Three-team talks about Carmelo Anthony trade continue, Nuggets still dragging feet

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UPDATE 11:06 am: In an effort to push the deal forward, Knicks owner James Dolan called Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke directly to negotiate a deal, according to the New York Daily News.

According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Dolan’s decision to become more involved in the Anthony trade talks is a sign that the Knicks are closing in on a deal for the All-Star forward.

“And I would also think that at this point everyone is looking to take credit if Carmelo comes to New York,” said one Knicks source.

The part about getting credit makes a lot of sense. Particularly if Isiah Thomas is advising Dolan — Thomas would love to get credit for this and try find his way back into the Knicks organization.

8:18 am: When asked by FanHouse after the game if a deal for him was close, Carmelo Anthony said no.

So don’t expect anything imminent, but three-team talks between the Knicks, Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves continue to move ahead, according to the New York Post.

According to another Post story, it is the Nuggets that are dragging their feet on the deal.

“At the end of the day, it’s all up to Denver,” one person involved in the three-team discussions that would bring Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks told The Post.

“Just waiting to see what Denver ultimately does,” another individual with knowledge of the situation said.

That report comes out of New York so please sprinkle liberally with salt. Reports out of Minnesota and Denver say they are not as interested as is being suggested. With good reason.

The deal described in the report would have Anthony coming to the Knicks; Anthony Randolph, the expiring deal of Eddy Curry and Andy Rautins going to the Timberwolves; and the expiring contracts of Wilson Chandler, Kelenna Azubuike and Corey Brewer heading to Denver along with a first round pick of Minnesota’s. (One version of the report has the Curry contract also going to Denver to give them cap relief).

Denver would get cap relief and one pick, but that is far short of what they could have gotten in other deals. Of course, beggars can’t be choosers. Denver pushed and pushed to sweeten a couple of multi-team deals with the Nets to the point the Nets just walked away from the table. Now the Nuggets have no leverage. They may want to talk to the Nets again but we still have no idea if Anthony would sign an extension there (especially after Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov cancelled a meeting with him).

And this deal makes no sense at all for Minnesota. They give up Brewer and a first-round pick for the mercurial Randolph and a second round pick in Rautins? Why?

If this deal were to come together it will look a lot different. But even Knicks head man Donnie Walsh admitted they are talking.

“I don’t think we have anything going, but we’re getting a feeling for possibilities,” Walsh said before the Knicks beat the Sixers, 117-103. “We have a better feeling for what’s going to happen.”

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

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The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!

Luc Mbah a Moute sets modern record at +57 in Rockets’ win over Nuggets

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Luc Mbah a Moute is a quietly good player.

He’s an effective and versatile defender. Offensively, he shoots 3-pointers well enough to score efficiently and spread the floor. Most of all, the 31-year-old just understands how to play and plays within himself. His teams tend to perform better when he’s on the floor.

That’s an understatement for Wednesday night.

In a 125-95 win, the Rockets outscored the Nuggets by a whopping 57 points in Mbah a Moute’s 26 minutes. That’s the best single-game plus-minus in the Basketball-Reference database, which dates back to the 2000-01 season. It tops Joe Smith’s +52 in a 2001 Timberwolves win over the Bulls, a 53-point game that also produced a +50 for Wally Szczerbiak and +48 for Terrell Brandon.

Mbah a Moute’s traditional stat line was impressive, though not overly so: 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting with four rebounds, four steals and an assist. He played well, contributing to winning in all the small ways he often does, and the Rockets happened to play excellently around him.

Now, Mbah a Moute tops the leaderboard in single-game plus-minus since 2000-01:

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Did Russell Westbrook get mad at Steven Adams for not taking potential triple-double-clinching shot? (video)

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Russell Westbrook chases triple-doubles.

That hardly makes him unique. He’s just close enough to the feat more often than other players, so he chases them more often.

But he still chases them.

Late in the Thunder’s 108-91 win over the Warriors last night, Westbrook was heading toward his final line of 34 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. His teammates shot off his passes on three of Oklahoma City’s final four possessions before he took a seat (including one assist). The exception came when he passed to Steven Adams, who passed rather than shoot – clearly upsetting Westbrook.

Was Westbrook mad because he missed his chance at a triple-double? Maybe.

Was Westbrook mad because Adams passed as the shot clock neared expiration? Maybe.

It could be both!

Watch Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry on Golden State’s bench. They clearly found something funny.

Report: Teams are calling Clippers about DeAndre Jordan trades

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Injuries have ravaged the Clippers. They started the season 4-0 have been without three starters from opening night: Milos Teodosic (plantar fascia injury, he is still in a walking boot), Danilo Gallinari (strained left glute), and now point guard Patrick Beverley is out for the season after microfracture surgery on his knee.

All this has led to the Clippers losing nine in a row before beating the Hawks Friday night. All the weight of the offense has fallen on Blake Griffin‘s shoulders, and while he’s been good most of the game in the fourth quarter his numbers have plummeted, and the Clippers have stumbled.

It’s left the Clippers with a couple of hard questions.

Do they need a coaching change? There was a sense from sources around the league that Rivers is already on his way out — he was stripped of GM/president powers over the summer — and what kept him around was the couple of seasons at $10 million a year on his contract. That’s a lot of money for an owner to eat, even Steve Ballmer, but the time may be coming as a way to shake up the team.

The other, what to do with DeAndre Jordan? They could not work out a contract extension with him (Jordan was acting as his own agent), and one of the league’s top traditional centers is a free agent next summer, but new head basketball guy Lawrence Frank said they want Jordan to be a “Clipper for life.” Does Jordan want to be a Clipper for life? Do the Clippers really want him back, and if so at what price? Does a Clipper franchise trying to get approvals for a new arena in Inglewood want to rebuild now, because it does not help that process? If it’s time to move on and rebuild, do they need to trade him now?

Teams are calling about Jordan, reports Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post.

DeAndre Jordan, who can become a free agent after the season, has been coming up in trade conversations, with multiple teams talking potential trades. Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank said last month that Jordan will be a “Clipper for life,” muddled matters, as does the limited number of teams who need a center and the size of Jordan’s contract ($22.6 million).

Jordan is an All-NBA center, a defensive force in the paint who sets a strong pick, rolls hard to the rim, can finish with the best of them, and is averaging 10.4 points (scoring and attempts are down without Chris Paul feeding him) and 13.4 rebounds a game. Jordan knows who he is and plays within himself.

It’s not hard to imagine how he could help teams such as Cleveland, Washington, Milwaukee, and a host of others. The question is what would teams be willing to give up to get him — they have to send back salary to match, but will not want to give up assets that help them win now. The Clippers will be looking for good young players and picks back in the package, which makes it hard for a team such as Cleveland to put together a package.

But before they discuss trade scenarios, the Clippers need to figure out what they want to do. Life has come at them fast this season and led to a lot of big-picture questions that Frank and Ballmer need to answer.