It appears that if Carmelo Anthony leaves Denver his preferred destinations are Houston and New York.
Which baffles New Yorkers. How could any sane human being choose any city over New York, let alone one in Texas? Doesn’t Anthony realize that all the best restaurants, the best shops, the best people are in New York? How many songs have Frank Sinatra and Jay-Z done about Houston? Exactly. New Yorkers would probably argue they have better barbecue than Houston.
So what is it? Why Houston? It can’t possibly be the far more stable basketball operation where they have a team just a star or two away from contending for a title. I mean, do the Rockets play in Madison Square Garden? It can’t the invasive New York media that would track and report his every step with his celebrity wife. So what is it?
If Carmelo Anthony becomes a free agent next July, the Knicks might have to contend with Houston — and Texas’ lack of a state income tax.
LeBron James, when he signed with the Heat, chose to play in a state — Florida — without a state income tax.
Ahh, the old exciseman canard. We could get into how the players are taxed where the games are played and the savings in taxes are not as great as some people think, really a small percentage of a huge contract like Anthony will sign. Why bother. We’re arguing with New Yorkers, they’re not going to listen anyway.
Three Things to Know from All-Stars: Recruiting is alive, will it matter in Greek Freak’s world?
Bradley Beal said he couldn't name names, but he was actively recruiting at the All-Star game for players to join him in D.C. with the Wizards. Some guys even came up to him and asked. If you have theories, let's hear them…
The NBA moved the trade deadline up a couple of years ago to avoid having talk of trades overshadow the events all weekend (DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game was the final straw). That has worked, to a degree. But the shadow of July’s free agency period that is going to reshape the NBA was still hanging over the weekend.
Especially with Davis, whose agent requested a trade before the deadline that did not come to fruition. When he met with the media Saturday, Davis also leaned into the controversy, including about the list of the four teams he wanted to be traded to (Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Bucks).
“That list that came out, it’s between my agent and the Pelicans,” Davis said, but then added:
That list never included Boston, which now is one of the front-runners to be able to trade for him.
“They are on my list, I never said Boston wasn’t on my list,” Davis said.
So, is Boston on your list?
“I never said they wasn’t on my list,” he reiterated.
The NBA should take a lesson from Beal and Davis — lean into all the rumors and trade talk. It’s part of what has fueled the league’s growth.
2) Kevin Durant is your All-Star MVP, but talking about Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson is more fun. The All-Star Game felt like a distilled essence of what has gone on around the Golden State Warriors for two years.
On the biggest stage, Durant was the player of the three. The two-time Finals MVP was named MVP of the All-Star Game, an obvious choice as Durant helped spark Team LeBron’s comeback..
“It was good to see Steph knock that shot down over Klay, because Klay is always talking trash to him,” Durant said after the game.
3) Soon it will be Giannis Antetokounmpo’s world and the rest of the NBA will just live in it. His team lost the All-Star Game, but Antetokounmpo may have been the best player on the court all night. He had 20 first-half points on his way to 38 points and 11 boards for the game, plus some ridiculous highlights along the way.
“He’s got potential through the roof,” Durant said after the game. “He’s still producing at an elite level, and it’s scary to see how far he can keep going. His game is rounding into shape. He’s still getting better, but he’s leading top five, top three MVP candidates right now at 20. How old is he, 23? [Ed. note: 24] To be that young and already at the top of the class as one of the elites in the game, it’s a joy to watch his progression.”
A joy unless you’re the coach that has to gameplan against him for the next 10 years.
BONUS THING TO KNOW: There was one dunk for the ages in the Dunk Contest. For the most part, the Dunk Contest was flat. Except for Oklahoma City’s Hamidou Diallo doing a Vince Carter-style elbow dunk over Shaq. That was as good as it gets.
Kevin Durant keeps building up superstar accolades with second All-Star MVP
CHARLOTTE – When Kevin Durant won All-Star MVP in 2012, he was asked whether he considered himself a star, a label he had resisted.
“I wouldn’t say that just yet,” Durant said. “Hopefully. Hopefully soon I can say that.”
The notion was silly then. Durant had already made two All-NBA first teams and finished second for MVP.
But that All-Star MVP started to change how Durant presented himself. He made another All-NBA first team, again finished second for MVP and led the Thunder to the NBA Finals that season.
“In 2012, I started to feel like I started to hit that elite level,” Durant said. “All that stuff in one year was pretty exciting to me.”
The hits have kept rolling since.
Durant has added an MVP, two titles and two Finals MVPs. Tonight, he claimed another All-Star MVP. The Warriors star scored 31 points on 10-of-15 shooting to lead LeBron James‘ team to a 178-164 win.
“I just keep trying to rack them up, I guess,” Durant said.
That’s seven years between his All-Star MVPs. Few players sustain that elite level – starring among stars – so long. Only LeBron James (12 years), Michael Jordan (10 years), Kobe Bryant (nine years), Oscar Robertson (eight years) have gone so long between their first and last All-Star MVPs.
Durant, 30, appears to have plenty left in the tank.
Of course, the impending question: Where? Durant can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and this weekend included plenty of speculation.
Tonight’s game gave Knicks fans reason to fanaticize. New York’s presumed targets with its double-max cap space, Durant and Kyrie Irving showed strong chemistry. Half Durant’s baskets were assisted by Irving, who sent five of his six assists to Durant (the other an alley-oop to former teammate LeBron).
Asked which of his All-Star teammates he best meshed with, Durant refused to name one.
“You don’t really have to do too much when you’re playing with so many great players,” Durant said. “You can do what you’re just best at.”
Team LeBron starts playing defense first, comes from 20 down to win All-Star Game
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Midway through the third quarter of Saturday’s All-Star Game, Team LeBron started to care.
Down 20 at one point early in the third, Team LeBron came out of a mid-quarter timeout with a different energy. The “bench” guys on the court started defending with the kind of relative intensity usually reserved for the final minutes of this exhibition (when it’s close), the players on the bench were standing and cheering like it was a playoff game, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal started knocking down everything, and the game just shifted. It culminated when Damian Lillard tied the game up with a 35-foot three.
Team LeBron kept up the momentum, owned the fourth as Durant went 3-of-3 from beyond the arc in the quarter, and Team LeBron got the win 178-164.
“It was our second unit that came in — Dame, Klay, Brad Beal, LaMarcus, Ben Simmons, KAT,” LeBron said after the game about what turned the momentum. “They came in and just changed the whole complexion of the game. We got stops, and, obviously, Dame and Klay caught fire from beyond the arc, and that allowed us to get back in the game.”
Durant was named MVP, a clear choice with his second-half play in particular.
The one guy who was intense from the start was Antetokounmpo, who scored the first six points for Team Giannis. He didn’t slow down on his way to 20 first-half points, plus he had one of the game’s great highlights on a bounce pass alley-oop from Curry.
Antetokounmpo wasn’t the only Buck hot to start, Khris Middleton entered the game midway through the first quarter and drained three shots from beyond the arc in a row. In the first nine minutes of the game, the Bucks were beating Team LeBron 28-27.
The favorite crowd moment of the first half was when future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki walked on the court and splashed a couple of threes.