Carmelo Anthony

Texas Notes: Mbah a Moute, Anthony, Mavericks, DeRozan

Luc Mbah a Moute only played one season with the Rockets, but he admits it’s going to be an odd feeling when he faces his former teammates tonight, relays Mirjam Swanson of The Daily Bulletin. Mbah a Moute came to Houston as a free agent last summer at the urging of Chris Paul, then returned to the Clippers over the offseason after receiving a one-year, $4.3MM offer.

“It’s always, always [weird],” said Mbah a Moute, who has been with six organizations in his 10-year career. “Especially that team, we had a really good team and a chance to do something special, so it’s going to be weird, but I look forward to it.”

Mbah a Moute provided a strong defensive presence off the bench for the Rockets. He averaged 7.5 PPG and shot .364 from 3-point range, but a late-season shoulder injury limited his effectiveness in the playoffs.

There’s more NBA news from the Lone Star State:

  • Carmelo Anthony seems like an uncomfortable fit with a Rockets team that emphasizes 3-point shooting, and a look at the stats shows he will have to change his game to be effective in Houston, according to Ben Alamar of ESPN.
  • The future the Mavericks envision was on display in Saturday’s win over the Timberwolves, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. First-round pick Luka Doncic had 26 points and six rebounds, while last year’s star rookie, Dennis Smith Jr., poured in 19 points, including the game-winning shot. “Hey, if that was a peek at the future, it’s looking good,” said J.J. Barea. “Great win. And you see Luka. He just plays the game. And Junior, he had foul trouble, stuck with it and made the big shot. He took a tough shot and made it. They’re tough.”
  • DeMar DeRozan has adapted quickly to his new situation with the Spurs, relays Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express News. DeRozan had a difficult time changing teams after nine seasons in Toronto, but he’s averaging 28.0 PPG through his first two games with San Antonio. “He’s absorbed everything we’ve given him so far, knowing full well it’s a new system,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “It will take some time for him to feel totally comfortable, but he’s highly intelligent. It’s the NBA, it’s not rocket science so he’s picking it up pretty quickly.”
  • Former Spurs forward DeJuan Blair is back in the organization after being drafted by Austin in Saturday’s G League draft, McDonald adds in the same story.

Southwest Notes: Carmelo, Rockets, Ding, Mack

Heading into the 2018/19 season, Carmelo Anthony – who has resisted accepting a bench role in the past – told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he’s ready to make that adjustment for his new team. However, in his first game in a reserve role for the Rockets, Anthony scored just nine points in 27 minutes on 3-of-10 shooting. After the loss, the veteran forward admitted that there would be a “learning curve” for his new role, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com relays.

“It’s challenging mentally more so than anything, having to prepare for the game differently,” Anthony said. “Other than that, it’s a challenge all the way around. It’s just a matter of how I’m going to react to that challenge and accepting that challenge, which I am, which I will do.”

As Anthony gets used to playing on the second unit in Houston, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Southwest…

  • The Rockets have promoted front office executive Monte McNair, changing his title from vice president of basketball operations to assistant GM, the team announced in a press release.
  • The Mavericks signed and waived camp invitee Ding Yanyuhang twice before the regular season began. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks confirms to Hoops Rumors, Ding’s first Exhibit 10 contract with Dallas only included a $5K bonus, whereas the second deal bumped that bonus to the maximum allowable $50K. Ding will earn that money if he spends at least two months with the Texas Legends, the Mavs’ G League affiliate.
  • When DeMarcus Cousins went down with his Achilles tear last season, it was something of a turning point for Anthony Davis, who recognized that he had to take his game to another level and carry the Pelicans. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com has the story, along with the quotes from Davis and head coach Alvin Gentry.
  • The Grizzlies‘ signing of Shelvin Mack was something of an afterthought in an offseason that also included the acquisitions of Jaren Jackson Jr., Kyle Anderson, and Garrett Temple, However, Mack opens the season as Mike Conley‘s primary backup at point guard, as Jason Munz of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Anthony, Mirotic, Mavs

The Pelicans, suffering through lingering injuries, are still looking to establish a new identity, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. For example, the team was without Nikola Mirotic and Darius Miller early on this preseason, but when both returned Friday, newcomer Julius Randle sat out because of a minor back injury.

Given the above, it’s no surprise that the Pelicans are winless through their first three preseason games, with head coach Alvin Gentry saying his team was unimpressive in Friday’s loss to the Knicks. “I didn’t think we played very good at all.  We didn’t have ball movement… That’s not who we are at all.”

Fortunately for the Pelicans, they still have time to figure things out before the season starts, and Randle did suit up and play in tonight’s game. Ultimately, the team believes it has all the pieces in place to compete in the Western Conference and build on last year’s success. We’ll begin to find out if they can when they visit the Rockets one week from tonight to open the 2018/19 regular season.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

Southwest Notes: Voulgaris, Mavs, Parsons, Rockets Bench

The Mavericks will hire former professional sports gambler Bob Voulgaris to a front office role, Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN report. Voulgaris will be the team’s director of quantitative research and development, another example of how the league is embracing the betting community and gambling after previously shunning it. As a gambler, Voulgaris used analytics and expertise on coaching strategy and tendencies of individual referees. He will now serve as a strategic thinker to help examine on-court strategies.

In other developments from around the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks are facing a new round of sexual harassment allegations in the workplace, according to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. Several former female employees allege that team photographer Danny Bollinger has a history of propositioning female co-workers and making lewd comments. The allegations were not part of the recently-concluded investigation into workplace misconduct within the organization. Owner Mark Cuban agreed to donate $10MM to organizations that “promote women in leadership roles and combat domestic violence” following that investigation.
  • Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons received PRP injections in both knees a week before training camp, Mark Giannotto of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. Parsons flew to Germany for the second time this year for a five-day injection process in the hopes of regaining his previous form. Knee injuries have marred his first two seasons with Memphis after he signed a four-year, $94MM contract. “At this point in my career, I’ll try anything,” Parsons told Giannotto. “After the last two years, sign me up to do anything just to have some relief and not feel the way I have.”
  • Offseason additions Michael Carter-Williams, James Ennis, Gary Clark, Marquese Chriss and Bruno Caboclo — along with Carmelo Anthony — have made a strong impression on the Rockets, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Most of those players will contribute off the bench for Houston this season. “That second unit, they’ve been whupping on us,” reigning MVP James Harden said.

Southwest Notes: Anthony, Okafor, Randle, Grizzlies

Carmelo Anthony is looking to make the game fun again in his first season with the Rockets, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Anthony is set to enter his 16th professional season, with the 34-year-old having his vision set on winning an NBA championship.

“Just enjoy the game and play basketball … I’ve been doing it for a long time,” Anthony said. “I still know how to do it. I’ve just got to make it fun. The game just has to be fun.”

The Rockets are expected to be a championship contender this season, with the team featuring a deep bench, star center and All-Star backcourt of Chris Paul and James Harden. The level of production Anthony gives will help determine how far the team gets in its journey.

“He’s a great basketball player, so we just try to make it optimal for him and us,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It’s always a little bit of a challenge, but if you had asked me the same question (last year) about James and Chris I would have said the same thing: ‘Well, it looks good. I’m excited.’ So same thing with him.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

Rockets Notes: Carmelo, Knight, Luxury Tax

Carmelo Anthony‘s scoring numbers have been on the decline for the last five seasons, but he was never moved to a bench role in either New York or Oklahoma City — the 10-time All-Star has appeared in 1,054 career regular season games and has started them all.

That may change during the upcoming season, but Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t tip his hand on Media Day, telling reporters – including Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link) – that he’s still waiting to see how the pieces fit before decide whether Anthony will start or come off the bench.

Asked about the possibility of coming off the bench, Anthony said no one has had that conversation with him yet. Pushed further on the matter, the veteran forward suggested he’d be open to the idea: “Whatever I have to do to help this team win a championship, that’s what’s going to be done” (Twitter links).

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • New Rockets guard Brandon Knight has an infection “that needs to clear up,” per general manager Daryl Morey (Twitter link via MacMahon). Knight, who recently underwent knee surgery, will be sidelined through the preseason, Morey added.
  • Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta called the luxury tax a “horrible hindrance” and suggested that the franchise may look to avoid the repeater tax down the line (Twitter link via MacMahon). However, he also noted that he’s in Houston to win championships, and an extra $5-10MM won’t stop him from doing so (Twitter link via Kelly Iko of The Athletic). Those tax penalties would only be an issue if the Rockets are still paying them and stop winning, Feritta said.
  • Earlier today, we passed along the latest on the Rockets and draft-and-stash prospect Alessandro Gentile, who doesn’t yet have an agreement in place with the club.

Rockets Notes: Anderson, Knight, Gentile, Rosas

Trading power forward Ryan Anderson to the Suns did more for the Rockets than just shed salary, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle explains. Anderson didn’t have a clearly defined role with the addition of Carmelo Anthony, while acquisitions Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss could contribute, albeit in a limited fashion. As an added bonus, the Rockets only had to toss in second-rounder De’Anthony Melton instead of packaging a future first-rounder to move Anderson’s contract, Feigen continues. Though Houston tends to play mostly a three-guard rotation, Knight could emerge as the backup point guard if he beats out Michael Carter-Williams. Chriss could become part of the mix as a backup big man if he beats out second-rounders Zhou Qi and Isaiah Hartenstein, Feigen adds. The teams reached an agreement on the trade Thursday.

In other news regarding the Rockets:
  • Knight had a minor cleanup on his knee approximately six weeks ago and may not be ready for start of training camp, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 tweets. Knight, who missed last season with a torn ACL, expects to be ready for the start of the season, Gambadoro adds. Knight is excited about the chance to play for a championship contender, Gambadoro relays in another tweet.
  • Swingman Alessandro Gentile will not join other team members during a team bonding week in the Bahamas during the first week of September because he’s still recovering from right hand surgery, according to a Sportando report. Gentile expects to be fully cleared to practice by the end of the month, the report adds. Gentile, a 2014 second-round pick who has played in Europe since 2009, recently revealed he will join the team in training camp in an uphill battle to gain a roster spot.
  • The Rockets have granted the Sixers permission to interview executive vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas for their GM opening. Get all the details here.

New York Notes: Frazier, Anthony, Lin, Dinwiddie

Carmelo Anthony spent six and a half years in New York and ranks seventh on the team’s career scoring list, but Knicks legend Walt Frazier doesn’t believe that’s enough for Anthony to have his number retired. In comments made during an interview this week with Sirius XM and relayed by The New York Post, Frazier says several other former Knicks are more deserving of the honor.

“Probably not because he didn’t win a title,” Frazier said in response to a question about Anthony. “I’m surprised they didn’t put Allan Houston up there. I’m surprised Bernard King, who is in the Hall of Fame, they haven’t put Bernard up there. So those two guys I think are deserving. Perhaps maybe John Starks. Even the Oak Man, Charles Oakley, but that probably won’t happen with all the stuff he’s done at the Garden. So he’s not held in high esteem right now, but I don’t see them putting Melo in there because of that.”

The Knicks have retired nine numbers, including Frazier’s, but any sort of ceremony for Anthony seems like a long way off. He’s not in high esteem either after a string of non-playoff seasons, followed by a trade demand in response to a long feud with former team president Phil Jackson.

There’s more today out of New York:

  • ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski believes the Knicks will be successful in their pursuit of a high-level free agent next summer. Speaking on his Woj Pod, the NBA insider predicts New York “will get somebody next year.” The team should have enough cap space to offer at least one max contract and could open more room by using the stretch provision on Joakim Noah.
  • Former Nets guard Jeremy Lin apologized to coach Kenny Atkinson for being injured so often after he learned he had been traded to the Hawks, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Lin was sidelined for the season after being hurt on opening night last year and played just 37 games in two seasons with Brooklyn. “Jeremy said to me, ‘I feel bad I wasn’t healthy for you guys,’” Atkinson said. “… That’s the kind of guy he was. He wasn’t bitter, he was frustrated we never got to see him over a stretch of time. Above all he was frustrated, as the organization was frustrated we didn’t have him on the court. I believe in the player to the utmost. … It’s frustrating and sad he had bad luck during his time with us.”
  • Working out an extension with Spencer Dinwiddie could be complicated for the Nets, explains Jeff Siegel of Forbes. Dinwiddie will be eligible for an extension from December 8, the second anniversary of his current contract, through June 30. He could make up to $47.5MM over four seasons, beginning with a $10.6MM salary in 2019/20. However, Siegel notes that Brooklyn is committed to D’Angelo Russell as its primary ballhandler and will take time to see how Dinwiddie fits alongside him before beginning extension talks.

Chris Paul Talks Carmelo Anthony Joining Rockets

In what has been an eventful offseason for Carmelo Anthony, the former Knicks star ended up signing a one-year with the Rockets. After a disappointing year with the Thunder, Anthony joins a Rockets team that came within one game of reaching the NBA Finals.

For Rockets point guard and Anthony’s close friend, Chris Paul, the signing is a good thing. Paul spoke to reporters – including Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston – about the signing and expressed optimism for both sides.

“Melo, I’m excited about it,” Paul said. “That’s my brother. I’m not only happy for our team, but I’m happy for him. When you know a guy that well you’re able to push each other and motivate each other and that we both have a common goal, wanting to win a championship.”

In his first and only season with Oklahoma City, Anthony averaged 16.2 PPG and 5.8 RPG with a shooting line of .404/.357/.767. He never developed the chemistry that he and the Thunder hoped with Russell Westbrook and Paul George — and later complained of his role with OKC.

While Anthony’s role in Houston is unclear — with a bench role a possibility — his new teammates have spoken highly of the 10-time All-Star. Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden has given his approval for Anthony joining Houston to chase an NBA title.

And-Ones: Carmelo, Bazley, Seattle, Rookies

Carmelo Anthony, the newest member of the Rockets, published a letter earlier this week thanking his old team, along with the Thunder fans. As Erik Horne of The Oklahoman details, Anthony said that he wanted to bring a championship to OKC and was “sorry it didn’t work out” while he was there. However, despite only being with the Thunder for one year, Carmelo said he’ll never forget the experience and the support he received from the “incredible” fans in OKC.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Within an Insider article on his observations from the Nike Basketball Academy in Los Angeles, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony notes that there’s speculation among NBA scouts that prospect Darius Bazley may end up not playing in the G League, as was originally planned. Bagley didn’t look great at the event, so if he feels he’s not ready for the G League, he could take the Mitchell Robinson route and forgo competitive basketball for 2018/19, writes Givony.
  • Seattle is in “a class by itself” in terms of cities that are candidates for NBA expansion, Marc Stein of the New York Times writes in his latest newsletter. In Stein’s view, there are a handful of cities that could be options to join Seattle if the NBA decides it wants to expand to 32 teams at some point, but none of those cities are on Seattle’s level.
  • A handful of top NBA rookies spoke to ESPN about which fellow rookie they’re most looking forward to playing, their biggest purchase since signing their rookie contract, and – most interestingly – their pick for Rookie of the Year. ESPN’s Chris Forsberg has the details.
  • The NBA announced this week that the NBA 2K eLeague will introduce four expansion teams for the 2019 season, with the Hawks, Nets, Lakers, and Timberwolves adding affiliates.