Carmelo Anthony was just the first domino in Denver.
His trade will be followed by host of moves in the next 48 hours — then again next summer — as virtually the entire roster gets overhauled. Denver has from a team that thought it had a chance to push the Lakers to one that is rebuilding in one trade. It’s not quite full-fledged fire sale in Denver, but like a used car sale no reasonable offer will be refused.
There are reports that before the day is out Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov will be flipped for more picks and parts. There were rumors that the two would be headed back east to the Nets, but we are hearing conflicting things about that trade. The move was to be basically just for picks, which Denver clearly wants but they may be able to get more for a quality point guard in Felton and a good center prospect in Mozgov. But if not the Nets, somewhere is likely. The Nuggets will be taking a lot of calls for these two.
There is a lot of interest in Nene, the Brazilian center, and half the league has already called the Nuggets about him. Denver wants to keep him and is trying to convince him to sign an extension and be at the heart of their rebuilding efforts, according to Marc Stein at ESPN. But Nene (like Anthony) can opt out of his deal at the end of this season, leaving $11.6 million on the table. He likely could get that as a free agent if not more. Denver may try to work an extension and if that does not work trade him around the draft, not at the deadline. Houston had interest in him before and David Aldridge at NBA.com said that is still a potential landing spot.
There also will be a lot of interest in the skills and tattoos of J.R. Smith. He is a good wing player who can score (11.2 points per game this season), hit the three (34 percent this season) and defend. Plus, he is in the last year of a $6.7 million deal. Unlike Nene, Smith is not seen as part of the long-term future so they will listen to offers. That said, if the Nuggets keep him Smith becomes a good fantasy basketball pickup because he is going to get a lot more shots as Denver tries to figure out where its scoring comes from.
Al Harrington is at the top of the list of guys they want to move — and ones that they may be stuck with. He’s a 31-year-old forward who has four more years and is owed $27.6 million AFTER this season. That is a big, ugly contract, which is why they were desperate to push him into the Carmelo deals. They will look hard for someone to take him — he’s giving Denver 11 points and 5 rebounds a game off the bench — but with that contract there is little interest right now.
Stephen Curry had an I-don’t-want-to-play-Game-5 kind of first half for Golden State, scoring 25 points and hitting 5-of-7 from three.
However, he was the second best player on the court because Meyers Leonard held that crown.
Yes, Meyers Leonard.
He had 25 points of his own on 10-of-12 shooting.
Fans broke out a “Mey-ers Leon-ard” chant.
All that had Portland up 69-65 at the half in a defense-optional Game 4 where it is win-or-go-home for the Trail Blazers.
When the Knicks acquired Emmanuel Mudiay last season — a player Denver just released outright — Mudiay instantly jumped past Frank Ntilikina on the point guard depth chart. Then, when the Knicks traded for Dennis Smith Jr. at the deadline (part of the Kristaps Porzingis deal), the future of Ntilikina in New York was thrown into uncertainty.
Ntilikina sees that, wants out, and is getting a new agent as well, reports Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina dropped CAA as his agency last season and planned to sign with French agent Bouna Ndiaye, the Daily News has learned.
Ntilikina, who was drafted eighth overall by Knicks in 2017, is on the trading block and desires a relocation, a source told the News. The Knicks declined offers to move Ntilikina at the trade deadline in February, acquired another point guard in Dennis Smith Jr., and Ntilikina quickly decided to change agents.
Ndiaye represents several French players in the NBA, including Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier.
The Knicks are expected to try to trade Ntilikina, either at the draft or next summer. Mostly other teams will view him as a way to save money — if teams do not pick up his 2020-21 option by Oct. 31 he comes off the books after this next season — but also Ntilikina played good defense and other teams may try to take a flier on him.
Andre Iguodala was limited in Game 3 in Portland, playing just 18 minutes Saturday night, none after he was taken out with 7:49 left in the third quarter. An MRI on his left calf Sunday came back clean, but he was questionable with leg tightness, officially. Call it a sore calf if you prefer.
Up 3-0 in the series, there was no reason to risk something worse in Game 4, so Iguodala is out, coach Steve Kerr announced pregame.
Alfonzo McKinnie will start in place of Iguodala.
Iguodala joins Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins on the Warriors bench for Game 4.
If there is a Game 5, it will be Wednesday night in the Bay Area.
With the NBA Finals not starting until May 30 — a week from this Thursday — the Warriors have plenty of time to rest and get their starters healed before taking on a serious challenger from the East (whether that is Milwaukee or Toronto). The Warriors have used their depth against Portland to help keep minutes down for their starters and Kerr will lean on that bench to close out the series in the next couple of games.
Mike D’Antoni, the father of the seven seconds or less system that started a revolution of NBA style, has changed in recent years. In Houston, with James Harden at his peak and this specific roster around him, D’Antoni now coaches an isolation-heavy team that has pushed the NBA envelope in other ways, particularly in trusting the three ball.
D’Antoni fits with Daryl Morey, and the sides have started talking contract extension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Houston Rockets and coach Mike D’Antoni have had preliminary discussions about the framework of a contract extension that would keep the two-time NBA Coach of the Year from entering the final year of his deal…
“I’ve let [general manager] Daryl [Morey] and [team owner] Tilman [Fertitta] know that I’m energized to keep coaching — and believe that I can continue to do this at a high level for at least another three years,” D’Antoni, 68, told ESPN on Sunday night.
“I want to be a part of a championship here.”
This is the smart move, he is a part of what has made the Rockets such a success in recent years.
The Rockets should look for roster upgrades this summer but they should not be blowing things up. The Rockets were the second best team in the NBA last season and may have been again by the playoffs this season (it depends on where you want to put Milwaukee and Toronto in that ranking, but the Rockets were in the mix). Houston’s problem has been a historic dynasty in Golden State, but that could look very different next season. If the Warriors take a step or two back, for whatever reasons, Houston is poised to pounce. They will be contenders.
D’Antoni is a part of that, and the Rockets need to keep one of the best coaches in the game in house.