Tag: carmelo trade

New York Knicks v Miami Heat

New York’s pick-up game defense neutralizes improved offense


Win three in a row, lose three in a row. Beat the Heat, get swept on a home-and-home by the Pacers.

Getting a read on the New York Knicks with Carmelo Anthony is hard because they are so erratic. They are 6-6 since the trade drama ended and have looked both like the team nobody wants to face in the first round and have looked like a team that will be swept right out of the playoffs.

Why? Their defense.

John Schuhmann over at NBA.com broke down the numbers and found that since the trade the Knicks offense has improved from 107.6 points per 100 possessions to 109.6. The problem is the defense went from giving up 106.1 points per 100 possessions to 109.2.

Since the break, the Knicks have the fourth-best offense in the league, but the 24th-best defense. And it’s not like they’ve been playing some offensive juggernauts in that stretch. In fact, eight of their last 12 opponents are in the bottom half of the league offensively. They allowed the Pacers to shoot 54 percent over two games in the last few days, after Indiana shot just 41 percent over their previous six games.

He went a step farther and noticed when Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony are on the court together, they allow 110.9 points per 100 possessions. The offense is at 110.5. So, essentially it’s a wash. We’ll add that the Knicks still have done the best when just Stoudemire is on the floor.

I hear the Knicks fans argument now — we traded away our depth to get two stars together. The defensive players can be put in place around them, but getting two stars had to be the priority. That is how you win a title. Plus, Chauncey Billups has been out for a number of those games.

Valid points. But the numbers are showing what our eyes have already seen — the Knicks have their stars but still have a long way to go to be contenders for anything. And that fixing the defense has got to be the off-season priority.

Carmelo Anthony trade updates: Don’t believe anybody

carmelo anthony

It’s at the point with the Carmelo Anthony trade drama to stop taking anything anybody says seriously. It’s all lies, spin and negotiation tactics. Any truth in comments from people involved in the trade is incidental to their motives.

Look at Tuesday’s reports.

The New York Daily News is saying the Knicks could make a deal right now for Anthony but find the price — three starters, including Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari, a first round pick and the Eddy Curry contract — too steep. Who knows if that deal is really out there (the Nuggets have been aiming high and asking for everything but a an all-expenses paid trip to Brazil for Carnaval through this entire process) but it sounds like a message sent through the media to the Nuggets that the Knicks won’t overpay.

So Denver leaks they might not trade Anthony at all. Of course, to believe that you believe the Nuggets front office is willing to bet the next five years of the franchise on: 1) Anthony suddenly deciding to sign a three-year, $65 million extension that he has ignored since this summer; 2) The new collective bargaining agreement will have a franchise player tag that will allow them to keep him.

Hard to swallow but that’s the spin Denver sources keep spinning to reporters — such as ESPN’s Marc Stein and CBS’s Ken Berger. Understand, these are good reporters who I’m sure are being told Denver would keep ‘Melo, it just strikes me more as a negotiating tactic. Here is what Berger wrote:

Some high-ranking personnel in the organization believe that without injuries to Kenyon Martin, Chris Andersen and Chauncey Billups — not to mention the persistent trade rumors and the games Anthony missed due to the tragic death of his sister — the Nuggets might very well be as high as third in the West. Team officials also are pleased with Anthony, who is averaging 29.5 points per game since the Nets walked away from the negotiating table — including a 50-point game and a 42-point game. Given the circumstances, and the added value of home playoff dates with a lockout looming, the best course of action might be to keep Anthony and find ways to improve the roster without taking on future money.

Did those executives watch a less talented but harder working Rockets team dismantle the Nuggets Monday night? Can they project to next season when this kind of loss is the norm if Anthony walks? The risk of getting nothing for Anthony — and that is a real risk — seems a steep price for making the second round of the Western Conference playoffs (and the second round is the optimistic scenario).

About those Rockets… the Clutch Fans blog asked Anthony about maybe playing in Houston.

“It would be interesting, that’s all I can say,” said Anthony. “The Rockets are a good team, they’re an up and coming team right now. They miss Yao. They’re a play-hard team. I’m pretty sure anybody would like to play for that team. Now don’t take that the wrong… don’t spin that tonight.”

Don’t worry Anthony, nobody is taking anything said around your trade front too seriously right now.

Vecsey says Carmelo Anthony wants to win now, play for Knicks. We’re confused, too.

Carmelo Anthony

The conflict in what Carmelo Anthony says he wants is right out there in the open after the latest report: Find a way to make the Nuggets the best team in the West this season — so trade for a big asset without trading anything away — or trade me to the Knicks so I can win.

While you’re at it, figure out a way to end the recession, feed everyone on the planet and make iCarly go away.

The New York Post’s Peter Vecsey says he had three one-on-one conversations with Anthony over the past few weeks and came away just as confused as everyone else.

“I’m just like LeBron,” Anthony emphasized in the Nuggets’ locker room following Saturday’s practice. “It’s all about winning. That’s all I care about. I want the chance to compete at the championship level. All the other stuff is irrelevant.”

In my scrawny mind, that quote instantaneously eliminated the Knicks from contention for his revered services…. Don’t reach for your spectacles, you got that right; the Knicks remain a viable option. I repeat, a viable option.

Ask me how Anthony defends those colliding concepts after I speak with him a fourth time in private.

Vecsey also came away thinking the Nets were not an option he loved. Of course, if Vecsey had asked the same question the next day, would the answer have been the same?

Anthony so far has been all about talking about winning and keeping his options open in public, while the people behind him push for a trade to the Knicks. Or maybe the Bulls, but preferably the Knicks.

Anthony’s best chance at winning frankly comes in Denver, where there is a team that can push the Lakers, something it proved a couple nights ago. But Anthony admitted he told Denver he wants a team that can beat the Lakers this season, by the trade deadline, or he will look elsewhere. Good luck pulling that off, Nuggets.

“That’s reality,” Melo said. “Whether I like it or not, or whether they like it not.”

Hopefully somewhere, to someone (preferably to Denver’s front office) this is much more clear. Or in some way realistic.

Nuggets hire former Golden State GM Pete D’Alessandro as consultant

Image (1) nuggets-logo1-thumb-250x187-13135.jpg for post 2397
Leave a comment

The Nuggets have a couple of young bucks running their front office.

There is Masai Ujiri, who got hired in the general manager role this summer (even though the formal title is vice president of basketball operations, he’s still a GM). But he answers to the guy with the ultimate power, soon-to-be-owner Josh Kronke, who has worked his way up through the Nugget front office. Two young guys who are getting their first real chance at the big time.

Of course, if you listen to the whispers of other teams dealing with the Nuggets on Carmelo Anthony, there was not once clear voice out of Denver, nor one clear mind and vision. It felt like they needed some guidance.

Enter Pete D’Alessando, who was hired as a consultant by the team today, according to a tweet from Sam Amick of Fanhouse.

D’Alessandro was the general manager of the Golden State Warriors and has been in NBA front offices for years. He’s a lawyer, a guy who understands and can work the cap, and a voice of experience the Nuggets may well value. Of course, he’s also a guy who gave oversized contracts to Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy, so you may not want all his wisdom.

Of course, that’s another voice and another set of ideas in the Denver brain trust. We’ll see if a veteran voice can get them all on the same page.

Chauncey Billups: Anthony has not said he doesn't want to be a Nugget

Leave a comment

canthony_billups.jpgThe buzz around the league is that Carmelo Anthony has one foot out the door in Denver, and the other foot is planted in a starters block. On the other hand, his own words came off as a man conflicted. A man who hasn’t decided what direction to go.

Chauncey Billups has been talking with ‘Melo to, and tells the Denver Post this is not a done deal.

“He has not once said he didn’t want to be a Nugget,” Billups said. “He loves Denver, he loves the Nuggets, he loves the fans. So, it’s a part of him that I’m sure is eating him up a little bit because he’s taken all this press and he’s not said one thing to support or to not support what they are saying. He’s just trying to enjoy his summer, chill out and he’s in every story. Honestly, I think that the publications and things are out of control.”

Billups also doesn’t really know what Anthony is going to decide.

“I’ve had some very direct conversations with him that I would never share that with anybody else,” said Billups this morning from his hotel room in Spain as he and the U.S. basketball team prepares to face Lithuania Saturday night in Madrid.

“But I think, for me, I try to just speak to him and just kind of help him and see if he needs my help in this whole process because it is a big decision for him. It’s at a crucial time for him in his career and his life. It’s a huge decision. It’s something that’s a big, big deal.”

Nothing is happening fast here. As we said, Denver doesn’t even have a general manager right now, and once they hire someone he will want to sit down with Anthony and his agent. And even then we’re probably not going to see anything happen.

Backroom chatter in the NBA — particularly in August — tends to be where speculation gets let off the leash and runs wild. So few things talked about this time of year happen as predicted. Neither side in this talk is in a position to have to rush. That time will come, if Anthony is leaning toward leaving Denver will have to make a move by the trade deadline.

But that is six months away. Which is an eternity from now. So put your feet up and make yourself comfortable, we’ll be talking about this for a while.