Report: Carmelo Anthony open to waiving no-trade clause for Rockets and Cavaliers


The long, awkward saga between Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks continues.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Carmelo Anthony is now open to waving his no -rade clause if he were to join the Houston Rockets or Cleveland Cavaliers in a swap.

Anthony and the Knicks have been at an impasse all season long, with the star forward holding all the cards given his contractual ability to reject any trade. It has certainly worked for Anthony up to this point, as former Presisdent Phil Jackson was let go last week.

Via Twitter:

The Rockets are a seemingly attractive destination for Carmelo now that the Los Angeles Clippers have traded star point guard Chris Paul over to join James Harden. Houston also added P.J. Tucker to the wing. After Harden’s MVP performance in 2016-17, no doubt they will again and be challenging for a top for spot in a strengthening Western Conference.

Meanwhile the Cavaliers have been rumored to be a destination for Anthony for the entire season, and it’s obvious after a five game series in the 2017 NBA Finals that LeBron James needs a little more help to get past the Golden State Warriors.

The big problem here of course is that both the Rockets and Cavaliers are over the salary cap, so whatever players they send back toward New York exchange for Anthony would have to have matching salaries.

Anthony makes a whopping $26 million in 2017-18, so the returning options for both Houston and Cleveland would have to be salary filler. Neither team are likely to send one of their major contract star players back to New York, so the incentive would have to be pick-based.

That’s a big problem given that both Cleveland and Houston have already sent their first round picks for 2018 to the Hawks and the Clippers, respectively. Teams must comply with the Stepien rule, which says that they cannot trade their first round draft picks in consecutive years.

The only way to get around this would be for them to either offer New York their 2020 first round picks or trade back for their outgoing 2018 first rounders before a deal with New York took place.

Looking at the salaries for Cleveland, we would be looking at a package based around Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye with filler salary attached as well as draft pick compensation.

Houston is in a stickier situation given that they would not be able to make a trade for Carmelo without sending back Ryan Anderson to the Knicks due to their current salary situation. It’s unclear whether New York would want Anderson for the remainder of his contract, which lasts through 2019-20.

No matter how you slice it, getting Carmelo to either of these teams is not going to be pretty. Both teams are in a situation in which they are likely trying to add Carmelo without decimating their current talent base. Neither team has any third party first round draft picks to offer the Knicks, and it’s not clear whether a package combined with second round picks would be able to get Anthony out of the Big Apple.

We also don’t know where the Knicks are at with Carmelo now that Jackson is out of the loop. They could be exasperated with him, and looking to move Carmelo with little hope of recovering even close to equal compensation. That would work out more in Cleveland and Houston’s favor in terms of actually getting a deal done. If New York wants a more standard compensation package, the issues could go farther than the salaries.

The Knicks are weird — and so is this NBA offseason — so I wouldn’t put it past the forces that be to get Carmelo out of New York.

Stan Van Gundy goes off on officials: “We got absolutely screwed all night”

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The Pistons were likely to lose to the red-hot Trail Blazers on the road, and that came to be Saturday night 100-87, Portland 12th straight win. The Pistons shot 38.8 percent for the game and had a dreadful offensive rating of 93.8 (points per 100 possessions).

Portland is one the top five defensive teams in the NBA this season, but that’s not what Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy thought was the problem — he laid the blame on the officiating.

That’s going to be a fine.

Van Gundy is frustrated — with this game and with this season. So are Pistons fans, and seemingly so is Detroit owner Tom Gores after his lukewarm vote of confidence in Van Gundy recently. They should be, this team is a disappointment and the Blake Griffin trade was a big swing that has yet to work out. The Pistons are going to miss the playoffs. Around the league, the sense is that Van Gundy will lose his GM job to former super agent Arn Tellem, who was brought in to guide the Pistons into their new building but now whose talents would better serve the basketball side of the operation. The only question is will Van Gundy still be coaching in Detroit next season — just coaching, like Doc Rivers with the Clippers — or of the change will be more sweeping than that.

Hornets’ coach gives savage, frank assessment of Willy Hernangomez

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When Willy Hernangomez was not getting much run with the Knicks this season, especially as injuries opened up space in the front line rotation, there were questions as to why. Then the #freeWillyHernangomez movement popped up.

Eventually, Hernangomez was traded to the Hornets where… he barely plays. He’s gotten more than 10 minutes just once since coming to Charlotte.

What gives? Hornet’s coach Steve Clifford didn’t hold back when answering that question to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

“If you were in one place and didn’t play much, if you want to play more in the next place, I’d say work harder and kill myself,” Clifford said at the Hornets shootaround at the Players Association’s midtown headquarters. “The reality is he wasn’t playing here for a reason. He’s got to change things…

“He’s not up to speed on what we’re doing to play a lot,” Clifford said. “It’s been a little bit of a struggle for him. He’s smart, but he’s not this high-flier, phenomenal, natural athlete able to make up ground. He’s got to be on top of things, especially on the defensive end. If he’s not detailed defensively, he’s not that [athletic] guy…

“To be an every-night player, and I’ve told him this, he’s got to improve his shooting,” Clifford said. “He is right now, in my opinion, a back-to-the-basket player who can pass. But the reality is his passing doesn’t come into play until they have to get close to him and know he’s not going to knock down a shot. And he’s not a knockdown shooter.”

Well then.

Just to be clear he’s got to put in a lot more effort, become smarter on the defensive end, and improve his shooting. That’s a healthy off-season checklist.

Hernangomez has another year on his contract at a very reasonable $1.5 million before the Hornets have to make any kind of decision on him, which means whoever is the new GM in Charlotte he will choose to keep Hernangomez around. For now. He flashed potential his rookie season with the Knicks, when asked to play strictly to his strengths, but Clifford and the Hornets — and basically every other team in the NBA — is going to ask more of him.

Clifford was clear, as no doubt he has been clear to Hernangomez (Clifford is as straight a shooter as the league has). The ball is in Hernangomez’s court.

Glen “Big Baby” Davis denies drug charges while eating Popeyes on a charter plane

Via Twitter

Best. Denial. Ever.

Last month, former NBA player Glen “Big Baby” Davis was arrested last month at a hotel in a suburb of Baltimore by Jimmy McNulty and Lt. Daniels with 126 grams of marijuana and more than $96,000 in cash, according to a police report. He has been charged with possession and intent to distribute.

Davis has declared his innocence in the best denial video ever — eating Popeyes chicken and flashing cash and a championship ring.

I have no idea whether Davis is guilty or not, I was not at a Hampton’s Inn outside Baltimore last month. The court system will sort that out, that is what it’s there for.

But I know a brilliant video when I see one. This is it.

Report: Michele Roberts to seek second contract as players’ union head

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Michele Roberts entered the NBA’s player union in a tumultuous time — long-time union president Billy Hunter had been ousted in a rancorous fight, the union felt adrift, and negotiations with the NBA on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement were looming (and players felt they had been screwed in the last CBA, following the lockout).

Roberts, the first female head of a professional sports labor union, settled things down. She cleaned up the union finances and made them more transparent to players, she worked hard to establish relationships with the players, and while she rattled some sabers with the NBA in negotiations, she also worked in a non-combative way with Adam Silver and team (unlike the Billy Hunter/David Stern relationship) and got a deal done the players liked without a lockout or labor mess.

Roberts’ contract with the union is up, but she is going to ask for a new deal — one she likely gets — reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

With an original four-year agreement set to expire in September, Michele Roberts plans to seek a new contract as the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, sources tell ESPN…

Roberts had strongly considered staying in the NBPA’s executive director role for only the length of her original contract — and expressed that to the union’s senior membership — but has recently decided to pursue a longer tenure, sources said.

NBPA president Chris Paul played a significant part in Roberts’ hiring in July 2014 and he has built a strong working relationship with Roberts.

Roberts also has a good relationship with the star-heavy executive committee of the union — CP3, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and others — making it likely she gets a new deal.

As for what’s next, at the front of that list Roberts is working with Silver and others on reforming the NBA’s one-and-done rule (it was supposed to be part of the CBA negotiations but was too big and complex an issue to fold into that timeline).

Neither the owners or players can opt out of the CBA for four more years (and if neither side does it runs a couple more beyond that) so labor peace will continue in the NBA for a while.