Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets

Denver’s other big problem: Nene


Beyond the ongoing, never-ending, painfully unresolved saga of Carmelo Anthony lies the dread and doom of another situation. If you check Denver’s books, you’ll notice that Nene has an ETO (Early Termination Option) for 2011, meaning he can jump ship and enter free agency should he elect to do so. Nene loves Denver and wants to return, but he’s getting a little fed up with this whole, bizarre, distracting  Anthony situation, according to CBSSports.com:

Nene, arguably Denver’s second-best player, has made a list of three teams he’s interested in signing with or being traded to — and not surprisingly, one of them is Miami, where his fierce interior presence would be the missing piece for the Heat.

… Thus far, Denver’s stance has been to deal with Anthony first, but sources say the Nuggets are running out of time to get Nene to agree to an extension. And if Anthony and Chauncey Billups are traded in a clear step toward rebuilding, there is little doubt Nene will push for a trade.

… Nene hasn’t voiced any desire to be dealt yet, but sources say recently he has been among the most outspoken Nuggets in his anger about the distractions Anthony’s situation has caused.

via Post-Ups: Nene impatient with Nuggets’ focus on Melo – NBA – CBSSports.com Basketball.

This further confirms what we already thought: if the Nuggets have to trade Carmelo Anthony, the odds of a full-blown detonation increase dramatically. Losing Nene would crush the Nuggets inside.

Meanwhile, Nene’s value on the open market would be sky high. Miami being an option is scary enough, providing Chris Bosh with a backbone to so he can hit jumpers all day long, but there are other contenders who would get a lot out of Nene. The Knicks also come to mind, immediately. Nene has played in a high-pace system in Denver for the last several years, so he’s familiar with the run and gun style. Giving Stoudemire a legit force down low would create a twin towers system which would be a game changer for the Knicks.

Even teams like Boston, with Kendrick Perkins (should, for some unforeseen reason they elect not to re-sign him, which they will) and conceivably Shaquille O’Neal coming off the books could be interested. In short, should Nene elect to leave home, he’s going to have his choice of options. But Denver needs to do everything possible to get him locked back into a contract.

If they can ever get the Melo thing resolved, that is.


Scott Skiles says he would not have traded Tobias Harris to Magic

Tobias Harris, O.J. Mayo
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Back at the start of the season in 2012 and into early 2013, Tobias Harris was buried on the bench in Milwaukee — glued there by coach Scott Skiles. At the trade deadline that February, the Bucks sent Harris to Orlando  — where he blossomed into a quality forward that is part of the Magic’s future.

The Magic now coached by Scott Skiles.

Did Skiles want Harris moved at the time? No, he told Journal Sentinel (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

“He was pretty mature as a person even then,” Skiles said of Harris, who left Tennessee after his freshman year to enter the NBA draft. “In camp he got sick; he fell behind.

“At that time, we just felt (Luc) Mbah a Moute was a better defender and (Mike) Dunleavy was a better offensive player, and Tobias didn’t get as many minutes. But we were high on him.

“Not that anybody would have listened to me, but if I would have still been the coach, I would not have been for moving Tobias. That’s for sure, if somebody would ask my opinion.”

Skiles was under pressure to win back then in Milwaukee (he was let go at the end of the season) so you can’t be surprised he was playing the veterans he trusted over the young player who would be making mistakes.

Skiles trusts Harris now; he’s giving him more than 30 minutes a night. While he’s played some small four to start the season, Skiles has switched the lineups and now has Harris starting at the three (Channing Frye is at the four). In that role he has averaged 18 points through two games, Harris has looked more comfortable. We’ll see if that sustains, but you know Skiles is giving him a chance.


DeMarcus Cousins out for Kings vs. Warriors Saturday

DeMarcus Cousins, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams
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As if Golden State was not already a prohibitive favorite Saturday night.

DeMarcus Cousins, who has missed the last two games for Sacramento with a strained back and that will continue Saturday. Our old friend Bill Herenda tweeted it first.

Not only are the Kings 1-6 without Cousins, but they were also on their way to beating Charlotte Monday until Cousins had to leave the game.

Golden State will likely be without Harrison Barnes in this game after spraining his ankle in the last game. Expect Andre Iguodala to get the start, or if interim coach Luke Walton doesn’t want to mess with the bench rotation he could go with Brandon Rush.

Good news: Anthony Davis listed as probably vs. Utah Saturday

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Watching Anthony Davis fall to the court clutching his knee, not being able to put any pressure on his leg as he was helped to the locker room, it was frightening Friday night in Los Angeles.

It turns out it’s not that bad. After the game the injury was described as a “knee contusion” and not the serious damage that was feared. Saturday the Pelicans said Davis was good to go.

Whew. Nobody wants to see Davis miss time.

The Pelicans had won three in a row until they ran into the Clippers Friday night. Davis has played better of late — the New Orleans defense is 7.2 points per 100 better when he is on the court — and New Orleans has gotten better point guard play out of Ish Smith.

Stephen Curry abuses Sun’s Price with behind-the-back, pull-up three (VIDEO)

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That is just cruel.

An on-fire Warriors team dropped 44 on the Suns in the first quarter Saturday, and Curry had 19 of those points going 5-of-6 from three. The Suns’ had no defender who could begin to hang with him. Certainly not Ronnie Price, who came in off the bench and got abused for his efforts.

Curry finished with 41 points, never had to set foot on the court in the fourth quarter, and the Warriors improved to 17-0 on the season. Just another day at the office for them.