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Pistons to retire Richard Hamilton’s jersey

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The Pistons retired Ben Wallace’s No. 3 and Chauncey Billups’ No. 1.

Next up from Detroit’s 2004 championship team? As expected, Richard Hamilton’s No. 32.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club will honor and retire the jersey for Richard Hamilton during the 2016-17 season.  Hamilton will be honored during a halftime ceremony on Sunday, February 26 at 6:00 p.m. when the Pistons host the Boston Celtics at The Palace.

“Our franchise has a great legacy and it’s important to recognize the players who made our organization successful both on and off the court,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores.  “Rip’s numbers speak for themselves.  He was a top performer year in and year out, from the regular season through the playoffs and especially during the championship run of 2004.  He was relentless on the court and equally passionate about his teammates and the community.  We are excited to honor his success.”

Hamilton spent nine seasons with Detroit (2002-2011) leading the Pistons in scoring during eight of those nine seasons. He is one of just six players in Pistons’ franchise history to reach the 11,000-point plateau and one of five players to score 50-plus points in a game (51 at New York, 12/27/06).   During his tenure the club made six consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals (2003-2008), two trips to the NBA Finals (2004, 2005) and won the NBA Championship in 2004.  Hamilton was also named an NBA All-Star in three consecutive seasons from 2005-08. In 631 games as a Piston, the Coatesville, PA native averaged 18.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game and ranks sixth in points, free throws made and field goals made, seventh in assists, minutes and three-point field goals made and 10th in games played in franchise history.

“Detroit is where I celebrated the greatest achievements in my pro basketball career and to be recognized by the organization in this way, I’m honored,” said Hamilton.  “I look forward to sharing this experience with all the fans who supported me throughout my years as a Piston and look forward to celebrating in The Palace one final time. Yessirr.”

I would’ve retired Wallace’s and Billups’ numbers and left it there, but I also don’t have a problem with this approach – including the trickle-down effects. If they’re retiring Hamilton’s number, how can they not retire Rasheed Wallace’s? And if they retire Wallace’s number, how can they not retire Tayshaun Prince’s?

Hamilton cut tirelessly around off-ball screens for years in Detroit, a credit to his phenomenal conditioning. He was so smooth, he made mid-range shooting, face masks and the phrase “Yessir” cool. Hamilton’s best moments came in the 2004 Eastern Conference finals, when Hamilton’s scoring ability stood out in a hard-fought, grinding, defense-first matchup with the Pacers.

But his final years with the Pistons were so ugly, they bought out a hefty portion of his contract to dump him. It tarnished his legacy in Detroit. Time was necessary to heal those wounds.

Now, everyone can focus on the good times – and there were far more of those than bad. Hamilton helped turn the Pistons from good to great with an endearing style, and it’s nice to see him honored.

Damian Lillard talks about his “no pressure” pitch to Carmelo Anthony, selling Portland

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Self-made, over-achieving players in the NBA tend not to be the recruiters. They worked hard and made it to where they are more on their own, and their world-view follows that path. Think Derrick Rose in Chicago.

Damian Lillard was one of those guys, but he has done a little recruiting of late — he reached out to Carmelo Anthony last week. Lillard told Chris Mannix of NBC Radio (who is filling in for Dan Patrick for the day on his national radio show) that it wasn’t really the John Calipari hard-sell.

“It wasn’t really a pitch, I just reached out to him and let him know the interest just wasn’t from our front office, if there was a possibility there was definitely interest from the players as well, and I didn’t want that to be confused,” Lillard said on the radio show. “I didn’t put no pressure on him or ask him a bunch of questions, I just said what it was from our end.”

That is nice, but Anthony reportedly has focused in on Houston, and might settle for Cleveland (if there was a deal to be had). Would ‘Melo waive his no-trade clause to head to Portland?

“I didn’t get a sense that he wouldn’t,” Lillard said in a tepid response. “What we have here is a good situation for him and that’s just kind of where it went. I let him know what I thought he could do for our team and what our team could do with his presence. And that was it. We didn’t go over no details or talk about a no trade clause or nothing like that. He’s gonna make his own decision to do that or not, I just want to make sure we had some kind of a conversation.”

It’s a start. It’s likely not enough. Anthony wants to go somewhere and chase a ring, and despite what C.J. McCollum thinks, Portland with ‘Melo isn’t a contender. Even with Anthony, I would have them sixth in the West, maybe fifth at best (Warriors, Rockets, Spurs, Thunder, and probably Minnesota are better still). And this is assuming Portland can find a team to take on Myers Leonard’s contract to make a deal work.

What Lillard wanted to get across was that Portland is a great place to be an NBA player.

“I think people talk about what it would be like in Portland or to play in Portland, but actually having lived here, I live here year-round, so I know it’s a great place to live,” Lillard said. “Some of the best food in the United States. You talk about loving the game of basketball, our team and the soccer team are all the city has, so we get a lot of support and our fans really back our team and are really passionate about our team. That type of environment, and that type of love and support around the city, what NBA player wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”

Jimmer Fredette re-signing in China

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Jimmer Fredette played well in China last year, and buzz even emerged about him re-joining the NBA after the Chinese season ended in March. Never happened.

Even in the offseason, when every NBA team had open roster spots, nobody stateside has signed Fredette.

So, he’s returning to the Shanghai Sharks.

Fredette:

Fredette retains a cult following in America, but not the talent of an NBA player. He can score plenty in a lesser league, but his game doesn’t fit with better players on the floor.

Perhaps, he could’ve gotten a training-camp invite, maybe even with a small guarantee. But would’ve faced an uphill battle sticking into the regular season. Better for him to lock into a bigger salary in China now.

Rumor: Carmelo Anthony and the Thunder ‘officially circling each other’

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Carmelo Anthony prefers to be traded to the Rockets. He might soon be traded to the Rockets.

Are the Thunder trying to interject themselves before it’s too late?

Bill Simmons of The Ringer:

Thunder assistant general manager Troy Weaver was an assistant coach at Syracuse when Anthony played there. Weaver is also well-connected in the Washington area (D.C./Maryland/Virginia). I’m not sure how much that means to Anthony, who grew up in Baltimore – in many ways, a different world from the DMV (which includes only parts of Maryland and Virginia closer to D.C.). Still, Weaver and Anthony at least share their Syracuse connection.

The problem: An Oklahoma City trade for Anthony would almost have to include Steven Adams (way more valuable than Anthony) and/or Enes Kanter (way less valuable than Anthony). There’s no easy way to bridge either gap, especially considering how much the Thunder need Adams’ interior presence.

Here’s my best stab at a workable framework for a trade, via ESPN’s trade machine:

screenshot-www.espn.com-2017-07-24-12-26-16

The Clippers would get a more-skilled backup center while just shuffling bad contracts (at least that’s how it seems they view Wesley Johnson‘s deal). The Thunder would still need to send the Knicks more assets (Terrance Ferguson, Jerami Grant and/or draft picks). The Knicks would get a veteran point guard in Austin Rivers while Frank Ntilikina develops and, more importantly, additional young assets. It’s just a matter of determining whether there’s an overlap in the picks Oklahoma City would trade and New York would receive. That window might be tight – or not exist.

Adding Paul George and Anthony to a team led by Russell Westbrook would be exciting. I’m just not sure it’s realistic.

Rumor: Knicks likely to trade Carmelo Anthony to Rockets this week

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After numerous starts and stops and starts and stops, maybe the Knicks will actually trade Carmelo Anthony to the Rockets soon?

Tarek Fattal of the Los Angeles Daily News:

So, they found a third team to take Ryan Anderson or a fourth team to take Meyers Leonard?

If true, that’d please at least Anthony.

There’s room for a trade to work. New York is clearly ready to move on from Anthony, and Houston wants him to join James Harden and Chris Paul. The Rockets can add sweeteners to convince another team – or maybe even the Knicks – to take a bad contract in the trade.

But this has dragged on so long, I need more evidence the deal is actually close before I believe it.