Carmelo Anthony was just the first domino in Denver.
His trade will be followed by host of moves in the next 48 hours — then again next summer — as virtually the entire roster gets overhauled. Denver has from a team that thought it had a chance to push the Lakers to one that is rebuilding in one trade. It’s not quite full-fledged fire sale in Denver, but like a used car sale no reasonable offer will be refused.
There are reports that before the day is out Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov will be flipped for more picks and parts. There were rumors that the two would be headed back east to the Nets, but we are hearing conflicting things about that trade. The move was to be basically just for picks, which Denver clearly wants but they may be able to get more for a quality point guard in Felton and a good center prospect in Mozgov. But if not the Nets, somewhere is likely. The Nuggets will be taking a lot of calls for these two.
There is a lot of interest in Nene, the Brazilian center, and half the league has already called the Nuggets about him. Denver wants to keep him and is trying to convince him to sign an extension and be at the heart of their rebuilding efforts, according to Marc Stein at ESPN. But Nene (like Anthony) can opt out of his deal at the end of this season, leaving $11.6 million on the table. He likely could get that as a free agent if not more. Denver may try to work an extension and if that does not work trade him around the draft, not at the deadline. Houston had interest in him before and David Aldridge at NBA.com said that is still a potential landing spot.
There also will be a lot of interest in the skills and tattoos of J.R. Smith. He is a good wing player who can score (11.2 points per game this season), hit the three (34 percent this season) and defend. Plus, he is in the last year of a $6.7 million deal. Unlike Nene, Smith is not seen as part of the long-term future so they will listen to offers. That said, if the Nuggets keep him Smith becomes a good fantasy basketball pickup because he is going to get a lot more shots as Denver tries to figure out where its scoring comes from.
Al Harrington is at the top of the list of guys they want to move — and ones that they may be stuck with. He’s a 31-year-old forward who has four more years and is owed $27.6 million AFTER this season. That is a big, ugly contract, which is why they were desperate to push him into the Carmelo deals. They will look hard for someone to take him — he’s giving Denver 11 points and 5 rebounds a game off the bench — but with that contract there is little interest right now.
The Bulls tanked so hard this year, the NBA warned them to cut it out. It was a rare instance of the league responding to actual tanking measures rather than just talk of preferring to lose.
Bulls executive John Paxson, via Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago:
“We did this year what we felt was in the longterm best interests of the Bulls,” Paxson said. “It’s not a situation that any of us want to ever be in again; it goes against everything as a competitive person that you believe in; but it’s the way the system is set up.”
Chicago could try to turn around quickly. The Bulls project to have about $25 million in cap space this summer – enough to land a good player or two.
Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago:
The assumption in league circles is the Bulls will wait until 2019 to make their big move when players like Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving could be on the market, and might consider signing with the Bulls after watching another year of development from LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn.
This is the wise course. It’s unlikely Chicago can lure anyone good enough to lift such a young core quickly. The Bulls are better off remaining patient – and bad, which will net another high draft pick as Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn develop.
This is also probably the course thrust upon Chicago. Even if they wanted to, the Bulls probably can’t land a premier free agent this summer. Star free agents can see the same problems with Chicago trying for a quick fix and will likely avoid the situation.
There’d be no harm in trying for top free agents like LeBron James or even Paul George. But the Bulls will probably be relegated to 2019 if they want to sign someone meaningful. Better they realize that than make a desperate attempt for relevance this year.
In 2011, the Trail Blazers surprisingly fired Rich Cho after only season as general manager.
Cho – since hired and fired by the Hornets – seems to be holding a grudge.
John Canzano of The Oregonian:
That’s a sentiment many people hold toward their former employer. Few say so publicly. That Cho did indicates just how strongly he feels.
Under owner Paul Allen, the Trail Blazers have run through numerous executives. It’s part of the culture in Portland, and it leaves a lot of outgoing people bitter.
Current general manager Neil Olshey ought to be mindful of that.
Josh Allen, a quarterback from Wyoming, could be the No. 1 pick in tonight’s NFL draft. But his recently unearthed high school tweets – which include using the n-word with an ‘a’ at the end – are the sports story of the day.
And there’s an NBA tie.
Via Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports:
I hate LeBron!!!!! #LeBronSucks
— Josh Allen (@JoshAllenQB) June 7, 2011
Damian Lillard went down this same road with LeBron James, and they got past it.
But it would be a little more awkward if the Cleveland Browns – who have the Nos. 1 and 4 picks – take Allen. Then, Allen will face more scrutiny over this tweet – the most innocuous of the bunch.
The Jazz blew a 25-point second-half lead in Game 5 last night, extending their series with the Thunder. Up 3-2, the Jazz are still in control. They can close out in Game 6 tomorrow in Utah. Blow that, and they must return to Oklahoma City for Game 7 Sunday.
But Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell is making it abundantly clear he doesn’t plan to do that.
Gabe Ikard of The Franchise 107.7:
Jake Edmonds of KUTV:
A confident proclamation that rallies his team or youthful exuberance run amok?
The narrative will be decided after Game 6. That’s just how this is done.