Carmelo Anthony

Los Angeles Notes: James, Westbrook, Anthony, Morris

LeBron James missed the Lakers’ game against the Knicks on Tuesday and felt his one-game suspension was unwarranted, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes. James struck the Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart in the face on Sunday and was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul. The league suspended James on Monday and handed Stewart a two-game ban for repeated “unsportsmanlike acts.” They were battling for position on a free throw attempt.

“When I swung down on his arm, he got off balance and the left side of my hand grazed his face. And I knew right away,” James said. “So, I knew right away I had caught some part of his head. So, I went over to apologize to him, and obviously, you guys saw what happened after that. But definitely accidental.”

We have more on the Los Angeles teams:

  • Lakers guard Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double against the Knicks and a near triple-double against the Pistons. Anthony Davis wants to see Westbrook play with an aggressive style, McMenamin relays in a separate story. “I tell him before every game: ‘Be nobody but yourself. That’s why we brought you here,'” Davis said. “I think a lot of times, he tries to go passive and to start passing the basketball, looking for other guys, which is great, but kind of takes him out of a rhythm. And he can do the same for guys while being aggressive.”
  • Carmelo Anthony is averaging 15 PPG in his new role as the Lakers’ top reserve. Anthony, who is playing for the veteran’s minimum, has proven he can be effective off the bench after being the No. 1 scoring option most of his career, as McMenamin notes at “I’m still here doing it,” Anthony said. “I think that’s what I’m honestly excited about. I’m here in Year 19 still doing what I’m able to do. Still passionate about the game. Still passionate about coming to work every day and getting better.”
  • Marcus Morris felt good after playing 31 minutes for the Clippers on Tuesday, according to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. Morris had missed a month due to knee soreness. “Take a month off, I think I looked good myself,” he said. “Shots will come, rhythm will come, I’m a veteran, just felt great to be out there.”

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Harris, Carmelo, Rose, Allen

Sixers center Joel Embiid has been working out at the team’s practice facility, head coach Doc Rivers said on Monday, per Rich Hofmann of The Athletic (Twitter link).

He passed one of the tests, I think he has another big one today. Then after that, we have to decide what we want to do. But the fact that he’s out working again is huge,” Rivers said.

Embiid has been sidelined since contracting COVID-19 on November 8. Appearing on ESPN’s NBA Today with Malika Andrews, Adrian Wojnarowski says the Sixers are optimistic that Embiid could return as soon as Saturday, Nov. 27, versus Minnesota (video link).

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • The Sixers were missing four of the team’s five starters on Monday against the Kings but still managed to emerge victorious. Tobias Harris (strained hip) is the latest addition to the list of injured players, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Seth Curry (back stiffness), Danny Green (hamstring) and the aforementioned Embiid were also sidelined. Harris, Curry and Green are listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Warriors, while Embiid is out, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
  • Ex-Knicks star and current Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony believes the Leon Rose regime deserves more credit for the job they’ve done, per Ian Begley of “It’s very hard to come in and do what they’re doing, what they started, what they created as far as starting from the ground up,” Anthony said. “When I say that, it’s getting everything out, clearing everything out, bringing in the right people. But not doing it in a frantic way, not doing it in [by] taking advantage of power. It’s just coming in, talking to people, getting to know people, understanding people, understanding what was happening before and being able to clean that up and build on that. I think people need to talk about that a lot more.” Team president Rose was Anthony’s agent prior to working for the Knicks.
  • Nets coach Steve Nash said part of the reason Jarrett Allen was traded last season was the team realized they probably couldn’t afford to keep him long-term due to luxury tax concerns, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “We loved him and wish him a lot of success, and happy for him to get a contract. I mean, the reality is he was probably out; we couldn’t probably resign him anyways,” Nash said. “Looking at the marketplace, he probably would’ve gotten a lot of money. And it would’ve been a huge cap hit compared to some of the priorities. So that was part of the decision in being able to let something like that go.”

New York Notes: Durant, Aldridge, Walker, Anthony

Kevin Durant rested his right shoulder sprain during the Nets’ win over Orlando on Friday and it apparently made a difference, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Durant returned to practice on Sunday and returned to action against Cleveland on Monday.

“Kevin is great. I think it served his shoulder well to miss a game,” coach Steve Nash said.

Durant is off to a strong start, averaging 28.6 PPG, 7.9 RPG and 4.9 APG in 16 games.

We have more on the New York City teams:

  • LaMarcus Aldridge has thrived while playing on the Nets’ second unit but it’s still been a tough transition, he told Lewis“It’s very difficult. You’ve been one type of player or a certain type of player your whole career. It’s definitely different coming off the bench and not playing much,” Aldridge said. “So it’s been difficult. … I’m still trying to figure it out and navigate it and find my spots. And I’m just trying to find my ways to try and help out.” Aldridge is playing for the veteran’s minimum after coming out of a health-related retirement. He’s averaging 12.9 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 20.6 MPG.
  • Kemba Walker played both ends of a back-to-back this weekend for the first time this season. However, that won’t always be the case for a guard who’s battling knee injuries in recent seasons, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post“Nothing is set in stone for back-to-backs,’’ Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s just communication with medical people. Kemba has a lot of say in it. I trust him. He feels comfortable. And he’s done a great job taking care of his body.’’
  • The Lakers will face the Knicks on Tuesday and Carmelo Anthony is looking forward to coming back to Madison Square Garden against his former team, Berman writes in a separate story. He says the New York fans treat him with uncommon adoration. “I always look forward to playing at the Garden, playing in front of the fans,” Anthony said. “With the Knicks or against the Knicks. That love is different. That fan base is different for me. It goes deeper than basketball. They embrace me. I embrace them.”

Lakers Notes: Caruso, THT, LeBron, Bazemore, Jordan

After Alex Caruso shared some details on his free agency during a recent appearance on J.J. Redick’s podcast, Bill Oram of The Athletic touched base with the Bulls guard to discuss the subject further, providing some additional specifics on Caruso’s options and what the Lakers were willing to offer him.

As Oram writes, the Bulls and Timberwolves were among the teams that topped the Lakers’ initial offer of $7MM per year. After he received a four-year, $37MM proposal from Chicago, Caruso went back to Los Angeles to see if the team would do $20MM for two years. However, the Lakers were unwilling to increase their offer from $21MM over three years, prompting the veteran guard to choose the Bulls.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • In his first game since signing a three-year, $30MM+ deal and undergoing thumb surgery, Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker was terrific on Sunday vs. San Antonio, scoring 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting in 27 minutes as a starter. While head coach Frank Vogel wouldn’t commit to Horton-Tucker remaining in the starting lineup, he said the 20-year-old will be a “big part” of what the Lakers do. “We invested in him this summer for a reason,” Vogel said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “We have a strong belief in that young man and what he can do on both sides of the ball. Obviously when we get whole, we got a lot of good choices, but he’s going to be a big part of it.”
  • Vogel said on Sunday that LeBron James (abdominal strain) has yet to participate in contact drills or a full practice yet, but a source tells McMenamin that the star forward is “progressing great” and should be back in the lineup soon.
  • Offseason additions Kent Bazemore and DeAndre Jordan appear to have fallen out of the Lakers’ rotation at least temporarily, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who notes that both players were DNP-CDs on Sunday. Jordan had started 10 games at center before sitting the last two, while Bazemore had started all 13 games for Los Angeles until he was benched on Sunday.
  • The changes to the starting five reflect the Lakers’ preference for smaller lineups for the time being, per Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register, who adds that Vogel left the door open for a return to bigger lineups as the season progresses. Anthony Davis started at center alongside power forward Carmelo Anthony on Sunday.

Lakers Notes: Horton-Tucker, Ellington, Carmelo, Defense

A pair of Lakers guards are working toward their returns to the court, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN relays (via Twitter).

Head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Monday that Talen Horton-Tucker has had the stitches removed from his surgically-repaired right thumb and will begin shooting on Tuesday. Vogel also said that Wayne Ellington, who has yet to play this season due to a hamstring injury, will practice with the South Bay Lakers in the G League before debuting for the NBA team.

Horton-Tucker and Ellington are among a handful of Lakers that have yet to play this season due to injuries — Kendrick Nunn and Trevor Ariza have also been on the shelf since the regular season began. The club has managed to stay afloat in part by getting contributions from bench players who weren’t expected to play regular roles, including undrafted rookie Austin Reaves and recently-added veteran Avery Bradley.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Carmelo Anthony, who scoffed at the idea of playing a bench role for the Thunder back in 2017, said on Sunday that he believes there’s a “misconception out there” about his willingness to play any role asked of him. “I think people don’t really understand me,” the Lakers forward said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “… I’m easily adaptable, man, to any situation.” Anthony is thriving in a reserve role so far this season, averaging 16.7 PPG on .500/.522/.786 shooting in seven games (27.0 MPG).
  • With strong defenders like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marc Gasol, and Alex Caruso no longer on the roster, the Lakers are asking their stars to do more “dirty work” on the defensive end, as Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group details. “I think for a lot of our guys – Bron, A.D., Melo, Russ – a lot of their careers they’ve had a lot of ‘dirty work’ guys around them,” Frank Vogel said. “And now they have to support each other in that way and really commit to guarding their own man and executing our scheme.”
  • Count Vogel among those that believes the NBA should consider tweaking its rules to crack down on the so-called “Euro foul,” as Mike Trudell of tweets. While the NBA has made some changes this year to how fouls are called, the league has yet to address these intentional fouls to stop fast breaks.

Los Angeles Notes: Hartenstein, Clippers Bench, Anthony, James

Isaiah Hartenstein won a training camp battle with Harry Giles for the last spot on the Clippers roster and has emerged as a solid reserve, Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register writes.

Hartenstein has averaged 7.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 15.3 MPG through three appearances and has developed chemistry with Clippers wing Luke Kennard. “I think we just really know how to play with each other,” said Hartenstein, who is on a one-year, minimum-salary contract.

We have more from the Los Angeles teams:

  • Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said that Hartenstein, Kennard and Terance Mann learned how to blend their talents during training camp, Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times writes. “They understand their unit, how they play,” Lue said. “Move bodies, move the basketball.” Kennard is averaging 11.5 PPG and Mann is averaging 8.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 3.5 APG.
  • LeBron James said the league missed the boat on new Lakers teammate Carmelo Anthony, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. Anthony struggled to find another NBA opportunity until he hooked on with Portland during the 2019/20 season. “He’s been doing it for quite a while, and it’s just beautiful to continue to see, especially when, you know, they gave up on him,” James said. Anthony, who signed a veteran’s minimum contract this summer, had a 28-point game on Sunday and is averaging 14.0 PPG so far with his new team.
  • James is questionable to play on Friday due to right ankle soreness, McMenamin tweets. He has missed the last two games after playing 40 minutes on Sunday. Rajon Rondo has also been listed as questionable due to a similar injury, McMenamin adds.

Pacific Notes: Anthony, Fizdale, Bradley, Bjelica

When he joined the Lakers, Carmelo Anthony knew he’d be coming off the bench, just like he did last season with the Trail Blazers. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times wonders if Anthony might be a candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award this season.

For his part, Anthony is more focused on team success than individual accolades at this point in his career.

[It’s] understanding what I have to do in those roles in order to help this team,” Anthony said. “So, in my mind, it’s not about winning the Sixth Man of the Year award. It’s about being the best sixth man for our team, if that’s the case. Knowing that, I have something to look forward to night in and night out, knowing that I got to come in fully prepared and ready to go.

I think having that mentality kind of forces you or pushes you to play at a high level every night. Right?” Anthony said. “And not look in front of you or besides you and say, ‘I got so-and-so, I got this, I got that, I got that.‘”

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers assistant coach David Fizdale is back home in Los Angeles and happy to be there, according to Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. Goon takes an in-depth look at the veteran coach, who grew up in the L.A. area rooting for the Lakers.
  • Avery Bradley, whom the Lakers claimed off waivers, recently opened up to Bill Oram of The Athletic about missing the team’s title run during the 2019/20 season. Bradley wanted to be with the club, but chose to opt out of the bubble to protect his son, who had a severe case of pneumonia in 2019. “We play this game for our family,” Bradley said. “Of course I love the game of basketball. That’s how I take care of my family is this game. It would be backwards if I didn’t focus on my family first.” The interview is worth reading in full.
  • The Warriors‘ Bob Myers recently stated that the team tried to trade for free agent acquisition Nemanja Bjelica last season, writes Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area. “We tried to trade for him a few times last year and just couldn’t find the right deal for (the Kings) and us, and then he got moved to Miami and never really got a foothold there,” Myers said Thursday morning on 95.7 The Game. “We’ve always liked him because we thought he could fit what we do, which is what you guys see, it’s a lot of read and react stuff, lot of randomness.

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, LeBron, Davis, Anthony

Russell Westbrook not only wanted to play in his native Southern California, it was important to him to join the Lakers after being a long-time fan of Kobe Bryant. Westbrook talked about his connections to the late Hall-of-Famer in an interview with Spectrum Sports Net (video link).

“That is something I think about daily. Coming into the gym, you come in here, you look up in the practice facility, you see 8 and 24, and I know he is looking down and making sure that I need to do what I need to do,” Westbrook said. “And that’s the only thing I could think about is knowing, being in this uniform, understanding the impact I can have of being home and being a Laker and creating a legacy not just for myself but for my kids, for the community of Los Angeles, for the people here. I’m gonna make sure I just do my part in going out and playing for him and through him as I complete in this uniform.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • LeBron James sees a renewed energy in training camp stemming from a longer offseason break, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Last year, the Lakers won the NBA title on October 11 and had to report for camp less than two months later. This offseason felt more normal after L.A. was ousted from the playoffs in early June. “Last year after coming off the bubble it literally took everything away from you,” James said. “Any little bit of energy that you had, it was completely gone when we left there. … To come back into the season with the quick start that we had, kind of the life of the party was a little bit, just like, it was just kind of stale. You know, rightfully so. Guys just didn’t have an opportunity to get a mental break.”
  • Westbrook and James will sit out Sunday’s exhibition opener against the Nets, but Anthony Davis will play during the first quarter, McMenamin tweets“AD didn’t finish the season,” coach Frank Vogel explained. “He finished in street clothes because of injury. He wants to get out there, so we’ll support him on that.”
  • Brian Windhorst of ESPN examines why it took so long for James to team up with his long-time friend Carmelo Anthony after both entered the NBA in 2003.

Carmelo Anthony Isn’t Concerned About Role

Carmelo Anthony came off the bench regularly for the Trail Blazers last season and he’s willing to do the same with the Lakers, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes.

Like numerous free agent additions on the roster, Anthony signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal with the Lakers with the aim of finally winning a championship ring.

“I’ve had experience being a starter for 18, 17 years and had an experience of coming off the bench for one year,” Anthony said. “It’s not something I think about.”

During the 2018/19 season, Anthony played just 10 games with Houston because he was unhappy with a bench role. He started regularly in 2019/20 after signing with Portland but accepted a second-unit role last season. He only started three of 69 regular-season games.

He’s willing to do whatever coach Frank Vogel asks of him this season.

“Whatever he wants, let’s do it,” Anthony said. “I’m not even trippin’ about that at this point. Because let’s go. Let’s go win.”

Trevor Ariza is the current favorite to join Anthony Davis and LeBron James in the starting frontcourt. Anthony, who averaged 13.4 PPG in 24.5 MPG last season, is projected to be the primary backup at power forward.

“When we spoke before he signed here, I told him that I envisioned a big role on this team,” Vogel said. “I don’t know what that’s going to look like, whether he’s going to start, whether he’s going to come off the bench, but that he’s going to be a factor for us.”

Russell Westbrook Helped Engineer His Trade To Lakers

Russell Westbrook “took control of his situation” when he saw a chance to join the Lakers, according to Bill Oram, Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic in a thorough look at how the team remade its roster over the offseason.

A Southern California native, Westbrook had dreamed of returning home to play and thought he might be headed to the Clippers along with Kawhi Leonard two years ago. When a second chance emerged with the Lakers in August, Westbrook was determined to make it happen.

He was among several potential additions discussed in a “war room” setting of players that was led by LeBron James and included Anthony Davis and Jared Dudley. They saw Westbrook as an asset because he’s a perennial All-Star who can share playmaking duties with LeBron. However, he still had two years remaining on his contract and the Wizards weren’t looking to move him.

Although The Athletic’s sources say Westbrook would have been willing to stay in Washington if a trade didn’t happen, he decided to act on the morning of the draft when he heard that the Lakers were near a deal with the Kings to acquire Buddy Hield. Westbrook approached Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and asked him to work out a trade with L.A.

Leonsis agreed and Washington general manager Tommy Sheppard called Lakers GM Rob Pelinka to start trade talks. Within a few hours, a deal was in place to give up Westbrook and a pair of second-round picks in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the No. 22 selection in this year’s draft.

There’s much more information packed in The Athletic report, which is worth checking out in full. Here are a few highlights:

  • Another player who received serious consideration from the Lakers was DeMar DeRozan, who also hails from Southern California and eventually signed with the Bulls. He met twice with James and had several other phone calls. DeRozan’s representatives had concerns over whether the Lakers’ front office was on board with the players’ plans, but sources tell The Athletic that Pelinka “strongly considered” a sign-and-trade offer that would have sent Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope to the Spurs. L.A. couldn’t come to an agreement with San Antonio or on a new contract for DeRozan, and the proposed sign-and-trade never advanced to the stage where it was presented to owner Jeanie Buss.
  • The Kings’ front office was left “steaming” over the Lakers’ decision to pull out of the Hield deal. It would have come at a lower cost — only Kuzma and Harrell were needed to match salaries — so the Lakers could have kept Caldwell-Pope and their first-round pick. As an elite three-point shooter, Hield might seem like a more natural fit alongside James and Davis, but the Lakers believe Westbrook will make them a better team in the playoffs.
  • With limited resources to fill out their roster after the trade, both James and Westbrook contacted Carmelo Anthony before the official start of free agency. Anthony was still hoping to hear from the Trail Blazers and ultimately received interest from the Knicks and Sixers, but he opted to join James, who was a longtime friend. The chance to win a title attracted other low-cost veterans such as Trevor ArizaWayne Ellington and Kent Bazemore to what became the league’s oldest team with an average age of 30.9 years.
  • James has always enjoyed close relationships with the veterans on his team and was particularly upset when Dudley wasn’t re-signed. Dudley was 36 and coming off an MCL tear, and the Lakers felt it was important to maximize every roster spot. He was offered other positions with the organization, but opted to become an assistant to Jason Kidd in Dallas.
  • James, Davis and Dudley also talked about Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal, but the Lakers didn’t have the assets to land either of them. Sources tell The Athletic that Westbrook tried to convince Beal that they should both ask to be traded out of Washington. Although Beal didn’t agree, he supported Westbrook’s desire to get to L.A. The Lakers’ group also targeted free agent guard Kyle Lowry, who eventually signed with the Heat.
  • The Lakers announced an extension this summer with Frank Vogel to avoid having him enter the season as a lame-duck coach. However, multiple sources told The Athletic that the extension only covers one year, which takes Vogel through the end of the 2022/23 season.
  • Many people in the Lakers’ organization were frustrated by the decision not to compete with the four-year, $37MM offer that Alex Caruso received from the Bulls, per The Athletic. He has become of the NBA’s best role players after starting in the G League, and many believed he was worth what it would have cost to keep him.