Report: Cavaliers “backing far away” from Carmelo Anthony trade

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Kevin Love is not completely off the table. There are maybe 10 guys in the entire NBA for which there is no price to make a trade work. However, Love falls into that next tier of “in theory you can get him but in reality there is no way another team would actually give up enough to make a deal.”

Carmelo Anthony is not enough. Not close. No sane GM is moving a 28-year-old, at his peak Love for 33-year-old and declining Anthony.

And the Cavaliers are not interested in a Love for ‘Melo swap, reports Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the Cavs’ thinking are also backing far away from a potential trade for Anthony. It doesn’t mean a deal for Anthony is entirely out of the question. Just mostly out.

That hesitancy stems from this: Teams never want to completely close the door, just in case. At this time of the year (and through much of the season) teams talk all the time to each other, gauging interest and value of their players and others. There is a Mississippi River of talk between teams, what becomes public is the cups of that water media members dip in and pull out. For teams, never say never, they never know what might develop. The story on this deal covers this.

So a deal for Love would have to make the Cavs better. Who they could acquire for Love and his huge contract that would actually improve the team is a small group. In fact, the Cavs would be more likely to seek multiple, gifted role players in return for Love who could play behind LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, instead of alongside them.

While the Cavs will not rule out trading Love (the only player entirely off limits, in any scenario, is James), several sources said it’s highly unlikely he’s moved by the Feb. 23 trade deadline.

Love is going to be a Cavalier after the deadline and heading into the playoffs. I could concoct some fantasy basketball trade scenario where Cleveland would move Love, but nobody makes those trades in the real world.

The Cavaliers have brought in Jordan Farmar, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a minor deal. Just don’t expect a blockbuster.

As for the Knicks, they will keep looking but I’d be very surprised if they can find a deal for Anthony by the Feb. 23 deadline. Which will make Krisptaps Porzingis happy.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.