Carmelo Anthony was the best player on the floor for Team USA in their convincing win over Spain. He came off the bench shooting, knocking down good look threes and helping change the momentum of the game.
It’s a very different Anthony than the ball-dominating one we see on the NBA hardwood. Here is works hard off the ball and lets the offense runs through others. He takes the shots when he gets them or moves the ball if the defense adjusts. And he plays more positions — he was guarding Pau Gasol in the post at times against Spain.
He likes that diversity. And the good news for Knicks fans is he thinks that what is happening here could carry over to New York next season. That’s what he told Chris Sheridan of Sheridanhoops.com.
“I don’t like (international basketball) better than NBA basketball. I play NBA basketball, that’s my career, that’s my life blood,” Anthony said. “But FIBA basketball allows me to play multiple positions and do a lot of different things out there on the basketball court than I do in the NBA. I’m in a different position, I play the 3, the 4, the 5. I don’t play the 5 back in the NBA. Over here, with these guys on the team, it’s more playing off of them, doing some dirty work, when the ball comes to you trying to knock down shots, rebounding. Most of the times I’m playing against 4s and 5s, and it’s a much more physical game than in the NBA. I won’t be playing the 5 in New York, I know that.
“But this whole experience, every time I come back and play USA basketball, my mindset is a lot different. The team-oriented atmosphere I bring back to my team, the focus I have, my conditioning, and carrying that into the regular season, it’s like I’m getting an early start. Look at what happened the year after we won the gold medal. In 2009 I had one of my best seasons with Denver and we went to the Western Conference finals. My body felt great, my mind felt great – and that’s something I keep in the back of my mind coming out of USA Basketball.”
Knicks fans hope so.
Anthony playing off the ball a little and letting Raymond Felton and Amare Stoudemire run some pick-and-roll action — which they had a nice chemistry doing in the pre-‘Melo era — would help diversify and strengthen the Knicks offense. ‘Melo doing some of the dirty work for the team would as well.
The Knicks are going to be good. Likely not contenders out of the East, but good. How good may depend largely on how much ‘Melo lives up to these words.
WASHINGTON (AP) — WNBA All-Star Kristi Toliver will be an assistant coach for player development for the NBA’s Washington Wizards this season.
Toliver’s job was one of several changes to coach Scott Brooks’ staff announced by the Wizards on Tuesday, two days before they host the Miami Heat to open the season.
Toliver played for the Washington Mystics and helped them reach the WNBA Finals this year, when she also assisted the Wizards’ coaching staff during the NBA Summer League and training game. She is a 10-year pro and two-time All-Star who won an NCAA title at Maryland.
She joins David Adkins, Mike Terpstra and Maz Trakh on the back of the Wizards’ bench. Alex McLean and Landon Tatum were both promoted to assistant coach for player development.
Robert Pack and Ryan Richman will be with Brooks and Tony Brown on the front of the bench.
Pack was a scout for the Portland Trail Blazers last season, after spending two seasons as an assistant coach for the New Orleans Pelicans. He also was an assistant to Brooks with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2013-15.
We picked the Celtics, Raptors, 76ers and Bucks to be the top four teams in the Eastern Conference this year and ranked the Wizards and Pacers next. If that’s not the consensus, it’s close to it.
Wizards guard Austin Rivers, via James Herbert of CBSSports.com:
“I think we’re heavily slept-on,” he tells me. “Team’s been to the playoffs, what, the last five, four or five years? Then going into this year, you add me, Dwight Howard, Jeff Green and nobody seems to talk about us. So I just think we’re heavily slept-on, but that’s fine. At the end of the day, nothing really matters until the season starts and we set that tone for ourselves. I get the hype of a couple of the other teams, but I think we have a chance to compete with the best of the East.”
I tell him I recently spoke to Tyreke Evans, who said something similar about the Indiana Pacers. Rivers gets more animated.
“Yeah, I would say Indiana’s the other team that gets slept-on, too,” he says. “You look at Indiana, they took Cleveland to seven games and then damn near, arguably could have beaten them.”
Rivers rattles off Evans’ stats from last season, then continues: “That’s who they just added to the team? And nobody seems to talk about the Pacers because everybody’s so f—ing gassed up on the Celtics and the Sixers. And rightfully so: they’re both talented teams. But Indiana is just as good as both those teams. And I think we’re in the same situation.”
I agree the Wizards and Pacers had positive offseasons. But Indiana might have been punching slightly above its weight as a surprise team last year, and Washington’s problem has often been overconfidence.
In that regard, Rivers – acquired in an offseason trade from the Clippers – is already fitting right in. The brashness might be good for Rivers, but it’s not what the Wizards need.
Washington could have a good season. John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter are a strong starting point in the Eastern Conference, and Dwight Howard could help with the right attitude and health. Rivers is a quality reserve. But let’s pump the brakes on calling Jeff Green a key addition, though Rivers would be only one of many – including someone in his immediate family – to make that error.
Klay Thompson, who will become an unrestricted free agent next summer, has said many times he plans to stay with the Warriors. He even discussed signing a contract extension, which would have capped his compensation far below what he could get in free agency.
But Thompson is apparently no longer interested in offering Golden State that savings.
Zach Lowe of ESPN:
Thompson has no plans to take a discount, and the Warriors don’t expect him to, league sources say.
Thompson’s max next summer projects be about about $221 million over five years if he makes an All-NBA team (or wins Defensive Player of the Year) this season or about $190 million over five years if he doesn’t.
That’s a steep bill, but the Warriors have little choice but to pay it. They’re in the midst of maybe the greatest run in NBA history, and they’re generating massive revenue. Cheapness would be a terrible reason to break up this team. Thompson is a key contributor, and at least his outside shooting should help the 28-year-old age well.
But costs will get steep in a hurry. If the Warriors re-sign Thompson and Kevin Durant next summer and Draymond Green the following summer to max – not even supermax – deals, keep Stephen Curry then fill the roster with 10 minimum-salary free agents, their projected payroll in 2020-21 would be… about $288 million, including about $115 million in luxury tax. That might be untenable, even for Golden State.
Perhaps, Durant will take one decision out of the Warriors’ hands. But if Durant stays and Thompson seeks every penny, Green could face a belt-tightening team in 2020 free agency.
The Spurs are still paying Tim Duncan, who retired in 2016.
It seems they’ll also give Manu Ginobili, who retired this summer, a similar golden parachute.
Duncan will earn $1,881,250 this season, the final installment of his three years of post-retirement income. When he retired, Duncan had one season remaining on his contract with a $6,393,750 salary. San Antonio didn’t have to pay him that money. Duncan wasn’t coming to work anymore. But the Spurs graciously allowed the all-time great to receive all but $750,000 of his remaining salary and stretched the payments over three years. That money still counted against the cap and was paid despite San Antonio trying to clear cap space in both 2016 and 2017.
The Spurs waived Ginobili yesterday, and no word has emerged on a buyout amount. He was due $2.5 million this season.
Based on the process and Duncan precedent, it seems highly likely Ginobili will continue to draw paychecks from San Antonio.
The Spurs would do well to pay Ginobili all his money this season, whether it’s the full $2.5 million or a negotiated reduced amount. They’re already over the cap and still below the luxury-tax line, so there’s minimal flexibility harm. The only other option – stretching Ginobili’s payments into equal thirds over the next three seasons – could interfere with roster building in future years.
Of course, the other option was getting Ginobili removed from the books entirely. But it seems that route has passed with waiving him.
San Antonio wants to treat its legends well, and that means paying them more than necessary – even with that money counting toward the cap as the Spurs transition into their next era.