Just how confusing and circular is the Carmelo Anthony trade situation?
Take the two very different stories that broke Tuesday.
On one hand you have Yahoo’s trade rumor machine Adrian Wojnarowski saying that the Nets and Nuggets are working on a complex multi-team deal which would bring Anthony and some other quality talent to the Nets, instantly upgrading that franchise so he would sign there.
The story was short on names and specifics, but the core idea makes some sense — Anthony wants to win now, not be relegated to rebuilding in Newark for a couple years, so the only way he will sign an extension with the Nets is if they can bring in players to put around him. Certainly Anthony and Al Harrington would be part of what goes to New Jersey, while rookie Derrick Favors would heat to the Mile High City. But other big parts would be involved as well.
Unless Anthony himself decides to stay in Denver after all, which is what the Nuggets are really pushing for, says Denver-based Chris Tommason of FanHouse.
Denver will get Kenyon Martin back to help their front line soon and the team brain trust wants to see how the full roster looks before doing anything, this report says. The injured Chauncey Billups should also be back, and they want to see the whole band perform — and see if that changes Anthony’s mind about signing the three-year, $64 million extension still on the table.
That report also says that Anthony is still not interested in signing an extension with the Nets.
Which is why the Nets need to bring in more talent. And this whole thing starts over again as the Nets try to get more talent in a deal….
It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.
Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.
The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.
Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).
Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.
If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.
Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).
With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.
Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.
Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.
The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.
It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.
Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.
Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).
One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.