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.

Rockets owner appears to leave seat, yell at refs during matchup with Thunder (VIDEO)

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The Houston Rockets are in control of their series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and were up 3-1 heading into Tuesday night’s Game 5 in Texas.

That did not stop what appeared to be Rockets owner Leslie Alexander from complaining to NBA referees. During gameplay. While standing directly next to an official, some 20 feet from his courtside seat.

Via Twitter:

Congratulations are in order to Bill Kennedy, the official in question, for keeping his cool. Or perhaps he just was so surprised by some dude yelling in his ear from right next to him he didn’t know how to react.

Brandon Jennings no fan of the NBA’s new Awards Ceremony event

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Come June 26, Drake will be on stage in New York City, handing out the NBA’s awards — Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and so on. (We need to set an under/over on the number of players Drake hugs that night.)

The NFL does it. The NHL does it. And the NBA has decided to follow suit with a broadcast awards ceremony where everything — except the All-NBA Team — will be announced that night. It’s happening because the broadcast partners want it.

Brandon Jennings is not a fan. Here is what the Wizards’ point guard Tweeted:

Jennings took down a Tweet that said if he had won the award he would have wanted to get it with the organization and his teammates around him. (And no, he knows he’s not winning the award. If you were going to put that in the comments be more creative.)

There’s something to what Jennings is saying. The NBA award roll out was awkward at times in previous years, but it gave the fans a chance to celebrate the awards with their favorite player. Now, everyone will watch it unfold on television from a ballroom in NYC. That feels a little colder. Also, we will get to see the reaction of those who don’t win (particularly this season, where several players can make a strong case for MVP).

It will be interesting to see how this first year goes, and how the league tweaks it going forward. The more than two month gap between the end of the regular season and the awards could feel a bit awkward. But we’re not going to knock the idea until we’ve seen it in action.

Portland GM makes it official, Festus Ezeli will not be back with team next season

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This season the Portland Trail Blazers found their center of the future (and the present) in Jusuf Nurkic.

Which makes the next step fairly obvious: Portland will not pick up the option on Festus Ezeli for next season, GM Neil Olshay confirmed at the team exit meetings Tuesday.

Portland signed Ezeli on what they thought was a great contract (one-year, $7.4 million, with a team option for the second year) because he was coming off knee surgery last summer. However, Ezeli was never healthy, needed a second surgery, and never got on the court. After taking it slow over last summer he practiced with the team twice in mid-October, there was more swelling, so he pulled back.

This summer Ezeli will not draw any guaranteed money from teams, but some teams may take a look at him. Athletic bigs get a lot of chances in the NBA.

Gordon Hayward will play for Jazz in Game 5 without minutes restriction

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Gordon Hayward has averaged 20.5 points a game in these playoffs — and that includes a 40 point outburst in Game 3 — but what has been more impressive is he has done it efficiently, with a true shooting percentage of 61.1. While Joe Johnson and others have stepped up, Utah will need Hayward’s shot creation if they are going to win this series.

They will have it Tuesday night in Game 5.

After missing the second half of Game 4 due to food poisoning (he tried to play but was ineffective in the first half), he is back and ready to go this time around.

So is Rudy Gobert. The Jazz will be at full health, while the Clippers remain without Blake Griffin for the remainder of the playoffs.

Having those two back is a boost for the Jazz, they need to score more consistently against the Clippers, but the bigger key will be defensively trying to deal with Chris Paul on the pick-and-roll. He has been masterful this series, and the Jazz need to keep him in check to give their offense a chance.