Tommy Hilfiger Womens - Backstage - Spring 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Melo says it may be time to ‘re-evaluate everything’ and that you can boo him all you want

30 Comments

The word “reflective” was used to describe Carmelo Anthony after Saturday night’s loss to the Nuggets. He wasn’t just pressing ahead, spitting out “both teams played hard” and ignoring the realities of where the Knick are at. He was honest about the struggles, and even if the comments come with a slight dose of bitterness, Anthony isn’t looking at the team or the coaching or the defense for why the Knicks are losing. He’s staring in the mirror.

From the New York Times:

“I’ve been in situations like this before, when shots don’t go in,” said Anthony, who is 35 for 105 over the last four games. “Maybe I need to not take so many shots. I don’t know. That’s just a bunch of stuff that goes through my mind. Just coming down, taking less shots, just figuring out ways, how to make other guys better. Should I pass it more?”

He added: “Maybe I should take the blame for the games we’ve been losing, the offensive struggles. The coaches do run the offense through me. I’ll take it. I’ll take that blame.”

via Gallinari’s Career-High 37 Points Help Nuggets Top Knicks in Double Overtime – NYTimes.com.

Yes, you will. But at least he’s willing to say that, at least he’s open to the possibility. Anthony also related the possibility that the problem was physical, not strategic.

“Maybe it is time to reevaluate everything, reevaluate my body, sit with the trainers, see what is going on,’’ Anthony said. “I am hard-headed at times.’’

via Knicks fall in double overtime to Nuggets, 119-114, for 6th straight loss – NYPOST.com.

The thing is, Anthony’s off in his thinking. This isn’t a binary issue. It’s not “Carmelo shoots/Carmelo doesn’t shoot.” Anthony can take 40 shots a game and the Knicks can be successful, but only if those shots are coming off of creating matchup problems, or off the catch-and-shoot, or in the pick and roll. As it stands, Anthony is receiving the ball, facing up, and either lifting and firing over his opponent, or driving into and past one, two, three opponents to get to the rim. And sometimes it works! That’s what’s amazing about Anthony! He can get those shots to fall.

But you can’t do it consistently. If Anthony’s hurt, sure, he should take a seat for a while. The shortened schedule is only making injuries worse this season. But if he’s healthy, and wondering how to get on track, it’s not about shooting or not shooting. It’s about good shots vs. bad. It’s about working in the flow of an offense vs. going hero-mode. Carmelo Anthony is a singular offensive talent. But if he’s not used correctly, not only does he hurt himself, but the rest of the team by removing them from the flow.

Oh, and by the way, those that are booing Melo? Uh, that’s not really getting to him, according to him.

“I’m not too concerned about that,” he said, vowing that he will fulfill the grand expectations that came with the trade.

“Things will still be great,” he said. “I’m not down, I’m not regretting anything. I’m not regretting the trade. I’m here. You want to boo me for missing shots, boo me.”

via Gallinari’s Career-High 37 Points Help Nuggets Top Knicks in Double Overtime – NYTimes.com.

Good thing Melo doesn’t mind. Because unless Mike D’Antoni wrangles the offense, that’s probably not going to stop.

Report: Cavaliers trading Kevin Love ‘not even remotely a consideration’

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 22: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates with fans during the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 championship victory parade and rally on June 22, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
1 Comment

Will the Cavaliers trade Kevin Love?

Cleveland’s championship quieted, but didn’t stop, the speculation.

The Cavs’ stance might.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

While there are no shortage of suitors who would take on Love’s contract, sources close to the Cavs say moving him is not even remotely a consideration.

Some parts of the equation haven’t changed since the last trade deadline:

  • Love is a good, and probably now underrated, player who can’t reach his full potential while playing with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. That’s OK. Most players must sacrifice to fit their team’s needs.
  • Love helps the Cavaliers against most teams. As I said above, he’s really good.
  • The Warriors – the overwhelming championship favorites – present a particularly difficult matchup for Love. The Cavs didn’t quite win the Finals in spite of Love, but his contributions were limited.

But a few things have changed:

  • Cleveland proved it could win a title with Love. There is no longer any doubt.
  • The championship also affects perception. Teams are reluctant to break up their cores coming off a title. It’d be surprising to see Cleveland make a major move until after the 2017 postseason.
  • Specifically, LeBron’s relationship with Love might have improved. Winning cures all ills. After previous reservations, LeBron might feel a stronger connection with Love due to their experiencing a title run together.

So, I buy that the Cavs are firmly against trading Love. The question: Will that stance change once they lose in the playoffs, whether that’s in 2017 or beyond?

Report: Blake Griffin’s camp ‘adamant’ he’ll re-sign with Clippers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 06:  Blake Griffin #32 of the the Los Angeles Clippers drirbbles past Metta World Peace #37 of the the Los Angeles Lakers during a basketball game at Staples Center on April 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
3 Comments

Doc Rivers said he doesn’t plan to break up the Clippers’ core, and that’s up to him.

For one more season.

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin can – very likely will – opt out of their contracts next summer, and J.J. Redick will also be a free agent. Will they stay?

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

Sources close to Griffin have been adamant that he is planning to re-sign in L.A. and that he’s not open to going anywhere.

Sources close to the situation say win or lose, Rivers is not open to trade talks on Griffin or Paul and that he’s not worried about either walking away in July.

There are two possibilities:

1. Griffin is truly intent on re-signing with the Clippers.

2. Griffin is not truly intent on re-signing with the Clippers.

The second could be true if Griffin wants to spend the upcoming season in Los Angeles before evaluating his options. If Griffin states anything less than a firm commitment to stay, Rivers might trade him.

But let’s take Griffin at his reported word. Even if he honestly plans right now to re-sign, a lot can change in a year. The pressure for the Clippers to advance at least to the conference finals is only mounting. If the Clippers fall short, the resulting fallout could affect Griffin’s thinking.

At minimum, this is bad news for the Thunder – who hoped to pair Griffin with Russell Westbrook – and good news for the Clippers. Griffin leaning one direction now means something, even if it’s not definitive.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement makes it prohibitive for Griffin to sign an extension with the Clippers. So, whatever he thinks today about re-signing, he’ll have to play out the season and evaluate July 1.

Report: Timberwolves signing Toure’ Murry and John Lucas III

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 08: John Lucas III #15 of the Chicago Bulls drives against Elton Brand #42 of the Philadelphia 76ers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 8, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the 76ers 77-69. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alert: Kick your Ricky Rubio trade theories into gear.

The Timberwolves, despite saying they’d keep Rubio for now, are acting like they might not. Minnesota is reportedly signing a couple point guards: Toure’ Murry and John Lucas III.

The Timberwolves already have 15 players – the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries, including three point guards: Rubio, Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones. Keeping Murry or Lucas would require a roster move.

It could be Kevin Garnett retiring, buying out Nikola Pekovic or some smaller trade. But unless that minor deal involves Jones – Dunn, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, isn’t going anywhere – Minnesota would still have enough point guards. Most teams carry three.

The Timberwolves obviously aren’t trading Rubio because they have Murry and Lucas. But Murry or Lucas would help if Minnesota trades Rubio.

Lucas had his best season with Tom Thibodeau’s Bulls, and he can create instant offense in Thibodeau’s grind-it-out scheme. Murry has the length to make an impact defensively.* Most importantly, both play extremely hard – an especially big deal to Thibodeau.

*Murry’s size also allows him to play the wing, which offers him another avenue for sticking. But his frame, special for a point guard, is merely ordinary at shooting guard or small forward.

The Timberwolves still might not be quite ready to trade Rubio. But if Minnesota does deal him to slide Dunn into the starting lineup, Murry or Lucas would provide a decent contingency with Jones in reserve.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey: James Harden ‘only a polarizing figure to people who don’t watch’

Daryl Morey, James Harden
AP Photo/Pat Sullivan
Leave a comment

Do you struggle with evaluating James Harden?

I know I do.

Harden’s Rockets, projected by some to contend for a championship, struggled to a 41-41 record last season. A fair share of their downfall could be pinned on him.

His defensive disinterest is appalling, and it sets a tone. His leadership is questionable, which matters a great deal for someone so empowered. He relies on tricking referees to draw fouls, frequently hooking his defender to create contact.

But I still put him on my All-NBA team, because his offense was so darned effective.

Elite individual offensive contributions are incredibly valuable. Harden’s defensive shortcomings can be hidden in a better team scheme. His leadership issues would matter less in a better team culture. But you can’t simply create what Harden provides offensively.

Long story short, Harden can be tricky to assess no matter how deeply you dive into his plusses and minuses.

Unless you ask Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

Morey, via Oliver Maroney of Basketball Insiders:

“He’s only a polarizing figure to people who don’t watch,” Morey told Basketball Insiders. “Players voted him MVP [in 2014-15] for a reason. He’s had a winning team every season of his career, with multiple Conference Finals appearances.”

Morey has long defended Harden. That’s what general managers do for the superstar they acquired in tenure-defining trades.

But Morey also put his money where his mouth is. The Rockets will pay Harden an extra $20 million over the next two seasons just to get him locked up one extra year – and that extra year will cost about a max salary.

For better or worse, the Rockets are all in with Harden.

I think that’s a good plan given the alternatives, but I’m also not so sold on Harden that I find it foolproof.