Report: Knicks not interested in Bulls’ Carlos Boozer in potential sign-and-trade for Carmelo Anthony

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Carmelo Anthony will in all likelihood be opting out of the final year of his contract with the Knicks on Monday to pursue his options in free agency, and the Bulls will be the team firmly planted at the top of his list.

With players like Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson already in place, adding Anthony to the mix would make Chicago an immediate threat to win the Eastern Conference and make a run at a title as early as next season.

Before all that can happen, however, the Bulls must figure out exactly how they’d add Anthony to the roster.

Chicago would need to clear some salaries in order to create the cap space necessary to sign Anthony to a max deal, or the team could orchestrate a sign-and-trade with the Knicks should New York be informed that Anthony has decided to play somewhere else.

The sign-and-trade option would almost certainly need to include Carlos Boozer, but the Knicks don’t appear to be interested in acquiring his services.

From the Chicago Tribune:

However, league sources continue to indicate that despite Boozer’s expiring $16.8 million deal dovetailing with the Knicks’ plan for massive salary-cap space in 2015, the Knicks have no interest in acquiring Boozer as of now.

Thus, the Bulls might have to sign Anthony, whom everyone from coach Tom Thibodeau to Rose is on board with adding, via outright salary-cap space. Using the amnesty provision on Boozer only nets them roughly $11 million of space, depending on where the cap is set July 1. The Bulls would have to sell off other pieces for nothing in return to create more cap space and would prefer obviously to keep Taj Gibson. So would Anthony should he land with the Bulls.

Boozer has his flaws, but he’s a serviceable big man who averaged 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game for the Bulls last season. His contract is outrageous, but the Knicks are doomed next year from a cap standpoint anyway, and Boozer’s deal would clear in time for New York to pursue free agents in 2015.

But the Knicks plan to try to convince Anthony to stay, and with Phil Jackson now in place and the team having the advantage of being able to offer an extra year and around $30 million to entice him, it’s still very possible that Anthony re-ups in New York.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.