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Carmelo Anthony: “A deal was done with Houston early” but fell apart


Carmelo Anthony is a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, having been traded there just before training camp opens.

However, it’s no secret he wanted to be traded to the Houston Rockets. For most of the summer Houston — with Chris Paul and James Harden — was the only team he would waive his no-trade clause for. However, when that deal would not come together he eventually added Cleveland and OKC to the list, and he was quickly a member of the Thunder.

Anthony talked about all of it with Joel Meyers and Antonio Daniels on SiriusXM NBA Radio Wednesday night. He was asked when he expanded his list of potential destinations.

“I think it was within the last week, week and a half, before training camp. A deal was done with Houston early then for some reason whatever happened behind the scenes it didn’t go through, it fell through then we had to really start paying attention and thinking about other options.

But then believe it or not I felt like I was going to be back in training camp and I would show up to media day in New York. Me and my team sat down on Friday night and was like, ‘Man, we best prepare for going back to media day on Monday and training camp that week.’ And then we got the call that said, ‘Would you open it up to OKC?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, at this point yeah.’ I don’t think it would have been beneficial for me to come back to media day after everything that was going on in the offseason. For me to have to deal with that it would have been unfair for the organization, the Knicks, to have to deal with that. It would have been too much noise, too many questions to answer and I don’t think either party wanted to deal with that.”

One thing that changed is that Phil Jackson was out in New York and the new team of Steve Mills and Scott Perry was not going to take back a crappy deal just to get it done. The Knicks wanted some assets back, and the Rockets were not flush with them. Then there was the issue with Ryan Anderson‘s contract, which had three-years and $60 million on it — the Knicks didn’t want it, and the price from third teams looking to get in the deal was too steep (I was told teams were asking for two first round picks, and not ones deep in the draft).

Anthony instead joins a Thunder team going all in on this season, one that should be interesting to watch. But there will always be a little “what might have been” in Houston.

You can listen to the clip of Anthony talking about the trade below, or follow this link to hear him discuss the new energy he has in OKC.


Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue sits out second half Sunday with illness

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CHICAGO (AP) Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue remained in the locker room to start the second half of their game against the Chicago Bulls because of an illness.

Lue was on the sideline as the Cavaliers used a strong second quarter to build a 17-point halftime lead. He did not come out for the start of the third Saturday night, and he did not return to the game.

Lue has missed one other game this season due to illness. He is expected back on Monday when the Cavs host the struggling Bucks.

The Cavaliers went on to get the win over the Bulls Saturday, 114-109.

Grizzlies snap 19-game skid with 101-94 win vs Nuggets

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Dillon Brooks scored 24 points, Tyreke Evans added 20 and the Memphis Grizzlies snapped a 19-game losing streak with a 101-94 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.

Wayne Selden scored 16 points for Memphis by hitting 6 of 7 shots, including 4 of 5 from outside the arc. Marc Gasol added 14 points as Memphis won for the first time since Jan. 29.

Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Jamal Murray finished with 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Denver shot just 37 percent overall and 27 percent from 3-point range.

Denver entered the night in ninth place in the Western Conference, a game out of the playoff race. Denver played without leading scorer Gary Harris, who is expected to miss the next few games with a right knee sprain suffered against Detroit on Thursday.

The Nuggets struggled through a miserable first half of shooting, connecting on 22 percent in the first quarter. Memphis stretched its lead to 21 early in the second quarter before Denver cut it to 53-48 at halftime.

Brooks hit four 3-pointers to start the second half and keep Memphis ahead.

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LaMarcus Aldridge’s 39 points lead Spurs past Wolves, 117-101

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) – LaMarcus Aldridge had 39 points and 10 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs overcame a sluggish start to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-101 on Saturday night.

San Antonio won its third straight to move into fifth in the Western Conference five days after dropping to 10th and out of playoff position.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points and nine rebounds for Minnesota, which dropped to sixth in the West.

The Spurs had lost three straight and nine of 11 but are now unbeaten halfway through a six-game homestand.

San Antonio shot 84 percent in the second quarter, their best shooting quarter since 2010.

Two nights after battling New Orleans’ Anthony Davis on both ends, Aldridge had to take on another All-Star in Towns. Aldridge responded by leading the Spurs in scoring for the 49th time this season while helping keep Towns in check.

Aldridge scored 18 of 21 points during a five-minute stretch in the second quarter, including 12 straight. He capped the run by coming from the weak side to swat Towns’ floater deep into the seats.

Minnesota started quickly, shooting 78 percent from the floor in the first 5 1/2 minutes while San Antonio floundered at 17 percent. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called timeout, only to watch the Timberwolves’ Jeff Teague steal the ball once play resumed.

The Spurs responded behind veteran reserves Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol and Rudy Gay. San Antonio went on a 16-4 run bridging the first and second quarters to take a 29-26 lead.

Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points for Minnesota and Teague had 16.


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.