Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets

Carmelo Anthony is gone, who else is Denver likely to move

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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.

NBA: Kenneth Faried got away with foul on decisive basket in Nuggets’ win over Bulls

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The Bulls’ biggest loss Friday was Jimmy Butler to injury. His absence certainly contributed to a loss to the Timberwolves the following night.

But Chicago also lost to the Nuggets on Friday, and perhaps that wouldn’t have happened if the game were called correctly down the stretch.

With Denver up two points and 21.1 seconds remaining, Kenneth Faried offensively rebounded a free throw and scored. The Bulls then intentionally fouled down the stretch, and Faried and Danilo Gallinari added a few free throws in the Nuggets’ 115-110 win.

One problem: Faried should’ve been called for offensively fouling Taj Gibson on the key putback, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Faried (DEN) extends his arm into Gibson (CHI) and dislodges him, affecting his ability to retrieve the rebound.

This was a huge swing. Instead of Taj Gibson – a 69% career free-throw shooter – going to the line for two attempts with Chicago down two points, Faried put the Nuggets up four. Even if Gibson split at the line, the Bulls would have been in significantly better shape.

As usual, we can’t know what would’ve happened if this call were made correctly. But it significantly set back Chicago.

NBA considering if jump-on-back foul should be flagrant foul

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The video above is an intentional foul — Chris Paul jumped on the back of Dwight Howard. The same thing has happened to Andre Drummond.

Is it a flagrant foul?

The Boston Celtics tweeted this out on Sunday.

The NBA was quick to let people know that this is just something under consideration — there has been no change in the rules. This may well be where the league is headed, but it’s not there yet.

The NBA defines a flagrant foul as “unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.” To me, leaping on a player’s back like that qualifies. (A flagrant two foul is “unnecessary and excessive contact” and leads to an ejection; this is not that.)

Jared Dudley — one of the more vocal players on union issues — added a good point.

Consider this part of the coming changes on the intentional fouling rules period. But this one tweak could come much faster.

NBA: Foul on Cavaliers that sparked Celtics’ comeback called in error

Cleveland Cavaliers' J.R. Smith makes a move on Boston Celtics' Evan Turner (11) during the third quarter of a NBA basketball game in Boston Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Cavaliers were in great shape against the Celtics on Friday, leading by four points with seven seconds left.

Then, it all went so wrong for Cleveland.

J.R. Smith was called for fouling Evan Turner on a made layup, cutting the margin to two points. Turner missed the free throw, but the ball went out of bounds off the Cavs. Then, Avery Bradley made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Boston the win.

Rewind, though, and an incorrect call drove the sequence, according to the NBA.

Smith shouldn’t have been called for fouling Turner, per the Last Two Minute Report:

Smith (CLE) makes incidental contact with Turner’s (BOS) body as he attempts the layup.

If this were officiated correctly, the Cavs would’ve had the ball and a two-point lead with 5.9 seconds left. That’s not a lock to win – they’d still have to inbound the ball and make their free throws – but it’s close.

Cleveland is definitely entitled to feel the refs wronged them out of a victory.

Report: Kevin Durant has “done his due diligence on the Bay Area”

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Kevin Durant has not made up his mind about what he will do as a free agent this summer. Until his playoff run ends, whenever that may be for the Thunder, his focus will be on bringing a title to Oklahoma City.

But even he admits he can’t help but think about free agency a little.

The buzz around the league is Golden State is at the front of the line if Durant decides to leave OKC, and he has done some research, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

The Warriors play in front of an intimidating Oracle Arena crowd and are expected to debut a new San Francisco arena in 2019. Durant has quietly done his due diligence on the Bay Area, too, sources told Yahoo Sports.

His people — specifically agent Rich Kleiman and personal manager Charlie Bell — would be stupid not to have done some research on not only Golden State but on every other team he might consider: Houston, Miami, Washington, both teams in Los Angeles, the Knicks, and on down the line. Golden State, playing with Stephen Curry, certainly would have its attractions.

I’m still in the camp that Durant signs a 1+1 deal to stay in Oklahoma City (meaning he can opt out after one more season, in 2017), and it’s all about the cash. While he could get 30 percent of a $90 million cap this summer (about $27 million a season to start), with one more year of service in 2017 Durant could get 35 percent of $108 million ($37.8 million to start). That’s a lot of cash. Plus he gets one more chance at a ring with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, who both are 2017 free agents.

But you can be sure whatever Durant decides, it will be well researched and thought out. And he’s not going to announce it in a live special on ESPN.