Melo trade update: Denver slows pace down, Harrington still stumbling block

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Sunday evening into Monday there seemed to be more leaks around the Carmelo Anthony-to-the-Nets trade talks than there were on the Titanic.

That, and pressure from the Nets (and others) to make it happen fast, gave the impression the entire trade was just about to go down.

Turns out, not so much. In the past 24 hours Denver has worked to shore up those leaks, slow the pace of the talks down, and is still insisting that Al Harrington and his contract be part of any trade — which is the current stumbling block.

Denver was aggressive in making the talks more private, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

Before resuming trade talks for Carmelo Anthony(notes) on Monday, the Denver Nuggets delivered a stern warning to the New Jersey Nets: Unless the public nature of these trade discussions becomes private, be warned that we will send Anthony to the New York Knicks….

Would the Nuggets do such a thing out of spite? Would they take a lesser package out of vengeance? No one could be sure, but it sure delivered one more element of drama and intrigue to these trade talks.

It worked, the two sides pulled back and even agents who have players being discussed could get no information on where things stood at times Monday. But some things were clear.

For one, the Nuggets have succeeded in slowing the pace of the discussions again, meaning Anthony’s suggestion that the trade might not happen this week seems much more likely. There is no real pressure on the Denver front office to do this now.  One thing that could bring pressure soon? That the Nuggets have lost three straight and they could unravel because the rumors.

The basics of the deal remain the same. It is a complex, 15-player, three-team trade that would send Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton to New Jersey; bring Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow, some other players and a couple first-round picks to Denver; and Troy Murphy and Johan Petro to Detroit along with picks.

Denver wants more out of the deal and is working hard to ship out Harrington and his oversized contract. He has four years, $28 million left on his deal (the last two years are not fully guaranteed; he can be bought out, so in reality it is two years, $20 million). That’s still more than anyone wants to take on, leaving the trade at an impasse.

Denver can wait. It feels no pressure so long as the Nets deal is on the table. And they have proven more than willing to do drag this out.

So sit back and get comfortable, we could be at this a while.

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Shabazz Muhammad awkwardly mentions Collective Bargaining Agreement during halftime interview (video)

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The Timberwolves surprisingly led the Spurs by nine at halftime last night, which takes us to Shabazz Muhammad‘s mid-game interview.

Muhammad:

We’re doing a great job on defense, Wiggs, myself, everybody. It’s a tough team, especially Kawhi and the guys. So, we’re doing a really good job and everybody’s collective – Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Um. What?

To be fair, I can’t even imagine what type of nonsense I’d spew in the midst of a taxing workout or a high-pressure situation – let alone something that qualifies as both.

Unfortunately for Muhammad, Minnesota eventually fell to San Antonio, 100-93. But hopefully, he can laugh at this moment. He should, at least.

hat tip: reddit user cjsplash

Duke’s Jayson Tatum, California’s Ivan Rabb declare for NBA draft

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Wednesday a couple of forwards expected to go in the first round of June’s NBA draft said they plan on making the jump to the NBA.

As expected, Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Cal’s Ivan Rabb made their decisions official.

Duke announced Tatum’s decision.

Tatum is expected to be a top-five pick, DraftExpress.com currently has him as the No. 4 pick. The 6’8″ wing can flat-out score the rock, which is why teams are intrigued, as Rob Dauster of NBC’s College Basketball Talk told us in a recent podcast. However, teams wonder if he can create shots for others and not just himself, and if he’s going to be a good defender at the NBA level. He has the physical tools to do be a good defender, but will he put in the work game in, game out?

Rabb is a 6’10” sophomore who has a great NBA build and athleticism to spare, but at the NBA level everyone is a great athlete. Rabb doesn’t have a great perimeter game and needs to develop one and be a consistent defensive force to be a difference maker (or have a lengthy career) at the NBA level. DraftExpress.com has him going 22nd in this draft, and his stock seems to have fallen over the course of the season.

PBT Extra: What coaches are on hot seat? Alvin Gentry at front of list.

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This season, for the first time in 46 years, no NBA coach will be fired during the season (nobody is getting canned at this point).

However, once the off-season starts, there will be a few changes.

Alvin Gentry in New Orleans and Fred Hoiberg in Chicago are the names most mentioned, but there will be an unexpected firing somewhere around the league. Some GMs are on the hot seat also (Rob Hennigan in Orlando leads that parade).

I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.

Raptors’ Serge Ibaka, Bulls’ Robin Lopez each suspended one game for thrown punches

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It was obvious this was coming. Get in a shoving match “fight” in the NBA and you get a fine. However, actually throw punches and…

Toronto’s Serge Ibaka and Chicago’s Robin Lopez each have been suspended for one game by the NBA “for throwing punches at one another during an altercation,” the league announced. What that works out to is a $120,715 hit for Lopez and a $111,364 ding for Ibaka.

Also, Raptors assistant coach Jamaal Magloire earned a $15,000 fine shoving the Bulls Nikola Mirotic and “acting as other than a peacemaker as part of the same altercation.”

This all came out of what seemed a rather innocuous play. Ibaka and Lopez were battling for rebounding positioning, it went on for a second after the ball went through the hoop, Ibaka caught Lopez with a little chicken wing elbow in the back, Lopez spun, and, boy, that escalated quickly. Lopez’s punch missed, while Ibaka’s caught Lopez in the hair more than the body.

Both men got technicals and were ejected.