Monday morning one liners

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Our morning look around the NBA with stories worth reading and notes that are not their own post here at PBT.

A fantastic read at Hoopspeak.com on what the Thunder need to do to get Kevin Durant more open looks.

After signing Baron Davis for the mini mid-level, the Knicks are out of the running for James Posey (because they can only offer the veterans minimum) and are looking at Al Thornton.

As Tom Ziller pointed out: Thanks to the NBA amnesty clause, Baron Davis’ salary went from $13.9 million to $16.4 million this season. Yes, one of the most dramatically overpaid players in the league gets to double dip.

By the way Knicks fans, you can thank Spike Lee for you having Tyson Chandler now.

Dwight Howard got a warm reception from Orlando fans at the team’s first scrimmage.

Who wins the 7th and 8th seeds in the West?

Suns coach Alvin Gentry said he is going to rest Steve Nash and Grant Hill on the team’s two back-to-back-to-backs. Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers are dealing with similar questions right now.

Look for more Rodney Stuckey at the two guard this year with Brandon Knight and Will Bynum playing the point.

If you’re looking for a fantasy player your friends are going to overlook, try Greg Monroe. The Pistons center had 12 points, 13 boards, two steals and two blocks on Friday.

Cleveland’s Manny Harris is expected to miss another couple of weeks due to “freezer burn” he suffered on his foot in a Nike-sponsored “cooling chamber.” (Super cold rooms are a hot trend in helping players bodies regenerate.)

Blazers coach Nate McMillan said Jamal Crawford will be coming off the bench in Portland, as he did in Atlanta.

E’Twaun Moore looked good in the Celtics first preseason game.

Rhino sighting — the Trail Blazers have picked up veteran Craig Smith. Nice pickup to provide depth up front.

In case you missed it, David Stern and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson had a successful meeting recently. The Maloofs seem to be coming around on the issue. Long way to go, but Sacramento may save its team.

The Bulls waived Jannero Pargo.

The Kings grabbed Travis Outlaw off amnesty waivers.

Jason Smith is staying with the Hornets on a one-year deal.

Sean Marks will retire from the NBA after an 11-year career.

The Warriors signed Ish Smith to a one-year deal.

J.R. Smith going with the Karl Malone imitation dunk during a game in China.

The Raptors are going with the optical illusion logo on the court for television. (It’s an NBA first, but European soccer teams have done this.)

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Report: Even after Kyrie Irving requests trade, Carmelo Anthony still focused on Rockets, not Cavaliers

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Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.

Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.

That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.

But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.

Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.

I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.

Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).

Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.