Carmelo Anthony hosts Trayvon Martin family in New York

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Carmelo Anthony was one of a number of NBA players to come out in support of the family of Trayvon Martin in the aftermath of his shooting death. And ESPN NY reports that when Martins’s family visited Madison Square Garden, Anthony went the extra mile for them.

Anthony met privately in the Knicks’ locker room with the family and posed for pictures before New York’s 103-65 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday night. Fearing additional media attention, the family did not stay for the game.

Anthony said Martin’s death struck a bigger chord with him because it made him reflect on the passing of his sister, Michelle, who died from a pre-existing medical condition in December 2010. Anthony now remembers Michelle while he’s playing by having her name stitched on to his sneakers.

“(It was) a blessing, an honor,” Anthony said after Knicks’ practice on Saturday morning in regards to meeting the Martin family. “We all know the tragedy that happened and just to get in a different space of mind right now, just bringing them to not even the game, but to the locker room in the back, meeting all the players, meeting the coaches. That was the easy part. We had no media there. It was just something that I wanted to do.”

via Carmelo Anthony of New York Knicks welcomes family of Trayvon Martin to Madison Square Garden – ESPN New York.

It’s a genuinely touching gesture from the Knicks’ star, regardless of your personal position on the circumstances surround the death of the 17-year-old in Florida in February during the All-Star Weekend. The family lost a 17-year-old brother and son, and while there aer many people waking up to that same nightmare tomorrow, anything Anthony can do to bring a measure of comfort or joy to their lives is worth doing.

We forget in the talk about Anthony’s resistance to Mike D’Antoni and shot selection how difficult the past two years have been for him personally considering the loss of his sister. It’s a reminder that death touches everyone, and leaves its mark months later. If nothing else, the short life of Martin lets us know that time does not heal all wounds, for his family, or the world that considers his death unjust.

Klay Thompson goes up for 360 dunk in exhibition… and he’s not a dunker (VIDEO)

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Klay Thompson has an amazing skill set — one of the best pure shooters in the league, he can put the ball on the floor and create, and he’s a very good perimeter defender.

He’s not a dunker. Oh, he can dunk, but he’s not the guy you’re inviting to the Dunk Contest.

Case in point, this video out of China where Thompson was part of an exhibition and tried to show off his dunking skills.

Thompson’s shoe sponsor is China-based Anta, which explains why he’s there playing some exhibition ball. In case you missed it, Thompson had a Finals shoe released.

Those are about as good as the 360 dunk.

Sixers will talk contract extension for Joel Embiid this summer, want to lock him up

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Could Joel Embiid be Philadelphia’s Stephen Curry?

No, I don’t mean taking 30-foot bombs that demoralize opponents (although, no doubt Embiid is game for trying it). I mean in having a contract extension off his rookie deal for less than the max, a value contract that allows the Sixers the cap room to secure a title contender around him.

After three seasons in the NBA, Joel Embiid is eligible for a contract extension this summer (one that would be negotiated now but not kick in until the 2018-19 season). Teams lock up their stars at this point, and Embiid is that — he was dominant in the 31 games he played. But it’s 31 games in three seasons, how much do the Sixers want to pay here?

Sixers owner Joshua Harris said extending Embiid is a priority for the team this summer, speaking at a press conference, via the Courier Times.

“Look, I’d just say we want Joel to be on the team for a long time,” Harris said. “We want us all to grow old together. That’s the way I would put it.”

A max contract for Embiid would be five years at about $130 million, an average annual salary of $26 million. Because of his injury history, would he be willing to sign five years at $100 million, maybe with an opt-out after four? That extra cap space may not sound like a lot, it’s not a Curry-level savings, but it would help the Sixers’ team building.

If the two sides can’t reach a deal by Oct. 31 (the deadline), Embiid will play out this season then be a restricted free agent next season. If he stays healthy, he will get a max deal from another team that the Sixers would just match (the Sixers and Embiid could also reach a deal).

The Sixers are not about to let Embiid go, they have their young core they believe they can contend with in a few years. Plus he is a fan favorite. The only question left is cost.

Josh Jackson’s first pitch is… just a bit outside

Associated Press
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Josh Jackson is not going Bo Jackson on us and playing baseball in the offseason.

The highly-rated forward out of Kansas who was the No. 4 pick of the Phoenix Suns was invited to throw out the first pitch before Friday night’s Diamondbacks game.

To quote Bob Uecker, he was just a bit outside. He tried the corner and missed.

Lonzo Ball was able to make his first pitch, ergo, he will turn out to be a much better NBA player. Obviously, these skills correlate.

Report: Re-signing Nerlens Noel Mavericks’ top off-season priority

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This is a Mark Cuban owned team, you don’t think the Mavericks are going to make a serious run at a free agent come July 1? Pelicans’ point guard Jrue Holiday has long been known to be a target, but there will be others.

But keeping their new core together, including restricted free agent Nerlens Noel, is the top priority, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Rumors like this are out there in part from Dallas to hope to chill the market for Noel. While he could be a defensive force who provides some scoring around the rim, with Noel’s injury history they may be able to get him at less than max money — because if he’s at the max the Mavericks are flirting with the luxury tax (and Cuban isn’t going to want to pay the tax for a borderline playoff team at best).

What Dallas fears is what Brooklyn did last season to Allen Crabbe in Portland and Tyler Johnson in Miami — some team to come in with a max or near-max offer sheet that drives up the price. Dallas will match, they will keep the young core together, it just gets more expensive.

Next season in Dallas will be a deserved big farewell to Dirk Nowitzki. He will be the focus, but behind him Dallas will try to be building for the future. They made the trade deadline move to make sure Noel is a part of that, the only question now is how much it costs them.