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Carmelo Anthony comes to Chicago tonight, but still in Nuggets uniform

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Carmelo Anthony will suit up in Chicago tonight.

Still in a Nuggets uniform, though. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah will still put on Bulls uniforms for the game. Denver will come to Chicago in a battle of two teams that have talked about a blockbuster deal but never got it done.

Which frustrates a number of Bulls fans, who think that the team needs Carmelo Anthony and would have thrown Joakim Noah in the deal with Luol Deng to get Anthony to Chicago. Anthony reportedly would love to play there. But Bulls brass will not include Noah, thinking they still need a defensive-minded center to make it all work.

Chicago fans are likely to welcome Anthony tonight with loud cheers and open arms. Even Noah thinks so, as he told ESPN Chicago.

“I don’t know,” he said, when asked about the reception which awaits Anthony. “A couple years ago we kind of had a similar situation with Kobe Bryant and he got a pretty good reception when he came to the United Center, but we’ll see how it goes tomorrow. To be honest, I have no idea. My only focus is on just winning the game and not worrying about all the other things.”

With Kobe, it was Deng that was the issue. The Lakers demanded him in the deal, but Kobe would not approve the trade if Deng was not in Chicago. Looking back now, both Kobe and the Lakers are pretty happy it worked out like it did.

Anthony has leverage in his demands in that he can be a free agent this summer — if the Nuggets can’t trade him or get him to sign the three-year, $65 million deal on the table they will lose him for nothing. Cleveland and Toronto territory.

The Bulls and everyone else knows that, which is why Chicago’s 2-3 start will not push them to up their offer. The Bulls don’t have Carlos Boozer in the lineup yet, they don’t know just how good they really are. The Bulls don’t feel they have to change, and the pressure will mount on Denver.

Eventually. Right now the Nuggets are just fine, playing some quality basketball with good ball movement on offense that will test the Bulls defense. The Nuggets can flat out score. Which likely will make Bulls fans even more envious. They will welcome him loudly, but Bulls management will not move off their stance. Nor should they.

Chris Paul, after breaking finger, intends to play in Clippers preseason game tomorrow

Chris Paul
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Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.

The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.

Here’s confirmation.

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:

Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.

Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.

Report: David Lee, Tyler Zeller in line to start for Celtics; Jared Sullinger, Jonas Jerebko out of rotation

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 08: David Lee of Boston Celtics attacks during the friendlies of the NBA Global Games 2015 basketball match between Real Madrid and Boston Celtics at Barclaycard Center on October 8, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.

It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.

That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.

Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.

Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.

I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.

This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.