What’s the holdup on ‘Melo deal? Al Harrington’s bad deal.

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UPDATE 12:53 pm: Here is the latest, from multiple reports, at this time on the still pending Carmelo Anthony trade:

Everything seems to be in Denver’s court, but they continue to tweak offers and try to work out the best deal — they have even pushed the Nets to take on Renaldo Balkman in addition to Al Harrington. Which is the kind of dump of toxic assets the banks did on the government. The Nets, for obvious reasons, not really going for that.

The Pistons are going to get second round picks to go with Troy Murphy (expiring deal) and Johan Petro (they will be stuck with him).

Chauncey Billups is not taking part in Monday’s light practice in Denver, but Anthony and the other people in the trade are.

And can the Nets, having gone this far down the path, really back away from the deal? They are (and their fans are) emotionally invested. Hard to back away once that happens.

10:26 am: This summer, when the Nuggets realized that Chris Anderson and Kenyon Martin would miss the first part of the season, the Nuggets went after Al Harrington to bolster their front line. They got into a little bidding war with the Mavericks and ended up winning it with a five-year, $33 million deal.

Now that contract is standing in the way of a Carmelo Anthony trade, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN on twitter (he tends to be more accurate than a lot of the sharks in the trade rumor waters).

Holdup to NJ-Den-Det trade is that Den wants NJ to take Al Harrington. NJ doesn’t want to b/c Al has 4 yrs, $28 mill left on deal.

Technically, the last two years of that deal are not fully guaranteed (he can be bought out for 50 percent), so think of it as two years, $20 million. Still, nobody really wants that deal. Which is probably why he has been in and out of the rumored variations of this deal.

The proposed trade  has Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton going to the Nets; while Denver would get Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow, two first round picks, and maybe or maybe not Harrington. Detroit would give up Hamilton, who is owed $12.5 million next season, to take on the expiring deal of Troy Murphy this season. There are other picks and parts, but that is the core of the deal.

Harrington was not in the versions of the trade circulating late last night, but Denver seems to have thrown him back in the mix. Which fits with reports that they continually tweak the deal and seem hesitant to pull the trigger. Of course, they can do that so long as New Jersey’s offer is on the table. Nobody has put real pressure on them to make up their minds. Some other thoughts from Broussard.

NJ could try to recruit s 4th team to take Harrington, but their hope is that Den eliminates Harrington request.

NJ will give Detroit a draft pick for taking Petro, not determined whether 1st or 2nd rounder yet.

Billups won’t hold up deal, but sources just told me he will either want a buyout after season or a long-term commitment (extension) from NJ.

Personally, to take on the Johan Petro contract, you’d have to give me a first rounder.

Anthony himself said he didn’t think this trade was about to happen. There are a lot of moving parts, a lot of teams (and players and agents) involved, things never move fast because of that.

So we wait.

Curry drains 7 3-pointers, Nets start homestand with win over Blazers

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NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 31 points, Seth Curry added a season-high 29 off the bench and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 111-94 on Sunday.

Curry was 7 for 10 on 3-pointers and had his highest point total with the Nets and the most by a Brooklyn reserve this season.

“I’ve always felt like if I get good shots I’m going to make them at a high clip,” Curry said. “Our offense was flowing pretty well. Guys found me open early on to start the game and I felt pretty good, aggressive.”

Kyrie Irving added 22 points for the Nets. Ben Simmons took just three shots but had 12 rebounds and eight assists.

“Ben did a great job of getting downhill,” Curry said. “He’s a great passer (and) he knows how to find me out there on the floor.”

Jerami Grant scored 29 points for Portland. Jusuf Nurkic had 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Anfernee Simons added 15 points and Justice Winslow had 14.

The Nets have won four of their last six games, while the Trail Blazers, who are playing without Damian Lillard, have dropped five of six.

“Tough little stretch that we’re in right now,” Portland coach Chauncey Billups said. “It is what it is. Every team goes through it.”

Brooklyn made 52.6% of its shots from the field overall, and 42.9% from 3-point range, in the second matchup between the teams in 10 days.

“It’s a make-or-miss league,” Durant said. “It’s about baskets.”

With the Nets leading by four entering the fourth, Curry scored Brooklyn’s first eight points of the quarter. Royce O'Neale‘s free throw gave the Nets a 93-87 lead and following a Portland turnover, Curry made a 3 that extended the advantage to nine.

Nurkic sandwiched a hook shot and free throw around two free throws by Irving to cut Brooklyn’s lead to 98-90. However, after a timeout, Durant hit a 3 to push the lead to 101-90.

Brooklyn led 58-57 at halftime, and 84-80 after the third quarter.

T.J. Warren targets Dec. 2 for return to court for Brooklyn Nets

2022-2023 Brooklyn Nets Media Day
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
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T.J. Warren was a breakout star in the bubble, averaging 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Pacers.

Warren has played just four games since the bubble due to stress fractures in his foot.

The Nets signed him this season hoping he could get healthy and provide some depth off the bench at the four. We’re about to find out if that can happen on Dec. 2, with Warren targeting his return then Toronto, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Nets have not confirmed this timeline. However, coach Jacque Vaughn has recently talked up Warren’s workouts and hinted that a return is getting close.

A healthy Warren could be a big boost for a Nets team looking for more of a spark off the bench.

 

LeBron becomes oldest player with 39 points, 11 boards, seven 3-pointers (he’s also the youngest)

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The first question after LeBron James put up 21 and 8 to help the Lakers beat the Spurs Friday night was whether he would play in the back-to-back Saturday. He had just missed five games with a groin strain, after all.

Not only did LeBron play Saturday, he had a historic night.

LeBron had 39 points, 11 rebounds, and shot 7-of-12 from 3 — making him the oldest player in the history of the NBA with a 35+, 10+ with seven 3-pointer game.

The youngest player ever to put up that stat line? Also one LeBron James.

The 39 points were also the second most points ever scored by a player in his 20th NBA season, trailing only Kobe Bryant gunning his way to 60 in his final game.

The Lakers got the second straight win over the Spurs on Saturday behind LeBron, 143-138, a game more likely to be remembered for Zach Collins getting ejected for a foul that left Russell Westbrook bloody. The Lakers have won three straight and 5-of-6 but have done it against a very soft part of the schedule (three of the wins were over the tanking Spurs). Los Angeles beat the teams in front of it and started to show signs of life this season, but now they have to carry that over into a stretch against better teams, beginning Monday against the Pacers.

Watch Deandre Ayton put up 29 points, 21 rebounds, lead Suns past Jazz 113-112

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PHOENIX — There was much debate during the NBA offseason about whether Deandre Ayton was worth a max contract.

On nights like Saturday, the answer is a resounding yes.

Ayton notched season highs with 29 points and 21 rebounds, Devin Booker added 27 points and the Phoenix Suns held on for a hard-fought 113-112 win over the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz led 81-78 after three quarters, but the Suns pushed ahead 99-93 by midway through the fourth. The game remained tight through the final minutes, but Phoenix never lost the lead. On top of Ayton’s scoring and rebounding, he also had a crucial steal in the final minutes that helped thwart a final Jazz rally.

“I don’t know what he ate for Thanksgiving,” Booker said. “I should have been over there.”

Ayton grabbed his 21st rebound of the game on the final possession, securing Booker’s miss off a 3-pointer to keep the Jazz from a final possession. Ayton signed a four-year, $133 million deal during the offseason after the Suns matched an offer sheet from the Indiana Pacers.

“That young man has been coming to the gym at crazy hours, lifting with (coaches), so that he can be prepared for moments like this,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “It’s just good to see the work pay off. It’s good to see him have monster games against really good teams on a back-to-back. That’s pretty impressive.”

Ayton was the first player to have at least 28 points and 20 rebounds in a game for the Suns since Amar’e Stoudemire in 2007. He shot 11 of 19 from the field and added three assists and two blocks.

“I want to do more, I feel like I can do more,” Ayton said. “I’m just trying to do what I can to contribute to my team.”

Curiously, the Jazz didn’t foul the Suns on their final possession, essentially allowing them to run out the clock. Utah coach Will Hardy said the last play simply didn’t unfold like the team expected and there was some miscommunication.

“We wanted to get the ball out of Booker’s hands, and then foul,” Hardy said.

Ayton scored a season high for the second straight night. He poured in 28 points against the Pistons in a 108-102 win on Friday. Booker had a tough night shooting, making just 8 of 27 shots.

Utah was one of the NBA’s surprise teams in the first few weeks of the season, starting with a 10-3 record. The Jazz are just 3-7 since that point.

“One game, one stretch of the season doesn’t define your season,” Jazz forward Kelly Olynyk said. “You’ve got to go through ups-and-downs. Adversity – learn from it and come out the other side better for it.”

The Suns have an 11-1 record at home this season and have won four straight games.

Jordan Clarkson scored 22 points for the Jazz. Collin Sexton added 20 while Lauri Markkanen had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

The Jazz had a 54-51 lead at halftime. Clarkson led the Jazz with 12 points while Ayton had 11 points and seven rebounds.