carmelo anthony

Carmelo Anthony trade updates: Don’t believe anybody

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It’s at the point with the Carmelo Anthony trade drama to stop taking anything anybody says seriously. It’s all lies, spin and negotiation tactics. Any truth in comments from people involved in the trade is incidental to their motives.

Look at Tuesday’s reports.

The New York Daily News is saying the Knicks could make a deal right now for Anthony but find the price — three starters, including Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari, a first round pick and the Eddy Curry contract — too steep. Who knows if that deal is really out there (the Nuggets have been aiming high and asking for everything but a an all-expenses paid trip to Brazil for Carnaval through this entire process) but it sounds like a message sent through the media to the Nuggets that the Knicks won’t overpay.

So Denver leaks they might not trade Anthony at all. Of course, to believe that you believe the Nuggets front office is willing to bet the next five years of the franchise on: 1) Anthony suddenly deciding to sign a three-year, $65 million extension that he has ignored since this summer; 2) The new collective bargaining agreement will have a franchise player tag that will allow them to keep him.

Hard to swallow but that’s the spin Denver sources keep spinning to reporters — such as ESPN’s Marc Stein and CBS’s Ken Berger. Understand, these are good reporters who I’m sure are being told Denver would keep ‘Melo, it just strikes me more as a negotiating tactic. Here is what Berger wrote:

Some high-ranking personnel in the organization believe that without injuries to Kenyon Martin, Chris Andersen and Chauncey Billups — not to mention the persistent trade rumors and the games Anthony missed due to the tragic death of his sister — the Nuggets might very well be as high as third in the West. Team officials also are pleased with Anthony, who is averaging 29.5 points per game since the Nets walked away from the negotiating table — including a 50-point game and a 42-point game. Given the circumstances, and the added value of home playoff dates with a lockout looming, the best course of action might be to keep Anthony and find ways to improve the roster without taking on future money.

Did those executives watch a less talented but harder working Rockets team dismantle the Nuggets Monday night? Can they project to next season when this kind of loss is the norm if Anthony walks? The risk of getting nothing for Anthony — and that is a real risk — seems a steep price for making the second round of the Western Conference playoffs (and the second round is the optimistic scenario).

About those Rockets… the Clutch Fans blog asked Anthony about maybe playing in Houston.

“It would be interesting, that’s all I can say,” said Anthony. “The Rockets are a good team, they’re an up and coming team right now. They miss Yao. They’re a play-hard team. I’m pretty sure anybody would like to play for that team. Now don’t take that the wrong… don’t spin that tonight.”

Don’t worry Anthony, nobody is taking anything said around your trade front too seriously right now.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

Minnesota Timberwolves Zach LaVine slam dunks the ball during the NBA all-star skills competition in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect. Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. 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.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates:

Splash Brothers showtime: Klay Thompson beats Stephen Curry to win Three-Point Contest

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TORONTO — It came down to the Splash Brothers. Because of course it did. Just like last season.

In the final round of the NBA All-Star Saturday Three-Point Shootout, defending champ Stephen Curry hit his first eight shots and set the bar high with 23 points — the best score of the night.

His backcourt teammate Klay Thompson responded by draining his last seven shots, which included the entire money rack, and put up 27 points — tying the event record.

That gave Thompson the upset win and the Three-Point Contest title.

Although, is it an upset if the second best shooter in the game beats the best?

“It was like déjà vu last year,” Thompson said. “Not gonna lie, I got nervous when he hit his first eight, and I didn’t think he was going to miss. But it was exciting, just coming back to Oakland [with the title], you know. Back-to-back years for Splash Brothers, it’s pretty cool.”

So does Thompson have bragging rights?

“(For) about 364 days, and then — but that’s a daily thing we do,” Thompson said. “We love to shoot against each other. You know, I’ve never been on a team with someone who shoots it better than me, so it’s a privilege to work with him every day. He makes me that much better.”

The Final round was two you expected — the Splash Brothers — plus one few did, Suns rookie Devin Booker.

Getting there was not simple. In the first round, Thompson set a high bar going first and putting up 22. Curry got hot in the middle, then hit the last two money balls to reach 21. James Harden and J.J. Redick ( who stayed behind the line this year) scored very solid 20s. Later 19-year-old rookie Booker put up a 20 to tie those two veterans. Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (13 points) Portland’s C.J. McCollum (14) and home-town crowd favorite Raptor Kyle Lowry (15) got bounced. .

That left Harden, Redick, and McCollum in a tiebreaker, and the rookie calmly put up a 12 in 30 seconds to advance.

Booker took a step back in the final round with a 16.

Not that it mattered with the Splash Brothers in the building.