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Report: ‘Melo wants Nets to sell him on team, future

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It remains the ultimate final hurdle for the complex three-team trade that many reports now say could be completed early next week, after the Nets finish their current road trip (the final game is Sunday in San Antonio):

Will Anthony agree to a three-year, $65 million to play in New Jersey?

He wants the Nets to sell him on their future plans, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo.

“ ‘Melo can’t have cold feet now,” said one organizational source involved in the talks. “It’s too far down the line. He’s the one who wanted this.”

Anthony hasn’t ruled out committing to the Nets, but he wants a clearer vision of their plans for the future. Anthony’s preference is to wait to see what other trade options become available for him, the sources said.

According to a source of Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix (via twitter) the Nets had a plan for this:

Nets “expected that and have a plan to do just that.”expected

He adds that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is scheduled to be in the United States next Wednesday and the goal is to have the deal completed before then.

It’s been a hard, complex deal to put together. There are 14-to-16 players involved in a deal that would end with Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton playing in New Jersey; send Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow, some other players and a couple first-round picks to Denver; and give Detroit Troy Murphy and Johan Petro and some second-round picks.

Anthony is right to question what the long-term plans of the Nets are.

A roster with him at forward, Billups and Hamilton in the backcourt, and Brook Lopez in the paint (without much else on the roster) is worse than the Nuggets team he is leaving now and could not compete with the elite of the East (it likely is a fifth or sixth seed next season). Billups (34) and Hamilton (32) are on the back ends of their careers, this is not the roster of the future. Plus, all the salary the Nets are taking on in this deal that would preclude them from getting Chris Paul and/or Dwight Howard in the summer of 2012 without more moves (the Nets would have more than $40 million on the books at that point without extending Lopez). If this team is going to compete with the Heat and Magic in three seasons, a series of other steps will need to be taken. Anthony is right to want to hear what those are.

Still, all signs point to the teams agreeing to the trade. It will all just come down to Anthony.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).

Dario Saric blocks back-to-back Raptors dunk attempts (video)

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Norman Powell – get out of here.

Jared Sullinger – get out of here.

Dario Saric blocked consecutive dunk attempts in the 76ers’ 94-89 win over the Raptors. Philadelphia has won seven of nine and looks suddenly revitalized.

The best part of all this? Saric’s teammates’ reactions – though the actual blocks were pretty great themselves.