With the Nets out of the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes — if they really are out — the conventional wisdom is the Knicks jump to the front of the line. That may be true, the Nuggets seem likely to have conversations with them.
But if the Nuggets are willing to consider a “rent-a-‘Melo” deal, GM Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets would love to talk.
Well, talk to the Nuggets. The guys at KILT Radio in Houston (via Sports Radio Interviews) tried to talk to him about this and Morey had to dance around the questions because for some reason he didn’t want to get fined for tampering by David Stern. But the feeling was clear.
“It was interesting how that whole recent episode (with the Nets), how it turned out. I do think that puts us into the game there a little bit. … We’re always trying to upgrade the team and I think [that] worked in our favor a little bit.”
The Rockets package would likely involve the expiring contract of Yao Ming (plus others like Shane Battier), a young player or two such as Jordan Hill or Chase Budinger, plus some picks.
The hosts then tried another tactic, phrasing a trade question in chess terms: Does he think it’s worth it to give up two bishops, two rooks and a couple of pawns for a queen?
“I think running gambits is probably a good thing for the franchise situation where we’re at right now.”
Morey added there is a lot of trade talk out there right now.
“There’s tons of trade talk. Usually the deals that are done by the deadline are usually starting to be talked about now. Just the nature of the NBA, we have it very good with Mr. Alexander in terms of having one owner who’s willing to spend money, who’s willing to do anything for the franchise. Other teams, they have multiple owners and often multiple decision-makers besides the owners so it’s hard to get things done unless they’re talked about for a while.”
Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.
Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.
The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.
That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.
Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.
Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.
The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.
The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.
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.