Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony Talks Phil Jackson, Trade, OKC

In advance of a Thursday night matchup against his old team, Carmelo Anthony spoke this week about the trade that sent him from the Thunder to the Knicks, with both Marc Stein of The New York Times and Fred Kerber of The New York Post passing along the forward’s thoughts. While Anthony says he holds “no grudge” against the Knicks, he acknowledges he wasn’t thrilled with the way Phil Jackson handled his situation earlier this year, calling Jackson’s behavior “hurtful.”

“I was always … going to put my trust in Phil,” Anthony said, per Kerber. “That diminished after a while. I’m out here doing everything I can, and I’m still getting stabbed in the back. I’m not trusting in that anymore. I’m trusting in these guys (teammates) that are out here. Whoever’s out here, this is who I’m dealing with.”

As Anthony explains to Stein, he had a nagging sense that Jackson was trying to force him out of New York, which dampened his devotion to the Knicks. Jackson – who was willing “to trade me for a bag of chips,” according to Carmelo – was eventually ousted as the club’s president of basketball operations. At that point, the Knicks went, in Anthony’s words, “from asking for peanuts to asking for steak” in trade talks.

With Jackson gone and Steve Mills and Scott Perry taking a harder line in trade negotiations, the odds of a deal with the Rockets declined. Still, Anthony felt that bridges had been burned in New York, and remained committed to finding a trade that worked.

“I think at that point it was too far gone,” Anthony said. “I already had in my mind that I wanted to win, that I wanted to move on. We didn’t think it would take as long as it did, but my mind was already made up.”

As for his eventual destination, Anthony admits to Stein that his 10-year-old son Kiran was among those who sold him on Oklahoma City as his new NBA home.

“My son has a basketball mind,” Anthony said. “So I will always throw little topics at him. He was like, ‘Dad, where you getting traded to?’ I told him, ‘I don’t know, where do you think I should go?’ He said: ‘You really want me to give you my opinion? I think you should go to OKC.'”

Northwest Notes: Thunder, Harris, Dudley

The Thunder have three players who’ve grown used to getting the final shot over the course of long, impressive careers. Now, Royce Young of ESPN writes, they’ll have to figure out who gets the ball when the game is on the line.

While Russell Westbrook was the painfully obvious choice last season, he’s joined on the Thunder by Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. Both Anthony and George have traditionally been the focal point of their teams’ offenses and were often the go-to options down the stretch, the latter even going so far as to lambaste former teammate C.J. Miles for taking a last-second shot in the playoffs last spring.

Carmelo’s been a closeout guy the places he’s been, the same thing with Paul. But any time you have a team you have to do it by finding the open man,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “Clearly for us last year, somebody creating and generating a shot for himself or someone else, it was Russell. But obviously now with Carmelo and Paul being here, I think it’s about making the right play and right decision.

One knock on the Thunder in the past has been their reliance on isolation basketball when the game is on the long. Considering the roster balance last season, that style of play was more or less expected. With a number of legitimate offensive threats in 2017/18, however, the expectations for ball movement – and making sound decisions – should rise.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Details on Gary Harris‘ contract have emerged, Bobby Marks of ESPN writes. The cap hit for the Nuggets guard in 2018/19 will be $16.5MM and that mark will rise annually until the deal terminates at $20.5MM in 2021/22. There are also $2.5MM of additional, unlikely, bonuses each year.
  • There’s no clear frontrunner to fill the primary backup power forward role for the Nuggets this offseason. Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports writes about how the changing NBA could impact Denver’s frontcourt depth chart in 2017/18.
  • A prediction that the Timberwolves could send Cole Aldrich and a second-round pick to the Suns for Jared Dudley has legs, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweets. Minnesota has been particularly interested in Dudley’s recovery from offseason toe surgery.

Texas Notes: Curry, Parker, Anthony, Paul

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is leaning toward Seth Curry as his opening-night starter at shooting guard, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Curry is competing for the position with Yogi Ferrell, who has been working with the first team in practice alongside rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. Regardless, Carlisle says Curry “probably” has the edge for the starting position. “I’ve just been real impressed with him the first week and right now, it makes sense,” the coach said. “I’m not saying it’s 100 percent. But we need a consistent scorer and a guy who can guard that position and he’s continued to make strides.”

Curry started 42 of his 70 games a year ago in his first season with Dallas, averaging 12.8 points and 2.7 assists per game. He led the team on a second-half surge after joining the starting lineup in January. Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews are expected to join Curry and Smith as the opening-night starting five.

There’s more NBA news out of Texas:

  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich offered a health update on Tony Parker, saying the injured point guard could be ready to return in December, relays Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Parker received partial medical clearance last week for training camp and expressed hope that he could return in November from the torn quadriceps tendon that knocked him out of the playoffs. Parker has been approved for weight work, running and shooting, but not for any contact drills. “I think he’s going to be ahead of schedule,” Popovich said. “I kept thinking he might be ready in January or something. He might be ready in December. He’s come along really well.”
  • After listening to Carmelo Anthony trade rumors all summer, the Rockets are ready to move on, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Houston was considered the likely landing spot for Anthony right up until he was traded to Oklahoma City. However, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who once coached Anthony in New York, said talks never got far enough that he expected him to join the team. “We’re human. We think about possibilities,” D’Antoni said. “If we can get that guy, look at this. Then reality sets in. I found out if I go play a little bit more golf and quit thinking about it, I’m better off.”
  • Chris Paul has no doubt that he and James Harden can be an effective backcourt combination for the Rockets, relays Michael Lee of The Vertical. Paul forced a trade from the Clippers over the summer, telling the team he planned to opt out and sign with Houston if it didn’t deal him. “It was definitely time for a change,” Paul said.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, KP, Smart, Lowry, McDaniels

The Knicks and Carmelo Anthony have officially separated and the organization is moving on from their once perennial All-Star. Now is the time for the Knicks to move on from Anthony through the way the team plays the game, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek now has a retooled roster and the freedom to coach the team his way. Former team president Phil Jackson harped on the triangle offense, which affected Hornacek’s own coaching style and forced the team to run a scheme many players later admitted was uncomfortable. Thus far in training camp, Hornacek said the team is focused on playing at a quicker pace.

“We want to move the ball,’’ Hornacek said. “We’ve had plays out there that I wish I could bottle up and have these guys do it every time. We’ve had some fantastic, six, seven extra passes and a guy nails the shot. We’ll continue to harp on that. We’ll continue to encourage the guys every time that happens, make or miss, and that’s that contagious thing.”

Hornacek also said the Knicks will rely on improved defense even if the team did not necessarily acquire any defensive upgrades. While Anthony was on the roster, he was criticized for holding the ball too long and playing spotty defense. While removing the 10-time all-star will not fix the Knicks, it gives the team a chance find a game plan that works.

Read up on additional news around the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks GM Scott Perry said to MSG’s Alan Hahn (via ESPN’s Ian Begley) that does not want to put too much pressure on Kristaps Porzingis as the Latvian big man settles in as the team’s franchise player. “I never want to put that much pressure on one individual,” Perry said. “He knows that he needs every one of his teammates to help this team be successful.”
  • Celtics‘ guard Marcus Smart is aware of the massive deals players around the NBA are signing but he is focused on the season and not free agency. “It’s huge; it’s crazy,” Smart said to NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely. “Those guys definitely deserve it. But like I said, that’s not my focus. I can’t control what those guys are getting. I can only control what I can control.”
  • After signing a massive three-year deal worth up to $100MM to remain in Toronto, Kyle Lowry said to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star his new deal will not kill his desire to be great.
  • K.J. McDaniels has been productive for every team he has played for, and this season he wants to put it all together with the Raptors, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype writes.
  • While Furkan Korkmaz is likely a year away from having a major NBA impact, David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes that the rookie has impressed Sixers officials in training camp.

Thunder Notes: Extension, PRP Injection, Recruiting

The Thunder locked down MVP Russell Westbrook through the end of the 2022/23 season and it’s not hard to imagine the impact the deal will have on the franchise as a whole. Erik Horne of The Oklahoman broke down the role the extension might have in shaping the team’s roster in the years to come.

First and foremost, the fact that Westbrook will be under Oklahoma City control for the next half-decade could entice Carmelo Anthony to stay with the club after the 2017/18 campaign. Even in a scenario where Paul George could choose to opt out via his player option, Anthony may be inclined to stay in order to continue playing alongside the perennial All-Star.

The move also serves as a message, loud and clear, that the Thunder aren’t afraid to flirt with the luxury tax if the team stands a legitimate chance of being competitive.

Finally, the extension changes the perception that small market teams can’t be a destination for big name players. Anthony’s decision to accept a trade to the Thunder could inspire other players – perhaps during buyout season next February – to consider signing with Oklahoma City.

There’s more from the Thunder:

  • Days before signing his historic contract extension, Russell Westbrook underwent a standard platelet rich plasma injection in his left knee, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes.
  • While there has been some resolution in regards to Russell Westbrook’s future, there’s no guarantee that this super-team-ified version of the Thunder will exist for long considering that both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony could conceivably exit next summer. Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes that fans ought to embrace it while it’s here.
  • He may still be settling into life in Oklahoma City but Paul George is a passionate enough member of the Thunder to recruit for the franchise. “My job is to make this team as good as possible, elevate this team as much as possible. Whatever I can do I will do, and that’s whether I’m on the court or off the court. My job is to try to make things happen,” George told the media, including Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. The forward played a role in recruiting Carmelo Anthony and he tried to convince Dwyane Wade to sign with the team as well.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, McDermott, Crabbe, Fultz

The last remnants of the Phil JacksonCarmelo Anthony feud were removed from New York with Anthony’s trade to Oklahoma City, writes Ian Begley of ESPN. Coach Jeff Hornacek calls the atmosphere “a new beginning,” and others expressed relief that the Anthony situation was resolved before the start of training camp. “Part of my job is to try to add some sense of calmness to what had been a little bit of a crazy environment that we’ve been going through,” said team president Steve Mills.

Now that the chaos that hung over the organization last season is gone, the Knicks must work to establish a new team identity. That figures to be built around third-year center Kristaps Porzingis, and Mills expressed confidence that the team can “make him feel good about being a Knick and make him feel good about the environment here.” That needs to happen quickly as Porzingis will be eligible for a long-term extension next summer.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Doug McDermott, who was acquired from the Thunder in the Anthony deal, will welcome a fresh opportunity in New York, his father, Creighton coach Greg McDermott, told Marc Berman of The New York Post. The 11th pick in the 2014 draft, the younger McDermott developed into a reliable reserve in Chicago, but saw his playing time cut after a deadline-day trade sent him to Oklahoma City. Greg McDermott said the adjustment wasn’t easy for his son. “It was difficult going into situation where you have to learn things on the fly,” he said. “Not only does the player have to learn the system and style, the coach has to learn about a player’s strengths and how best be utilized. It’s a hard to do at the end of February.”
  • The Nets plan to give Allen Crabbe whatever time he needs to recover from a sprained ankle, relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Crabbe was in a walking boot Thursday, but X-rays on the ankle turned out negative. With a revamped roster, Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson wants all of his players on the court to start building chemistry, but he understands the need to be cautious. “You’ve got to think 82 games. Honestly this is a setback,’’ Atkinson said. “Again, lack of continuity. You want to see him with different lineups … especially with a new player. So we’ll do the best we can showing him stuff. But it’s not the same.
  • Sixers rookie point guard Markelle Fultz won’t have to take on as much responsibility right away as Michael Carter-Williams did four seasons ago, according to Mike Sielski of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia has more talent and experience on its roster now to support Fultz as he gets accustomed to the rigors of NBA life.

Carmelo Anthony Confirms He Thought He’d Be Traded To Rockets

Carmelo Anthony‘s no-trade clause gave him the power to approve a deal to specific teams, and for most of the offseason, the only team on his wish list was the Rockets. In an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio (link via Ian Begley of ESPN), Anthony confirms that he believed earlier in the summer that a trade to Houston was all but finalized.

“A deal was done with Houston early, then for some reason – whatever happened behind the scenes – it didn’t go through, it fell through,” Anthony said. “Then we had to really start paying attention and thinking about other options.”

According to Carmelo, another deal – one that would have sent him to the Cavaliers – nearly got done on draft night, back when Phil Jackson was still running the Knicks (link via Begley). That proposed trade would have landed both Anthony and Paul George in Cleveland, Carmelo said today.

Based on various reports, it sounds like the Knicks and Rockets came closest to a deal right before New York hired Scott Perry as the team’s new general manager in July. At that point, the Knicks put trade talks on hold as Perry got acclimated to his new job and assessed the Anthony situation himself. Ultimately, the Knicks and Rockets never found common ground after that, and Anthony admits he had been preparing last week to show up for Media Day as a Knick.

“Me and my team sat down on Friday night and were like, ‘Man, we best prepare for going back to Media Day on Monday and training camp that week,'” Anthony said. “And then we got the call that said, ‘Would you open it up to OKC?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, at this point, yeah.’

“I don’t think it would have been beneficial for me to come back to Media Day after everything that was going on in the offseason,” Anthony continued. “For me to have to deal with that it would have been unfair for the organization, the Knicks, to have to deal with that. It would have been too much noise, too many questions to answer and I don’t think either party wanted to deal with that.”

While Anthony seems happy to have landed in Oklahoma City, it will be interesting to see whether the trade – and the non-trade to Houston – will have an impact on the Western Conference playoff picture next spring. The Thunder and Rockets faced each other in the postseason in 2017, and if they do so again next year, Anthony would be squaring off against the team he was all but certain he’d join.

Knicks Notes: Carmelo, Centers, Porzingis, Starters

While Carmelo Anthony was happy to ultimately land in Oklahoma City, agent Leon Rose admitted that he and his client had been expecting a trade to Houston before the Knicks hired Scott Perry as their general manager and reset those discussions. As Frank Isola of The New York Daily News outlines, Rose and Perry were ultimately able to work things out after being at odds over the Rockets opportunity.

Even though Scott and I battled over Houston, I have to respect the fact that he inherited an extremely difficult situation and that he had to do what was best for the organization,” Rose said. “Ultimately, he did right by Carmelo and made a deal. It all worked out for everybody.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • After acquiring Enes Kanter from the Thunder, the Knicks have an overabundance of options at the center position, prompting Marc Berman of The New York Post to wonder if another trade may come at some point to clear out that logjam.
  • With Anthony gone, Kristaps Porzingis  is now “The Man” in New York, and he expects himself to naturally evolve into a team leader, writes Berman for The New York Post. “I don’t need to force it,” Porzingis said. “First thing I’ll do is be the hardest-working guy. We have a bunch of guys who work hard. I will work hard also and give an example. From that hard work, you can be a leader and give it to your teammates.”
  • Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. are likely locked in as starters at power forward and shooting guard, respectively, but the other three spots in the starting lineup may be up for grabs during the preseason, as Berman details for The Post.

Southwest Rumors: Noel, Carmelo, Tucker, Pondexter

Mavs big man Nerlens Noel will likely come off the bench this season behind Dirk Nowitzki, coach Rick Carlisle told Tim MacMahon of ESPN and other media members. Noel started 12 of 22 games after being acquired from the 76ers in February. Carlisle informed Noel and agent Rich Paul of his plans over the weekend, MacMahon adds. “At this point in time, Dirk at the 5 position is probably the best scenario for Dirk and for our team, and I just don’t think that Dirk is a guy that’s going to come off the bench as long as I’m here,” Carlisle said. “So there’s a very good chance that Nerlens will come off the bench.” Noel had a tumultuous summer as a restricted free agent, changing agents and ultimately signing Dallas’ qualifying offer of $4.1MM when he didn’t get the contract offers he expected. Noel will an unrestricted free agent next summer.

In other developments around the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets were never close to acquiring Carmelo Anthony before he was traded to the Thunder, according to a Houston Chronicle report. GM Daryl Morey said he wasn’t disappointed that he failed to work out something with the Knicks, the report adds. “We were involved in rumors in a situation he was very interested in coming here,” he said. “We had some interest if we could maybe work it out, but never did.”
  • Small forward P.J. Tucker will miss some of training camp because of a hamstring injury, according to another Chronicle report. Tucker suffered the injury during a recent workout but it’s not considered a major issue, the report adds. Tucker signed a four-year contract with the Rockets as a free agent this summer.
  • Former Pelicans forward Quincy Pondexter contracted a life-threatening infection while awaiting a third surgery on his problematic knee in January, he told Chris Haynes of ESPN. He required surgery to flush out the infection and spent a month in the hospital after the knee operation, Haynes continues. Pondexter was then dealt to the Bulls earlier this month. “It was a shock,” Pondexter told Haynes. “I was tired of letting the organization and fans down the last two years, and I wanted to do my best to help the Pelicans return to the playoffs. It was definitely a gut punch.” He also said he was never fined or missed an appointment during his knee rehab in 2015, refuted what coach Alvin Gentry claimed at the time.
  • Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge shrugged off the trade rumors this summer and came to camp with something to prove, Melissa Rohlin of the San Antonio Express-News reports. “I’m a guy who is never satisfied,” he told Rohlin. “I’m definitely going to show that I can play my game and I’m still good.”

Northwest Notes: Wade, Westbrook, Anthony, Favors

Paul George has launched an electronic full-court press to try to convince Dwyane Wade to come to Oklahoma City, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Wade has become the hottest free agent on the market since agreeing to a buyout with the Bulls Sunday night. “I’m in his phone text, his DMs, Snapchat,” George said, “whatever it takes to get this dude here.”

Thunder GM Sam Presti is a little more reserved in his pursuit of Wade, but he would definitely like to have him as part of a Big Four with George, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. OKC finalized its camp roster earlier today with the signing of Markel Brown, but a move would certainly be made to accommodate Wade. “He’ll go through the process and we’ll be in touch,” said Presti, who adds Wade may have already decided where he will sign next (Twitter link).

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Cavaliers, Thunder and Heat were consider the early favorites to sign Wade, but the competition may be more intense than originally believed, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link), who adds that “many more teams” are pursuing him.
  • Westbrook declined to give a direct answer to questions today about the five-year, $207MM extension the Thunder have offered him, posts Royce Young on ESPN Now. “Man, it’s been a long, long summer,” Westbrook responded. “Had a baby. Been working on a little fatherhood. But like I’ve said before, this is a place I want to be.” Westbrook has an October 16 deadline to accept the deal, and former Oklahoma City center Enes Kanter believes he is leaning toward taking it. “I feel like he’s going to sign (the extension)” Kanter told reporters today in New York (Twitter link).
  • The Nuggets considered trying to bring Anthony back to Denver before the trade with the Thunder was announced, tweets Eric Goodman of Mile High Sports Radio. Although they weren’t among the teams Anthony said he would waive his no-trade clause to join, the Nuggets were interested in trying because the price for Anthony kept falling.
  • Jazz forward Derrick Favors has a chance to rebuild his reputation before heading into free agency next summer, relays the Associated Press. Favors says he has overcome the knee and back injuries that plagued him over the past two seasons and dropped 15 to 20 pounds during the summer. Utah needs to replace about 40 points per game with the loss of free agents Gordon Hayward and George Hill, and Favors is a prime candidate to increase his production. Favors will be an unrestricted free agent in July after making $12MM this season.
  • Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey isn’t concerned that his team is headed into a difficult Western Conference playoff race with one of the youngest rosters in the league, tweets Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. Recently signed free agent Anthony Morrow is Portland’s only player older than 30. “It’s a roster that still has some upside to it, because of its age,” Olshey said. “We’re expecting a lot of internal growth.”
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