Carmelo Anthony

Western Notes: Mitchell, Kerr, Anthony, Suns

Donovan Mitchell is “extremely frustrated” with Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert after testing positive for the coronavirus, league sources told Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix. Gobert has apologized for his careless actions earlier in the week, prior to being the first NBA player to test positive. The team has a solid young core but how Mitchell responds when play resumes could make or break their relationship, Mannix continues. The Jazz were rising up the Western Conference standings but if this leads to locker room issues, it could have a major impact on the franchise’s playoff expectations, Mannix adds.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr is upset at himself for not taking the coronavirus more seriously earlier this week and believes social distancing is now paramount, Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports. “I was coaching in a basketball game with 15,000 fans like four nights ago. So I feel like a fool,” Kerr said. “But this goes back to our human condition of denial and vulnerability. But we’ve crossed that threshold now and it’s important that everybody understands what they can do.”
  • Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony said on teammate CJ McCollum‘s podcast that he was “embarrassed” that he was a free agent for so long until Portland signed him, according to Casey Holdahl of the team’s website. “I started questioning myself why. Why? What happened? What did I do? Did I do something wrong? Was it me? Am I good? Can I still play? It was like all of these thoughts started to come in and that stuck with me for about four, five months.”
  • The Suns could have all their injured players back in action if and when the season resumes, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic relays. That group includes forward Kelly Oubre Jr., who underwent knee surgery earlier this month, and Frank Kaminsky III, who missed the last 32 games due to a knee injury. “You try to make a positive out of a negative,” GM James Jones said. “It could end up being a really good thing for us and if that’s the case, I know our guys will be excited. I know our coaches, myself, I’ll be excited to have our team full strength or close to it, contending and playing in some meaningful games.”

Knicks Notes: Rose, Front Office, Anthony, Robinson

Leon Rose will be faced with plenty of important decisions as he takes over as president of basketball operations for the Knicks, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. The first priority will be to sort out the front office. Many of the executives and scouts brought in by general manager Scott Perry and former team president Steve Mills are expected to be replaced, Popper states. Even though Rose has relationships with several of them through his time as an agent, a source tells Popper that a “house-cleaning” could be on the way.

Perry’s future is also in doubt, even though he has been running the team since Mills was fired four weeks ago. Popper notes that Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas has been mentioned as a possible target for the new front office, with the Raptors‘ Bobby Webster and the ClippersMike Winger also among the potential executives of interest. Members of Rose’s CAA agency might be brought in to help with scouting ahead of the draft.

In the coaching search, Popper expects Tom Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy to be among the biggest names under consideration. Interim coach Mike Miller may be offered a chance to remain with the team as an assistant. The Knicks could also be active on the trade market with six free agents who signed last summer holding small guarantees for 2020/21.

There’s more from New York:

  • A report on Wednesday indicated that today would officially be Rose’s first day on the job in New York, but Frank Isola of The Athletic says (via Twitter) that will actually happen on Monday. Isola contends (via Twitter) that Rose will have to get the front office under control, since the “jockeying, maneuvering and backstabbing is at an all-time high.”
  • The hiring of Rose provides a perfect opportunity to bring Carmelo Anthony back to the organization, contends George Willis of The New York Post. Anthony remains popular in New York and could provide a valuable veteran presence for the team’s young core, Willis states. Rose served as Carmelo’s agent at CAA.
  • Although Mitchell Robinson is putting up the best numbers of his career, the Knicks have no plans to move him into the starting lineup, relays Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Robinson is averaging 14.0 PPG and shooting 81% over his last seven games. Still, Miller wants to keep him in a reserve role behind Taj GibsonTaj has gotten us off to great starts,” Miller said. “Sometimes it’s a matchup… But for the most part it’s because Mitchell is so effective in the role that he’s playing. We just haven’t been put in a situation where we think it’s time to change it.”
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic examines the Knicks’ unusual philosophy on player development and questions whether it’s wise to continue, considering the results.

Knicks Notes: Rose, Carmelo, Knox, Harkless

Carmelo Anthony, a longtime client of Leon Rose, thinks the Knicks are in good hands with the veteran CAA agent set to take over their basketball operations department, telling Al Iannazzone of Newsday that it’s “an exciting time” for the team.

“I love it,” Anthony said of Rose’s transition from player agent to team executive. “I didn’t understand it at first because it happened so fast. When you’re somebody in that position, that’s the top of the mountain for you. That’s becoming the trend now in the NBA. I think it’s a great situation for him.”

Julius Randle, meanwhile, isn’t specifically a Rose client, but is also represented by CAA and is familiar with the Knicks’ incoming president of basketball operations. Like Anthony, he’s optimistic about what Rose can bring to the franchise, as he tells Marc Berman of The New York Post.

“Leon’s is a well-respected agent who’s done a lot of great things representing players in his career,” Randle said. “I haven’t heard one bad thing about him. My personal relationship with him has always been very respectful. … Great guy, great family guy and well-respected agent. Straight-up guy. He’s a good dude.”

Here’s more on the Knicks and Rose, who is reportedly on track to officially start his new job on Sunday:

  • Despite speculation that Rose’s presence in New York’s front office creates a path for Anthony to eventually finish his career with the Knicks, Carmelo tells Iannazzone that he hasn’t discussed that possibility at all with Rose and isn’t sure a reunion is in the cards. “It’s hard to say because I don’t know what that situation is going to be,” Anthony said. “The easiest thing to say is, ‘His agent is there, he’s coming back.’ Until I sit down and see the whole plan, I don’t know.”
  • Establishing an effective player development program in New York will be one of Rose’s primary goals in his new role, says George Willis of The New York Post.
  • Kevin Knox had one of his worst games of the season on Thursday, scoring a single point in eight minutes of action, going 0-of-3 from the floor and 1-of-4 from the line. Still, the second-year forward is trying to remain positive, as Marc Berman of The New York Post writes.
  • Ian Begley of SNY.tv hears that teams in touch with the Knicks before the trade deadline came away with the impression that New York would be “very hesitant” to trade Knox unless the return was significant. It’s not clear if Knox will continued to be valued so highly by the new management group.
  • Asked on Thursday whether it has been hard to go from a contender (the Clippers) to one of the NBA’s worst teams, Maurice Harkless simply replied, “Yeah” (video link via SNY.tv). While Harkless appears frustrated by the Knicks’ six-game losing streak, a report last week indicated that the veteran forward and the team have no plans for a buyout.

Northwest Notes: Grant, Millsap, Anthony, Conley, Napier

What the Nuggets decide to do with Jerami Grant and Paul Millsap provides an intriguing subplot to the offseason, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes. Millsap will be an unrestricted free agent and Grant can join him on the market by declining his $9.35MM option.  Grant is undersized at the power forward spot but brings more agility and shot blocking to the four spot. The Nuggets will probably try to re-sign Grant but could also bring back Millsap if he’s willing to meet their price, Singer adds.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony is still too distraught over Kobe Bryant’s passing to take the court, especially at the Staples Center. Anthony will sit out the Portland-Los Angeles Lakers game on Friday, Stadium’s Shams Charania tweets, as he continues to grieve over the loss of his close friend.
  • The Jazz are close to returning point guard Mike Conley to the starting lineup, according to Charania. Conley has come off the bench in six games since he recovered from an aggravated hamstring strain. Utah wants Conley to reestablish chemistry with the other starters, most notably backcourt partner Donovan Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert, Charania adds.
  • The lack of a good plan regarding their point guard rotation has been the Timberwolves’ biggest issue, Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune opines. Jeff Teague wasn’t a good fit prior to being traded to Atlanta because Minnesota needed a floor leader adept at pushing the tempo. Shabazz Napier has been a good pickup but he’s probably best suited for a 15-20 minute backup role while Jordan McLaughlin is more of an emergency backup than a second-unit player, Rand adds.

Carmelo Anthony: Portland Is “Where I Want To Retire”

Carmelo Anthony only needed a couple of months with the Trail Blazers to decide that he wants to finish his career in Portland, writes Kerry Eggers of The Portland Tribune.

The Blazers gave Anthony a chance to re-establish himself in the NBA after a year out of the league. He quickly proved he has plenty of game left, averaging 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds in 32 games since joining the team in November.

“I feel like this is the place for me to end my career,” Anthony said. “It could have happened earlier, but it didn’t. Now, where I’m at in my life and my career — this is where I want to retire.”

Anthony and the Blazers will have to decide this summer how long they want their arrangement to be. He is playing on a veteran’s minimum contract that expires at the end of the season. Portland will have some cap room to work with, and Anthony, who turns 36 in May, has to determine how much longer he can keep playing.

His addition has been one of the few bright spots for a team that is tied for 10th in the West with a 20-27 record after reaching the conference finals last season. The Blazers weren’t the first team to express interest in Anthony, but they were the first to offer the type of situation he was looking for. Anthony had a long phone conversation with coach Terry Stotts before agreeing to sign.

“We were both very open and honest,” Anthony said. “I was candid with him about how I was feeling. He was very transparent with what he wanted from me. The conversation was different than it had been (with other teams). I felt welcomed and wanted as opposed to me pitching myself to somebody. When you feel that, it’s hard to turn that down.”

Anthony sometimes thought his NBA career might be over during the long layoff and said he reached a point where he was “going to accept whatever was going to happen.” However, he never stopped training and kept himself mentally and physically ready in case the right opportunity came along. He credits that preparation for helping him to succeed in Portland.

Stotts has been thrilled by what Anthony has been able to provide for the Blazers, who were short-handed on the front line after Zach Collins hurt his shoulder in early November and joined Jusuf Nurkic on the injured list.

“When he came in (to join the team), you don’t know what to expect, whether he feels like he has something to prove,” Stotts said. “But he fit in right away. He has taken (scoring) opportunities that are there, he’s a great teammate, he passes when we need him to. He has done everything we’ve asked.”

More Reactions To Kobe Bryant’s Death

Despite some speculation that Sunday night’s games might be cancelled in the wake of Kobe Bryant‘s death, the NBA moved forward with those contests. Moments of silence were held before the games, eight- and 24-second violations were committed in Bryant’s honor, and many players admitted to being preoccupied with thoughts of the longtime Lakers star.

Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony, who played on multiple Team USA squads with Bryant, said that basketball “was the furthest thing on my mind,” but that he believed Kobe would have wanted him to play, per Jason Quick of The Athletic.

“This probably was the hardest game I ever had to play,” Anthony said after scoring 14 points in the Blazers’ home win over Indiana. “Just uh … I don’t know … whoooo. It was tough. It was tough.”

Kyrie Irving, who was held out of Sunday’s Nets contest in New York for “personal reasons,” was said to be devastated by the death of Bryant, who had been his idol growing up, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details. According to Lewis, Irving left the arena altogether after hearing the news.

“I was with him. I’ll keep [the scene] private, but they were very close,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said of Irving. “Tough, tough, tough, tough times.”

There were “heavy hearts” in the other Madison Square Garden locker room as well, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, who suggests that many Knicks players didn’t feel like going forward with the game.

“Somebody said to me earlier, ‘Superman is not supposed to die,'” Knicks forward Marcus Morris said. “And to us, he was Superman. I just feel sorry for his family. And the other passengers on there, I feel sorry for their families. It’s just a tough day.”

Blake Murphy of The Athletic provides a look at the Spurs and Raptors players who were heartbroken by the news, while Chris Kirschner of The Athletic looks at the reaction of Hawks guard Trae Young, who received a congratulatory FaceTime call from Kobe and his daughter Gianna after he was named an All-Star starter. Young, who began the game wearing a No. 8 jersey, became the first player to record a 45-point double double on fewer than 25 field goal attempts since Bryant did it in 2006.

Here’s more:

  • According to a report from CBS Los Angeles, the nine people who were killed in Sunday’s helicopter crash have all been identified. Several of those victims have since been profiled by various outlets, with Alden Gonzalez of ESPN discussing Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, Scott Gleeson of USA Today writing about girls basketball coach Christina Mauser, and Molly Knight of The Athletic remembering Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Gigi Bryant.
  • More details are emerging on the circumstances surrounding Sunday’s crash, according to Paula Lavigne of ESPN, who writes that the Los Angeles Police Department had grounded its helicopters on Sunday morning due to foggy conditions. It remains to be seen whether those visibility issues were the reason for the crash, and the full investigation may take weeks, writes Mark Medina of USA Today.
  • Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times explore how Lakers players reacted to the death of the franchise legend.
  • Howard Beck of Bleacher Report, who was one of a handful of full-time Lakers beat writers during Kobe’s early years, examines how Bryant evolved into an NBA icon.
  • The list of current players who looked up to Bryant and counted on him for advice is long, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic, who notes that LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard were among the superstars who fit that bill.
  • An ESPN report details the worldwide impact of Bryant’s death, sharing reactions from around Europe and Asia.

Southwest Notes: Anthony, Zion, Porzingis, Brooks

Carmelo Anthony is downplaying tonight’s return to Houston for the first time since last year’s failed experiment, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Anthony signed with the Rockets last summer, but only played 10 games before being pulled from the rotation. He remained on the roster but away from the team for about two months before being traded to Chicago in January.

Although GM Daryl Morey made several attempts over the years to acquire Anthony, once the Rockets landed him they found his mid-range game wasn’t compatible with their preferred offense.

“I honestly don’t have any feelings about going back,” Anthony said. “I was only there a couple weeks. I don’t really have any type of feelings going back.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Now that No. 1 pick Zion Williamson has a target date for his NBA debut, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer examines how New Orleans will use him during the second half of the season. Despite a dismal start, the Pelicans entered the night just four games out of a playoff spot, and O’Connor notes that 14 of their final 15 games will be against teams with losing records. “I’ve heard the narrative that he shouldn’t play at all, but that would be absurd from where he is,” head of basketball operations David Griffin said. “He’s worked this hard because he intends to play basketball and he wants to lead his guys. He’s going to be an alpha as a vocal presence; you can’t be that when you’re not playing basketball.”
  • After initially being listed as available, Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis was a late scratch for tonight’s game at Sacramento, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. It marks the ninth straight game that Porzingis has missed because of soreness in his right knee, combined with an illness that prevented him from working out for a few days. The team is “playing it safe,” MacMahon adds (Twitter link). Dallas is 4-4 so far without him.
  • Dillon Brooks met the starter criteria by starting his 41st game of the season for the Grizzlies last night, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. As a result, his qualifying offer will increase from $2MM to $3.1MM, which will also be the amount of his free agent cap hold.

Carmelo Anthony Talks NBA Return, Playing Close To Home

After a near-yearlong absence from the NBA, Carmelo Anthony has carved out a role with the Trail Blazers and been one of the best stories of the season’s first half. However, it was not as smooth sailing in the 10 months leading up to his return.

Anthony, who grew up in Baltimore for most of his childhood, returned to Maryland to face the Wizards on Friday. In a wide-ranging discussion with Michael Lee of The Athletic, Anthony discussed how he mentally adjusted to not being in the NBA, considering playing close to home, and whether or not his NBA return will continue beyond the current season.

Check out some highlights from the conversation:

On how Anthony came to terms with not being on an NBA roster:

“Mentally, I had to like really detach myself from everything. From the actual game. I had to just say, ‘You know what? I’ve got to get away from it in order for me to start feeling good about myself otherwise.’ Because it started to just bog me down. Early on, I just kept asking, ‘Why me?’ And I just felt myself falling into those days where I’m searching for why. I’m searching for why. I wanted to know why. Then after a while, I was, ‘You know, I’m going to let it go, detach myself from the game and whatever happens is going to happen. I control my own destiny.’ ”

On considering joining the Wizards and playing close to home in Maryland:

“In the midst of everything that was over the past year, it was like, ‘Why not try to go play with them?’ Why not go close to home?’ You know, all that stuff came into play. That was kind of the only time I thought about it. If they called, I was ready. Even at that point and time, it was about me getting back in the game. If a team was willing to give me an opportunity, it’s something I would’ve have looked at.”

On appreciating the reaction he has received around the NBA since returning:

“I’ve been on the other side of that, too, where it’s not cheers. It’s boos.  I appreciate it. I accept that. I cherish that. I take in these moments. Try to appreciate all of these moments. Going to all of these arenas. I think for the most part, it’s deeper than basketball, when it comes to me and my fan base, my support system.”

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Robinson, Bullock, Predictions

Carmelo Anthony received a hero’s welcome as he returned to Madison Square Garden with the Trail Blazers last night, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Anthony was cheered during pre-game introductions and every time he touched the ball. The cheers grew even louder when he scored, as the fans offered their thanks for his six and a half years of service to the Knicks.

“The love was definitely felt tonight,” Anthony said. “From the fans that were here, just the city as a whole, just being back. I think that feeling is kind of hard to explain. But for me to kind of get that ovation, I think I’ve always had the love from the city like that. But to be back in this building where I spent so many years, that love felt extremely good tonight.”

It was only Anthony’s second trip back to Garden since being traded in 2017, and he celebrated with a season-high 26 points. He admitted to reporters that he’d like to see the Knicks retire his number some day.

“I did glance up at the rafters today during the national anthem,” Anthony said. “You know, they say in life you’ve got to envision, so I was envisioning seeing Anthony hanging up there.”

There’s more from New York this morning:

  • The difference in the fan reactions to Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis may have something to do with the return the Knicks got for each player, suggests Marc Berman of The New York Post. While the Porzingis deal brought back Dennis Smith Jr. and a ton of cap room that failed to deliver a star, the package for Anthony included a second-round pick that turned into Mitchell Robinson. The second-year center delivered one of his best performances Wednesday, making all 11 of his shots from the field in a 22-point, eight-rebound night. “I honestly think he’s getting better and better and better,” Anthony said of Robinson. “I don’t really think he understands how good he is or how good he can be and his ceiling. The way he plays is perfect for the way the Knicks play.”
  • Reggie Bullock made his Knicks debut last night, giving the team five healthy shooting guards for the first time this season, Berman notes in a separate story. Playing his first game since spinal fusion surgery in July, Bullock scored 11 points in 15 minutes as Wayne Ellington and Allonzo Trier both remained on the bench.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic offers several Knicks predictions for 2020, including no first-round pick in exchange for Marcus Morris, roster moves to get rid of Ellington and Bobby Portis by the end of February, and no Mark Jackson or Masai Ujiri in the team’s future.

Injury Updates: Anthony, Wagner, MCW, Hayward

Carmelo Anthony doesn’t believe a left knee contusion he suffered Friday night will be a long-term concern, writes Jamie Goldberg of The Oregonian. Anthony, who was held out of Saturday’s game, asked to be removed from Friday’s contest against Orlando in the second quarter after banging knees with another player. He remained in the locker room to get treatment on the injury.

“I didn’t want to take the chance of going out there,” the Trail Blazers‘ forward explained afterward. “We had it rolling. The guys had it rolling. We set the tone early in the game.”

Anthony, 35, has been productive since returning to the NBA last month after a year away from the game. He has averaged 16.0 points and 6.2 rebounds through 15 games and has given Portland another reliable scorer to go along with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

There’s more injury news from around the league:

  • The Wizards will be without Moritz Wagner for at least a week because of an ankle injury, relays Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). Coach Scott Brooks provided an update last night, telling reporters that Wagner can’t do anything basketball-related right now.
  • Michael Carter-Williams has been diagnosed with an AC joint sprain in his left shoulder, the Magic announced on Twitter. He has been ruled out of tomorrow’s game, and his return date will depend on how the injury responds to treatment. The veteran guard had his arm in a sling after being hit with a hard pick Friday night (Twitter link from Josh Robbins of The Athletic).
  • Gordon Hayward will miss his third straight game today with soreness in his left foot, according to a tweet from the Celtics. An MRI taken this week revealed no structural damage. Hayward was sidelined for about a month with a fractured bone in his left hand and has been limited to 11 games this season.
  • The Heat have already ruled Justise Winslow out for tomorrow’s game, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Winslow hasn’t played since December 4 because of a lower back strain.