Matt Barnes weighing his options, not loving them

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Thumbnail image for Mbarnes.jpgMatt Barnes is as indecisive about where he will play next year as Jessica Alba is about her hair color.

Well, to be fair, Barnes thought he had made a decision, and tweeted he was going to Toronto Monday. Except a few guys in suits forgot to do that math. So he is back on the open market and looking at his options. And is not quite sure what he is going to do, according to David Aldridge at NBA.com.

Matt Barnes was still trying to decide Wednesday afternoon whether he’ll take more money to play with the Cavaliers or chase a chance at a championship with the Lakers, Celtics or Heat.

The Cavaliers can offer the most money by far of any of the teams that Barnes is considering. Cleveland has its full mid-level exception for next season, $5.8 million, to use to sign players. The Cavaliers also have the $14.5 million trade exception they received from Miami as part of the sign-and-trade deal earlier this month for LeBron James. But Cleveland won’t use the trade exception for Barnes, and it’s not likely it would use all of the mid-level for the 30-year-old forward. Cleveland opted to take the big trade exception for James rather than renouncing him and several other free agents to clear cap space.

Just to break out the numbers on the contenders: The Lakers can offer the remaining $1.8 million from their mid-level exception (Steve Blake took up the first $4 million); the Heat and Celtics can only offer a veterans minimum of $1.2 million. Orlando does not have his “Bird rights” because he played for just one season for them, so they cannot exceed the cap to sign him. That’s what killed the sign-and-trade with Toronto. 

The money matters. Barnes has made “only” $7.7 million in his six years in the league. Yes, you and I would take that in a heartbeat, but in the financial world of the NBA that is nothing — every team in the NBA has at least a couple players making more than that this year alone, often players making twice that this year alone.

Barnes has played well under pressure for contenders, he deserves a payday. But he’s not getting a big one. So he sits and is indecisive. Can’t really blame him.

Enes Kanter thanks Thunder fans in video, urges team to beat Warriors

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Enes Kanter loved playing in Oklahoma City.

Which made the fact he was traded to the Knicks for Carmelo Anthony difficult. Kanter had been through a lot, his political stance against the ruling party in his native Turkey led to his family being forced to publicly disown him (and his father being arrested and questioned multiple times), plus his passport being revoked while he was in Europe as Turkey tried to force him to return (where he would have been instantly arrested). He has said on multiple occasions that the people of Oklahoma City, and the Thunder organization, provided him a home when his native one was yanked away from him.

He said that again in a thank you and goodbye video to the people of Oklahoma City.

Kanter said he had “no hard feelings. I understand it’s a business.”

He also urged the now-stacked Thunder to go out and beat the Warriors.

NBA Twitter flips out over Carmelo Anthony trade to Thunder

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Well, that escalated quickly.

Carmelo Anthony wanted away from the Knicks badly enough that he relented in recently and added Cleveland and Oklahoma City to Houston as places he would waive his no-trade clause for. From there, it took almost no time for Oklahoma City and New York to work out a trade that sent Anthony to the Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a second-round pick.

NBA Twitter flipped out on the news. And that started with one of ‘Melo’s new teammates.

Or, is it…

Reports: Knicks reach deal to send Carmelo Anthony to Thunder

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Carmelo Anthony and his camp pushed the Knicks the last 48 hours to get a trade done before training camp opens on Monday, which included Anthony expanding the list of teams he would accept a trade to.

One of those teams was the Oklahoma City Thunder, and that got the deal done, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Shams Charania of Yahoo has also confirmed the reports).

Anthony waived his trade kicker to make the deal work.

The pick is the Bulls’ 2018 second rounder, so it should be a high second.

This trade moves the Thunder into the second tier conversation in the West, battling Houston and San Antonio in a deep conference. Everyone is still chasing Golden State, which should be improved this season.

The Thunder get another star to pair with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, another shot creator that will be difficult to account for. The Thunder will have a strong defense — Anthony does not hurt that much, Kanter doesn’t defend either, but he did come off the bench for them — and with this move they get more offense.

The move also ads $12 million to a Thunder tax bill.

The Thunder aren’t thinking about next season, they are all in on this one. When you have a chance, take a big swing.

The Knicks get rid of ‘Melo’s shadow and make this Kristaps Porzingis‘ team. They get a solid bench scorer in Kanter, who is owed $17.8 million this season and has a player option for $18.6 million (which he will probably opt into, considering the tight market next summer). McDermott is in the last year of his rookie deal and has a lot to prove. The pick is nice, but not a first rounder.

This is not a great haul for the Knicks, but it speaks to Anthony’s trade value — he can score, but his style of play and cost had only a few teams interested. New York may have done just as well buying Anthony out after last season.

LeBron James calls President Trump a “bum,” Chris Paul tells him to stay in his lane

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LeBron James isn’t going to stick to sports.

The way the president isn’t sticking to politics.

Donald Trump pulled his White House invitation to the Warriors Saturday after Stephen Curry said he would vote not to go to make.a statement.

LeBron James came to Curry and the Warriors defense on Twitter.

LeBron endorsed and campaigned for Hillary Clinton in the last election.

Chris Paul also took a shot at the president.

LeBron and CP3 have been more outspoken on social and political issues in recent years, which has worked for them in an era where fans want players to be authentic and themselves.

Trump on Friday night at a rally in Alabama slammed the NFL for its increased focus on concussions saying it was ruining the game, and said regarding national anthem protests in the league:

“We respect our flag. Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a b—h off the field, right now, out? He’s fired.”

This may resonate with some NFL fans, but LeBron will resonate more with NBA fan base, which is younger, more urban, and much more multicultural. The NBA fan base leans left of the NFLs, plus is far more international (where Trump bashing plays well).

Saturday morning, after being told by the NBA the Warriors were going to vote on whether to come to the White House, Trump pulled his invitation.

Now we know how LeBron and CP3 feel about that.