George Karl calls ‘Melo “distracted” during practice. Can’t imagine why.

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At some point, all of the insanity surrounding Carmelo Anthony and his  proposed trade had to catch up with him. That point may have been today.

Nuggets coach George Karl called Anthony “very distracted” during today’s practice, reports Chris Tomasson of FanHouse.

“If Melo plays distracted, I can’t play him as many minutes,” Karl, whose Nuggets play host to Oklahoma City on Wednesday, told FanHouse. “I thought he was very distracted (Tuesday)… I don’t know (if it’s because of trade rumors). I don’t have that answer.”

It looks more and more like the ongoing ‘Melo trade saga is nearing an end, one way or another, and the distraction may well be a sign of that.

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov will arrive in the United States Wednesday and Karl hints he will be granted the chance to sit down and at least talk with Anthony. Deny it all you want, it has to happen.

Ken Berger of CBSSports again reports that Anthony only wants to sign an extension to play with the Nuggets or Knicks. Variants of that report have been going on since last summer. At this point that defies all logic.

Put simply, there is no way Anthony’s agent and the front office of Denver — with whom Anthony has a good relationship — would have let everything get this far down the road on a massive three-team trade without Anthony at some point at least saying he would consider signing with the Nets. If there were a clear and consistent no, this would have died long ago.

That doesn’t mean the trade is to happen, if Anthony needs to meet with the Nets and be sold it says something about his feelings. But we’re going to learn soon pretty soon what is happening. If this drags out much longer, it will be bad for the distracted Nuggets and other teams involved.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.