Report: Knicks making progress on Carmelo Anthony trade (or he may stay put)

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New York has always been the team at the top of Carmelo Anthony’s wish list as he tried to force a trade out of Denver (through back channels, as not to be fined). Now it appears there may be progress in making that wish come true.

In recent days the Knicks have made significant steps in making that trade a reality, according to Chris Sheridan, writing for ESPNNewYork.com.

The offers the Knicks have proposed have always centered around packages including Anthony Randolph, the expiring contract of Eddy Curry and a first-round draft pick they would acquire from a third team, and New York has softened its stance on including forward Danilo Gallinari in a trade.

The most recent obstacle, according to the source, was for the Knicks to use one of those assets, likely Randolph or Gallinari, to acquire a player from a third team that the Nuggets value more highly than either of the Knicks forwards. The source said that obstacle can now be overcome, with the Knicks confident they can get their hands on a player the Nuggets would prefer.

That’s all pretty vague, but it has been known for some time that the Knicks have been working through back channels to find pieces that would interest the Nuggets. They certainly have talked to the Nuggets (again through back channels) as they do this.

It’s progress, but nothing is expected to happen imminently.

The flip side of this is Denver brass has been reluctant to reward Anthony for his behavior by sending him to where he wants to go. That appears to have softened, although this deal will have to be very good to make them forget it totally.

If he does go to New York or anywhere, it will be as a sign-and-extend, maybe for the three-year, $65 million deal currently on the table from Denver. This would keep Anthony a Knick for years, paired with Amare Stoudemire (making maybe the best forward tandem in the league, or certainly up there with LeBron/Bosh).

Or he may just stay in Denver. Anthony told Chris Tomasson of FanHouse that he is keeping his options open, and just signing the extension in Denver is one of those options. Of course, what he has said publicly — to avoid league fines — and the reality of what his people say on his behalf in back channels may be (and have been) completely different.

The Knicks step forward as the Nets have faded from the picture — after watching the raw potential of Derrick Favors this preseason, they are less interested in moving him. Meanwhile, the Bulls are still out there but they have not changed their offer and Joakim Noah is not part of the picture there.

Neither Knick trade piece — Randolph nor Gallinari — are dazzling anyone during the preseason. Randolph is shooting 39 percent overall and 20 percent from three, Gallinari is at 34 percent overall and 29 percent from three. Anthony is not a terribly efficient scorer, shooting 37 percent this preseason, but he is knocking down 40 percent of his threes. He is also better at creating his own shot than either of the two current Knicks.

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek: “We can use some more defensive players”

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For all the flipping between the triangle and a more modern offense, despite ball stopping by Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony, the New York Knicks offense is 17th in the NBA for the season. Not good, but the middle of the pack, right around Oklahoma City, Miami, and Memphis — all playoff teams (or potential ones in Miami’s case).

The reason the Knicks season ends in seven games is their defense — 25th in the NBA. Put the triangle in (and get players who fit the system) or don’t, but that’s not the end of the court where the Knicks need to improve. And while system matters on defense, the fact of the matter the Knicks roster is loaded with poor and/or indifferent individual defenders.

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek emphasized all this speaking to ESPN’s Ian Begley.

“I think if you look at our defense this year, we can use some more defensive players,” Hornacek said. “[Management] will look at that. [General manager] Steve [Mills] and [president] Phil [Jackson] and those guys will look at whatever can help us out. We know we need some help there.”

Admitting you have a problem is the first step. Now comes the time for action.

The Knicks are going to have a Top 10 draft pick (currently sixth) plus max-player money in free agency. Also, they are looking to move Anthony this summer (he has a no-trade clause so he will have to agree to it). All of which is to say they have a chance to reshape this roster into one that will have more of a defensive focus. Or any defensive focus for that matter.

It will be interesting to see if the Knicks target more defensive minded free agents this summer, ones who might fit the triangle offense such as Thabo Sefolosha, or to a lesser extent Tony Allen. It’s going to be a fascinating summer in New York.

Master P says Pelicans should hire him as assistant coach: ‘I’m serious’

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Did you know Master P had two NBA contracts?

Percy Miller was with the Hornets before the 1999 season and the Raptors before the 1999-00 season. But he was cut in the preseason both times.

These were mostly publicity stunts. Still, the rapper could actually play a bit. NBA quality? He long insisted yes, though his music career provided a convenient and lucrative excuse for sidetracking his basketball ambitions.

Yet, now, the New Orleans native says he wants back in the NBA with the Pelicans — in a different role.

Master P, via TMZ:

I think they need me to be an assistant coach.

I’m serious about coaching.

I don’t think he’s actually serious.

But if he is, would it be a good idea? Probably not. The Pelicans have real issues integrating Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, and they need devoted coaches, not passing entertainers, to solve this.

Would it be fun? Heck yeah.

Pistons’ D-League team wins on buzzer-beater unlike any you’ve ever seen (video)

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Sending an inbound pass through the rim is, of course, a turnover.

But sending an inbound pass off the rim to a teammate who converts the shot? Sure, that counts.

Ray McCallum and Ramon Harris gave the Pistons-affiliated Grand Rapids Drive a win over the Pacers-affiliated Fort Wayne Mad Ants on a play the D-League amusingly dubbed a “put-back.”

Duke’s Harry Giles, once a potential No. 1 pick, declares for NBA draft

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About a year ago, Harry Giles looked like he could be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

But multiple knee injuries have added up and contributed to a lackluster freshman year at Duke, especially considering Giles started the season late due to his latest knee surgery.

Where does this leave him with the NBA?

We’ll find out.

Duke release:

Duke freshman forward Harry Giles has announced that he will enter his name in the 2017 NBA Draft.

At his best, Giles is an athletic power forward who plays with skill and energy. But we didn’t see much, if any, of that player during 11.5 minutes per game in just 26 contests at Duke.

Medical testing will define everything for Giles. He’s projected to go somewhere in the middle of the first round, but that’s a wide range with so much uncertainty about his knees.

Helping Giles: Joel Embiid‘s success after entering the NBA with major red flags about his health. Even though Embiid is again injured, he was so good while on the court for the 76ers. That’s a favorable recent comparison for Giles.