Report: Carmelo Anthony plans to meet with select teams, make decision second week of July

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Carmelo Anthony is not going to drag this process out. We should all thank him for that.

Anthony has told the Knicks he is opting out of the last year of his contract and is going to test free agency, but he can’t officially talk to those other teams until July 1. Once that happens he has a plan, reports Marc Spears at Yahoo Sports.

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony hopes to make a decision on where he will play next season in the second week of July after taking several free-agent visits, a source told Yahoo Sports….

A source said there is currently no frontrunner for Anthony’s services, and he is expected to meet with the Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. There was no mention of the Miami Heat. Anthony hopes to visit the aforementioned teams in their respective cities during the opening days of free agency. At the moment, no other teams are expected to get a meeting.

Anthony cannot officially sign a deal until July 10.

The Knicks were long the front runners, Anthony has told PBT and others that he wants to stay with the Knicks but he wants to see a plan where they can start to win, fast. Phil Jackson has made some smart moves the lat 48 hours, but converting the Knicks roster into something that can win is going to take a couple years, not a couple weeks. Anthony loves New York but may not be that patient. Jackson said he wants Anthony to take a pay cut to stay, but if it took a max offer to keep him New York would make it.

If Anthony leaves NYC, Chicago is considered the front runner — he can step right in as a four (if the Bulls amnesty Carlos Boozer as expected) and with Joakim Noah and if Derrick Rose can stay healthy, they are contenders (particularly if they don’t have to jettison Taj Gibson to get Anthony more money). Still Anthony would leave well in excess of $40 million on the table from the Knicks max offer to go to the Windy City (likely more like $50 million, depending on the final numbers). That’s a lot f scratch.

Dallas’ pitch got more interesting with the addition of Tyson Chandler (a good friend of Anthony’s) to go with Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis. Houston can offer a near max and has James Harden and Dwight Howard, allowing them to form a “big three” in the West. The two questions for Anthony with both these teams are: Do I really want to go to the Western Conference, where even if I’m part of a powerhouse team the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers and a lot of good depth looms? Do I want to move to Texas and a city where I have no ties?

The Lakers are a long shot, save that they have a big brand and Kobe Bryant.

If Anthony has learned anything from watching how LeBron James and recently Dwight Howard handled free agency, he needs to take the meetings quickly, keep them as quiet as he can, them make a firm decision relatively quickly. It’s a big decision with a lot of moving parts well outside of basketball, it’s got to be a family decision.

But Anthony seems committed to not dragging the process out. That’s good for all of us.

Paul George on return to Indiana Wednesday: “For whatever reason, I’ll be booed”

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This week is the Oklahoma City Thunder’s “you can’t go home again” week of the schedule. On Saturday night, Carmelo Anthony will return to New York where Knicks fans should welcome him with cheers and open arms — he meant a lot to that franchise in recent years — but may very well not.

First up, however, Paul George returns to Indiana in a Thunder uniform Wednesday night.

There’s little doubt how he will be greeted by Indiana fans, who felt betrayed by a man they stuck by through recovery from a severe injury. George knows what is coming,

Here are the key lines from PG13:

“Boos. I honestly wouldn’t think it would be any other way. The Pacers fans outweigh the Paul George fans. That’s what I’m looking forward to. For whatever reason, I’ll be booed, but I’m gonna embrace that. I’m gonna thrive on that.”

For whatever reason? You asked to be traded and fans take that personally. There is no loyalty in sports — I have no problem with players asking out because teams show no hesitancy in dumping players they no longer have a use for (and fans are almost always good with that) — but he had to know how this would be taken in Indiana.

What George might want to worry about is stopping the red-hot Victor Oladipo (he averaged 35.7 points per game last week), because he and the Pacers are playing better than the Thunder right now.

Kawhi Leonard returns Tuesday on minutes restriction

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The Spurs have been the Spurs this season, going 19-8 with an elite defense and offense that’s good enough to get them wins, thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge playing at an All-Star level.

Starting Tuesday, they add Kawhi Leonard back to the mix.

He will return to the lineup against Dallas, but will be on a minutes restriction, coach Gregg Popovich said on Tuesday. He would not say how many minutes, although around 20 seems a logical starting spot.

Leonard is one of the five best players in the NBA (and that may be selling him short). He averaged a career-high 25.5 points a game last season, he’s arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, and he finished third in the MVP voting last season.

However, there are going to be adjustments. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the focal point of the offense, but he could see fewer touches, particularly in crunch time. Kyle Anderson could see fewer minutes, and Rudy Gay may as well because Popovich liked some small-ball lineups last season with Leonard at the four. A lot of players will see their rotations change.

That said, it’s the Spurs. Do we really expect them to be anything but an incredibly good regular season team? One that is about to get better?

 

 

 

Pelicans’ Tony Allen out 3-4 weeks with fibula fracture

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The injuries just keep hitting the Pelicans. Guys like Solomon Hill and Alexis Ajinca are out for extended periods of time. Anthony Davis has missed four of the team’s last six games and is questionable for Wednesday night due to a left adductor injury.

Now comes the news that reserve guard Tony Allen will be out three to four weeks due to a nondisplaced left proximal fibula fracture, the team announced Tuesday. This is the part of the bone near the ankle.

Allen has played a limited role for New Orleans off the bench this season, averaging 12.4 minutes a game, and averaging 4.7 points. His reputation is that of a defensive stopper, and when he is on the court this season the Pelicans’ defense has been 5.6 points per 100 possessions better. However, father time has started to catch up with him and he is not the defender he once was.

Expect the minutes to bump up for Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore with this injury, which is not a bad thing as they have played well (they were knocking down threes against the Rockets Monday like they were named Curry), plus Ian Clark could get a little more run.

Watch Kawhi Leonard chop boards ‘karate styyyle’ (video)

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Kawhi Leonard, enabled by the Spurs’ no-nonsense culture, is probably the NBA’s most boring superstar.

He’s widely recognized as the league’s best defender, and he has worked himself into an elite offensive threat. He has already won a Finals MVP, and regular-season MVP could eventually be in the cards.

But Leonard is notoriously reserved. For someone who has been on this stage for so long, we know little about him.

Except we now know he apparently likes karate.

Leonard:

Gonna chop y’all up. Look at all of us. Karate styyyle.

If “karate styyyle” doesn’t become Leonard’s catchphrase, I don’t even know what we’re doing.

Leonard will finally have the chance to chop up an NBA opponent tonight, when he makes his return from injury.

Michael C. Wright of ESPN: