Three-team talks about Carmelo Anthony trade continue, Nuggets still dragging feet

Leave a comment

UPDATE 11:06 am: In an effort to push the deal forward, Knicks owner James Dolan called Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke directly to negotiate a deal, according to the New York Daily News.

According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Dolan’s decision to become more involved in the Anthony trade talks is a sign that the Knicks are closing in on a deal for the All-Star forward.

“And I would also think that at this point everyone is looking to take credit if Carmelo comes to New York,” said one Knicks source.

The part about getting credit makes a lot of sense. Particularly if Isiah Thomas is advising Dolan — Thomas would love to get credit for this and try find his way back into the Knicks organization.

8:18 am: When asked by FanHouse after the game if a deal for him was close, Carmelo Anthony said no.

So don’t expect anything imminent, but three-team talks between the Knicks, Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves continue to move ahead, according to the New York Post.

According to another Post story, it is the Nuggets that are dragging their feet on the deal.

“At the end of the day, it’s all up to Denver,” one person involved in the three-team discussions that would bring Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks told The Post.

“Just waiting to see what Denver ultimately does,” another individual with knowledge of the situation said.

That report comes out of New York so please sprinkle liberally with salt. Reports out of Minnesota and Denver say they are not as interested as is being suggested. With good reason.

The deal described in the report would have Anthony coming to the Knicks; Anthony Randolph, the expiring deal of Eddy Curry and Andy Rautins going to the Timberwolves; and the expiring contracts of Wilson Chandler, Kelenna Azubuike and Corey Brewer heading to Denver along with a first round pick of Minnesota’s. (One version of the report has the Curry contract also going to Denver to give them cap relief).

Denver would get cap relief and one pick, but that is far short of what they could have gotten in other deals. Of course, beggars can’t be choosers. Denver pushed and pushed to sweeten a couple of multi-team deals with the Nets to the point the Nets just walked away from the table. Now the Nuggets have no leverage. They may want to talk to the Nets again but we still have no idea if Anthony would sign an extension there (especially after Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov cancelled a meeting with him).

And this deal makes no sense at all for Minnesota. They give up Brewer and a first-round pick for the mercurial Randolph and a second round pick in Rautins? Why?

If this deal were to come together it will look a lot different. But even Knicks head man Donnie Walsh admitted they are talking.

“I don’t think we have anything going, but we’re getting a feeling for possibilities,” Walsh said before the Knicks beat the Sixers, 117-103. “We have a better feeling for what’s going to happen.”

Warriors vs. Bucks or Raptors betting favorite to be NBA Finals matchup

Getty Images
2 Comments

Who will we see in the NBA Finals come June?

The West looks cut and dried — if the Warriors are healthy, it’s hard to imagine any other team in that conference giving them too much trouble.

The East? That’s wide open. A good case can be made for Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, or Milwaukee finding their way in. (For a more detailed breakdown, listen to the latest PBT Podcast where Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports and myself break down the East in more detail.)

The bookmakers over at BetOnline put together these odds on potential Finals matchups, and after the first four options the odds get pretty long.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Golden State Warriors 9/2
Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors 9/2
Boston Celtics vs Golden State Warriors 5/1
Philadelphia 76ers vs Golden State Warriors 5/1
Indiana Pacers vs Golden State Warriors 28/1
Brooklyn Nets vs Golden State Warriors 33/1
Boston Celtics vs Houston Rockets 40/1
Milwaukee Bucks vs Houston Rockets 40/1
Philadelphia 76ers vs Houston Rockets 40/1
Toronto Raptors vs Houston Rockets 40/1
Charlotte Hornets vs Golden State Warriors 50/1
Detroit Pistons vs Golden State Warriors 50/1
Miami Heat vs Golden State Warriors 50/1
Orlando Magic vs Golden State Warriors 66/1
Washington Wizards vs Golden State Warriors 66/1
Boston Celtics vs Oklahoma City Thunder 80/1
Milwaukee Bucks vs Oklahoma City Thunder 80/1
Philadelphia 76ers vs Oklahoma City Thunder 80/1
Toronto Raptors vs Oklahoma City Thunder 80/1

A few quick thoughts on that list:

• Interesting that the Sixers and Celtics are just a little behind the Bucks and Raptors in the minds of the bookmakers.

• I don’t know that I’d have Houston in front of Oklahoma City as the second-best option in the West. Not this season. The Thunder have the defense and star power to do playoff damage.

• If you’re thinking about putting money on Washington or Orlando to make the Finals — against anyone — just donate that money to charity instead. That way it will do some good.

Likely No. 1 pick Zion Williamson leaves Duke-North Carolina game with knee injury

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
5 Comments

Zion Williamson will probably be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

He’s a generationally good prospect. The rest of this draft also looks relatively weak.

In fact, Williamson has such a stranglehold on the top pick, some have suggested he sit out the rest of his freshman season.

His injury during Duke’s game against North Carolina tonight will only heighten those calls.

Duke:

Hopefully, Williamson is OK.

And hopefully, the system changes. The NCAA is a cartel in which schools conspire to cap compensation for athletes at a scholarship plus some expenses. In a free market, Williamson would earn far more.

Unfortunately, it probably can’t be both. If Williamson escapes this without major injury, the status quo will likely endure.

But, if this injury even allows him to play again this season, it might be a warning shot that causes him to sit until he can enter the NBA draft.

Again, I hope he’s healthy enough to make that decision for himself.

Jayson Tatum guarantees Celtics will win 2019 NBA championship

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
6 Comments

Friday morning, Jayson Tatum guaranteed the U.S. team would beat the World team in the Rising Stars game that night. The U.S. team won.

So, Tatum was asked Saturday morning whether he wanted to guarantee anything for that night. He guaranteed he’d win the Skills Challenge. He won.

So, then ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked Tatum whether he wants to guarantee anything else. And he really let it ride.

Tatum:

We’re going to win the Finals this year. February 16th, mark it. Jayson Tatum says we’re going to win the Finals this year.

Obviously, Tatum wasn’t going to pick against Boston. But this wasn’t that. He could have easily avoided such a grand proclamation.

Instead, even if he were just caught up in the emotion of an All-Star Saturday Night victory and taking the interview especially seriously, Tatum put a little more attention and pressure on the Celtics.

I’m not convinced that’s what this team needs.

Kristaps Porzingis reportedly gave Knicks wish list of trade destinations: Nets, Clippers, Heat, Raptors

Elsa/Getty Images
7 Comments

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Kristaps Porzingis will sign long-term with Dallas this summer, and Porzingis he was on the same page.

But he will be a free agent. Restricted, but a free agent, nonetheless.

Porzingis’ exit from the Knicks provided a clue about where he’d want to go if he explores leaving the Mavericks.

Marc Stein of The New York Times in his newsletter:

The four teams Porzingis had on his wish list of trade destinations were the Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors, according to two people with knowledge of the list who were not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Porzingis had little leverage to get to any of these teams. Because he’ll be a restricted free agent, the Knicks or any team acquiring him would retain immense team control over him.

The Nets and Clippers project to have cap space this summer. The Heat and Raptors don’t.

But even if Porzingis signs an offer sheet elsewhere, Dallas will will likely match it.

Still, Porzingis will become an unrestricted free agent someday – 2020 in the unlikely event he accepts his qualifying offer or a future year if he signs a multi-year deal this summer. It’s probably best to file away this list until then.