Brooklyn Nets v New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony says his New York business interests key in him choosing to stay with Knicks

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Everyone talked about the near-max money — and make no mistake, those $124 million in checks are a big part of the reason Carmelo Anthony will suit up again for the New York Knicks next season and be the guy they try to rebuild around. (Before you criticize him for that, tell me again how you would gladly leave $40+ million on the table in the prime of your career. Sure you would.)

But there were other keys to him staying put at Madison Square Garden. Certainly Phil Jackson and the Knicks having plan was part of it. Anthony’s family was part of it.

But often underestimated was the fact Anthony has business interests in the New York area he didn’t want to walk away from. Speaking at the Bloomberg Sports Summit Anthony emphasized that part of it, reports Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal.

Way to play to your audience ‘Melo — when talking to business leaders say business was the key.

LeBron James and other free agents this summer opted for two-year deals this summer, so they can again be free agents in 2016 when the new NBA television deal is expected to kick in and the salary cap (and with that salaries) is expected to jump.

Not Anthony, he took the five years now. The Bulls wanted to do two-years and re-sign him at the max but that did not fly.

Most people around the league expected Anthony would stay in New York, although he wanted to be recruited and with that came rising hopes at points in Chicago and Los Angeles. But in the end he wanted to get paid and he likes New York and being a Knick. He wasn’t going to walk away from that.

Rebuilding around Anthony is not going to be easy or a quick fix. The Knicks need to land at least one more elite player — Rajon Rondo doesn’t fully count, if they can even get him — and they have to start bringing in role players who will fit the triangle. Because J.R. Smith does not. There is a plan but there is a lot of roster work that needs to be done (plus we have to see if Derek Fisher can really coach).

The question is will Knicks fans — and more importantly the Knicks owner — stay patient during the process? Neither are really known for their patience.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.

PBT Podcast: NBA All-Star Weekend talk, predictions with Sean Highkin

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NBA All-Star weekend descends upon frigid Toronto starting Friday, with everything from the Rookie/Sophomore… er, Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, the Dunk Contest/Three-Point Contest on Saturday, and the main event on Sunday.

Kurt Helin and Sean Highkin of NBC’s ProBasketballTalk break it all down, from Pau Gasol replacing Jimmy Butler to predictions on the Dunk Contest and if anyone can knock off Zach LaVine. Plus, there is plenty of “why Sting?” talk.

PBT will be in Toronto with reports from the event all weekend, so come back early and often for all the latest (plus trade talk, as all the GMs get together in one city where it’s too cold for them to go outside).

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Pistons retire Chauncey Billups’ jersey at halftime (VIDEO)

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Moments before his jersey went up to the rafters, Chauncey Billups spoke to the crowd about the night the Detroit Pistons wrapped up the 2004 NBA title by routing the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the Finals.

“We had one motivation,” he said. “We wanted to win it here at home.”

Billups was the most valuable player in the Finals that year, and he had his No. 1 jersey retired by the Pistons on Wednesday night at halftime of their game against Denver.

He was the second player from that 2004 team honored by the Pistons this year. The Pistons retired Ben Wallace’s jersey last month at a similar ceremony – in front of a packed house on a night Detroit beat Golden State.

There were some empty seats in the upper level Wednesday, but Billups wanted to be honored while the Pistons were playing the Nuggets. Billups is a Denver native and played for the Nuggets for two stints during his career.

“This was by design, only because there’s a lot of people that contributed to my success as a player and as a man, in Denver, my hometown,” Billups said before the game. “There were several dates that I could have chosen. This one obviously stuck out.”

Billups does have a mild regret about his run of success with the Pistons. He figures they could have won more titles.

“I felt like, two and maybe three championships – we were that good,” he said.

Ben Wallace was on hand Wednesday, and so were Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince from the 2004 champions. Pistons great Isiah Thomas was also at the Palace for the ceremony.

“This is what tradition looks like,” Thomas told the crowd. “This is what it feels like.”