Tag: New York Knicks

Cleveland Cavaliers v Dallas Mavericks

No Bosh. No ‘Melo. Now what for Houston?


Strike one — Carmelo Anthony made it pretty clear early on that whatever he ends up choosing as his next destination it would not be the Houston Rockets.

Strike two – when LeBron James chose Cleveland it was assumed around the league and by the Rockets that they could clear out the cap space (trade Omer Asik to the Pelicans and Jeremy Lin to the Lakers) and they would give Chris Bosh a near max deal to join James Harden and Dwight Howard. Nope. Pat Riley came in with a max offer for Bosh and he took it to stay in a place he is personally and professionally happy.

The Rockets planned well, they were in the right positions, but free agency just didn’t break their way.

So now what in Houston?

They still may be able to draw a quality free agent, but not somebody as good as they just missed on. Here are five guys they can target.

• Luol Deng. The former Chicago Bull and short-time Cavalier is the best fit of the guys left in my opinion — but the Rockets are also out of the running for him, according to Marc Stein at ESPN. Deng appears headed to Miami.

• Trevor Ariza. This is the guy Houston now seems to be targeting. For my money (and it’s not my money) the Rockets would be better off with Chandler Parsons at the three and waiting to find a four, but Ariza is one option if they want to go a little smaller. He could be costly as the Wizards want to keep him and he’s everybody’s backup plan. He is a good defender who last year shot the ball well all over the court on his way to 14.4 points a game and a .590 true shooting percentage.

• Greg Monroe. This would be a bet on potential, that he could develop into an All-Star level player. The problem is he is an expensive gamble — it likely takes a max or close to it offer to pry him out of Detroit, and the Pistons still could match anyway (Monroe is a restricted free agent). Monroe has a versatile offensive game — at the elbow he can score and make good decisions he is solid in the post and runs the floor well.

• Wait. Being patient sucks. Both for fans and owners. But sometimes it is the best option. The Rockets are in position to go after big free agents in the coming years, or to make trades — as long as they don’t screw up their flexibility by overpaying for a second tier guy. Wait out the market, wait for next year’s free agent crop. The Rockets should improve after a year together and some playoff experience (if not, Kevin McHale should worry) and with Parsons back in the fold this is a dangerous team. Don’t mess up what you have just to get something.

Report: Carmelo Anthony to inform Knicks later today he is returning

Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Five

After seeing what the rest of the NBA has to offer, it appears Carmelo Anthony is set to return to New York. As we basically all expected anyway. From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Carmelo Anthony will sign a five-year, $120 million-plus contract to return to the New York Knicks, league sources told Yahoo Sports….

Anthony might still take less than the maximum $129 million the Knicks can give him, a source said.

Not much less if it is north of $120 million.

Anthony’s return had been predicted earlier in the week by Frank Isola but everyone — including the Knicks — got more nervous as word never came. Word came that the Bulls were back in the mix.

However with LeBron James choosing Cleveland the options for Carmelo started to dry up — he could not join forces with LeBron, he told the Lakers it was not happening (one has to assume the Lakers heard that before they traded for Jeremy Lin and overpaid Jordan Hill), and the Rockets were never really in play. That left the Bulls, the best chance to win now, but choosing Chicago means leaving in the neighborhood of $40-$55 million on the table — I don’t care how much money you’ve made, that’s a lot of scratch. The Bulls have spent the last 24 hours focused on landing Pau Gasol, convinced that Anthony wasn’t coming and they needed to move on with Plan B sooner rather than later. The Bulls were informed earlier on Saturday their hunch was right.

Anthony always had his heart in New York, here is what he told PBT back at the All-Star Game when asked about his future:

“At the end of the day that’s my first priority, to stay. That’s my first priority. My priority is to figure it out, let’s figure it out together… My priority is not to just because I say I want to be a free agent, is to go leave. I never was a guy that comes into a situation and basically when it’s not going well to leave like that. That’s not my personality….

“I came to New York, and I said it before, I wanted to retire a Knick. That’s not something I would bull—- with, I said it, I meant it. That’s how I feel….

“That’s why at the end of the season everything needs to be laid out on the table. From both parties. If that’s something we can grow with, we can build on, we can compete with at the highest level, then we’re rolling. If that’s not the plan that they have, then we got to talk about something else.”

He wanted to see a plan. He got Phil Jackson.

That worked.

New York always had a couple other things going for it.

First, max money. The Knicks could always offer more than anyone else, $129 million over five years. Yes, Carmelo has made a lot of money over the years but this is a business and you take as much as you can get when you can.

Second, it’s where his heart is. He grew up a Knicks fan and he loves being the main man on the star team at the heart of the biggest media market in the nation. There is a buzz around every game the Knicks play at home, it’s unlike any other market. It’s hard to walk away from that feeling.

In the end, he couldn’t.

Updated Report: Bulls, Pau Gasol nearing deal

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets

UPDATE 2:08 am: Pau Gasol is a big city guy — born and raised in Barcelona — and he looks like he is headed to a big city team.

Gasol and the Chicago Bulls are nearing a deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. This is a straight up signing, not a sign-and-trade.

Two quick thoughts:

First, this is an upgrade over Carlos Boozer. Gasol is a much more versatile offensive player, and he can play the four next to Joakim Noah or the five next to Taj Gibson.

Second, this kills any chance of Carmelo Anthony coming to the Bulls, he is headed back to the Knicks. Which maybe is what he wanted all along, but the Lakers and, with this deal, Bulls have moved on.

1:11 am: Pau Gasol is a very skilled big man — has tremendous footwork and can score in the post, has a midrange game (with the occasional three), plus is a gifted passer with a high hoops IQ. He can fit in a lot of systems, just not Mike D’Antoni’s.

If you need proof team’s think he still has value, look at the two teams left likely to get him — San Antonio with Gregg Popovich and Chicago with Tom Thibodeau.

Those are the leading candidates, reports Mark Stein on Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs have emerged as the two leading contenders to land prized free-agent big man Pau Gasol, according to sources close to the process.

Sources told ESPN.com that Gasol is giving strong consideration to signing with defending champion San Antonio — despite the Spurs’ limited financial resources with such a deep roster — in the event that the Bulls can’t strike a sign-and-trade arrangement with the Lakers for Gasol.

If that’s true, the Spurs might be feeling pretty good right now, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The Lakers can do a sign-and-trade however they can bring very little back if they want to sign Jordan Hill and Nick Young (who they have verbal agreements to sign), basically they can’t bring Carlos Boozer back (they can bring something back if they stretch out Nash). Or, the Lakers can bring a third team into the mix and make it more complex. All that to get a pick that goes with Boozer (because the Lakers want picks). As Woj said, it’s not likely. Possible, but not likely.

The Bulls could just sign Gasol.

The Thunder tried to woo Gasol but he turned them down. Phil Jackson tried to woo Gasol but he lacks the financial offer of even the Spurs (who are somewhat limited). The Lakers offered him a contract (one still on the table until Hill and Young sign) but Gasol rejected it — he wants to play for a contender (the Lakers will be fortunate to even make the playoffs in the West next season).

What is likely is that Gasol, at 32, would help either the Spurs or Bulls. These are already teams that are at (in the case of the Spurs) or near (the Bulls, if healthy) the top of their conferences and would get much better with him.

Expect a deal to be announced soon.

Lamar Odom, unable to meet Phil Jackson’s standards, waived by Knicks

Lamar Odom

The NBA considered Lamar Odom damaged goods even through Phil Jackson signing his former player to the Knicks.

Odom has allegedly battled drug addiction, and he’s been in trouble with the law.

He’s also struggled on the court the last couple years, and few 34-year-olds produce better as they age.

There was a lot to overcome.

Unfortunately, Odom won’t get that chance in New York.

It’s not clear whether Odom failed to meet on-court or off-court standards, though the wording certainly implies the latter.

The Knicks expected Odom to make the roster in the fall, and though I’m hardly sold on his ability to play at this point, it would have been difficult for him to prove at this time of year he couldn’t produce. I think basketball would have become an issue for Odom, whose fully unguaranteed contract woul have become guaranteed Sept. 11, but it’s hard to see basketball being the issue here.

If there were off-court problems, we’ll probably hear more about them soon. By marrying Khloe Kardashian, Odom opened himself to more exposure. Their divorce won’t stop prying entertainment writers from joining NBA writers trying to get to the bottom of this.

Likely, this ends Odom’s career. Hopefully, at least his life is in order.

Knicks coach Derek Fisher reflects on LeBron’s decision, while still waiting for Carmelo Anthony to make his

Derek Fisher

LAS VEGAS — Derek Fisher made his head coaching debut for the Knicks on Friday, leading the team’s somewhat stacked Summer League squad to a 76-64 victory over the Mavericks.

“There was definitely some emotion coming into the building today, and this morning, as I started to really think about what this meant,” Fisher said. “And that this would be the first time that I got a chance to actually coach my team in a game situation. The players made me look probably better than I am right now, but the same way that I ask them to work hard and continue to do the things they need to do to get better, that’s what I do. And it was a lot of fun today.”

The first game of the day in Las Vegas was merely a backdrop, however, for the avalanche of free agent news that continues to roll in now that the biggest piece to the puzzle has fallen into place.

LeBron James going to the Cavaliers set off a flurry of other moves, but his leaving Miami is likely to have the greatest impact on shifting the balance of power in the Eastern Conference. Fisher reflected on that decision, while still awaiting word on whether or not his own marquee free agent in Carmelo Anthony will choose to be back with the Knicks next season.

“I wasn’t necessarily surprised,” Fisher said of James returning to Cleveland. “It appeared that he was seriously considering it for some days now. So, not so much of a surprise. He appears to be a smart young man, and has always thought of himself as more than just a basketball player. From that standpoint, it looks like things are going to work out, and I’m happy for him and his family if that’s what he truly wants.”

Fisher may not be similarly happy for Anthony if he too should leave, but supports his right to play wherever he chooses.

“I think everyone from our perspective has expressed, directly and indirectly, how we feel about having Carmelo back here and what that would mean,” Fisher said. “But he’s an adult. He’s allowed to make decisions he feels like are best for him and for his family. Whatever decision that is, we’ll respect it, and we’ll have to continue to do what the New York Knicks have to do. But hopefully we’ll hear something soon, so that we can move forward in terms of our business.”

For now, that business involves getting acclimated to his new role as coach, and beginning to work toward putting a system in place that will give New York the best chance to approach the status of contender in the immediate future. While James leaving certainly shifts the focus of power, his new team may not be as well-equipped to instantly compete for a title. But long before LeBron left Miami, Fisher signed up for this gig with the belief that the Knicks could do some damage in the East — a possibility that would seem all the more plausible with Anthony firmly in place.

“I don’t’ know if it’s just about LeBron going to Cleveland,” Fisher said. “I’ve always had the view, before even taking this job, that we would have a chance to compete in the Eastern Conference. I know a lot of people think that we need to change players and we have some guys that can’t play any more, et cetera. That’s just not my belief.”

“We expect to be able to compete in the Eastern Conference,” Fisher said. “Obviously, having Carmelo would make that easier.”