Reports have Nuggets, Knicks haggling over Mozgov, ‘Melo trade details

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It’s near the endgame — Carmelo Anthony himself said after the All-Star Game Sunday “The deadline is Thursday. Something has to happen” (via Ken Berger of CBSSports).

But still the Knicks and Nuggets are fighting over the details right up to the end.

Alan Hahn of Newsday had the conflicting reports. That starts with earlier in the day the Knicks drawing a line in the sand — they were not moving off their last offer. That trade was Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Eddy Curry (and his amazing expiring contract) plus one first-round pick for Anthony, Chauncey Billups and filler.

Then later during the All-Star Game Hahn tweeted that a source told him Denver said Timofey Mozgov had to be added to the deal or the Nuggets would trade Anthony to the Nets.

Anthony met with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov Saturday and earlier reports are the Nets left that meeting thinking Anthony would not sign an extension with them. But after the game Anthony sounded more upbeat, at least from what he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (on twitter).

“It was interesting. I got a chance to meet him. I was just listening. I didn’t give them a definitive answer… “They were talking and I was listening. …I’m not going to sit here and discuss the selling points.”

Anthony said he did not “close the door” on the Nets after the game. That doesn’t mean the Nets feel good about all this. When asked by an Associated Press reporter about ‘Melo at the All-Star Game Prokhorov said, “I don’t care.” It’s long been known the Nets were not going to trade for him without the extension. Not closing the door is not saying yes.

It still looks like the Knicks and Nuggets will come to a deal. Eventually. On one hand, it’s hard to see the Knicks losing this deal over Mozgov. On the other hand, Denver can’t walk away with nothing, they have no other good options, they need to make a deal.

That deal may take a few days, Anthony said post game that no deal was set up that he knew about. He may play for the Nuggets Tuesday night.

But Anthony wasn’t saying much else. TNT’s Craig Sager and his purple suit tried to talk to Anthony about it during the game but got shot down, with Kobe even stepping in to protect Anthony from more questions.

Amar’e Stoudemore said after the All-Star Game he just wants to focus on his team and not get caught up in the Melodrama.

“It’s going to be a tough 28 games left for the year,” Stoudemire said. “I just don’t want my guys to get distracted with all the rumors.”

That will be hard. But at least he won’t have to do it much longer.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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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.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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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 on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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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).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images
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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.