Carmelo Anthony and Rajon Rondo deny recruitment rumors

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Rajon Rondo’s high school coach said Carmelo Anthony was recruiting Rondo, a 2015 free agent, to New York. As Kurt wrote, those types of conversations happen all the time.

Of course, nobody publicly admits to them while they’re ongoing (except Chandler Parsons, who bragged about recruiting Dwight Howard to the Rockets).

Anthony, via Ian Begley and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com:

“C’mon, man. In my book, that’s tampering,” he said.

Rondo, via Baxter Holmes of boston.com:

“People talk, media talk, people make up rumors, people run with them,” Rondo said after the Celtics’ shootaround Tuesday before they played the Brooklyn Nets.

“I haven’t spoken to him. He ain’t contacted me. It’s just rumors.”

What else are they supposed to say? I don’t put much stock into answers that are the only reasonable response to a question.

Maybe Melo and Rondo have talked about teaming up. Maybe they haven’t. But those quotes don’t tell me anything.

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No matter what Melo and Rondo say, this rumor seems viable, though.

As long as the Knicks don’t blow their flexibility – OK, maybe it’s not viable – they should have nearly enough cap room in 2015 to sign Rondo even after re-signing Melo. As we saw last season, and reinforced by the lack of it this year, Melo’s Knicks function much better with ball movement. Rondo would definitely help there, and he’d be a big defensive upgrade.

And as much as Danny Ainge says the Celtics are committed to building around Rondo, nobody really believes it. Even if Ainge is actually committed to a Rondo-centric rebuild, the point guard can be mercurial, and a down year or two could make his relationship with the Celtics untenable.

So, keep the idea of Rondo to the Knicks in the back of your mind. Just don’t ask Rondo or Melo about it. They’ve already said all they will.

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.

Another Hornets backup PG injured

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Hornets backup point guard Michael Carter-Williamsout.

Nicolas Batum, who handled a lot of playmaking with Charlotte’s second units – out.

Julyan Stone, another Hornets backup point guard – out.

Hornets release:

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that guard Julyan Stone has suffered a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring. The injury occurred in practice on Sunday, Oct. 22 and he did not travel with the team to Milwaukee.  Stone is listed as out for tonight’s game against the Bucks and his expected recovery time is estimated at four to six weeks.

The Hornets have been outscored by an astounding 35.8 points per 100 possessions without starter Kemba Walker, producing an offensive rating of just 61.4. That’s in just 23 minutes, but the problem dates back to last season, when Charlotte was outscored by 7.0 points per 100 possessions with a 100.7 offensive rating sans Walker.

Now, the Hornets have little choice but to turn to rookie Malik Monk. Monk is a scoring guard, but his 6-foot-3 size means he has at least worked on playing point guard. Is he ready to play the position full-time for a team eying the playoffs. Probably not, but he’ll just have to do his best to keep Charlotte afloat in the few minutes Walker rests.

Report: Suns also fire three assistant coaches

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The Suns fired Earl Watson just three games into the season – the second-earliest firing in NBA history.

They didn’t stop there.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Firing assistant coaches during the season has become Phoenix’s m.o. I’m just not sure what it accomplishes.

Were Watson, Nate Bjorkgren, Mehmet Okur and Jason Fraser all so bad at their jobs? If so, why did the Suns figure that out simultaneously?

Were the firings designed to shake up a losing team? If so, wouldn’t ousting Watson have been enough?

Will Phoenix replace those assistants? If not, will the team have the resources to properly train its players?

The Suns are filled with young players who need coaching, particularly skill development. This move looks like it will put them further behind.