New York Knicks' Anthony reacts after scoring against Miami Heat during their NBA basketball game in Miami

Carmelo Anthony passes LeBron for top selling jersey


LeBron James may be the best player in the NBA, but Carmelo Anthony is the biggest star on the biggest NBA stage — the scorer leading the best New York Knicks team in more than a decade — and that sells a lot of jerseys.

Anthony moved past LeBron into the top spot in national jersey sales, the NBA announced Tuesday morning. This is based on jersey sales at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and from November 2012 to now.

Anthony was fourth last season but the resurgence of the Knicks this season — currently 50-26, second best record in the East — catapulted him up the list, as did the fact he is the NBA’s current leading scorer at 28.4 points per game. Surprisingly, Anthony is the first-ever Knick in the top spot, the NBA said.

LeBron is second, followed by Kevin Durant third, Kobe Bryant fourth and Derrick Rose fifth despite not playing a game this season due to knee surgery in the off-season.

The Knicks also lead the team merchandise sales list, which isn’t a surprise. That is followed by the Heat, Lakers and Nets — the move to Brooklyn and the new Jay-Z designed black-and-silver uniforms and look have made Nets gear a hot item since the start of the season. Plus, the Nets just moved to a much bigger market.

Here is the most popular jersey sales list:

1. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
2. LeBron James, Miami Heat
3. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
4. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
5. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
6. Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
7. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
8. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
9. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
10. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
11. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
12. Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers
13. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
14. Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks
15. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics

Top 10 Most Popular Merchandise (by Team)

1. New York Knicks
2. Miami Heat
3. Los Angeles Lakers
4. Brooklyn Nets
5. Chicago Bulls
6. Boston Celtics
7. Oklahoma City Thunder
8. Los Angeles Clippers
9. San Antonio Spurs
10. Philadelphia 76ers

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.