Report: Joakim Noah recruiting Carmelo Anthony to Chicago Bulls

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Reports Carmelo Anthony could sign with the Chicago Bulls this offseason are nothing new. Even Melo has stoked the flames of the rumors.

But most published work on the subject has focused on where Melo desires to play.

Sure, by trading Luol Deng for Andrew Bynum and draft picks, the Bulls signaled a greater interest in 2014 free agency. There just haven’t been as concrete reports they wanted Melo.

Until now.

Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Over All-Star weekend, I’m told by a person with knowledge of the conversation, that Joakim Noah recruited Carmelo.

Now, you’ll probably hear denials out of Chicago if they talk about it, because it would be tampering, officially.

But I’m told that Joakim said to Melo, “Look, you can go to Los Angeles. But if you want to win a ring, if you want your legacy to be about winning, come to Chicago.”

Melo, I’m told, said, “Look, I’ve been watching you guys. I admire how hard you play. I admire how hungry you are. Oh, and by the way, my son’s favorite player: Derrick Rose.”

Perhaps, Noah was acting on his own, but that would surprise me. I would think he’d know the Bulls have an interest – if not a full-blown desire – in signing Melo.

So, he reportedly took steps to help make that more plausible if the Bulls want to go that route.

Legal steps?

By the letter of the law, no. By precedent, absolutely.

The NBA inconsistently punishes teams for tampering, so who knows what the league would do if it found these Noah-Melo conversations took place? Most likely, the NBA won’t want to find anything and won’t investigate.

But if the NBA confirmed Broussard’s report and punished the Bulls, it would be a complete injustice. How is this any different than Chandler Parsons texting Dwight Howard daily before free agency began last summer?

Assuming the Bulls stay clear of the league office, they must clear even bigger obstacles to get Melo. They’d likely have to amnesty Carlos Boozer and trade Taj Gibson – unless they can convince Melo to accept less than a max contract.

Joakim Noah might be convincing, but I doubt he’s that convincing.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.