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Trail Blazers To Sign Carmelo Anthony

9:51pm: According to Woj (link), Blazers’ GM Neil Olshey and Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, had stayed in contact on Anthony since the preseason, with conversations picking up over the past couple days. Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts talked directly with Anthony before reaching today’s agreement.

8:01pm: The Trail Blazers have agreed to a non-guaranteed deal with free agent forward Carmelo Anthony, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Woj adds that Anthony, once signed, will join the Blazers on the team’s upcoming six-game road trip, and that the team hopes to have him fill the void at power forward created by the loss of Zach Collins (Twitter link).

Portland, off to a 4-8 start, has been one of the bigger disappointments of the first few weeks of this NBA season. As such, it comes as no surprise that the team would take a flyer on Anthony, 35, as the 10-time NBA All-Star looks to reinvent himself as a role player after being out of the league for the last 12 months.

Interestingly, however, the Trail Blazers suggested earlier this month that signing a 15th man was not a priority for them and that they’d opt instead to rely on depth and positional versatility. Of course, at that time, Portland was only 3-4, so the club’s top decision-makers may have changed their minds after going 1-4 over the last five games.

It will be interesting to see how Anthony meshes with the Blazers’ backcourt pairing of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, Lillard was notified of the potential signing last night and made it clear that he’s always been supportive of bringing Anthony into the fold in Portland.

Jason Quick of The Athletic, who has covered the Blazers for the past 20 seasons, seems skeptical of the fit, opining that the team’s biggest deficiency at this point seems to be on the defensive end of the floor (i.e. – not Anthony’s strength). However, given the team’s poor start, Quick also appears to concede that the signing is worth a shot.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes, Anthony will earn $14,490 per day while a member of the Blazers, which mean he’s signing for the league minimum salary for a veteran with 10+ years of NBA experience. The Blazers only have 14 players on their roster currently, so no corresponding move will have to made, but the team will see its luxury tax bill grow with the signing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Caris LeVert Undergoes Thumb Surgery, Out 4-6 Weeks

NOVEMBER 14, 1:27pm: LeVert will likely be sidelined for approximately four to six weeks, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

NOVEMBER 14, 12:14pm: LeVert underwent successful surgery today to repair ligaments in his right thumb, the Nets announced (via Twitter). The team didn’t provide a specific timeline for LeVert’s return, stating updates will be “provided as appropriate.” However, Charania reiterates (via Twitter) that the fourth-year guard will likely miss several weeks.

NOVEMBER 13, 4:01pm: The Nets fear that guard Caris LeVert has ligament damage in his right thumb and will be sidelined for the next several weeks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (video link).

Brooklyn has yet to make any formal announcements on LeVert’s status, but we can probably expect an update from the team soon, as Charania reported earlier in the day that the 25-year-old was visiting specialists to undergo further evaluations on his thumb injury.

Although the Nets haven’t officially revealed LeVert’s recovery timeline, the team signed Iman Shumpert this afternoon for extra depth on the wing, which is a strong hint that Charania’s report is accurate.

Brooklyn will be free to carry Shumpert for the next month, then will have to either release him or trade or waive another player by December 15, when Wilson Chandler‘s 25-game suspension ends. By that point, LeVert may be back or at least close to returning, reducing the need for an additional wing like Shumpert.

The thumb injury is a tough break for LeVert, who missed over half of last season due to a major ankle injury. He was off to a solid start in 2019/20, with 16.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 4.0 APG to go along with a .421/.361/.645 shooting line in nine games (31.6 MPG).

Magic Have Expressed Interest In DeMar DeRozan

In an excellent piece covering the state of the Spurs, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reports the Magic have expressed interest in Spurs wing DeMar DeRozan.

O’Connor notes that the Magic are “scouring the trade market for scoring help,” meaning the team has likely kicked the tires on players besides DeRozan. KOC goes on to indicate that front office executives around the NBA wouldn’t be shocked if San Antonio dealt the 30-year-old four-time All-Star, who sports a famously archaic shot profile.

DeRozan has a $27.7MM player option on the final year of his contract, for the 2020/21 season. Were he to decline it, he could top-line a fairly lackluster free agent class. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, DeRozan and San Antonio struggled to find common ground while negotiating a possible extension prior to this season. The maximum potential value of an extension for DeRozan would be approximately $150MM over four years. Given that DeRozan would be 35 by the end of that deal, San Antonio’s probable reticence feels sensible.

The Magic’s anemic offense could use the help. The 3-7 Magic’s 98.1 points scored per game currently ranks them dead-last in the NBA. And the Knicks play in the NBA! Orlando also ranks 29th in offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions).

HoopsHype’s Bryan Kalbrosky took a detailed look at the midrange-happy DeRozan’s potential offensive fit on Orlando. Kalbrosky notes that DeRozan’s proclivity for mid-range jumpers would fit in well with Orlando, as the team currently ranks third in the NBA in mid-range frequency, according to Cleaning The Glass.

In ten games, DeRozan has attempted just four three-pointers. He has missed them all. Despite this, his excellent handle and size make him a great drive-and-kick cog in any offense. He is currently averaging 19.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game, while shooting 49.3% from the floor and 77.2% from the charity stripe.

If the Magic were to make an offer for DeRozan, they’d almost certainly want to hang onto Jonathan Isaac and would likely aim to keep Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon as well. That might mean starting with Evan Fournier ($17.15MM) for salary-matching purposes. The team has a couple intriguing young prospects in Markelle Fultz and Mo Bamba, and has all its future first- and second-round draft picks available.

Nets Sign Iman Shumpert

3:50pm: The Nets have officially signed Shumpert, the team announced today in a press release. His minimum-salary contract will pay him about $13.1K per day as long as he remains on the roster.

2:24pm: The Nets are bringing in free agent swingman Iman Shumpert, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com tweets. No corresponding roster move will be necessary, as Brooklyn has the ability to carry a 16th man until Wilson Chandler returns from suspension.

The news of Shumpert signing coincides with Stadium’s Shams Charania reporting that Caris LeVert is expected to miss several weeks because of feared ligament damage in his thumb. LeVert, who recently signed a three-year, $52MM extension, has missed 79 games because of injury since coming into the league.

Shumpert’s deal will give him the opportunity to once again be teammates with Kyrie Irving after the two vets won a title in Cleveland together. As NetsDaily relays, Irving lobbied for the team to sign Shumpert over the summer.

As we explained earlier this month, players serving longer-term suspensions can be moved to the suspended list after five games, at which point a team is eligible to add an extra player to its roster. Chandler will be eligible to return from his 25-game ban on December 15, so Brooklyn will have to make a roster move at that time, releasing Shumpert or trading or waiving of its other players to get back down to 15 players on standard contracts.

Eric Gordon Undergoes Knee Surgery, Out Six Weeks

NOVEMBER 13: The Rockets announced today in a press release that Gordon has undergone a right knee arthroscopy and will miss approximately six weeks.

NOVEMBER 12: Rockets guard Eric Gordon will undergo surgery on his knee, a source tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Speaking today to reporters, head coach Mike D’Antoni confirmed the news (video link via Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston).

Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) first reported that Gordon was gathering information on a knee issue and was leaning toward undergoing a clean-up procedure.

Gordon is expected to be sidelined for at least a month and could ultimately miss up to six weeks, league sources tell Charania (Twitter link). Feigen, who says the surgery will remove debris from Gordon’s knee, tweets that the Rockets are planning to be without the veteran shooting guard for six weeks.

It doesn’t appear that Gordon suffered a new injury in the Rockets’ most recent game — according to D’Antoni, the knee had been bothering the 30-year-old since last season. Gordon was off to a slow start in 2019/20, with just 10.9 PPG on .309/.284/.643 shooting through nine games, so the club will hope that addressing that knee issue helps jump-start his season once he’s recovered and ready to return.

With Gordon on the shelf, Ben McLemore, Austin Rivers, and Chris Clemons are the top candidates to play increased roles for Houston, as D’Antoni told reporters today.

Cameron Payne To Play In China

Free agent point guard Cameron Payne is signing with the Shanxi Loongs of the Chinese Basketball Association, a source tells Nicola Lupo of Sportando.

Payne, a former first-round pick, has appeared in 153 total regular season contests for the Thunder, Bulls, and Cavaliers since the start of the 2015/16 season, but was unable to secure a regular-season roster spot this fall. He was waived by the Raptors at the end of the preseason, having been beaten out by Malcolm Miller for the team’s final roster spot.

In those 153 career NBA games, Payne has averaged 6.0 PPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.8 RPG with a subpar .397/.331/.775 shooting line.

As Lupo explains, the 25-year-old will join a Shanxi roster that already features two import players in Jamaal Franklin and Eric Moreland. CBA rules dictate that clubs are permitted to carry up to four foreign players, but only two of them can be on a team’s active roster for a given game.

Paul George Plans To Make Clippers Debut On Thursday

Star forward Paul George is expected to make his debut as a member of the Clippers on Thursday in New Orleans, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

George has spent the first three weeks of the regular season recovering from a pair of shoulder surgeries he underwent in the spring after the Thunder’s season came to an end.

There was an expectation that he’d miss about 10 games to start the season before targeting this week’s back-to-back set in Houston (Wednesday) and New Orleans (Thursday) for his return. Barring a setback, the plan is for him to sit out the game against the Rockets before suiting up vs. the Pelicans, says Haynes.

George’s return is great news for a Clippers team that may be without Landry Shamet, who is undergoing an MRI today on his sprained left ankle. If Shamet misses time, the rest of the Clippers should play similar minutes with George back in the lineup. Once the roster is fully healthy, some of those players figure to have their roles adjusted.

Kawhi Leonard, who is on a load-management plan, will likely sit out one game of the Clippers’ back-to-back set, but it’s unclear at this point whether that will happen Wednesday or Thursday.

Nets, CEO David Levy Part Ways After Two Months

Less than two months after he joined the Nets as the CEO of the franchise and the Barclays Center, David Levy and the Nets are parting ways, the team announced today in a press release. Oliver Wiesberg, the CEO of J Tsai Sports and the Nets’ alternative governor, has been named Levy’s replacement on an interim basis.

While the Nets’ announcement and a statement from Levy himself classify the move as a mutual agreement to part ways, Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg suggests in his report that the longtime Turner Broadcasting executive resigned from his new post in Brooklyn.

Levy replaced former CEO Brett Yormark in September when new owner Joe Tsai officially assumed control of the franchise from Mikhail Prokhorov. Presumably, the two sides expected the relationship to last longer than two months, so there’s likely more to the story than they’re willing to reveal at this point.

Wiesberg’s statement in the Nets’ press release may offer a hint at the circumstances surrounding Levy’s departure. That statement reads, in part: “As we enter an exciting next chapter of our organization, it’s important that ownership and management are completely aligned on our go forward plan.”

Stephen Curry Expects To Play Again This Season

Warriors star guard Stephen Curry will require another surgical procedure on his broken hand but he’s optimistic he’ll play again this season, he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic and other reporters on Monday (Twitter link).

Curry is aiming for an early spring return from a broken left hand. He underwent surgery at the beginning of the month and is expected to miss a minimum of three months.

He’ll need another procedure in a few weeks to remove the pins securing the broken bones, Slater adds in another tweet.

“I have to get a second procedure done, beginning of December probably, remove some of the pins there,” he said. “So swelling is going to be of the utmost priority early in the rehab process, to give me a chance to come back and get my range of motion back pretty quickly.”

There’s also some concern about nerve damage. Curry said he experienced some nerve irritation and that will be closely monitored. He won’t be allowed to travel with the team until after the New Year

“Nerves are tricky,” he said. “They can come back quickly or over a sustained amount of time. … When you’re dealing with hands, that’s where it gets tricky.”

Curry suffered the break against Phoenix on October 30. The Warriors had gone 1-5 since the injury heading into their game with Utah on Monday.

De’Aaron Fox Suffers Significant Ankle Sprain

Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox suffered a significant left ankle sprain in practice on Monday and will be re-evaluated in three-to-four weeks, Zach Lowe of ESPN tweets.

The injury occurred when a teammate stepped on the dynamic guard’s foot, Lowe adds in another tweet. He has a Grade 3 sprain, which is a full tear of the ankle ligament.

Fox was averaging 18.2 PPG and 7.0 APG this season following a breakout year in which he averaged 17.3 PPG and 7.3 APG while starting 81 games.

The injury is a major blow for a team that entered the season with playoff aspirations. The Kings stumbled out of the gate, losing six of their first eight games, before defeating Atlanta on Friday. They’ll play their first game without their floor leader against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday.

Fortunately for the Kings, they have some experienced depth behind Fox. Cory Joseph has been the primary backup and figures to slot into the starting lineup. Yogi Ferrell should see his role expand after appearing in just five of the first nine games.