Dan Feldman

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Report: Knicks hope Carmelo Anthony will expand acceptable trade list beyond Rockets, Cavaliers

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The Knicks have reportedly paused Carmelo Anthony trade talks.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to the source, Knicks acting president Steve Mills wants to meet with Anthony to see where his head is at before proceeding any further.

The primary hope, according to the source, is Anthony decides to open up his wish list beyond the Rockets and Cavaliers, as he has a no-trade clause.

Good luck.

New York received underwhelming trade offers for Anthony because it’s a closed market. The Rockets don’t need to beat 28 other teams, as they usually would. They need to beat Cleveland and only Cleveland.

But that that’s the Knicks’ problem, not Anthony’s. He earned his no-trade clause, so he can pick his team for next season.

If he limited his list to only Houston and Cleveland while Phil Jackson was running the Knicks, why would Anthony approve more teams now that Mills and Scott Perry seemingly make New York more palatable? Anthony could just stay with the Knicks.

Maybe Mills and Perry convince Anthony to accept a trade to a team he previously ruled out. I’m just not sure what new information they could offer that would prompt Anthony to change his mind.

Report: Kevin Durant’s stone-faced reaction to Peyton Manning’s joke was part of act

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Peyton Manning, while hosting the ESPYS, joked that the U.S. women’s gymnastics team was so dominant, Kevin Durant wanted to join.

The Warriors star appeared displeased – because he’s a good actor.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Was Russell Westbrook also in on the joke?

Report: Pelicans, Rajon Rondo working toward one-year contract

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New Orleans achieved its biggest offseason priority – overpaying Jrue Holiday rather than losing him.

But after escaping that corner, the Pelicans are backed into another. They’re capped out and need to fill out their rotation.

Enter Rajon Rondo?

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Rondo and Holiday playing together? I don’t know about that, though New Orleans’ unappealing shooting guards make it more palatable.

The Pelicans could use a backup point guard.

Quinn Cook has barely played in the NBA. No. 31 pick Frank Jackson is just a rookie and coming off injury. E'Twaun Moore and Jordan Crawford are combo guards, and Crawford might not make the team.

Rondo would be an upgrade.

New Orleans should somewhat stagger Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, as both are best at center. For all his incredible abilities, Davis’ weak spot is creating his own shot. Rondo, who has declined in so many facets, remains a quality distributor. He could play well with Davis. (Davis and Cousins have emerging outside games, but spacing with both and Rondo could get creaky.)

The Pelicans have the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions available. But using both – especially considering they could also re-sign Dante Cunningham with Bird Rights – could put them into the luxury tax. Signing Rondo would also limit their ability to add a wing, another position where they need help.

It’s probably impossible for New Orleans to address all its shortcomings, but at least Rondo might plug one hole.

Report: Spurs, Jonathon Simmons break off contract discussions

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Why would the Spurs renounce Jonathon Simmons (or even rescind his qualifying offer) while still trying to re-sign him, as reported?

Maybe because they’re not actually trying to re-sign him.

Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:

This makes more sense.

If they didn’t renounce Simmons, the Spurs could have offered him a starting salary of about $7.9 million. If they didn’t pull his qualifying offer, they also could have matched any offer sheet, which could have included a starting salary up to $8,406,000.

With Simmons renounced, San Antonio can likely offer him just the $3,290,000 bi-annual exception.

The Spurs will likely remain above the cap regardless. So renouncing Simmons and removing mechanisms to re-sign him likely means only one thing: San Antonio is moving on from Simmons.

Plenty of teams could use the athletic wing, but cap space has dried up around the league. He’ll a home, but maybe for not as much money as he could have commanded as an unrestricted free agent earlier in the process.

LaVar Ball says he’s fine with Lonzo Ball wearing Nike

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Lonzo Ball – pun intended – balled out in the Lakers’ summer-league win over the 76ers last night.

He noticeably did so in front of Nike endorser LeBron James while wearing Kobe Bryant Nikes, not Big Baller Brand shoes.

LaVar Ball and Lonzo Ball, via Darren Rovell of ESPN:

“Lonzo is not forced to wear any brand and can play in any shoe he wants as long as it’s OK with the NBA,” LaVar Ball told ESPN by text early Thursday morning. “This is what being independent is all about.”

There are “no negotiations with Nike” at this time, LaVar Ball said.

“At BBB, you can play in what you want,” Lonzo Ball said on SportsCenter after the game. “I already played in both of my shoes, might as well get the ‘Mamba Mentality’ going. Put ’em on, and it worked out tonight.”

“At BBB, you can play in what you want.”

How convenient.