Your team may have a better trade for 'Melo, but if he wants to go to New York he will

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Thumbnail image for Anthony_game.jpgIt’s everybody’s favorite new game — come up with a trade for Carmelo Anthony.

‘Melo wants out of Denver and from radio talk shows in Chicago to Timberwolves message boards everybody has an offer to bring Anthony to their city. Chicago fans have a plan. So do Nets fans, Lakers fans, Magic fans and so an and so on.

And some of those plans are better than what New York is offering (reportedly something like Danilo Gallinari, Eddy Curry and his contract, plus a future first round pick). Why wouldn’t Denver jump at those other offers?

Because Anthony controls the game, he has the leverage. And Denver isn’t jumping anywhere quickly anyway.

Let’s get to the second part of that first. Right now Denver has no general manager, they are in the process of hiring one (probably David Griffin from Phoenix). There is someone filling the role for Denver right now, but that person is not going to make some big trade.

When the new GM is hired, he is going to want to sit down face-to-face with Anthony and try to use the Jedi mind trick that Dell Demps used on Chris Paul in New Orleans. (“You do not want to get traded.” “I do not want to get traded.” “You want us to build around you here.” “I want you to build around me here.”)

If and when that fails, Anthony gets to call the shots.

No team is going to give up the massive assets Denver will demand in a trade just for a one-year rental. Teams will want to do an extend-and-trade similar to what was done with Kevin Garnett, that way teams know they have him for at least three years. Anthony wants that, too, because he wants the max money under this Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But because Anthony has to sign any extension, and no team will take him without it, he has leverage. Denver may like an offer from Chicago or Orlando better, but if Anthony refuses to sign the extension the other teams will not make the trade.

Anthony may prefer New York, but Frank Isola of the New York Daily News says there are other options.

Anthony, who was born in Brooklyn, has told close associates that New York is his preferred destination, although the Knicks will face stiff competition from the Bulls, Magic and Jay-Z’s Nets.

Over at Sports Illustrated, the Houston Rockets and Nets are listed as the two teams besides the Knicks he likes.

The Nets, of course, will play in Brooklyn in two years. That has to be a draw.

But if the team is not a draw to Anthony himself, it’s all moot. He has leverage.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.