Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony says family, living conditions to play a big role in his decision on next team


Carmelo Anthony has opted out.

So now what?

Most of us (myself included) have a habit of looking at free agency as a basketball first decision. For Carmelo, does he want the money and spotlight of New York or can he surrender some of that to contend in Chicago? However, that is a two-dimensional view of a three dimensional person. Think about it this way: If you had a big job decision to make that could involve money and moving, you think you’re making that decision without it being mutual one made with your wife? (If you just answered yes, I hope you enjoy being single.) Family and lifestyle matter, they are components in all the decisions we make.

Anthony is no different. He sat down with Vice Sports (you can see more of the interview below) and talked about the role family plays in the decision.

“(The average fans) don’t take into consideration the family aspect of it. Your livelihood, where you gonna be living at. Do you want your kids to grow up in that place, in that city? Do I want to spend the rest of my career in that situation, in that city. So all of that stuff comes into play. My son goes to school, he loves it here (in New York), To take him out and take him somewhere else, he has to learn that system all over again, he has to get new friends, and I know how hard it was for me when I moved from New York to Baltimore at a young age….

“As far as basketball goes, it’s hard to just say ‘I’m gonna go here’ or ‘I’m gonna make this decision or do that,’ because everybody’s affected by that. And the average person is looking at it as next year. Like it’s just one year. ‘Next year you win a championship if you go here.’ We’re looking at the big picture here now. We’re looking at the next six-to-eight years of your career, the end of your career at that. So do you want to spend that much time in that place?”

In the interview Anthony talks about spending part of his youth in Red Hook as a Knicks fan and how much he felt New York was a place he could grow as a player — and how hard it is to leave.

“I came from a smaller market in Denver, not so much scrutiny. The scrutiny is tabloids, it’s media, it’s everywhere — it’s not like the level it is here in New York. Playing in a smaller market you could only go so high, as far as individual players go, you reach that max. You can only do so much and you reach that point in your life when you gotta look for something else — a bigger stand, a bigger stage, a bigger market.”

And yes, he’d like to be consulted on player personnel moves.

“As far as player personnel, I would love to be involved in that because at the end of the day you’re creating a family. I mean you can’t create a bond with somebody that’s not going to fit in with you, not going to be there when you need him the most, and don’t understand the game and how to win and situations in the game…

“As much as it’s about having superstars on your team, you got to have your soldiers, guys who will go out there and put your life on the line for you.”

I never like war analogy for sports, it’s not actually life and death. But you get Anthony’s point. And if he wants the team to be like a family, that matters as he looks at Chicago, Houston and his other options.

Report: Sixers’ Jahlil Okafor to be shadowed by security guard now

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

In the run-up to the NBA Draft, there were no questions — at least publicly — about Jahlil Okafor‘s character. But of late there has been a run or incidents since then: He allegedly had a gun pulled on him outside a club in October; in November he was ticketed for driving more than 100 mph on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge; then he had an altercation with a guy outside a club in Boston that the police in that city are now investigating.

Okafor publicly apologized for the incidents. Multiple times.

The Sixers are making sure a security guard follows Okafor around when he steps out now, reports Chris Broussard at ESPN.

After being involved recently in a few embarrassing and potentially dangerous off-the-court incidents, Philadelphia 76ers star rookie Jahlil Okafor will now be accompanied by a security guard whenever he goes out, according to league sources.

The request for security came from Okafor’s handlers, who asked the 76ers to make a security guard available to their first-round draft pick out of Duke. The Sixers did not return a phone call seeking comment, but two sources said the club will honor the request.

Earlier in the day a source had wondered to John Gonzalez of why there wasn’t already security around the young core of the team when they went out.

Another front office member for another team questioned “why the Sixers won’t surround those guys with security.”

“Damn near every team does that,” the executive said, “especially with their top guys. I guess the Sixers know more than everyone else again.”

The Sixers head of security is supposed to be notified when players went out. Apparently that was not happening.

Okafor is 19, has money, and (at the very least) is putting himself in situations where bad things are more likely to occur.

We all made a lot of mistakes at that age, maybe not as potentially serious, but the bottom line is 19-year-olds don’t make good decisions. This is a Sixers team lacking in veteran leadership in the locker room, and while it’s debatable how much that would help in the wee small hours of the morning when Okafor seems to find trouble, it couldn’t hurt.

This is a smart move by Okafor’s friends/posse/handlers/whatever you call them. Get in his face now, tell him he can lose a fan base whether he’s scoring 17.5 points a game a night or not. Tell him to grow up. Then have someone around him to make sure he does the right thing (or those looking to draw him into trouble are kept away).

Watch Rasheed Wallace hit two simultaneous three pointers, one with with each hand

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
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Ball don’t lie.

The ball has always loved Rasheed Wallace, and that hasn’t changed since he stopped playing in the NBA. Check out this shot, courtesy Brandon Jennings.

I love everything about this, including the fact Sheed’s wearing the same thing he wore around the NBA for years. I love that Wallace is still a trick shot master, just like always.

(Hat tip to Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie.)

Kobe Bryant went from DeMar DeRozan’s idol to his friend

Kobe Bryant, DeMar DeRozan
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TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan was 16 when he was invited to Kobe Bryant‘s camp for the top 25 American high school shooting guards.

A friendship grew between the youngster who would become an All-Star for the Toronto Raptors and the player who would become the third-leading scorer in NBA history.

DeRozan talked at length Sunday night about Bryant, who announced on The Players’ Tribune that he’ll retire after the season, capping a 20-year NBA career.

“The knowledge that he tended to give me every time I got the chance to be around him, especially at a young age, carrying over to the league, it was definitely an honor,” DeRozan said after the Raptors’ 107-102 loss Sunday night to Phoenix. “I tried to listen as much as possible, soak in as much as I could all of the time. It’s crazy how much time flies.”

Bryant was DeRozan’s favorite player while growing up in Compton, Calif.

“I’ve tried to emulate and learn so much from him ever since I was a kid, watching every single game growing up in Los Angeles, having a chance to get with him and learn from him, from conversations even when I was in high school from playing against him, completing against him, being in big games with him,” said DeRozan, who scored 29 points in Sunday’s loss. “It’s definitely a sad, sad day, but he’s been in the game a long time.”

Bryant’s announcement came just before the Lakers’ game against the visiting Indiana Pacers. Fans at the game received a letter of thanks from the 37-year-old player in a black envelope embossed with gold.

Bryant has struggled mightily with injuries the past several years, and is shooting a career-worst 32 percent this season.

“It don’t matter. That man has five rings, 17 all-stars, MVP,” DeRozan said. “There’s nothing he hasn’t done. It’s just father time catching up with him, injuries catching up with him this past year. People will appreciate it when he’s away from the game.”

DeRozan has his favorite Kobe memory – Bryant scoring 81 points against Toronto in 2006. DeRozan, who would join the Raptors as a rookie three years later, said he felt as if he was playing a video game watching the high-scoring spectacle unfold on TV.

DeRozan is in his seventh season with Toronto. He can’t imagine playing 20 years.

“Especially playing at a high level, doing the things he was doing … people don’t understand how hard that is,” DeRozan said. “Even now, a lot of us find ourselves tired (on) back-to-backs. It’s tough. It’s really tough. To do it 20 years at a high level, you have to give that man every credit in the world.”

Hornets’ Al Jefferson out 2-3 weeks with strained calf

Al Jefferson
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The Hornets have been playing well of late, going 7-3 in their last 10 and outscoring opponents by 6.3 points per 100 possessions. They are solidly in the playoff picture out East, in the six slot right now.

This is not going to help matters.

The team announced that an MRI confirmed center Al Jefferson will be out two to three weeks with a strained left calf muscle, suffered during Charlotte’s 87-82 win over Milwaukee on Sunday.

Jefferson missing a few weeks due to injury at some point during the season is an annual event, like the Rose Parade or the Head of the Charles Regatta — but this year the Hornets are better prepared to deal with it. This is the deepest Charlotte team in recent memory.

Tyler Hansbrough, Cody Zeller, and Frank Kaminsky will get more run — plus Spencer Hawes may be back in the rotation — and if they can step up the Hornets will not slow down much.

This season the Hornets defense has been downright stingy when Jefferson is on the bench, giving up 94.2 points per 100 possessions (which is 10 better than when he is on the court). However, the Hornet offense and rebounding efforts are stronger when he plays.