Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony talks trade but says nothing. Again.

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Carmelo Anthony’s walk from the locker room to the court Monday in New Jersey was lined with photos of construction and renderings of the finished new Barclays Center being built for the Nets in Brooklyn. Open for your convenience in 2012.

For the Nets first 22 home games that artwork was not there, John Schuhmann points out at NBA.com. Magically the pictures appear along the hallway to the court the same night Anthony and the Nuggets appear in Jersey.

Coincidence?

Hardly.

That just added to the murky waters around ‘Melo’s departure (or not) from Denver. After Anthony spoke to the media in New Jersey Monday, things were even less clear. Nobody had any idea what is going to happen. Including Anthony, it seems. Read these quotes, via Schuhmann, and you tell me what he’s really thinking.

“The CBA is in the back of my mind, but as far as being afraid to play this out, I’m not. If that’s what it’s going to take, then so be it. I’m with that…”

“If I sit here and tell you I’m willing to lose $15-20 million, then I’ll be lying to you. But at the same time, this has never been about the money. In my career so far, I think I’ve made enough money. Now I can focus on just trying to win a championship. That’s the only thing that’s on my plate and on my mind right now…

“I’ve been (in Denver) eight years. I didn’t even spend eight years in Baltimore… I love where I’m at right now in Denver. We’re playing well, but at the end of the day this is a business. The Denver Nuggets have to be cautious. It’s a business. I have to look at it as a business and we just go from there. Whether we make a business decision together and that’s for me to stay in Denver or they say the business decision is to trade you somewhere else, then you’ve got to deal with that.”

Then at these quotes from the Bergen Record about him in New Jersey.

“I really don’t know where it came from as far as if I was to come (to the Nets) that the extension wasn’t going to get signed,” Anthony said after scoring a game-high 37 points. “I really don’t know who started that.

“As far as the extension, if that trade was to go through, who knows what would’ve happened, I can’t really answer that because it didn’t go through.”

So basically Knicks, Nuggets and Nets fans can all take something positive away from Anthony’s remarks. Great.

While Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov pulled the plug on the Anthony to the Nuggets trade talks, it is minority owner Bruce Ratner that keeps trying to fan those flames, Chris Mannix at Sports Illustrated reports.

Which just confuses the issue even more.

Of course, that confusion ultimately lands at ‘Melo’s feet. He may at one point have had a plan on how he thought this would play out, but right now — with less than a month to the trading deadline — it sure doesn’t feel like ‘Melo has any idea how this is going to go down. And if he doesn’t know…

NBA: Kenneth Faried got away with foul on decisive basket in Nuggets’ win over Bulls

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The Bulls’ biggest loss Friday was Jimmy Butler to injury. His absence certainly contributed to a loss to the Timberwolves the following night.

But Chicago also lost to the Nuggets on Friday, and perhaps that wouldn’t have happened if the game were called correctly down the stretch.

With Denver up two points and 21.1 seconds remaining, Kenneth Faried offensively rebounded a free throw and scored. The Bulls then intentionally fouled down the stretch, and Faried and Danilo Gallinari added a few free throws in the Nuggets’ 115-110 win.

One problem: Faried should’ve been called for offensively fouling Taj Gibson on the key putback, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Faried (DEN) extends his arm into Gibson (CHI) and dislodges him, affecting his ability to retrieve the rebound.

This was a huge swing. Instead of Taj Gibson – a 69% career free-throw shooter – going to the line for two attempts with Chicago down two points, Faried put the Nuggets up four. Even if Gibson split at the line, the Bulls would have been in significantly better shape.

As usual, we can’t know what would’ve happened if this call were made correctly. But it significantly set back Chicago.

NBA considering if jump-on-back foul should be flagrant foul

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The video above is an intentional foul — Chris Paul jumped on the back of Dwight Howard. The same thing has happened to Andre Drummond.

Is it a flagrant foul?

The Boston Celtics tweeted this out on Sunday.

The NBA was quick to let people know that this is just something under consideration — there has been no change in the rules. This may well be where the league is headed, but it’s not there yet.

The NBA defines a flagrant foul as “unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.” To me, leaping on a player’s back like that qualifies. (A flagrant two foul is “unnecessary and excessive contact” and leads to an ejection; this is not that.)

Jared Dudley — one of the more vocal players on union issues — added a good point.

Consider this part of the coming changes on the intentional fouling rules period. But this one tweak could come much faster.

NBA: Foul on Cavaliers that sparked Celtics’ comeback called in error

Cleveland Cavaliers' J.R. Smith makes a move on Boston Celtics' Evan Turner (11) during the third quarter of a NBA basketball game in Boston Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Cavaliers were in great shape against the Celtics on Friday, leading by four points with seven seconds left.

Then, it all went so wrong for Cleveland.

J.R. Smith was called for fouling Evan Turner on a made layup, cutting the margin to two points. Turner missed the free throw, but the ball went out of bounds off the Cavs. Then, Avery Bradley made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Boston the win.

Rewind, though, and an incorrect call drove the sequence, according to the NBA.

Smith shouldn’t have been called for fouling Turner, per the Last Two Minute Report:

Smith (CLE) makes incidental contact with Turner’s (BOS) body as he attempts the layup.

If this were officiated correctly, the Cavs would’ve had the ball and a two-point lead with 5.9 seconds left. That’s not a lock to win – they’d still have to inbound the ball and make their free throws – but it’s close.

Cleveland is definitely entitled to feel the refs wronged them out of a victory.

Report: Kevin Durant has “done his due diligence on the Bay Area”

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Kevin Durant has not made up his mind about what he will do as a free agent this summer. Until his playoff run ends, whenever that may be for the Thunder, his focus will be on bringing a title to Oklahoma City.

But even he admits he can’t help but think about free agency a little.

The buzz around the league is Golden State is at the front of the line if Durant decides to leave OKC, and he has done some research, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

The Warriors play in front of an intimidating Oracle Arena crowd and are expected to debut a new San Francisco arena in 2019. Durant has quietly done his due diligence on the Bay Area, too, sources told Yahoo Sports.

His people — specifically agent Rich Kleiman and personal manager Charlie Bell — would be stupid not to have done some research on not only Golden State but on every other team he might consider: Houston, Miami, Washington, both teams in Los Angeles, the Knicks, and on down the line. Golden State, playing with Stephen Curry, certainly would have its attractions.

I’m still in the camp that Durant signs a 1+1 deal to stay in Oklahoma City (meaning he can opt out after one more season, in 2017), and it’s all about the cash. While he could get 30 percent of a $90 million cap this summer (about $27 million a season to start), with one more year of service in 2017 Durant could get 35 percent of $108 million ($37.8 million to start). That’s a lot of cash. Plus he gets one more chance at a ring with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, who both are 2017 free agents.

But you can be sure whatever Durant decides, it will be well researched and thought out. And he’s not going to announce it in a live special on ESPN.