Sure he’s still opting out, but Knicks reportedly think meeting with Carmelo Anthony went well

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Carmelo Anthony has been clear from the start — he is opting out of his contract with the New York Knicks this summer. He is not opting in as Phil Jackson had hoped, he is going to test the free agent waters and talk to multiple teams.

Despite reports saying he is leaning toward bolting to Chicago or Houston, the Knicks left the meeting feeling pretty good, reports the New York Post.

According to a source close to president Phil Jackson, “The meeting went well — [Anthony] will still most likely opt out — but all in all, a good meeting.’’

What the Knicks know, and what the report goes on to say, is that the Rockets and Bulls have a lot of work to do to be able to offer Anthony a big contract.

The Rockets could go near a max deal if they could move Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin and get no salary in return, then move Terrence Jones and let Chandler Parsons walk. Of course, then you have a big three (with two who are not great defenders) and not much else in a deep Western Conference. You can retain some of those role players if Anthony takes less money.

Chicago can’t get to a max, but they can get to a good number if they amnesty Carlos Boozer (which is expected to happen anyway), trade Mike Dunleavy for a pick and maybe Jimmy Butler as well. To really get to the highest numbers would require trading Taj Gibson, but that blows the plan — Carmelo with Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson up front in a rotation, led by Derrick Rose at the point. There ‘Melo is betting on Rose’s knee.

Both of those teams could talk sign-and-trade with the Knicks as well. The Bulls have the 16 and 19 picks in the upcoming draft, for a rebuilding Knicks team young players like that matter, and it could help with the cap issues. There are ways to get a deal done.

The bottom line for Anthony remains what PBT has talked about from the start:

If Anthony is willing to take a healthy pay cut, down will below $20 million a year, and is willing to not be “the man” on another team, he has real options to be on a contender next year.

If the money, being in New York, and more importantly having a team built around him is what matters most, he stays. The question is what does he really want? It sounds more and more like he wants to try to win elsewhere, but the Knicks are in the mix. We will find out in less than a month.

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.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.