Winderman: ‘Melo trade means Knicks now target Chris Paul, Dwight Howard

6 Comments

Don’t even think about exhaling.

The trade of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks does not, finally, put the focus back on the court.

Not in today’s NBA, or, more specifically, in tomorrow’s NBA.

Think these past months were lessons in abject cruelty in Denver?

Then consider what now follows in Orlando and New Orleans.

While pundits no doubt will offer their instant analysis on this mega-Melo monstrosity (we’ll offer our kudos here to Denver for maximizing the possibilities), this deal, at least from a Knicks outlook, deserves an incomplete, nothing more.

The make-or-break portion of this trade from a New York perspective comes down the road, with the potential 2012 free agency of both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Through this latest machination, and through a Chauncey Billups contract that has one remaining year, the Knicks should be positioned to make runs at Paul and Howard just over a year from now.

Where the Anthony trade now most resonates is in New Orleans and Orlando. The Knicks are coming for their stars next.

And when Paul and Howard reflect on what currently is alongside, and then look at the possibilities with Stoudemire and Anthony, how can their wanderlust clocks not start ticking a bit faster?

Perhaps the Knicks capitulated to such a severe degree with their trade package because they feared the introduction of a “franchise” tag in a new NBA collective-bargaining agreement, one that could have kept Carmelo out of their free agency clutches.

But such a franchise tag ultimately could cost the opportunity for a follow-up move for Paul and Howard.

No, for the Knicks — after absolutely ravaging a playoff roster — to make sense of this move, it means starting to put the moves on Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. (And who is to say the two weren’t having dinner at Isiah Thomas’ South Beach place on Monday night?)

For Denver, the nightmare is over.

For Orlando and New Orleans, it seemingly only is beginning.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Report: Enes Kanter not yet permitted to travel to Mexico, where Thunder scheduled to play

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Remember when Turkey revoked Enes Kanter‘s passport?

That looms over the Thunder’s Dec. 7 game against the Nets in Mexico City.

Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:

Without a valid passport, he is unable to travel to another country other than Canada, which allows entry from U.S. residents who have a Green Card. There is no such agreement with Mexico.

Kanter could receive a re-entry permit, a special document issued to citizens of other countries whose passports have been canceled for reasons the U.S. government deems unsuitable. The permit would allow Kanter to leave the U.S. for another country, such as Mexico, and still return. And the plan is for Kanter to acquire one before OKC’s game in Mexico City. Still, he is yet to receive a re-entry permit, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. There is, however, still ample time for that process to complete.

Kanter is a high-profile millionaire working for a billion-dollar company that has a vested interest in getting him to Mexico. He likely works this out.

Rumor: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving met in Miami

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
4 Comments

LeBron James denied wanting to fight Kyrie Irving, but wanting to meet with his for-now Cavaliers co-star? That might be another story. Likewise, Irving – in light of his trade request – might not be eager to meet with LeBron.

But…

Tony Rizzo of ESPN Cleveland, as transcribed by Jackson Flickinger of King James Gospel:

“From very reliable sources. Plural. Kyrie and LeBron were in the same room over the weekend in Florida…Apparently these guys were in the same room and here’s the deal. I don’t know if there’s a thawing out process. All I do know is LeBron didn’t punch Kyrie the way Stephen A thought he would. I can report that. As for what they talked about or discussed…it was very cool. They didn’t get into any heated discussions.”

Did LeBron and Irving actually meet? Both were spotted in Miami, but maybe someone is just connecting dots that don’t belong connected.

Whether or not LeBron and Irving met, they might need to soon. Cleveland will have a tough time getting its desired return for Irving before the season, and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert discussed the possibility of Irving returning. LeBron isn’t getting traded.

No matter the disconnect between the two, LeBron and Irving might have to figure out how to work together a while longer. It’d be nice if that process has already begun.

Are Bulls and Dwyane Wade moving toward a buyout?

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
2 Comments

About a month ago, the Bulls said they hadn’t discussed a buyout with Dwyane Wade.

Have the two sides progressed since?

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade isn’t long for the organization’s future and is expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months.

Expected by whom?

People with direct knowledge of momentum toward a buyout?

Or everyone who can see that a 35-year-old earning $23.8 million fits poorly on a rebuilding team?

For the Bulls to now drop their biggest name and a large expiring contract that could prove useful in trades should require Wade surrendering a large portion of his salary. He doesn’t sound like someone inclined to do that yet.

A few months is a long time. As long as Wade gets bought out by March 1, he could join another team’s playoff roster. It’d surprise nobody if he gets bought out after the February trade deadline, which we already knew. I don’t see strong indication of something more imminent.

LeBron James’ camp already shooting down leaving-Cavaliers rumor

AP Photo/Tony Dejak
2 Comments

LeBron James has done a terrible job shooting down rumors about him leaving the Cavaliers

Except this one from Chris Sheridan, who cited a source saying LeBron would “100 percent” leave Cleveland next summer due to a rift with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Sheridan’s source saying LeBron is leaving doesn’t make that true. But other anonymous sources denying it doesn’t make the denials true, either.