Dallas Mavericks v New York Knicks

Full court press to recruit Carmelo Anthony begins, Knicks get first shot


Up until July 1, the New York Knicks are the only team that can talk with Carmelo Anthony officially. The guy about to take advantage of his free agent status — he is going to opt out and he wants the “full Dwight Howard treatment” of being recruited — is in a holding pattern for most teams.

The Knicks are trying to take advantage of that exclusive window.

Despite reports they already met, Phil Jackson, newly hired coach Derek Fisher and the rest of the Knicks brain trust will be in Los Angeles this weekend to woo Anthony, reports Adrain Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The New York Knicks are sending a high-level delegation – including president Phil Jackson and owner James Dolan – to Los Angeles this weekend to sell All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony on a future with the franchise, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

For Anthony, who plans to become a free agent July 1, this meeting will likely include his first chance for a face-to-face with new Knicks coach Derek Fisher, sources said.

Despite the urgings of Phil Jackson, ‘Melo is going to opt out of his current contract come July 1 (he has until June 23 to formally notify the team). Anthony is going to test the market.

Which means the Knicks have to make their case. New York can offer the chance to be “the man” on the biggest of stages, Derek Fisher has talked about how Anthony would thrive in the triangle, plus the Knicks can offer the most money, although Jackson has urged Anthony to take a pay cut to stay in New York, giving them more flexibility to build around him.

However, if Anthony is going to take a pay cut, why not do so to move to an already built team that can win now? Chicago and Houston are the two teams in the front of that list.

Or how about Dallas? They will have cap space, won 49 games last season and their current alpha dog Dirk Nowitizki told the Dallas Morning News he and Anthony can play well together.

“I think I’ve shown over my career that I can play with anybody. I’ll adjust, whether I have to get out of the way or go to the corner more, post up, pass — I’ll do whatever, really, that needs to be done out there to win or for this franchise to be a winner. If Carmelo would really love to come here, we’d love to have him, and if not, then we’re looking at some other options to make this franchise better and be a winner and be in the playoffs every year again. So whoever comes, whoever does decide to play with us, we’re more excited to have them.”

Dirk is making it known it can work. The Knicks are making their pitch. There will be much, much more coming.

As we have said here before, Anthony ultimately needs to decide what matters most to him. He says winning, but at this point in the process everyone says winning. Is it winning on his own terms, with a team built around him? Is it money? Is it being the biggest star in the biggest market? Is it where his family feels most comfortable? Or is it really just collecting rings?

Those answers should guide Anthony towards his destination. And only he can answer those questions.

But he’s going to get his wish, he’s going to get recruited heavily.

Byron Scott isn’t thinking about next year’s draft

Byron Scott
1 Comment

A month into the season, the Lakers the only team in the Western Conference that can absolutely be written out of any hopes of playoff contention. They’re in an awkward position with the upcoming draft: they still need talent long-term, and they owe their pick to the Sixers if it’s outside of the top three. Not surprisingly, Byron Scott isn’t thinking about it at all.

Via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

With the Lakers fielding the NBA’s second-worst record, how much effort will the franchise put in retaining its top-3 protected draft pick?

“I don’t think about that whatsoever,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I probably won’t until April. That’s something I can’t control.”

The Lakers are in a precarious position. They appear likely bad enough to lose a lot of games. But will they lose enough to land in the top three? Otherwise, the Lakers owe Philadelphia their first-round pick as part of the Steve Nash trade.

“It’s impossible to think about the team, try to get our young guys better, the team better and also thinking about a pick,” Scott said. “That’s six months away and you might not even get it.”

Given Scott’s mentality, it’s not at all surprising that he isn’t thinking about the draft. But with his insistence on playing Kobe Bryant and Lou Williams more crunch-time minutes on this dismal Lakers team than D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, it’s pretty laughable that he talks about wanting to develop their young players.

Scott may not be thinking about the draft, but with the position the franchise is in and the likelihood that they lose their pick, he should be.

Report: Jahlil Okafor stopped for driving 108 MPH three weeks ago

Jahlil Okafor, Derrick Favors

Jahlil Okafor‘s first month in the NBA has been eventful for all the wrong reasons. Early Thanksgiving morning, he was caught on video getting into a fight with a heckler in Boston. Then, a report surfaced of another altercation from October, in which Okafor apparently had a gun pulled on him. Now, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Okafor was recently pulled over in Philadelphia for driving 108 miles per hour:

Four sources independently confirmed to The Inquirer the 76ers center was pulled over on the Ben Franklin Bridge around three weeks ago for 108 miles per hour. Anything over 40 m.p.h. is considered reckless driving.

108 miles per hour in a 40-mile zone isn’t a minor speeding infraction—it’s incredibly dangerous. It might be possible to write off any of these incidents by themselves—particularly the one where he had a gun pulled on him, which doesn’t seem to have been his fault at all. But together, the Boston incident and this speeding report aren’t a good look at all for Okafor. He’s had a solid start to the year for the Sixers, but off the court has been another story.

Harrison Barnes could be out “a few weeks” with ankle injury

Harrison Barnes
Leave a comment

The Warriors’ Friday night 135-116 win over the Suns was bittersweet: Harrison Barnes suffered a sprained left ankle in the third quarter and left for the remainder of the game. He missed Saturday night’s blowout win over the Kings as well, which extended the Warriors’ best-ever start to the season to 18-0.

Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton didn’t have an answer for how long Barnes will be out, but he said it could be a few weeks.

Via ESPN.com’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss:

“He’s being evaluated [Saturday]. We haven’t gotten the results back yet,” interim head coach Luke Walton told reporters before Saturday’s game. “It’s all speculation. It could be a few weeks. It could be a week.

“We’re not going to rush him back because we want to be healthy for later in the season and we don’t want lingering injures, so we’ll have him take his time.”

Losing a starter is never good news, but the silver lining for the Warriors is that they have enough depth and enough of a cushion to be able to take their time and not rush Barnes back. Saturday night, Walton opted to keep Andre Iguodala in his usual sixth-man role and instead start the little-used Brandon Rush in Barnes’ place. Rush responded with a 16-point performance, shooting 4-of-5 from the three-point line. If they can keep getting that kind of production out of their reserves, the Warriors will be able to withstand the loss of Barnes just fine.

Emmanuel Mudiay with the no-look, behind-the-head assist (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Emmanuel Mudiay is still a work in progress on the court — he’s a rookie, what did you expect? — but he has the court vision and flair you cannot teach.

As evidence, I present this pass from Saturday night, where in transition Mudiay goes with the no-look, behind-the-head dish to Darrell Arthur for the dunk.

The Nuggets dropped this game to the Mavericks 92-81 and have lost six in a row.