Report: Nets back in mix, talking to Nuggets about ‘Melo

1 Comment

It just felt from the first minutes like this was going to happen.

The New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets are talking Carmelo Anthony trade again, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo, the Bergen Record and ESPN’s Chris Broussard.

One source described talks as “progressing” and said they have been ongoing between Denver and New Jersey officials for more than a week. While the precise package being discussed was unclear, sources said talks have centered on a scaled-down package that still includes rookie forward Derrick Favors and draft picks.

The Nets pulled out of the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes in dramatic fashion when owner Mikhail Prokhorov said he didn’t like how things were progressing. The Nuggets kept delaying and trying to push more bad contracts like Al Harrington into the deal, which meant more teams got involved.

But the two sides still had more to gain from one another than any of the other players in this drama, leading many around the NBA to think the two sides would start talking again.

The Nets always wanted to offer a simple package that involved Favors, the expiring deal of Troy Murphy and a pick or two. Walking away from the table gave them much more leverage in the negotiations.

The Nuggets have always preferred the potential of Favors and the Nets picks to any package the Knicks could put together.

Could this be a false leak designed to spur the Knicks into offering up Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler (and Eddy Curry and a pick) to the Nuggets? You bet. But like we said most people expected the sides to start talking again, so this could very well be legitimate. Which is bad news for the Knicks.

This is a convenient time to start talking again — both Anthony and Prokhorov will be in Los Angeles for the NBA All-Star game this weekend. That gives both a chance to sit down this weekend and for Prokhorov to woo Anthony on New Jersey, Brooklyn and his vision.

The ultimate unknown remains Anthony himself — would he sign an extension to play with the Nets? New Jersey will not do the deal without one. If he meets Prokhorov, will that change his mind?

Still plenty of drama in the ‘Melodrama. And the weekend is just getting started.

Marreese Speights opts out of Clippers contract

Harry How/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Clippers are unraveling.

Of course, whether they can re-sign Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are the big questions. But they also must deal with smaller matters in free agency – like Marreese Speights.

Speights will opt out, his agent tweeted:

The Clippers will hold Speights’ Non-Bird Rights (technically a form of Bird Rights), allowing them to give him a starting salary up to $2,540,346 without using cap space or the mid-level exception.

The 29-year-old Speights, a stretch five who takes charges, fits the modern NBA. He could probably get more if he seeks it.

The Clippers won’t have cap space unless they lose Paul and Griffin, and at that point, re-signing a veteran like Speights is of little use. So, it would likely require the taxpayer mid-level exception or Speights taking a discount to keep him.

Luc Mbah a Moute can and likely will also opt out, and he’ll fall in the same Non-Bird situation. The Clippers would likely prioritize their mid-level exception for him – if it’s enough for either player.

Keeping Paul and Griffin is of the utmost importance, but that’s not the Clippers’ only challenge. Even if they keep those two stars, assembling even a decent supporting cast will difficult. Possibly losing J.J. Redick is the main issue there, but handling Speights’ and Mbah a Moute’s roster spots will also be pivotal.

Warriors struggle to get Zaza Pachulia’s 2017 NBA Finals hat on his big head (video)

Leave a comment

Zaza Pachulia became the villain of the Western Conference finals when he injured Kawhi Leonard and torpedoed the Spurs chances of upsetting the Warriors.

But his teammates stood by him – then shared this fun moment with him after Golden State won the West.

Reporter asks Spanish-speaking Manu Ginobili whether he just announced retirement (video)

Leave a comment

Manu Ginobili received an emotional sendoff in the Spurs’ season-ending – and maybe Ginobili’s career-ending – loss to the Warriors last night.

The postgame press conference featured a lighthearted moment when, after the Argentinian guard answered a couple questions in Spanish, an American reporter – not wanting to miss big news – asked whether Ginobili had just announced his retirement.

No, Ginobili assured the reporter. He says he plans to take a few weeks to consider his options.

Warriors make most dominant playoff run ever to NBA Finals

5 Comments

Moses Malone famously predicted the 76ers team would go “”Fo’, Fo’, Fo'” in the 1983 playoffs, sweeping all three rounds in four games. Philadelphia didn’t quite do it – sweeping the Knicks, beating the Bucks in five then sweeping the Lakers for the title.

Thirty-four years later, an NBA team went “”Fo’, Fo’, Fo'” for the first time.

Golden State swept the Trail Blazers, Jazz and Spurs in four-game series. But with an extra playoff round, the Warriors’ 12-0 run merely gets them to the Finals.

It’s the ninth undefeated run to the Finals, third since the league adopted four playoff rounds in 1984 and first since the first round became best-of-seven. The Lakers went 11-0 in the playoffs en route to the Finals in 2001 and 1989.

By winning an extra game and outscoring opponents by 16.3 points per game, Golden State now claims the most dominant postseason run to the NBA Finals ever.

Here are the top paths to the Finals, with Finals results, by playoff…

Record (point difference per game in parentheses):

image

Point difference per game (record in parentheses):

image

This doesn’t guarantee Golden State a championship. The Cavaliers (10-1, +11.9) are on track for an elite run to the Finals themselves, and they have LeBron James.

But the Warriors put ridiculous expectations on themselves by signing Kevin Durant to join a 73-win team featuring Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. I’m unsure a Golden State title this year will be properly appreciated, but so far, the Warriors are doing all they can to clear a bar set unreasonably high.