Report: Carmelo Anthony wanted Knicks to go after Rondo

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Carmelo Anthony gets it. He looks at the Knicks roster — which won 54 games and got to the second round of the playoffs — and realizes they don’t have enough. Not with the Heat still out there, with Indiana getting better, the Bulls getting Derrick Rose back, even the Brooklyn Nets getting better with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

The Knicks have basically kept the team together but added Andrea Bargnani. That should solve New York’s defensive issues.

‘Melo can opt out next summer. That may not be likely, but if he wants to win a title in New York and that means upgrading the talent. Which is why in a story about how Anthony could bolt the Knicks next summer, Marc Berman of the New York Post threw in this tidbit (as noted over at Eye on Basketball).

Anthony told friends after the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade to the Nets, he figured the Knicks would make a play for point guard for Rajon Rondo. Anthony believes Rondo would be the perfect piece and would be super motivated in New York to attempt to knock off Garnett and Pierce.

Um, Raymond Felton anyone? He’s not Rondo, but he’s not bad. That said Rondo, even coming off an ACL injury, would certainly be an upgrade and with the ball in his hand and not Anthony’s the offense would likely run more efficiently. Rondo also would be a defensive upgrade — and that is the side of the ball where New York has to improve.

The Knicks are handcuffed with their high salary under the current CBA – they are over the tax apron so they could offer one free agent $3.2 million a year and the rest got minimum deals. Rondo would have had to be a trade, but the Knicks roster is not flush with the kind of young talent a rebuilding Celtics team would want.

But ‘Melo is frustrated and wants to see a talent upgrade. I guess you just introduce him to Bargnani and hope for the best.

Joel Embiid upgrades himself from 69% to 81%: ‘Shoutout to Jalen Rose’

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A story in three parts:

1. After posting 46-15-7-7 in a win over the Lakers, frequently injured 76ers center Joe Embiid declared himself to be 69%:

2. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose called that joke “unprofessional:”

3. Embiid upgraded his status to 81% with a “shoutout to Jalen Rose:”

In case you didn’t get the joke.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving: “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

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The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.

However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.

Which is what Kyrie Irving was getting at in this post-loss quote from Friday night, via Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.

“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.

Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.

Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

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Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

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The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!