Carmelo Anthony on his MVP voter: ‘I don’t know why he catches so much flak for that’

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Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe gave his first-place MVP vote to Carmelo Anthony, making Washburn the only voter not to choose LeBron James, who won the award with 120 of 121 first-place votes.

Huge kudos to Washburn for explaining himself – he’s under no obligation to reveal that he was the Melo voter – but his defense of his vote didn’t exactly stop the criticism. Via the New York Daily News:

“As far as the guy in Boston, I don’t know why he catches so much flak for that,” Anthony said following Game 2. “He has the right to vote for whoever he want. LeBron won the MVP. Why is everybody so mad that he didn’t win it unanimously? . . . Thank you.”

This whole controversy has been unfair to Melo, who just had the best season of his career. Because of Washburn’s vote, there has been a large discussion about why LeBron is better than Melo. But so what if Melo isn’t as good as LeBron? That’s not exactly a huge flaw. But the onus on finding Melo’s flaws detracts from his successful season when we should be celebrating his scoring title career-low turnover percentage.

And now, just as the fire was dying down, Melo reignites it, even though I get he was just answering a question. In doing so, he says something I believe is wrong.

Nobody is really mad LeBron didn’t win unanimously. Everyone dumbfounded a quality basketball journalist – and Washburn is one – could be so wrong. I won’t rehash all the reasoning, which Zach Lowe of Grantland laid out very well, but it’s ridiculous to believe Melo was more deserving of this award than LeBron.

Instead of directing more questions to Melo (though, one was perfectly fair), if we’re going to keep this controversy alive, let’s further question Washburn. I’ll start. If Melo had won MVP – if, to Washburn’s shock, a majority of voters had agreed with him – does Washburn really believe the right player would have been recognized in history as the 2013 NBA MVP?

Suns GM Ryan McDonough: Eric Bledsoe hair-salon claim about tweet was unbelievable

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Eric Bledsoe reportedly requested a trade from the Suns before the season then tweeted yesterday:

Clear message?

Apparently not.

After sending home Bledsoe today, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough explained his rationale:

The hair salon! What a wonderful excuse.

Is it true? I’m not going to call Bledsoe a liar. It might be.

It’s also probably true that Bledsoe isn’t long for Phoenix.

Report: Suns send Eric Bledsoe home, expect to trade him

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In a shocking twist, the Suns firing Earl Watson did not end the dysfunction in Phoenix.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Bledsoe:

That is a first-rate tweet by Bledsoe. It’s great that he’s having fun with the wild situation, because the rest of us sure are amused peering in.

This was always going to be a long season in Phoenix, but things got out of hand in a hurry. The 0-3 Suns have been outscored by 92 – the worst three-game start in NBA history by 16 points. Now, comes the fallout.

At 27, Bledsoe was getting to be a little too old for a rebuild centered on Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and T.J. Warren. The Suns could have dealt Bledsoe in the offseason. Now, they’re negotiating from a position of weakness.

Bledsoe is a good starting point guard when healthy. He’s earning a reasonable $14.5 million this season and due $15 million in the final year of his contract next season. There should be suitors, and Phoenix can gain long-term assets while stepping up its tank.

But this sure seems like a crisis-control move more than anything else.

Willy Hernangomez ‘mad’ about falling from Knicks rotation

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Knicks president Steve Mills started his second tenure talking about rebuilding and listed Willy Hernangomez as a core piece.

But Hernangomez, coming off an All-Rookie first-team season, barely played in New York’s season-opening loss to the Thunder– drawing scrutiny.

Then, he didn’t play at all in a loss to the Pistons – eliciting a strong reaction from Hernangomez himself.

Hernangomez, via Fred Kerber of the New York Post:

“The same. I’m still mad,” Hernangomez said. “I cannot help the team win if I’m sitting on the bench. Two games in a row. It’s tough. I have to wait my moment. I cannot say nothing more.”

The Knicks are moving in different directions. Management is talking about building for the future. Coach Jeff Hornacek, who was hired by previous president Phil Jackson, is trying to win now.

There’s a fine line between developing Hernangomez through playing time and making him earn his minutes. Enes Kanter and Kyle O'Quinn might be better right now.

But being marginally better this season won’t get the Knicks anywhere meaningful except lower in the lottery. On the other hand, even on rebuilding teams, winning is most important to a coach’s job security. Earl Watson implemented the Suns’ tanking scheme, and look where that got him.

Hornacek is backed into a corner, and now one of the team’s most important young players is publicly expressing his displeasure. It’s the latest troubling sign in a locker room already suspicious of Hornacek.

Report: Eric Bledsoe requested trade from Suns before season

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Suns guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted yesterday:

In light of Phoenix’s 0-3 start and Earl Watson getting fired yesterday, that sure looks like a trade request. Still, there’s risk in making assumptions about vague tweets.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Why wouldn’t Bledsoe want out? The 27-year-old is in his prime and stuck on a young team that would rather tank than play him.

It’ll be interesting to see how Bledsoe explains the tweet. He previously paid lip service to his situation in Phoenix, but it appears he’s ready to open up. On the other hand, public trade requests typically draw fines from the NBA.