Taj Gibson, Carmelo Anthony

Reports: Carmelo Anthony unsure on Knicks, can’t get the Bulls out of his head

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Carmelo Anthony reportedly decided to re-sign with the Knicks.

Maybe Melo actually believed he’d stay in New York, and maybe he still will.

But not even Phil Jackson has heard from Melo, and this silence is strange.

What’s going on with the second-most-sought-after free agent on the market?

Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Chicago:

I got a call. ‘Look, something has come up. Something is in the mix. Melo is having second thoughts. I don’t know what’s going on, but this is what it is.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ They said, ‘Chicago.’ Suddenly, Chicago is on the mind. I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. You’ve got to be kidding me.’ And this is somebody that is incredibly close to Carmelo Anthony who I completely trust as a source. This is what he was telling me. Couldn’t explain why, but just said, ‘Chicago is not out of the mix.’

‘Melo is sitting at home with his wife and family and talking about the Chicago Bulls.’ This is what they told me.

Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

Not much has changed since Melo visited teams. If he wants to make the most money, he’ll choose New York. If he wants the best team, he’ll choose Chicago or Houston. I wouldn’t blame him for prioritizing either factor.

The offensively deficient Bulls also represent the best fit for Melo, whose singular scoring talent would be well-complemented by Chicago’s defense-first, hustling role players. The Bulls were my early favorite to nab Melo for a reason.

But the Knicks also overtook them in the chase for a reason.

Melo is deliberating on where to spend the next three to five years of his life. I don’t blame him for having second thoughts and taking his time to consider all his options.

I also wouldn’t completely dismiss the idea that Melo’s advisors, unhappy his intention to sign with the Knicks leaked before they were ready to announce it, are spreading false information in order to justifying delaying an announcement. Now, if Melo declares an intention to sign with New York, he’d be controlling the message.

But if Melo is choosing between the Knicks and Bulls and doesn’t know which way to turn, that would make a lot of sense, too. It’s a tough decision.

NBA: Kenneth Faried got away with foul on decisive basket in Nuggets’ win over Bulls

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The Bulls’ biggest loss Friday was Jimmy Butler to injury. His absence certainly contributed to a loss to the Timberwolves the following night.

But Chicago also lost to the Nuggets on Friday, and perhaps that wouldn’t have happened if the game were called correctly down the stretch.

With Denver up two points and 21.1 seconds remaining, Kenneth Faried offensively rebounded a free throw and scored. The Bulls then intentionally fouled down the stretch, and Faried and Danilo Gallinari added a few free throws in the Nuggets’ 115-110 win.

One problem: Faried should’ve been called for offensively fouling Taj Gibson on the key putback, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Faried (DEN) extends his arm into Gibson (CHI) and dislodges him, affecting his ability to retrieve the rebound.

This was a huge swing. Instead of Taj Gibson – a 69% career free-throw shooter – going to the line for two attempts with Chicago down two points, Faried put the Nuggets up four. Even if Gibson split at the line, the Bulls would have been in significantly better shape.

As usual, we can’t know what would’ve happened if this call were made correctly. But it significantly set back Chicago.

NBA considering if jump-on-back foul should be flagrant foul

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The video above is an intentional foul — Chris Paul jumped on the back of Dwight Howard. The same thing has happened to Andre Drummond.

Is it a flagrant foul?

The Boston Celtics tweeted this out on Sunday.

The NBA was quick to let people know that this is just something under consideration — there has been no change in the rules. This may well be where the league is headed, but it’s not there yet.

The NBA defines a flagrant foul as “unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.” To me, leaping on a player’s back like that qualifies. (A flagrant two foul is “unnecessary and excessive contact” and leads to an ejection; this is not that.)

Jared Dudley — one of the more vocal players on union issues — added a good point.

Consider this part of the coming changes on the intentional fouling rules period. But this one tweak could come much faster.

NBA: Foul on Cavaliers that sparked Celtics’ comeback called in error

Cleveland Cavaliers' J.R. Smith makes a move on Boston Celtics' Evan Turner (11) during the third quarter of a NBA basketball game in Boston Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Cavaliers were in great shape against the Celtics on Friday, leading by four points with seven seconds left.

Then, it all went so wrong for Cleveland.

J.R. Smith was called for fouling Evan Turner on a made layup, cutting the margin to two points. Turner missed the free throw, but the ball went out of bounds off the Cavs. Then, Avery Bradley made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Boston the win.

Rewind, though, and an incorrect call drove the sequence, according to the NBA.

Smith shouldn’t have been called for fouling Turner, per the Last Two Minute Report:

Smith (CLE) makes incidental contact with Turner’s (BOS) body as he attempts the layup.

If this were officiated correctly, the Cavs would’ve had the ball and a two-point lead with 5.9 seconds left. That’s not a lock to win – they’d still have to inbound the ball and make their free throws – but it’s close.

Cleveland is definitely entitled to feel the refs wronged them out of a victory.

Report: Kevin Durant has “done his due diligence on the Bay Area”

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Kevin Durant has not made up his mind about what he will do as a free agent this summer. Until his playoff run ends, whenever that may be for the Thunder, his focus will be on bringing a title to Oklahoma City.

But even he admits he can’t help but think about free agency a little.

The buzz around the league is Golden State is at the front of the line if Durant decides to leave OKC, and he has done some research, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

The Warriors play in front of an intimidating Oracle Arena crowd and are expected to debut a new San Francisco arena in 2019. Durant has quietly done his due diligence on the Bay Area, too, sources told Yahoo Sports.

His people — specifically agent Rich Kleiman and personal manager Charlie Bell — would be stupid not to have done some research on not only Golden State but on every other team he might consider: Houston, Miami, Washington, both teams in Los Angeles, the Knicks, and on down the line. Golden State, playing with Stephen Curry, certainly would have its attractions.

I’m still in the camp that Durant signs a 1+1 deal to stay in Oklahoma City (meaning he can opt out after one more season, in 2017), and it’s all about the cash. While he could get 30 percent of a $90 million cap this summer (about $27 million a season to start), with one more year of service in 2017 Durant could get 35 percent of $108 million ($37.8 million to start). That’s a lot of cash. Plus he gets one more chance at a ring with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, who both are 2017 free agents.

But you can be sure whatever Durant decides, it will be well researched and thought out. And he’s not going to announce it in a live special on ESPN.