Chauncey Billups: Anthony has not said he doesn't want to be a Nugget

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canthony_billups.jpgThe buzz around the league is that Carmelo Anthony has one foot out the door in Denver, and the other foot is planted in a starters block. On the other hand, his own words came off as a man conflicted. A man who hasn’t decided what direction to go.

Chauncey Billups has been talking with ‘Melo to, and tells the Denver Post this is not a done deal.

“He has not once said he didn’t want to be a Nugget,” Billups said. “He loves Denver, he loves the Nuggets, he loves the fans. So, it’s a part of him that I’m sure is eating him up a little bit because he’s taken all this press and he’s not said one thing to support or to not support what they are saying. He’s just trying to enjoy his summer, chill out and he’s in every story. Honestly, I think that the publications and things are out of control.”

Billups also doesn’t really know what Anthony is going to decide.

“I’ve had some very direct conversations with him that I would never share that with anybody else,” said Billups this morning from his hotel room in Spain as he and the U.S. basketball team prepares to face Lithuania Saturday night in Madrid.

“But I think, for me, I try to just speak to him and just kind of help him and see if he needs my help in this whole process because it is a big decision for him. It’s at a crucial time for him in his career and his life. It’s a huge decision. It’s something that’s a big, big deal.”

Nothing is happening fast here. As we said, Denver doesn’t even have a general manager right now, and once they hire someone he will want to sit down with Anthony and his agent. And even then we’re probably not going to see anything happen.

Backroom chatter in the NBA — particularly in August — tends to be where speculation gets let off the leash and runs wild. So few things talked about this time of year happen as predicted. Neither side in this talk is in a position to have to rush. That time will come, if Anthony is leaning toward leaving Denver will have to make a move by the trade deadline.

But that is six months away. Which is an eternity from now. So put your feet up and make yourself comfortable, we’ll be talking about this for a while.

Report: Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer urged Danny Ferry to resign

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
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When Danny Ferry’s racism scandal came to light, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer publicly supported his general manager. Budenholzer called the “African” remarks about Luol Deng “very much out of character” and said Ferry was trying to learn from his mistakes.

And while Budenholzer might not have done anything privately to contradict his public statements, his tone apparently differed with Ferry and then-owner Bruce Levenson last fall.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Budenholzer very much owed his job to Ferry. His former Spurs colleague had pleaded with Levenson that the Gregg Popovich assistant was the man for the position. Yet Budenholzer felt Ferry should resign, lest the Hawks be subsumed in disruption when training camp opened, and he made his wishes known in a heartfelt conversation with Ferry and Levenson at that time.

In some respect, Budenholzer was just doing his job as coaching – trying to maximize his teams chances of on-court success. Ferry didn’t resign. He took a leave of absence that lasted until he agreed to a buyout this summer. That was apparently enough to avoid a paralyzing distraction. The Hawks won 60 games and reached their first conference finals since moving to Atlanta.

Ferry’s departure also significantly benefitted Budenholzer personally. Budenholzer ran the Hawks’ front office during Ferry’s leave, and the new owners have installed him as the teams permanent president.

The only other four active coaches with personnel control experienced much more success before getting the dual president/coach title.

Gregg Popovich coached the Spurs to four championships and 11 playoff berths before they named him president in 2008. Doc Rivers won Coach of the Year with the Magic and then guided the Celtics to a title during his 14 seasons before the Clippers plucked him to run their franchise. Stan Van Gundy steered the Heat and Magic to the playoffs in all seven of his full seasons, including a trip to the 2009 NBA Finals with Orlando, before getting hired by the Pistons. Flip Saunders won more games than every other Timberwolves coach combined, is responsible for every playoff win in franchise history and made four trips to the conference finals (including thrice with the Pistons) over 16 total seasons before Minnesota gave him the huge role.

Budenholzer has been a head coach just two seasons, including a 38-44 debut year. He has done a good job, winning Coach of the Year last season, and he might make a good team president.

But he lacks the track record most coaches need to gain such status. Budenholzer, more than anything, was at the right place at the right time.

Report: Rockets will try to sign Alessandro Gentile next summer

Alessandro Gentile, Paulius Jankunas
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The Rockets tried signing Sergio Llull this summer, but he opted for a long-term extension with Real Madrid.

So, they’ll just turn to another player in their large chest of stashed draft picks – Alessandro Gentile.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Gentile, who was selected No. 53 in the 2014, is a 22-year-old wing for Armani Milano. He’s a good scorer, but he primarily works from mid-range – an area the Rockets eschew. He can get to the rim in Europe, but his subpar athleticism might hinder him in the NBA.

If Gentile comes stateside, he’ll face a steep learning curve. But he’s young enough and talented enough that he could develop into a rotation player.