New York Knicks forward Anthony slam dunks in front of Indiana Pacers forward George in second half NBA game in New York

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.

Zach LaVine wins MVP, Kristaps Porzingis puts on show in Rising Stars Challenge

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TORONTO — Canada’s own Andrew Wiggins was the rock star of the night. “An-drew-Wi-gins” chants broke out in the Air Canada Center as Canada’s native son put on a show with 29 points (and a few dunks) leading a World Team comeback against the USA in the Rising Stars Challenge.

“An-drew-Wi-gins” chants broke out in the Air Canada Center as Canada’s native son put on a show with 29 points (and a few huge dunks), sparking a World Team comeback against the USA in the Rising Stars Challenge.

His Minnesota teammate Karl-Anthony Towns was going to have none of that.

“I gotta see Andrew Wiggins for a long time and I want to rub this in,” Towns said.

He got his wish, the USA beat the World Team 157-154.

It was a glorified pickup game for three quarters, and the level of defensive intensity will make Sunday’s All-Star game look like Tom Thibodeau teams are playing. That led to a lot of high scorers.

Zach LaVine — the other teammate of Wiggins and Towns — led the USA with 30 points and was named the game’s MVP, and said he wanted to steal Wiggins’ thunder at home.

“That’s what I was going for,” LaVine said.

Also from the USA, Jordan Clarkson (Lakers) had 25, Devon Booker (Suns) had 23 and was 5-of-8 from three, D'Angelo Russell (Lakers) had 22, and Towns chipped in 18 points and 7 boards.

Knicks sensation Kristaps Porzingis was the second most popular player in the building, and he had 30 for the World team.

“Not great defense, but it’s about having fun, I guess,” Porzingis said. “And I think we had fun out there. In the second half we got more competitive, as both teams wanted to get the win, and we fell a little short.”

Also for the World Emmanuel Mudiay (Nuggets) had 30 points, Wiggins had 29, and Mario Hezonja (Magic) had 19.

The intensity and defense did pick up in the end, although one wouldn’t call it a thing of beauty. What matters is the crowd in the Air Canada Centre enjoyed it, even if their team didn’t win. It’s an exhibition, and they got a show.

Report: Celtics, Cavaliers talking Kevin Love trade; could include Knicks, ‘Melo

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love holds the ball away from Boston Celtics' Amir Johnson during the second quarter of a NBA basketball game in Boston Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Associated Press
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The Celtics are looking for an elite player to improve their deep cast of role players. The Cavaliers are looking for depth. And Carmelo Anthony may just be looking to win.

All of that has talks between the Cavaliers and Celtics on a potential Love deal progressing, with the possibility of the Knicks as a third team also in the mix, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

The Daily News has learned that the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers have discussed a blockbuster trade centered around Kevin Love. There were very preliminary discussions about expanding the deal to include the Knicks and Anthony, who would have to waive his no-trade clause in order to facilitate a deal to the Cavs.

The Knicks would receive draft picks and players in return. One of those players is believed to be Timofey Mozgov, who five years ago was traded by the Knicks to Denver in the Anthony deal.

This is a longshot, but the report has some legs.

It’s not clear how far along these talks are. The trade deadline is Feb. 18 (next Thursday) and conversations tend to move past the theoretical/value judging phase and get real come All-Star Weekend, when many GMs and decision makers are in one place (and nobody can go outside because it is too cold in Toronto). This trade works for the Cavaliers if they get a quality stretch four in return — Kelly Olynyk? — plus some depth and a quality pick. The question for the Cavs is simply how much can they get back — this is a win-now team and Love helps that, so how does a trade make them better?

Would Danny Ainge move the unprotected Brooklyn Nets pick to get Love? Jae Crowder? How much would Boston surrender to get an elite star, especially one under a reasonable, long contract?

Carmelo Anthony wants a ring, if he could end up playing with LeBron and be much closer to it than he is now, he would waive his no-trade clause.

That said, this trade sounds like a longshot. At least at the deadline. Next Summer… who knows?

Watch Kevin Hart be Kevin Hart at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game

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Kevin Hart has a movie to promote decided to come out of retirement to play in the NBA All-Star Friday Night Celebrity Game.

And, he did what Kevin Hart does.

Well, except win MVP of the game, that went to Win Butler (the Canadian lead singer of Arcade Fire). Butler led Canada to a 74-63 win over Hart and the USA.

Drake to introduce players for All-Star Game Sunday

Drake stands in front of Canada's bench before the Celebrity Game, part of NBA basketball's All-Star weekend, in Toronto on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)
Associated Press
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You knew Canadian hip-hop star Drake was going to be involved directly in the All-Star Game in a way more than just having his back-and-gold OVO owl gear sold at the Air Canada Centre. Now we know how.

Drake will introduce the NBA All-Star players Sunday.

Drake has experience with this, he has introduced the Raptors — for whom he is a “global ambassador” — before.

This works for me. However, just to be clear, Drake is going to be introducing the players and Sting will headline the halftime show Sunday. Because nothing says NBA and millennials like “Fields of Gold.”