Report: Knicks have ‘zero intention’ of trading Carmelo Anthony

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The Knicks have won two straight in blowout fashion, looking a little like last year’s club with the hot three-point shooting and briefly returning some sense of sanity to the team and its fan base.

The media has yet to catch up, however, as the reports and rumors continue to fly about Carmelo Anthony’s future in New York, and whether or not he’ll leave the team as a free agent next summer.

Anthony denied a report on Thursday that his mind was already made up to leave the team for greener pastures, and with so much time left in this current season, it’s easy to believe that he hasn’t made any such plans just yet.

If things continue to take a turn for the worst in New York, however, and Anthony decides mid-season that he wants out, he’ll have to wait until the year is finished. Because the Knicks, this latest report says, are not going to trade Anthony even if he tells them emphatically that he’s not coming back.

From Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com:

If the Knicks do not turn around their season when Tyson Chandler returns from injury, you can expect the Anthony issue to become a monster heading toward the February trade deadline. Because if Anthony doesn’t think the Knicks are best for him over the next five years, he will make it an issue and possibly force a trade again if he thinks that would be best for him.

The Knicks, sources say, have zero intention of trading Anthony no matter what he says about next summer. Not only did owner Jim Dolan personally seal the deal to bring Anthony to New York, but the front office realizes it has one of the most talented players in the league and won’t be able to get fair value in return.

The report goes on to discuss Anthony’s history of making decisions based solely on maximizing his earning potential, and forcing a trade out of Denver to the league’s biggest market, as well as taking a max contract extension the moment he was eligible back in 2006 certainly do nothing to refute that assertion.

In free agency next summer, Anthony will be facing the same decision that Dwight Howard faced in the one that just passed: Stay in a less than ideal situation for five years and an extra $30 million or so, or go play in a better one for four years and leave that money on the table.

I said it before Howard left Los Angeles, and I believe the same holds true for Anthony now. In Carmelo’s case, we’re talking about someone who already has earned north of $135 million in career salary, and that’s before we get into any endorsement dollars.

That extra year in a terrible situation becomes less enticing when you have more money than you know what to do with, and the scrutiny that comes in New York (and Los Angeles) when the losses are piling up might not be worth it when it’s time to make that decision.

Sixers say injured Markelle Fultz will be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks

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We were all waiting for supposed “good news” about injured Philadelpia 76ers guard and No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz. And it looks like we’ve got it? It’s hard to tell with this one.

On Sunday, the Sixers announced that Fultz — suffering from a sore right shoulder — would be re-evaluated in two to three weeks.

That’s at least some kind of timeline, which is more than we got when Fultz was originally ruled out indefinitely at the end of October.

Here’s the announcement from the Sixers.

Via Twitter:

Fultz has reportedly been working out and shooting left handed, which one can only hope is adding to his dexterity.

No doubt Sixers fans just want to see him on the court again as quickly as possible. The saga of the imbalanced shoulder has been a strange one, we’ve all got our fingers crossed that it settles normally.

Damian Lillard defends Blazers’ coach Terry Stotts on Instagram

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It’s far too early for panic in Portland. This is a team most outside Portland thought would finish a little above .500 and maybe grab one of the back-end playoff spots in the West, and at 9-7 they are on that pace.

But after an ugly Portland loss to Sacramento (just a few games after a loss to Brooklyn where coach Terry Stotts benched center Jusuf Nurkick for most of the fourth), Trail Blazers fans were restless and started to slam coach Stotts on the Trail Blazers’ Instagram page.

I doubt Stotts noticed, but Damian Lillard did and jumped in to defend his coach.

Lillard added this (hat tip Mike Richman at the Oregonian).

“Because people think they know more about what it takes to get things done at this level … For our team than they actually do,” he said. “We’re in this position for a reason. And coach Stotts had two 50-win seasons here and four straight years in the playoffs for a reason –because he knows what he’s doing. They mention … our record is 8-7 and we’re having breakdowns late in games. Well those breakdowns are a missed shot here, a turnover there, a defensive breakdown here, giving up extra possessions, missed free throws. It’s things that players control. If we were down 30 every game, that’s different. But we’re in position to win games. And when it’s time to win games, that’s the players’ job. “

Lillard is loyal to those around him and has had the back of teammates and his coach before.

Lillard and his teammates went out Saturday night and got some revenge on the Kings, winning 102-90.

Portland’s defense has been surprisingly good this season, second best in the NBA. It should have been better with Nurkic in the paint, but this has been a radical turnaround for a team where that end of the floor held them back in recent years. While that lofty ranking may not stick all season, the Blazers are defending.

Now the Blazers are just having trouble scoring efficiently (18th in the NBA), which is a little about a less-efficient Lillard and a rough start on that end for Nurkic.  That end of the court should come around, Lillard and C.J. McCollum are too good for it not to.

 

Teammate spoke to Lonzo Ball about walking away from “fight”

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We see these posturing/shoving matches all the time in the NBA, and they’re pointless. Late in Friday night’s Phoenix win in Los Angeles the Suns called a timeout, then Tyler Ulis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got in one a shoving match. As happens, players from both teams raced into the fray to protect their teammate/break it up… except for Lonzo Ball, who looked at it and kept moving along.

I have defended Ball’s actions as mature (he’s right, nothing was going to happen), while others (fans and media) have questioned his leadership for not rushing to stand by teammates, pull guys out of the pile, and having a “band of brothers” attitude.

None of that matters, the only opinions that carry any weight are the ones in the Lakers’ locker room. What did his teammates think? Lakers coach Luke Walton said a teammate did talk to Ball, quote via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“Someone on our team talked with him,” Walton said after the Lakers’ practice Saturday, without disclosing who it was. “It’s all part of the learning process.”

If his teammates were bothered, then there’s an issue. It’s more about perception than anything, again nothing was happening in that “fight,” but perception matters. It’s a small issue, but an issue. With young players this gets discussed, and everyone moves on.

Ball’s passing and energy on the court are things teammates love. As his game matures — and he eventually finishes better around the rim and, hopefully for him, finds his jumper — and he grows as a bigger threat on the court, his teammates will forget this ever happened. As will fans. But when you play for the rabid (and not always rational) fan base of the Lakers, and when your father invites publicity and with it scrutiny, things get blown out of proportion. Welcome to Lonzo’s world.

Marc Gasol kicks away Clint Capela’s shoe, earns technical

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Midway through the first quarter, Clint Capela literally came out of his shoe trying to move up to set a pick for James Harden. Just stepped right out of it. J.R. Smith wasn’t there to untie the laces or anything.

Capela turned around to go get his shoe, and Memphis’ Marc Gasol showed his soccer skills kicking the shoe away. That earned him a technical foul. Gasol could argue he just wanted to get something he could trip over off the court, but Capela was clearly coming back for it at that point. Gasol earned this one.

Capela retied his shoes and went on to have 17 points and 13 boards in Houston’s 105-83 win over shorthanded Memphis.