Report: Bulls considering adding Joakim Noah in Carmelo Anthony talks

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nba_noah_250.jpgThe Denver Nuggets are not talking about trading Carmelo Anthony right now. Calls are politely being turned away. They want their chance to keep him first.

But a good rumor is like Freddy Krueger, it will not die.

The Chicago Bulls are considering trying to pry Anthony out of Chicago by including Joakim Noah in the deal, according to ESPNChicago.

According to the source, the Nuggets are hesitant to take back Luol Deng as part of a deal with the Bulls because Denver is leery of taking on long-term contracts with the collective bargaining agreement set to expire on June 30, 2011. Deng is two years into a six-year, $71 million contract.

Noah will make $3.1 million this season in the fourth year of his rookie deal. He would become a restricted free agent next season unless the Bulls extend his contract.

We told you yesterday of the reports that Anthony still wants to be traded, preferably to the Knicks or Bulls. This clearly comes out of the Carmelo Anthony camp, which is located somewhere roughly on the third floor of the CAA building.

This new report comes from a “league source.” Think about it this way: Who benefits by leaking this to the press? Chicago? No, it makes them uncomfortable and if it wasn’t for the Bears about to stink once again and Manny Ramirez stinking once again all anybody in Chicago would talk about is this trade.

Does it makes sense to leak this if you’re Denver? Yes. Put out there for Chicago what it will really take to get this deal done.

Formally, Denver is still turning away trade requests. What we have here is a bucket of water out of the Mississippi River of backchannel conversations in the NBA. Denver, or the reasons enumerated, would likely prefer Noah to Deng.

Has Chicago discussed it internally? Probably on some level. Whether Chicago would actually do this is another thing entirely. Noah is a guy touted in Chicago as a building block. Part of the front line with Boozer. And he is affordable. To make the numbers work in this trade you’d almost have to send Deng and Noah, and that’s not going to happen. So there are a lot of questions.

Bottom line, don’t expect any action from the Nuggets soon. Rumors, yes, expect plenty of those. But not action.

James Harden presents fan with game ball on her 100th birthday (video)

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HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.

Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.

Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.

The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.

Paul George dunks on DeMarcus Cousins while getting whacked in the face (video)

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Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.

But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.

Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.

Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.