Carmelo Anthony

Knicks Notes: Noah, Porzingis, Kobe, Livingston

Joakim Noah, who signed a four-year, $72MM deal last offseason, underwent rotator cuff surgery on Wednesday, Al Iannazzone of Newsday relays. Noah was suspended by the league for taking a banned substance at the end of this season. He was able to serve eight of his 20 games since he was deemed healthy enough to play toward the end of the 2016/17 campaign. He’ll serve the remaining 12 games of the suspension once he’s recovered from his left shoulder surgery and ruled healthy enough to play. The Knicks didn’t give a timetable for his return, but coach Jeff Hornacek previously said the rehab process should take approximately five months.

Team president Phil Jackson remains hopeful that Noah can return from his injury and live up to his current contract. “We talked a lot about, ‘Can you get yourself back into this condition? Hamstrings, hamstrings, hamstrings,” Jackson said earlier this month. “‘Eventually it ended up being the knee that was creating ultimately other problems. So we hope going forward – he expresses great dedication in getting back to what he was and who he is as a basketball player. So I have to trust him in that.”

Here’s more from the city that never sleeps:

  • Kristaps Porzingis may be frustrated with the Knicks‘ organization, but that doesn’t extend to assistant coach Joshua Longstaff, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Longstaff will join Porzingis in Latvia this summer and Bondy hears that the big man wants Longstaff to be an assistant coach for the Latvian National Team. New York previously offered to approve Porzingis’ participation in the European Championships if the Latvian team allowed the assistant to be on its staff.
  • Can Jackson and Carmelo Anthony coexist in New York after a season of turmoil? Kobe Bryant believes there’s a chance the two parties can, as Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. Michael [Jordan] had his rough times with him as well. The history is you get through rough times after you win a good amount of championships. We certainly had our rocky times, but we still stuck to it, we figured out our way through it and came out better because of it. I think the most important thing is sticking to it, being patient. Sometimes things work out. Sometimes they don’t,” Bryant said.
  • Shaun Livingston, who will be a free agent this offseason, is a longtime favorite of Phil Jackson and could be a reasonable target for the Knicks to go after this summer, Keith P. Smith of RealGM writes. Smith argues that Livingston would be a good fit in the triangle offense.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Raptors, Marks

As the top-seeded Celtics struggle against a Bulls team that nearly didn’t make the playoffs, all eyes are on general manager Danny Ainge who, to the chagrin of many, elected not to make any moves at the trade deadline, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post writes.

There were a number of moves that the Celtics could have made, Bontemps says, without necessarily making a major splash involving a superstar or giving up one of their coveted Nets draft picks. Serge Ibaka and Taj Gibson are two quality rebounding forwards who were obviously available that day. Lou Williams is another.

Alas, without the acquisition of a solid rebounder or an additional bench scorer, the Celtics are down two games to none against Chicago.  Earlier this week, Ainge himself spoke with CSN New England saying that critcism of their decision to stand pat was “fair”.

Regardless, it won’t be long before the rest of the series unfolds and we find out whether sitting tight was the right call or not.

There’s more from the Atlantic:

  • While the Raptors have faced adversity and prevailed in the past, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun writes that change could be in the air regardless of how they make out over the rest of their first-round matchup. Additionally, Josh Lewenberg of TSN echoes the sentiment, tweeting that players and coaches are fighting to keep their jobs.
  • A team of writers at ESPN (Insider required) took a deep dive into the Knicks‘ upcoming offseason, discussing a number of issues like Phil Jackson‘s extension and whether or not Carmelo Anthony will finally be traded.
  • The Nets will need to approach their rebuild strategically, says general manager Sean Marks. Nets Daily broke down what the executive has said about his vision for the future thus far. “The objective for us is to be in the playoffs. When that comes, we’ll see,” Marks said. “You don’t want to go and sign free agents and then the next thing you know your payroll is capped out and you’re a 25-win team. We’re going to have to build this strategically, have patience with it.”

Carmelo-To-Celtics An Offseason Possibility?

In the days and weeks leading up to the trade deadline, reports indicated that the Celtics weren’t overly enamored with the idea of acquiring Carmelo Anthony from the Knicks. According to Marc Berman of The New York Post though, the Celtics coaching staff was in favor of making such a deal. GM Danny Ainge, however, had “too many reservations,” per Berman.

One of Ainge’s primary concerns, according to Berman, was that trading for Anthony would compromise the Celtics’ projected salary cap room for the summer. The Post’s report isn’t the first to suggest that the ability to have free agency flexibility is important for Ainge — it was believed to be one roadblock for a major deadline trade. If the Celtics remain well under the cap, they could attempt to land a top free agent – such as Gordon Hayward – and then would still have the ability to make a big splash on the trade market after using their cap space.

Berman suggests that revisiting an Anthony trade is one possibility for the Celtics in July, and there’s some logic to that idea — an early exit from the playoffs is more likely to spur action for Ainge and the C’s this summer, and the acquisition price for Anthony wouldn’t be as high as it would be for players like Jimmy Butler and Paul George, given Carmelo’s contract situation.

According to Berman, the Knicks would have interest in Jae Crowder in any talks with the Celtics. Reports in February about the Celtics’ inquiries on Butler and George suggested that Boston would likely have to include multiple players from the Crowder/Marcus Smart/Avery Bradley/Jaylen Brown group, along with at least one Nets draft pick, to make a deal with either Chicago or Indiana. I’d expect those Brooklyn picks to be off the table in any Anthony trade talks, and the Celtics may also be reluctant to give up multiple productive rotation players.

In any case, it’s somewhat premature to get into what a potential Anthony trade would look like, as there’s no guarantee Ainge will change his position. The Knicks clearly have interest in moving the veteran forward and would probably love to bring Boston back to the negotiating table, but it will likely just be one of many options considered by the Celtics this summer.

Kristaps Porzingis Wants To Remain With Knicks

Kristaps Porzingis blew off an end-of-season meeting with team president Phil Jackson, but that does not mean he wants to be traded, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes.

“Of course,” Porzingis said when asked if he wants to remain a Knick. “I love New York. I love New York.”

The team never received an explanation on why the big man decided to skip his scheduled meeting, a source tells Berman. The scribe hears that Porzingis is upset with how the organization has been run–especially the team’s dealings with his mentor, Carmelo Anthony. The 21-year-old declined to go into why he missed the meeting when asked on Wednesday.

“It’s not the right moment to comment on anything [about it],” he said. “I don’t want to say anything.’’

Last week, Porzingis said that he wants the franchise to have a clear direction. “No one’s comfortable with losing,” Porzingis said. “If it means going in the right direction and doing the right thing, let’s do that. But just having no idea the direction, then it’s not going to work out. The direction has to be clear what we want to do.”

During Jackson’s Good Friday press conference, he said that no one on the team is untouchable, which includes Porzingis. Berman notes that the Knicks will be hard-pressed to find equal value for the big man in a trade, adding the 21-year-old has a chance to become a star.

A source tells Berman that Jackson doesn’t feel good about Porzingis rebelling. “It wasn’t right,” said one individual close to Jackson. “But Phil went through this with Kobe [Bryant] and Andrew [Bynum], when they were still young but started to sprout their opinions and rebelled. It worked for Kobe. Hopefully this will make Kristaps better in the long run.”

Porzingis vows to “live in the gym” this summer, though he’ll spend most of it abroad. He leaves for Latvia on Thursday.

NBA Execs Talk Carmelo Anthony Situation

It was an eventful long weekend in New York, as Phil Jackson used his Good Friday press conference to espouse the belief that Carmelo Anthony would probably “be better off somewhere else” where he can contend for a title. The players’ union objected to Jackson’s blunt – and public – assessment of the situation, while the Knicks president’s comments may inspire Anthony to dig his heels in this summer.

One frequent criticism of Jackson’s handling of the Anthony situation has been that publicly expressing a desire to move on from the star forward won’t exactly increase his trade value around the league. Sean Deveney of The Sporting News investigated that topic, speaking to a handful of NBA executives about Carmelo’s current stock, and found that the Knicks may have trouble finding a taker for Anthony, even if he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause.

“If he were willing to keep altering his style of play, you might say yes,” one GM said of trading for Anthony. “At his best, when he was four or five years younger, you could win if you built the team to fit what he does. [The Knicks] had some good teams, people forget. But at this point, at his age, it is not possible unless he becomes more of a role player — a stretch four; a second or third option. But then you’re paying $25MM per year for a role player, and how does that help you?”

While other executives are more sympathetic toward Anthony’s situation and still like him as a player, his exorbitant salary for the next two seasons – which would include a 15% trade kicker if he were dealt – is a sticking point for many execs.

“I like Carmelo, I think he takes a bad rap,” an Eastern Conference exec tells Deveney. “He doesn’t get in trouble, he has put up with a lot from that organization and I think a lot of guys would have lashed out by now. Give him credit for that. But anyone who brings him in has to ask, does he make your team better, looking at everything including his (cap) number? In most cases, that’s going to be no.”

As for which teams might be matches for the Knicks in a Carmelo trade, most executives who spoke to Deveney proposed the same few clubs we’ve heard in previous Anthony rumors. The Cavaliers are viewed as more of a long shot, with most execs suggesting that the Clippers remain the best bet — particularly if L.A. has another early playoff exit and wants to shake things up. One Western Conference executive also pointed out that Anthony’s no-trade clause will likely help keep his trade cost down for any team acquiring him.

“If he waives the no-trade, you know he is going to be OK with coming (to his new team),” the exec said. “He is not going against his will. And look at it, everyone has the Knicks over a barrel. They’re just desperate to move the guy. You are not going to have to give up much of anything to get him, just make the salaries match.”

For all the latest updates related to Anthony, be sure to keep an eye on our rumors page for him.

Pistons Committed To Keeping Caldwell-Pope

The Pistons plan to match any offer that restricted free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope receives, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.

The organization is prepared to give the fourth-year shooting guard a maximum deal if that’s what it takes to keep him in Detroit, Ellis adds, with several sources saying he is an important part of the team’s future.

Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game this season, but his numbers declined after the All-Star break. Ellis states that the Pistons may have viewed the situation differently if they were confident that Stanley Johnson was ready to become a starter, but they believe keeping Caldwell-Pope is vital and they wouldn’t be able to get an adequate replacement because of their cap situation.

Ellis touches on several other Pistons-related matters:

  • Trade talks involving Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson will continue this offseason. Ellis states that the organization is becoming impatient with Drummond, with coach/executive Stan Van Gundy saying in Friday’s press conference that he needs a “sense of urgency to elevate his game.” Jackson’s drop in production stemmed from left knee tendinitis that plagued him throughout the season, and Ellis claims the only available replacement who might be an upgrade is the Suns’ Eric Bledsoe.
  • The Pistons believe they have enough young players and future first-rounders to acquire a star this offseason. There were rumors that Drummond was offered to the Kings for DeMarcus Cousins before he was sent to New Orleans, and a source told Ellis the Pistons contacted the Pacers about Paul George but never got close to a deal. George has another season left before he can opt out, and Detroit might be interested in taking the chance that it can re-sign him, but only if the price in a trade comes down. Other targets could include Jimmy Butler and Carmelo Anthony.
  • Although the Pistons might benefit from a franchise-altering move, Van Gundy said smaller deals are more realistic. “There’s a couple things we’d like to do and make us a little bit better, but I don’t think we’re broken” he said. “Getting our point guard situation back to where it was or even better is more than feasible and corrects a great deal of the problems we’re talking about. Our roster is pretty good from there.”

Porzingis To Spend Summer In Latvia; Anthony May Resist Trade

Kristaps Porzingis, who made a statement about the Knicks organization by skipping his exit interview Friday, plans to spend most of the summer in his native Latvia, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Porzingis’ move was seen as a protest against the “unprofessionalism and routine chaos” that he has encountered during his two seasons with the team, Wojnarowski writes, noting that he may not return to the United States until just before the start of camp.

His stance appears to represent the prevalent feeling in the locker room. Many players are saying privately that they don’t want to be involved in summer tutoring sessions in the triangle offense that are planned at the Knicks’ practice facility. Wojnarowski describes the atmosphere as an “open rebellion” against team president Phil Jackson’s philosophy.

It also appears that Jackson’s statements on Friday urging Carmelo Anthony to accept a trade this summer have backfired. Wojnarowski writes that the Knicks plan to reopen trade talks before the draft in June, but Anthony has become more determined to spend two more years in New York and try to outlast Jackson. With the Knicks picking up Jackson’s option this week, both he and Anthony have two seasons left on their current contracts.

Jackson’s press conference was the latest addition to the chaos that has left Porzingis disillusioned. He developed a good working relationship with coach Derek Fisher as a rookie, Wojnarowski writes, but Fisher was fired midway through last season, partly because of a dispute with Jackson over the triangle and the best way to use Porzingis in the offense.

Jackson appointed Kurt Rambis as interim head coach and wanted to give him the job permanently, but opposition inside and outside the organization forced him to hire someone else. He chose Jeff Hornacek, who had recently been fired by the Suns and had little leverage to oppose the triangle or force out Rambis, who remains as an assistant.

NBPA Objects To Phil Jackson’s Statement

Players union head Michele Roberts has issued a statement calling Phil Jackson’s comments about Carmelo Anthony in Friday’s press conference “inappropriate,” tweets Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated.

The union objected to Jackson saying that Anthony would be “better off somewhere else” next season. Anthony remains under contract with the Knicks for two more years, although he has an early termination option for 2018/19.

“We voiced with the Commissioner today our view on the inappropriate comments by Knicks President Phil Jackson,” Roberts’ statement read. “If players cannot, under threat of league discipline, speak openly about their desire to be employed elsewhere, we expect management to adhere to the same standards. The door swings both ways when it comes to demonstrating loyalty and respect.”

Latest On Carmelo Anthony

Knicks president Phil Jackson didn’t mince words when addressing his long-simmering dispute with Carmelo Anthony in a press conference Friday. Making his intentions clear to end their relationship, Jackson said, “I think the direction with our team, he’ll be better off somewhere else.”

The problem is that there’s no easy way for a break-up to occur. Anthony is under contract for $26,243,760 next season and $27,928,140 in 2018/19 with an early termination option. There is also a 15% trade kicker that must be paid by whatever team acquires him, along with a no-trade clause that Anthony can use to block any deal he doesn’t like.

With that in mind, several NBA writers have taken a look at where Anthony might wind up:

  • Anthony has three options for the offseason, writes Tom Ziller of SBNation. He can waive the no-trade clause and accept a deal, although Ziller says he shouldn’t feel obligated to do so just because Jackson wants him gone. He can submit a list of teams that he would agree to be traded to, which would presumably include joining friends LeBron James with the Cavaliers, Chris Paul with the Clippers or Dwyane Wade with the Bulls. Or he can make a stand and tell the Knicks that he won’t leave until his contract expires. Ziller favors the last option, noting that Anthony likes being in New York and has earned the power he obtained through the no-trade clause.
  • The Cavaliers, Clippers and Celtics, whom the Knicks reportedly contacted about moving Anthony before the February deadline, are listed as possible destinations by The New York Post, along with the Heat and Wizards.
  • Miami may have interest in Anthony, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel, who notes that team president Pat Riley pursued the Knicks star in free agency three years ago. With more than $25MM expected to be freed in cap space once the Chris Bosh situation is resolved, Miami could add Anthony with a simple trade, and Winderman suggests Justise Winslow as a possibility. However, that would leave the team unable to re-sign James Johnson and Dion Waiters.
  • The Bulls “will steer completely clear of whatever Carmelo does,” predicts Nick Friedell of In a video posted on, Friedell suggests that if Anthony had come to Chicago three seasons ago, Tom Thibideau probably would have been kept as coach and current Knicks Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah would still be with the Bulls.

Kristaps Porzingis Reportedly Skipped Exit Meetings

The Knicks‘ season may be over, but the team’s PR struggles continued with Phil Jackson‘s press conference this afternoon. Following an unusual presser, in which Jackson asserted Carmelo Anthony would “be better off somewhere else,” Ian Begley of ESPN reported frustration from Kristaps Porzingis. Per Begley, Porzingis skipped exit meetings with the Knicks following this season, citing what he perceived to be “dysfunction and drama surrounding the organization.”

“Porzingis, according to team sources, is frustrated with the Knicks’ lack of direction,” Begley reports. Jackson’s remarks at Friday’s press conference involved Porzingis as well as Anthony; claiming the 21-year-old is not ready ot become the face of the franchise (Twitter link).

In the past, Porzingis hasn’t shied away from criticizing team management. At the end of March, Porzingis told Fred Kerber of the New York Post that his team didn’t do it from the beginning the right way…We didn’t have real fundamentals as a team.”

For what it’s worth, Jackson acknowledged the volatile reputation the Knicks have gathered in recent years.

“I think there’s disconnect sometimes with this team and I think there was some rebelliousness with this team that created some of the discord during the year. And I think has to stop and that will stop,” Jackson said.

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