Your team may have a better trade for 'Melo, but if he wants to go to New York he will

10 Comments

Thumbnail image for Anthony_game.jpgIt’s everybody’s favorite new game — come up with a trade for Carmelo Anthony.

‘Melo wants out of Denver and from radio talk shows in Chicago to Timberwolves message boards everybody has an offer to bring Anthony to their city. Chicago fans have a plan. So do Nets fans, Lakers fans, Magic fans and so an and so on.

And some of those plans are better than what New York is offering (reportedly something like Danilo Gallinari, Eddy Curry and his contract, plus a future first round pick). Why wouldn’t Denver jump at those other offers?

Because Anthony controls the game, he has the leverage. And Denver isn’t jumping anywhere quickly anyway.

Let’s get to the second part of that first. Right now Denver has no general manager, they are in the process of hiring one (probably David Griffin from Phoenix). There is someone filling the role for Denver right now, but that person is not going to make some big trade.

When the new GM is hired, he is going to want to sit down face-to-face with Anthony and try to use the Jedi mind trick that Dell Demps used on Chris Paul in New Orleans. (“You do not want to get traded.” “I do not want to get traded.” “You want us to build around you here.” “I want you to build around me here.”)

If and when that fails, Anthony gets to call the shots.

No team is going to give up the massive assets Denver will demand in a trade just for a one-year rental. Teams will want to do an extend-and-trade similar to what was done with Kevin Garnett, that way teams know they have him for at least three years. Anthony wants that, too, because he wants the max money under this Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But because Anthony has to sign any extension, and no team will take him without it, he has leverage. Denver may like an offer from Chicago or Orlando better, but if Anthony refuses to sign the extension the other teams will not make the trade.

Anthony may prefer New York, but Frank Isola of the New York Daily News says there are other options.

Anthony, who was born in Brooklyn, has told close associates that New York is his preferred destination, although the Knicks will face stiff competition from the Bulls, Magic and Jay-Z’s Nets.

Over at Sports Illustrated, the Houston Rockets and Nets are listed as the two teams besides the Knicks he likes.

The Nets, of course, will play in Brooklyn in two years. That has to be a draw.

But if the team is not a draw to Anthony himself, it’s all moot. He has leverage.

Report: Jazz confident they could have signed Kyle Lowry last year, but waited for Gordon Hayward instead

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
Leave a comment

Entering 2017 free agency, rumors swirled Kyle Lowry would leave the Raptors. He ultimately re-signed with Toronto, but maybe that was only due to the timing of Gordon Hayward‘s decision to leave the Jazz for the Celtics.

Andy Larsen and Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune:

according to multiple Tribune sources, the Jazz spoke extensively to Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry’s representatives about bringing the All-Star point guard to Utah. After those discussions, the Jazz felt confident about their ability to land Lowry, but chose to pull out of any potential deal because signing Lowry would have required cap space earmarked for the Hayward

Lowry would have been huge for the Jazz, who instead traded for Ricky Rubio to start at point guard. Utah still won 48 games and a playoff series last season, but the team would have been even better off with Lowry.

Perhaps, Lowry wouldn’t have signed with the Jazz. Just because they felt confident means only so much. They might have misread his actual thoughts. At minimum, Lowry wasn’t willing to wait on Utah.

Lowry agreed to re-sign with Toronto on July 2. Hayward, after a twisting saga, announced his choice of Boston on July 4.

If Lowry were truly willing to commit to the Jazz, they erred by not accepting his pledge. Maybe that was a reasonable strategy, but it was still an error. Waiting on Hayward proved to be a mistake.

In Utah, many will blame Hayward for stringing along the Jazz. But he was a free agent with a right to decide on his own timeline. I believe he had legitimate desire to return to the Jazz. He just had greater desire to join the Celtics.

If the Jazz were completely on top of their game, they would have had a better read on Hayward’s decision and locked in Lowry rather than spending time recruiting Hayward. Again, maybe that would have been unreasonably difficult to know without hindsight. But that would have been the optimal way to proceed.

Draymond Green addresses argument with Kevin Durant: ‘I’m not going to change who I am’

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images
4 Comments

Warriors forward Draymond Green knows the perceived significance of his argument with teammate Kevin Durant.

“I’ve read a lot about how, is this the end of the run? Or is it over? Or did I ruin it? Or did I force Kevin to leave?” Green said.

But don’t expect Green to bend amid those high stakes.

“I’m not going to change who I am,” Green said.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

Green is correct: His emotional, stubborn, feisty style has led to more good than bad both for himself and Golden State. Reigning that in could have adverse effects.

But there’s still room for personal growth. Green can handle some situations, including this one, better without losing his edge. Every level of the organization agreed.

Blake Griffin calls out Raptors president Masai Ujiri while praising Dwane Casey

3 Comments

Dwane Casey reportedly holds a grudge toward Raptors president Masai Ujiri for firing him.

Casey got revenge last night, coaching the Pistons to a win at Toronto. Casey called two quality plays in the final seconds, the latter producing Reggie Bullock‘s game-winner.

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

A Toronto reporter asked Blake Griffin if it gives Pistons players a degree of confidence in their coach when he gives them those tools to win games.

“We know that. This isn’t like we just discovered this for the first time today,” he said. “We’ve put in plays like that all the time in practice. He demands execution and we executed. Maybe to Toronto fans – or certainly their GM, maybe – it was a surprise. But not to us.”

The win had to be gratifying for Casey. Having his star player take up his greater cause must even more satisfying.

Jazz have one of worst offensive showings ever, score 68 in 50-point loss to Mavericks

AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth
2 Comments

NBA scoring is exploding. Defenses are getting less leeway for physicality. Offenses are more efficient than ever. Pace is at its highest mark in decades.

Except for the Jazz last night.

Utah scored just 68 points in a 50-point loss to the Mavericks. And even that undersells the Jazz’s offensive woes. They played reasonably fast, getting 101 possessions. Their offensive rating – 67.3 – shows just how inept they truly were.

In all, Utah shot 42% on 2-pointers, 17% on 3-pointers and 63% on free throws and committed 22 turnovers.

The Jazz set several milestones for offensive futility:

  • Fewest points in a game (68) in nearly two years (68 by Hawks vs. Jazz on Nov. 25, 2016)
  • Lowest Basketball-Reference estimated offensive rating in a game (68.8) in more than three years (68.2 by Grizzlies vs. Warriors on Nov. 2, 2015)
  • Fewest points in a second half (22) in nearly five years (19 by Rockets vs. Thunder on Jan. 16, 2014)

Comparing across eras can be difficult, but here’s one measure: The Jazz scored 68 points in a season teams are averaging 110.4 points per game.

That output relative to average – -42.4 – is one of the lowest of all-time:

image