Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony: ‘Nobody should be worried about Carmelo Anthony’


The Knicks are last in the NBA’s worst division, and though Carmelo Anthony is certainly not the main culprit for his team’s poor early showing, his play has regressed significantly from last season.

He’s going to become a free agent this summer, but in the meantime, James Dolan’s Knicks are crashing an burning around him.

Time to worry about Melo?

Anthony, Aia Adam Zagoria of TheKnicksBlog:

“Nobody should be worried about me. I’m going to be fine,” Anthony told reporters Monday. “I’m not even thinking about contracts or BS like that. I’ll think about that in the offseason. Right now, my duty is to lead this team to win some basketball games, hopefully to win a championship. That’s my duty. Nobody should be worried about Carmelo Anthony.”

Don’t worry, Melo. I’m not worried about you.

Anthony will definitely be fine. He’s going to get a max contract this summer and choose which team gives it to him. Why would anyone worry about someone in that position?

Oh, right, Knicks management and fans.

I supposed they’re in a different boat. Whether professionally or personally, they have a vested interested in the Knicks succeeding. Conventional wisdom says they should fret about keeping Melo, but I don’t buy that.

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Melo makes so much money, it’s difficult, under the NBA’s salary-cap rules, to put a championship team around him. That will become even more true with the raise he’ll get next summer. I’m just not convinced he’s good enough to justify the cap space his contract occupies.

Still, the Knicks would be better off keeping him. He’s an excellent player who will, at minimum, help most teams reach the playoffs (which says something about the stew brewing at Madison Square Garden).

It’s just that losing him wouldn’t be completely detrimental. Sure, the Knicks might have to rebuild – or overpay so-so players in a doomed attempt to stay competitive. But if they choose the former route, their upside is even higher than with Melo.

That’s why there’s no reason to worry about him.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.