting is one reason he’s proven well worth his $5.45MM salary this year for Memphis, as Ronald Tillery of The Commericial Appeal examines (subscription only).
- A clause in the Spurs‘ contract with Patty Mills gives him an extra $333K if he meets conditioning benchmarks throughout the season, according to Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News. The incentive is considered likely to be met, so that $333K is already included in his cap hit of more than $3.842MM, Monroe notes. It’s unclear if the torn right rotator cuff that’s kept Mills out all season so far will keep him from meeting those benchmarks.
Despite their early-season success, the Pelicans‘ core isn’t likely to become a championship-contending one, Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders opines. One of the main issues with the current roster is the lack of talent on the perimeter, and with Eric Gordon likely to exercise his $15.5MM player option for next season, it will be difficult to upgrade the roster until the summer of 2016, notes Duncan. One option Duncan suggests for the Pelicans to rid themselves of Gordon’s deal earlier is for New Orleans to package its 2016 first-rounder in a trade along with Gordon in order to encourage a team to take on his expiring contract, though the Pelicans owe a protected 2015 first-round pick to Houston, so they would have trouble sending out a 2016 first-rounder, thanks to the Stepien Rule.
Here’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Duncan also added that re-signing Omer Asik this offseason will be an organizational priority because of that protected first-round pick that the Pelicans surrendered to the Rockets in order to acquire him.
- Jamaal Franklin recently agreed to a one month extension to his contract with the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). Franklin’s original agreement with the team was for two months, and this extension will still allow him to return to the NBA in January when teams are able to sign players to 10-day contracts, Wojnarowski adds. The 23-year-old shooting guard appeared in 21 contests for the Grizzlies last season and he averaged 1.9 points in 7.7 minutes per game.
- It’s possible that if Tyson Chandler had not broken his leg last season, New York’s 2013/14 campaign wouldn’t have been such a disaster and the Knicks wouldn’t have traded the big man to the Mavericks, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com writes. Chandler is happy to be back in Dallas and while he stops short of being thankful for the injury, he is pleased with how things turned out for him this offseason, MacMahon adds. “I look at life as like everything happens for a reason,” Chandler said. “There’s no mistakes made. At the time, [the injury] was devastating clearly, but I feel like everything happens for a reason.”
- The Iowa Energy have acquired former first round pick Jordan Hamilton via waivers, the team has announced. Hamilton reportedly worked out for the Lakers last week after a brief stint with the Jazz earlier this month. Though he’ll play for the Grizzlies‘ D-League affiliate, Hamilton is free to sign with any NBA team that would desire his services.
Zoran Dragic will receive $1.5MM in base salary this season and next, but he’ll count for more than $1.706MM against the Suns‘ cap each year because of his nearly $413K signing bonus, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The bonus went toward the part of Dragic’s buyout from Spain’s Unicaja Malaga that wasn’t covered under the $600K that teams are allowed to keep off their books when they buy players out of their overseas contracts. Here’s more from the western half:
- The Grizzlies have re-assigned Jordan Adams to the Iowa Energy, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Adams’ second trip to the D-League this season. During his first assignment, Adams appeared in one contest, contributing 20 points, seven rebounds and one assist in 31 minutes. The 20-year-old is averaging 1.5 points, 1.3 assists and 0.75 steals in 10.1 minutes per contest in four appearances for Memphis this season.
- Eric Moreland has been recalled from the Reno Bighorns of the D-League, the Kings have announced. This was Moreland’s second stint in the D-League this season, and he’s averaging 13.3 PPG, 10.7 RPG and 1.7 APG in three appearances for Reno this season. Moreland has yet to appear in a regular season contest for Sacramento.
- The Delaware 87ers of the NBA D-League have claimed Nolan Smith off of waivers, Gino Pilato of D-League Digest reports (Twitter link). Smith had cut ties with Turkey’s Galatasaray back in October and intends to use the D-League to showcase his talents for NBA teams. Smith’s last taste of the NBA came during the 2012/13 season when he appeared in 40 games for the Blazers and averaged 2.8 points and 0.9 assists.
- Mavs big man Tyson Chandler said that he felt like a scapegoat for the Knicks’ failures last season, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com writes. When asked whether his leadership attempts were unappreciated in New York, Chandler said, “At times, at times, at times. But I feel like New York made me a lot stronger, a lot stronger of a person going through trials and tribulations there. But that’s life. It also depends on where your mind is. If everybody is locked in and they want to win and they know I’m in it 100% and they’re in it 100%, nobody’s sensitive. But if there’s other agendas, it’s going to make things sensitive.”
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Carmelo Anthony admits the warm weather and the lack of a state income tax in Texas were factors he considered as he thought about signing with the Rockets this summer, but he has no regrets about his decision to return to the Knicks, as he told reporters today. Marc Berman of the New York Post has the details, including Anthony’s acknowledgment of a conversation with Dwight Howard.
“We had some great dialogue back and forth,’’ Anthony said. “I talked to him. We talked about some things. Ultimately it came down to what I really felt and really wanted at that moment. We had some contact and conversations. He tried. He tried extremely hard. It didn’t have anything to do with Dwight or James [Harden]. It came down to my own personal decision.’’
The Rockets appear none the worse for losing out on ‘Melo, having started 10-3, while the Knicks are but 4-10. Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Jeff Green stressed to reporters Sunday that he didn’t mean to imply that he wanted the Celtics to trade him when he expressed his frustration with the team’s losing, notes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. “I want to stay here,” said Green, who can opt out of his contract this coming summer “I love this team. I love being here.”
- The Raptors rejected a draft-night offer from the Suns that would have given Toronto the draft rights to Tyler Ennis, whom the Raptors coveted, in return for 2014’s 20th overall pick and the 2016 first-rounder that the Knicks owe Toronto, according to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange.
- The Celtics have recalled James Young from the D-League, the team announced. It was a one-day excursion for this year’s 17th overall pick, who put up 22 points and eight rebounds Sunday for Boston’s affiliate.
- Rookie JaKarr Sampson is back from his three-day D-League assignment, the Sixers announced. The undrafted small forward averaged 15.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in two D-League games.
The Celtics‘ Brandon Bass may have increased his trade chances with a strong start to the season, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Bass is earning $6.9MM in the final season of his contract, and should be appealing to a contending team between now and the trade deadline. “If there’s a team competing for a championship and they could steal him, that’d be big,” said Rajon Rondo. “He’s one of the best mid-range shooters in the league.”
There’s more from around the Atlantic Division:
- Bulpett also reports that Vitor Faverani is holding out hope of playing for the Celtics this season after two surgical procedures to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Faverani originally had the knee worked on in March, then went through a second procedure five weeks ago. “The bad thing is that I worked really hard all summer, and I got injured one more time,” he said. “I just have to recover. That’s my life. That’s all I can do right now.”
- The Celtics assigned James Young to the Maine Red Claws of the D-League, the team announced via press release. This is his second stint with the Red Claws, after appearing in one game last week. He has played in three games for the Celtics, averaging 3.0 points in 3.9 minutes.
- Carmelo Anthony expects the Knicks to improve now that Jose Calderon is back on the court, according to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Anthony praised Calderon’s understanding of the game, and said scorers always love playing with skilled point guards. “His IQ out there on the basketball court, I think is very high,” Anthony said. “That’s something that, at that position, we’ve been missing.” Calderon, who came to the Knicks in an offseason trade with the Mavericks, missed the first 13 games of the season with a strained calf.
- Fans of the winless Sixers shouldn’t expect a turnaround any time soon, opines Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. He said Philadelphia is committed to its strategy of trying to improve by getting high draft picks, even though it hasn’t landed the team an obvious franchise player so far.
The Raptors are the best team in the Eastern Conference at 9-2, but the rest of the Atlantic Division is off to a rough start. The four other teams are all below .500, and the Sixers haven’t won in 11 tries. They’ll visit the 3-10 Knicks on Saturday in a game with early 2015 draft lottery implications. Here’s more from the struggling Atlantic:
- Sixers coach Brett Brown and GM Sam Hinkie didn’t realize when they took their respective jobs in 2013 that the team’s roster this season would be so devoid of immediate contributors, Brown admitted Thursday, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Brown said the expectation had been that the Sixers would use their pair of lottery picks this year to bring in players who would be on the floor now instead of the injured Joel Embiid and Euroleaguer Dario Saric. “We put our big-boy pants on and made a decision that is best for the club long-term,” Brown said. “Time will tell. But the year that we are all now living in is a result of those types of decisions. That’s why you look on the floor and see a roster like you do and resumés like you do.”
- Boston acquired Brandon Bass to be a complementary piece on a contending team, making his value to this version of the Celtics hard to divine, as Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com writes in his mailbag column. If the Celtics make a trade, Bass is among the most likely candidates to go, Forsberg opines.
- Much hinges on the return of Jose Calderon as the most significant offseason addition for the Knicks is poised to make his regular season debut for New York, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
In an interview with Eli Saslow of ESPN: The Magazine (hat tip to Marc Berman of The New York Post), Carmelo Anthony said that coming to New York to play for the Knicks distorted his reputation and did not enhance it. “I’m more misunderstood than most people,” Anthony said. “As an athlete, you don’t really have a voice. Everything you say or do, people have a million opinions about it, so it doesn’t really get heard the way you want it to get heard. People are putting things on you and shaping your reputation, and you don’t really have control. People say I am all about more money, but it’s not like that. It’s about having the appearance of someone with success. Image and reputation matter to me. If you’re being honest, they matter to everybody. Money is about people thinking of you as someone who does well.”
Here’s more from the east:
- Anthony also added that he isn’t fond of critics opining before each season on whether he will finally prove himself as a winner. “People say every year is the one that will determine if I’m great or terrible, if I’ve met expectations or been a disappointment,” Anthony said. “To be honest with you, I’m tired of it.” With the Knicks‘ record a disappointing 3-10, it doesn’t look like this will be the season ‘Melo silences his critics.
- Despite entering the league with four years of college experience and having won numerous awards during that time, Doug McDermott admitted that it’s not easy being a rookie and that he is still trying to find his way with the Bulls, Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders writes. “I’m still kind of establishing a role to be honest,” McDermott said. “It’s still really early, and I’m just trying to get my feet wet and learn more things defensively and the playbook, and everything’s coming along great. So I’m making steps, but I think it’s still early and I think I can have a really good role on this team, not just as a shooter, but overall just a good role.”
- Brendan Haywood understands that the appeal of his non-guaranteed contract for next season makes him a more valuable trade asset than on-the-court contributor for the Cavs, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group writes. “I don’t worry about it because at the end of the day, I can’t do anything about it,” Haywood said. “If somebody views my contract as an asset or the team feels they can get something in that can help them or shed salary, they’re going to do what they’re going to do because that’s what they have to do.”