Carmelo Anthony

LeBron Never Considered Joining Knicks

There was plenty of drama as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade faced each other for the final time last night, but James’ postgame comments led to speculation that his summer decision came down to the Lakers and Knicks.

As the longtime friends hugged after the game, Wade said “I appreciate you for letting it end here,” meaning at the Staples Center, and James responded, “It was either here or at (Madison Square) Garden, that’s it.”

Although many are taking that as an indication that James was considering signing with New York, multiple sources close to him tell Joe Vardon of The Athletic that isn’t true. The statement referred to the magnitude of their final game and how LeBron felt it deserved a special setting.

Vardon adds that apart from the Lakers, James gave serious consideration to staying with the Cavaliers or going to the Sixers, who were the only other team he met with before signing in L.A.

Although James heading to New York would have shaken up the NBA landscape just as much as joining the Lakers, the Knicks didn’t have the cap room available to offer anything close to a max contract. The team’s only significant free agent additions of the offseason were Mario Hezonja, who received a one-year, $6.5MM contract that came out of the Knicks’ mid-level exception, and Noah Vonleh, who got a partially guaranteed one-year deal.

On top of that, tweets ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, James wouldn’t have considered New York because of how the front office, especially former team president Phil Jackson, treated his friend, Carmelo Anthony in his final seasons with the team.

Southwest Rumors: Nowitzki, Noah, Gordon, Anthony

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki will not make his season debut Saturday against the Rockets but he is inching closer to his return, Dwain Price of the team’s website reports. Nowitzki, who underwent ankle surgery during the spring and suffered a setback in September, participated in practice on Friday. “He’s doing well. You see him down there. He’s playing 3-on-3 and getting better all the time,” said coach Rick Carlisle, who assured the media he won’t play this weekend.

In other news around the Southwest Division:

  • The addition of Joakim Noah has impacted several other Grizzlies players, as Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian notes in his latest mailbag. JaMychal Green, who becomes an unrestricted free agent, might be shopped if the franchise decides it won’t try to re-sign him. It also clouds the future of Ivan Rabb, a second-round pick in 2017, within the organization. Rabb has thrived in the G League but isn’t skilled enough or physical enough at the NBA level, Herrington opines. Noah’s presence should also reduce Marc Gasol‘s workload, Herrington adds.
  • Rockets guard Eric Gordon admits this season has been a shock to the system for him and his teammates, as he told Kelly Iko of The Athletic. He also insinuated that coach Mike D’Antoni has made some mistakes with his personnel. “I’m just not having fun man,” Gordon said. “I’m just not. This (stinks). Even the times where I have good games. We’re just not using some guys the right way. Are we gonna make the right sacrifices? Do we have the right attitude? Last year was the best year I’ve ever had being a part of a team. We just never had a bad moment.”
  • Rockets GM Daryl Morey blames himself for the Carmelo Anthony signing. Morey made the remarks during a Tom Haberstroh podcast (hat tip to Sportando). “It really is mostly on me, honestly,” Morey said. “I saw the fit there and really didn’t go the way I thought it would. He can still really help a team.”

Lakers Not Interested In Acquiring Carmelo Anthony

Despite LeBron James‘ reported desire to team up with his good friend Carmelo Anthony, the Lakers have no interest in acquiring the Rockets forward, sources tell Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

According to Turner, Anthony’s camp called the Lakers “a while back,” but it didn’t go anywhere. Turner adds that James hasn’t talked to president of basketball operations Magic Johnson or GM Rob Pelinka about acquiring Carmelo, which is consistent with what we heard from Joe Vardon of The Athletic on Thursday.

Vardon followed up on his Thursday report today, reiterating (via Twitter) that while James would like to see his friend end up on the Lakers, he hasn’t pushed the front office on the issue, and doesn’t plan to. LeBron and his camp believe that Anthony can still play and think he could be a fit in in L.A., but if Johnson and Pelinka disagree, Carmelo won’t become a Laker — and it seems that’s the case.

For now, Anthony technically remains a member of the Rockets, despite not having played for the team in nearly a month. Houston is expected to waive or trade the 10-time All-Star sometime in the not-too-distant future. Anthony will become eligible to be traded on December 15.

LeBron James Wants Lakers To Acquire Carmelo Anthony

LeBron James wants the Lakers to acquire veteran forward Carmelo Anthony, according to a report from Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

James and Anthony are known to be longtime friends, competitors and even teammates on Olympic and All-Star teams, and could join forces in the coming weeks if the Lakers choose to make a push for Anthony. The Rockets and Anthony parted ways last month after just 10 games together, but Anthony remains on the team roster as of this week.

Anthony, 34, could be waived anytime, but can’t be traded until December 15 due to league rules. There has been no request made by Lakers president Magic Johnson or general manager Rob Pelinka to make a deal for Anthony, according to Vardon, but James still believes Anthony can contribute on a contending team.

Anthony, a 16-year NBA veteran, averaged 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 78 games with the Thunder last season. He signed with the Rockets in free agency and didn’t register any sort of interest from the Lakers at the time, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link).

Rockets Rumors: Clark, Canaan, Carmelo

Gary Clark Jr. has become a fixture in the Rockets‘ rotation, putting the team under some pressure to renegotiate his contract in the coming weeks. As Kelly Iko of The Athletic observes, Clark is expected to reach the 45-day NBA limit on his two-way deal by mid-December or so. At that point, he’ll have to either be promoted to the 15-man roster or sent to the G League.

While nothing is set in stone yet, the Rockets want Clark on their roster and have had “positive” initial discussions with his camp about a new deal, a source tells Iko. Houston could unilaterally convert his two-way contract to a standard deal, but that would result in a basic one-year, minimum-salary deal. If Houston wants to lock up Clark for more than just one year, both sides would have to agree to the terms.

Here’s more from Iko on the Rockets:

  • There was some speculation that Houston might be interested in veteran point guard Isaiah Canaan, who was waived last week by the Suns. However, a source tells Iko that Canaan’s name didn’t move the needle for the Rockets, and they didn’t have serious interest in him.
  • The Rockets continue to work with Carmelo Anthony and his representatives to determine whether it makes sense to trade or release him, according to Iko. Anthony won’t become trade-eligible until December 15, but could be waived anytime before or after that date.
  • While the Rockets were hit hard by injuries in recent weeks, the front office has preached “calculated patience,” writes Iko. The team understood that most of those injuries wouldn’t be long-term, and didn’t want to rush into the trade market to find immediate help. “Having five guys hurt at once is unusual,” one team source told Iko.

Warriors Notes: Green, Durant, Carmelo

The last week has represented perhaps the most challenging stretch of the Warriors‘ current era. Since last Monday, the club has lost four of five games, including three straight, and has dealt with the ongoing fallout of a much-publicized confrontation between All-Stars Draymond Green and Kevin Durant.

Despite their week of turmoil, the Warriors remain confident in their outlook going forward, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. Golden State has too much talent not to turn things around, especially once Stephen Curry is healthy enough to return to action, and winning figures to help solve any other problems that ail the team, as Quinn Cook observes.

“I just think if we would have won these past two games, nobody would be talking about it anymore,” Cook said of last week’s Green/Durant incident. “I think we just got to be better on the floor, and nobody will remember this once we start winning again.”

As Friedell observes in a separate piece for ESPN.com, head coach Steve Kerr isn’t complaining about the Dubs’ recent struggles, pointing out that the franchise has lived a “charmed existence” for the last several years.

“This is the real NBA,” Kerr said. “We haven’t been in the real NBA the last few years. We’ve been in this dream. And so now we’re faced real adversity and we got to get out of it ourselves.”

As the Warriors prepare for a Wednesday showdown against the Thunder, let’s round up a few more notes on the club:

  • Don’t expect the Warriors to pursue Carmelo Anthony if and when he’s waived by Houston, says Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Spears hears from a source that Golden State has no interest in Anthony.
  • Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area lays out all the reasons why it wouldn’t make any sense for the Warriors to consider trading Kevin Durant or Draymond Green this season, despite their recent altercation and possible lingering tension.
  • Is Green worth a maximum-salary investment? Frank Urbina of HoopsHype explores that subject, concluding that – as valuable as he is – it’s hard to imagine Green securing a long-term max deal when he eventually reaches free agency in 2020 at age 30.
  • In an interesting piece for The Athletic, Anthony Slater explores how the modern media landscape makes it difficult for NBA players and teams to quickly move past incidents like last week’s confrontation between Durant and Green.

And-Ones: All-Star Game, White, Holland, Carmelo

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he would discuss holding a future All-Star Game in the city of Detroit with Arn Tellem, the vice-chairman of the Pistons, Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News reports. The Pistons are playing their second season at Little Caesars Arena, which is also the home of the NHL’s Red Wings. “I’m sure we’ll be talking about it,” Silver said during a business trip to the city. The state of Michigan hasn’t seen an All-Star Game since 1979, when it was held in the Pontiac Silverdome. The Pistons’ former home, The Palace of Auburn Hills, never hosted the event.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • Former Heat and Cavaliers big man Okaro White is close to signing with Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, according to a Eurobasket.com report which was relayed by Sam Amico. White appeared in six games with Miami last season after seeing action in 35 games with the Heat the previous season. The Cavaliers signed him to 10-day contracts last season but he didn’t play. He was waived by Cleveland in August and then by the Spurs in October after joining them for training camp.
  • The G League’s Austin Spurs acquired the returning rights to guard John Holland and a 2019 second-round pick from the Canton Charge, the Cavs’ affiliate, in exchange for small forward Jaron Blossomgame, according to a press release from the G League club. Holland had a two-way contract with the Cavaliers last season and played 24 games, posting an average of 2.3 PPG in 7.3 MPG. Holland appeared in one game this season with the Cavaliers before being waived on November 9th. Blossomgame, the Spurs’ second-round pick in 2017, spent the last two seasons with Austin but has yet to make his NBA debut.
  • The Warriors, Sixers, Lakers and Pelicans are the most likely landing spots for Carmelo Anthony once he’s waived by the Rockets, Matt Eppers of USA Today opines. Anthony could help each of those teams to varying degrees, mainly as a second-unit player.

Pacific Notes: Joerger, Anthony, Clippers, Bradley

Kings coach Dave Joerger sidestepped questions about his job status following Saturday’s game, relays Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports. Joerger has Sacramento off to a surprising 8-8 start after last year’s 55-loss season, but a report last night suggested philosophical differences exist between the coach and front office regarding minutes for younger players.

“Well, usually, I would say, ‘I’d be happy to answer all your questions about tonight’s game,’ but in this case, I’m going to tell you that my focus is with our team,” Joerger said. “And coaching our team and getting better every single night. And we’ve got young guys, and they’re mixed with older guys, and go in there and rally them up.”

Joerger turned away follow-up questions about his job, saying, “I’m not going to get into that stuff.” He has a 67-113 record with the Kings and is signed through the end of next season.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers have been rumored as a possible next stop for Carmelo Anthony, but LeBron James is refusing to comment on the possibility of adding one of his closest friends, writes Liam Blackburn of The Sporting News. “I have no idea, to be honest,” he said when asked about the chance to acquire Anthony. “We don’t even have a roster spot open right now, so that’s not a question for myself.”
  • After missing the playoffs last season, the Clippers are making a strong statement with a 10-5 start and will be in position to get even better next summer, notes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. The team is 5-1 since inserting rookie guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander into the starting lineup and ranks first in the league in opponents’ effective field goal percentage. With only five players signed beyond this season, L.A. could have up to $63MM in cap space in July, enough to offer two max contracts. However, Ziller states that the Clippers’ ultimate plan is to attract Kawhi Leonard, re-sign Tobias Harris and add a few complementary players around them.
  • The Clippers are expected to add another key piece tomorrow when Avery Bradley returns from an ankle injury, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times“I still don’t feel like I’ve been able to get a consistent offensive flow here in this game and what I can bring to the team,” said Bradley, who has missed the past six games. “I still think there’s an area of shot-making that I can contribute to this team.”

Grizzlies Notes: Parsons, Roster Spot, Randolph, Anthony

The Grizzlies will give serious consideration to using the stretch provision to unload Chandler Parsons‘ contract after this season ends, writes Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian. Parsons will make $25.1MM in 2019/20, the final season of a four-year, $94MM deal that he signed during the free agent bonanza of 2016.

Memphis has gotten minimal production from Parsons, who has been plagued by injuries for most of his time with the organization. He played a combined 70 games over the past two years and has  appeared in just three this season because of knee and back soreness.

Stretching Parsons’ contract would allow the Grizzlies to break it up into $8.4MM payments over the next three seasons and could give the team enough room to offer a max contract next summer. However, that depends on other financial factors as well, such as whether Marc Gasol decides to opt out of his $25,595,700 deal.

There’s more Grizzlies news to pass along, all courtesy of Herrington:

  • Memphis probably won’t fill its open roster spot, even after the MCL sprain that could sideline Dillon Brooks for up to eight weeks. Omri Casspi‘s impending return from a knee injury will help ease the shortage, and the Grizzlies believe Yuta Watanabe can become a contributor on defense. The front office recently explored the idea of adding former Knicks center Joakim Noah, but no signing is planned, at least not right away. Like many teams with cap issues, Memphis has been keeping one roster spot unfilled to help save on tax penalties.
  • There may be sentiment to bring back Zach Randolph, who hasn’t gotten off the Kings’ bench this season, but that comes more from fans than from the organization. Randolph had his best years in Memphis, but he seems to have accepted his situation in Sacramento and there’s little incentive for the Kings to buy him out before they try to trade him. Randolph has an expiring $11.7MM contract that could make him attractive to a contender by the February deadline.
  • The Grizzlies are an intriguing possibility for Carmelo Anthony once his time in Houston officially ends. Memphis could use another shooter and has both a veteran core and a strong foundation on defense that could help Anthony excel. However, Harrington notes that power forward is now probably Anthony’s best position, and the Grizzlies are already well stocked there with Jaren Jackson Jr., JaMychal Green and Kyle Anderson.

And-Ones: Lecque, Anthony, West, G League

Potential first-round pick Jalen Lecque will likely sign a national letter of intent this week, but he hasn’t given up on the NBA draft, according to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Lecque is still a high school senior, but he is expected to be granted draft eligibility because he is a year removed from his graduating class. He committed to North Carolina State in October and could put that in writing before the early signing period ends on Wednesday.

A 6’4″ guard, Lecque put his talents on display this weekend at the National Prep Showcase with representatives from 16 NBA teams watching. He is projected at 25 in the latest mock draft compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

“I’m not really focused on the NBA right now,” Lecque said. “I’m focused on first steps first with high school and then next steps with college. I’m getting everything out of the way, graduating and looking to perform my best every game.”

Lecque added that he has no interest in the new G League “select” path that will enable some players fresh out of high school to make $125K.

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:

  • Regardless of his NBA future, Carmelo Anthony has a standing offer from the Puerto Rican national team, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Anthony, who already has three gold medals and a bronze with Team USA, announced his retirement from international basketball after the 2016 Olympics. He hasn’t expressed an interest in playing for Puerto Rico, but federation president Yum Ramos plans to offer an invitation. “With his connection to Puerto Rico, his NBA stardom and his experiences, our fans would love it,” said Mavericks guard J.J. Barea, a star with the Puerto Rican team. “We tried a bunch to get him in the past, but of course nobody blamed him for playing for Team USA. But if he ever wants a chance to represent us, it would be awesome to have him.”
  • David West, who retired from the NBA in August, will be the first chief operating officer for the Historical Basketball League, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. The new college league, which will debut in 2020, intends to compensate and educate players based on their market value.
  • Two former NBA players were involved in a G League trade this week, notes a story on the South Bay Lakers’ website. The Lakers acquired the returning player rights for Joel Bolomboy from the Wisconsin Herd in exchange for similar rights to Vander Blue. Bolomboy played 18 combined games for the Jazz and Bucks, while Blue has 10 games of NBA experience with the Celtics and Lakers.