Carmelo Anthony

Knicks Rumors: Mills, Perry, Olshey, Coaches

Several members of the Knicks organization said this week that they expect president Steve Mills to be replaced at season’s end, or even earlier, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

The report is similar to one issued by Frank Isola of The Athletic last week. Isola suggested that Mills will be reassigned within the organization or let go altogether, but Begley hears from sources that the situation remains fluid. If the Knicks can turn things around this season, it may improve the odds that Mills sticks around, particularly since he still has years left on his contract beyond 2019/20, Begley writes.

The future of general manager Scott Perry is thought to be tied to Mills’ future to some degree, but not entirely. If Mills is dismissed during the season, the belief is that Perry would take over as the head of basketball operations on an interim basis, per Begley.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks’ vision for their next head coach is someone who has the “stature and ability” to have success in the New York market, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Team officials want someone who can lean on prior success and experience, which explains why high-profile executives like Masai Ujiri and Sam Presti have been cited as potential targets.
  • Marc Berman of The New York Post examines whether Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey might be another target for the Knicks, noting that the Blazers’ exec has strong New York roots. Olshey is happy in Portland, but a person close to him tells Berman that it may not be his last stop. “He’s got full autonomy here to run things as he sees fit and he’s pretty happy with his salary, I think,” that NBA official said. “He’s never going to be a huge fan of retiring in Portland as a city, so maybe this isn’t his final destination. But he’s not a big media guy even if he’s a big-city guy in some ways.”
  • According to Shams Charania, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, and Tom Thibodeau are among the names on the Knicks’ current head coaching wish list. Ian Begley agrees that Jackson has support within the franchise, adding that Jason Kidd is someone else who has organizational support.
  • Carmelo Anthony, who spent seven-and-a-half seasons with the Knicks, is holding out hope that the team will retire his number, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “I think anybody would want that, if you have the opportunity to get that,” Anthony said. “We’ll see what happens when that time comes. Hopefully, they hang No. 7 up there somewhere. We’ll see what happens.”

And-Ones: Melo, Morris, Pistons, Holmes

Carmelo Anthony suited up against the Knicks for the first time as a member of the Trail Blazers tonight and Marcus Morris was excited for the event.

“Man, I enjoy going against ‘Melo,” Morris said prior to the game (via Steve Popper of Newsday). “Growing up he always was my favorite player. Even when I came into the draft, I was like, yeah, I’m going to be like ‘Melo. You know what I’m saying? Over the years it’s been really good to go against him. I watched a lot of film on him.

“’Melo’s been one of the best scorers in this league for a long time. He’s still doing it. I’m very happy for him, very impressed that he could come from not playing for a while and make a great impact like he has.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • In the same piece, Morris spoke about how he couldn’t understand how Anthony went so long without a team. “That’s not disrespecting nobody, but there’s guys in this league that can’t really tie ‘Melo’s shoes — now. So for sure, he should have been in the league. But it always comes full circle and he’s a real one. I always say the real never lose, so he’s back and he’s doing what he did.”
  • Pistons draft-and-stash prospect Deividas Sirvydis is impressing overseas, as international journalist Donatas Urbonas tweets. Sirvydis, the No. 37 overall pick in the 2019 draft, has yet to sign his first NBA contract as he continues to play in Lithuania for now.
  • Everything is coming together for Richaun Holmes in Sacramento, Jordan Ramirez of NBA.com writes. Holmes, who signed with the Kings this offseason, began the season on the bench but his strong play has made him one of the team’s most reliable players in the starting rotation.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Culver, Gallinari, ‘Melo

Despite a middling start to the NBA season, the Jazz remain steadfast in their belief that they are championship contenders. Utah is currently 13-10 and seeded at No. 6 in the tough Western Conference. The Athletic’s Michael Lee appraised Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley‘s feelings about the team’s underwhelming start to the season.

Conley exuded confidence, saying, “It’s great to have pressure. Great to have expectations.” Though frustrated with a recent 1-4 road swoon for the Jazz, Mitchell stressed patience. “We’re all making adjustments,” he said. “We’re all finding ways to get to know each other. And when you’ve got guys who are unselfish, it makes it easier.”

Here’s more from out of the Northwest:

  • Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune assessed rookie shooting guard Jarrett Culver‘s uneven start for the Timberwolves. Culver is shooting 36.9% from the field, 25.9% from three-point range, and just 43.5% from the free throw line. At 10-11, Minnesota harbors legitimate playoff aspirations in the West, where the team is currently seeded seventh. Improvement from Culver could make a significant difference in a playoff push, and he remains optimistic that his shooting would stabilize. “I’ve put in a lot of work,” Culver said, “so I trust it and I know it’s going to fall.”
  • Thunder head coach Billy Donovan spoke with reporters about the likelihood of a Danilo Gallinari trade this season. “I’ve had no conversations with anybody about that,” Donovan said, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “My feeling has always been that all these guys that are here, that they’ll be here… If you’re focused on things that are out of your control, you’re not gonna necessarily be able to do anything well.” A free agent in 2020, Gallinari is a versatile stretch forward on the last season of a three-year, $64.8MM contract.
  • New Trail Blazers starting power forward Carmelo Anthony spoke with reporters after a Tuesday shootaround at the Staples Center. ESPN’s Baxter Holmes reports that Anthony was enthused about his fit with Portland, and the early returns have backed up Anthony’s sentiments. “Man, when you feel wanted,” Anthony said, “it settles a lot of things.”

Trail Blazers To Fully Guarantee Anthony’s Contract

Fresh off his first Player of the Week award since 2014, Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony will have his partially guaranteed veteran’s minimum contract with the team become fully guaranteed. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the news.

The 35 year-old Anthony will earn the full prorated veteran’s minimum of $2.15MM for the 2019/20 season. Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter) that Portland, a taxpaying team this season, will only pay $1.36MM of the $2.15MM owed. The NBA will reimburse the Blazers for the remaining balance of that sum. With $148MM committed in salaries, the Blazers have the highest payroll for 2019/20.

After an uncomfortable 10 games with the Rockets as a bench scorer last season, Anthony was offloaded by Houston to the Bulls who subsequently waived him. The 10-time All-Star would not see hardwood action again until being conscripted as an emergency front court addition for the injury-plagued Blazers, one year and 11 days after his last NBA game.

Portland had until January 7 to fully guarantee the deal, but Anthony’s terrific recent play at a position of need made this a no-brainer for Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey and the rest of the Blazers’ front office. Blazers head coach Terry Stotts commended Anthony on ESPN Radio’s Spain and Company, according to Wojnarowski’s report: “He’s been the breath of fresh air for us that we needed.”

In eight games as the Blazers’ starting power forward, Anthony is averaging 16.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in 31 minutes a night. He is shooting a stellar 44.8% from the floor, including 38.7% from deep on 3.9 attempts per game. Portland is 4-4 since enlisting ‘Melo.

Anthony’s comeback has not gone unnoticed around the NBA. His fellow 2003 draftee, LeBron James (taken No. 1 to Melo’s No. 3 selection), commented to The Athletic’s Bill Oram and Jason Quick that Anthony’s resilient performance in Portland has been a beautiful thing. Beautiful thing. Only the strong survive.”

Carmelo Anthony Was Hoping For Offer From Lakers

Carmelo Anthony has revived his career with the Trail Blazers, but he told reporters in Los Angeles last night that he had been hoping to join his close friend LeBron James with the Lakers, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Anthony got a warm reception from the crowd during his first visit to L.A. since his 12-month exile from the league. There was speculation this summer that the Lakers might be the next team to give Anthony a chance.

“There were a lot of teams that I thought I was going to be on,” Anthony said. “As far as LeBron goes, it’s something we’ve talked about since we were in high school. It wasn’t in his power. … I would’ve never put him in that position because a lot of times it’s deeper than that, and I started understanding the business of basketball.”

The Clippers held Anthony to his worst game since he returned, limiting him to nine points on a 2-of-9 shooting night. Afterward, Paul George, who was Anthony’s teammate for one season in Oklahoma City, urged critics to back off and let Anthony show what he can still do.

“I’m not going to be happy with [the criticism], with how they tried to shoot him down when he first started,” George said. “I am not going to be happy now that he’s playing well and they want to be on his side. He is going to have a long season. Let him play. Let him hoop. Say what you want when he’s finished, but let him hoop. It’s great that he’s getting that recognition now. When it is all said and done — people, let him play and let him hoop. It’s tough regardless when he came back; he had been out over a year, so there’s going to be some ups and downs. But let Melo hoop.”

George is the latest in a series of high-profile players to speak out for Anthony. Teammate Kawhi Leonard said Sunday that he believes Anthony was treated unfairly and never should have been away from the league for so long.

“It means a lot,” Anthony said of the support from his peers. “But also, the real ones know what’s going on. It’s not them. I never had issues with any of my colleagues saying anything about me. It’s the narratives that surround the game of basketball, the opinions that everybody has. All of these cameras have their opinion. So it’s those things that come into play, which can easily allow somebody to get down on themselves and want to give up and want to not be motivated. I was against all of that. I stayed with it. I stayed motivated. I pushed myself.”

Carmelo Anthony Was Prepared To Retire Before Portland Offer Arrived

Carmelo Anthony had spent over a year without a basketball team before the Trail Blazers gave him a call. The 10-time All-Star had been preparing himself for the retirement up until that point, as he told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols (link via Nick Friedell of ESPN.com).

“I was preparin’ myself,” Anthony said of the idea of having played his last NBA game. “And I had prepared myself to kinda just walk away from the game — if the right situation didn’t come about.”

Still, Anthony always knew that he could still contribute in the league. He simply needed the right opportunity.

“So if I were just to go to a team and to a situation just to be on the team and it didn’t work out, it was gonna come back on me anyway. Like, the blame is gonna be on me anyway. So a situation like Portland, where I could just come in and just play my game and have a group of guys that really want me, and the organization that want me,” Anthony explained.

“There’s no better feelin’ than when you feel wanted. And I think that’s what kinda keeps me motivated and understandin’, like, this situation is — it is and was the best situation for me.”

Melo was named Western Conference player of the week on Monday. He’s averaging 17.7 points per game and Portland is 3-3 since Anthony arrived.

I feel good,” Anthony said. “Just because I’m 35 years old and I’m supposed to be, you know, the book says you’re supposed to be about to retire around this time? Like — like, no, I’ve always been against all odds. … I just had a year off. … I had a year off restin’ my body.

“The most important part about that is I rested my mind right. I got my mind right. And I don’t think people understand how strong that is. When you’re able to get your mind right, everything else flows.”

Carmelo Anthony’s Trainer Talks Adjustment To Current NBA

After the Trail Blazers inked Carmelo Anthony to a non-guaranteed deal, his year-long absence from the NBA ended but it remained to be seen what he had left. The early results have been positive as Anthony has shown flashes of the ability that made him a likely Hall-of-Famer.

Anthony, 35, is averaging 17.7 PPG and 6.0 RPG through six games for Portland with the team going 3-3 during that stretch. The 10-time All-Star has had some strong performances, including a 25-point outing against the Bulls on Monday and 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting versus the Thunder on Wednesday.

It was a tumultuous journey for Anthony before his return, as his trainer Alex Bazzell detailed to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Bazzell spoke to Anthony’s in-game adjustments on both sides of the ball and the perception higher-ups had of his value versus the distraction he might be.

Check out some highlights:

Bazzell on Anthony changing his playing style:

“He’s gone 95% of his career where he’s been able to catch the ball, turn, face, have time. He’s never really been the guy that’s setting a ton of ball screens and popping and making quick decisions. So it’s new for him. But it’s something he worked extremely hard on. He understands. He’s not the type of guy who is bullheaded the way people want to portray him. He understands he has to adjust his game for the new style and he’s got to make some sacrifices to be on a team and contribute the way a team wants him to and he wants to.”

On his conversations with higher-ups about Anthony’s value:

“I had talked to a couple assistant GMs and GMs and the whole thing was that it wasn’t about his play. It wasn’t even about him personally. But it was about the media attention that was going to follow him, like the questions that were going to come every day: Is he happy? Is he getting enough shots? Is he good in the role he’s in? So a lot of teams that, not to his fault, they just thought it was too much of a media distraction to have to deal with early in the season. I think the whole mystique of ‘Melo hurt him.”

On how Anthony felt after his return to the NBA:

“We talked a little bit after the game. He’s actually pretty happy with how it went. There’s obviously a lot of emotion involved, a lot of expectations when you have so many people vouch on your behalf on social media and what’s been going on for the last year. You almost feel a need to live up to those expectations right off the bat. It’s just like anything else. All these dudes are human. They need time to really get acclimated, get comfortable.”

Carmelo: Blazers’ Stint Not “Farewell Tour”

Carmelo Anthony has made an impact since joining the Trail Blazers and he insists his latest return to the NBA isn’t a farewell tour, as he told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Anthony signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with Portland this month after starting power forward Zach Collins suffered a major shoulder injury. Anthony, 35, is averaging 16.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 1.8 APG in his four games with the Blazers. He scored 25 points in a win over Chicago on Monday.

Anthony’s stint with Houston last season lasted just 10 games. He and his representatives had been lobbying to get him back in the league this season before the Portland opportunity came along. He plans to play beyond this season, though he contemplated retiring when his phone didn’t ring.

“This ain’t a damn farewell tour,” Anthony told Charania. “My love for the game don’t stop. I don’t know where this ‘farewell tour’ thing came from. I’ve never talked about a farewell tour. I know what I can do and I believe in myself. When a farewell tour comes, it comes. That’s not something I think about. I’m not thinking about retiring right now. I had (thought about it) during this past stretch over the summer. But ain’t no retiring in my mind. I believe in what I have left.”

Anthony said he knew that the Blazers’ interest was serious when some of their players contacted him, including star Damian Lillard.

“It really wasn’t any conversations. I was continuing to go on with life and hanging with my (family) and doing my other business ventures. Then Dame called me. CJ (McCollum) called me. Zach called me,” he said. “Everybody, a lot of people texted me and called me. But it had to be something that I felt comfortable with and that they felt comfortable with. We got on the phone, got comfortable and went from there.”

Anthony said his stint with the Blazers will only get better with time.

“I’ve had (four) games with these guys. We haven’t had no practices yet, no time to adjust, just straight on-court basketball and going off of talent and skill,” he said. “I’m just walking in the gym and thrown into the fire. Until we have time to practice, get in the gym and get together and get back in Portland, nothing is going to be determined for us.”

Northwest Notes: Anthony, Teague, Nader, Thunder

Monday marked Carmelo Anthony‘s best game since returning to the NBA, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Anthony led all scorers with 25 points in 31 minutes as the Trail Blazers won in Chicago. He got a nice reception from Bulls fans and drew accolades from players who are happy to see him back in the league.

“I always advocated for him to be in the NBA,” Zach LaVine said. “… He’s better than a lot of people in the NBA, and he’s still getting it done. I think it was just bigger than that, and I’m glad to see him back here. Just not tonight.”

The performance raised questions about whether the Bulls should have given Anthony an opportunity when they had the chance. After the Rockets exiled him last season, they shipped him to Chicago in January in a cost-saving move. The Bulls waived him 10 days later. Anthony might have been able to revive his career sooner in the Windy City, but as he said after last night’s game, “They didn’t ask.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Jeff Teague‘s acceptance of a bench role in Minnesota is a rare move for a player in the final year of his contract, notes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Teague met with coach Ryan Saunders over the weekend before the change was finalized, sources tell Krawczynski. Rookie Jarrett Culver started alongside Andrew Wiggins last night and helped the Timberwolves win in Atlanta. Wiggins has taken on more of the playmaking duties this year, leaving Teague without a defined role in the offense. With a $19MM expiring contract, Teague may draw some interest on the trade market before the February 7 deadline.
  • Abdel Nader can expect more playing time for the Thunder with Hamidou Diallo sidelined with an elbow injury, states Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The third-year guard lives 15 minutes away from the team’s practice facility and sometimes works on his game until 3 a.m. “I’m a little bit crazy when it comes to the work I’ve gotta put in,” Nader said. “I wanna make sure my game feels tight — my shot, my handle, everything. That’s how I feel like I get better.”
  • Paul George and Russell Westbrook, who were the Thunder’s stars last year, had their first meeting of the season Friday when the Clippers hosted the Rockets and both have landed in better situations, contends Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.

Carmelo Anthony Talks About NBA Return

Carmelo Anthony‘s first NBA game in 12 months wasn’t remarkable, but being back on the court was satisfying enough for the future Hall of Famer. Anthony scored 10 points and made just four of 14 shots in a loss at New Orleans, but he showed he can still contribute to an NBA team after a year in exile.

Anthony’s long wait to return to the league ended last week when he got an offer to sign a non-guaranteed deal with Portland. It gave Anthony a shot at redemption after brief, disappointing stays with the Thunder and Rockets.

“The greatest feeling of all was to feel wanted by a group of guys who believe in me and my talent and what I can bring to the game,” Anthony said after Tuesday’s contest. “It wasn’t just the players. It was the coaching staff. They really showed a strong level of belief in me and what I can still do.” (Twitter link from Joe Freeman of The Oregonian).

Anthony’s return wasn’t just an important moment for him, notes Jason Quick of The Athletic. Many of his peers also wanted to be part of the experience. Pelicans guard Josh Hart took a picture as Anthony warmed up. Ex-players Nick Van Exel and Antonio Daniels captured it on video. Social media was filled with comments from players and celebrities welcoming Anthony back to the league.

“I think the expression is ‘game recognizes game,’” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of the attention.

Quick adds that many players are dismayed about the way Anthony’s career has fizzled in his later years. While other stars get farewell tours, Anthony was scapegoated for a bad situation in New York, seemed to be a poor fit in Oklahoma City, then was told to leave the team after 10 games in Houston. Some believe he was blackballed around the league, and they want him to enjoy a more gracious farewell from the game.

“I feel like it’s been an unfair shake towards him,” new teammate Rodney Hood said. “Everybody knows how talented he is. But you know how it is in this league; once there is a narrative about a guy, it sticks with you and follows you. The fact that he got waived was crazy to me, and that nobody picked him up earlier than now is crazy as well. I’ve always advocated for his return.”

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni insists Anthony doesn’t deserve to be blamed for what happened in Houston. He said last year’s team, which stumbled out of the gate, wasn’t “structurally ready” to play and had problems that extended far beyond Anthony.

“It wasn’t his fault,” D’Antoni said. “It was everybody. We just got off to a slow start and wanted to go a little different route. He did everything we asked, and he was good when he was here. I hope it works (in Portland). He’s a leader. There was nothing at all, not even a hint of him not doing what we asked or trying, or all of that. It just, for us, for whatever reason, it just wasn’t a good fit at that time.”

Anthony got a few calls from interested teams after the Rockets cut ties with him last November, but no one ever came close to an offer, according to Quick. He eventually told agent Leon Rose not to contact him unless a deal was near completion.

Anthony remained on the Rockets’ roster, although inactive, for two months. In a move to clear cap room, Houston sent him to the Bulls in January, along with enough cash to cover his salary. Ten days later, Chicago placed him on waivers.

Blazers star Damian Lillard, who tried to recruit Anthony to Portland in the summer of 2017, was shocked that he spent a whole year out of the NBA.

“It wasn’t like Melo did something crazy to get kicked out of the league,” Lillard said. “A player of his caliber, without a reputation for doing wild stuff, and there’s not a real reason for him not to get an opportunity? It was weird. And I think that’s why so many people are in support of him, because they respect him, they are a fan of him, and they know he can still play.”