Carmelo Anthony: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were ‘smart’ to team up

64 Comments

Begin panicking, Knicks.

New York has built its entire foundation around Carmelo Anthony. He’s the team’s unquestioned top player, the type of star who yields incredible power within his franchise.

He’s also, as you might have heard, planning to become a free agent this summer.

As much power as the the Knicks have given Melo, they have little re-assurance in return. Melo could just leave with New York in the offseason with the Knicks getting no compensation. It has to be an uneasy feeling for the team’s management.

This won’t settle them.

Melo on LeBron James and Chris Bosh signing with Dwyane Wade and the Heat in 2010, as transcribed by Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com:

“They were smart,” Anthony told NBA TV’s Ahmad Rashad. “I think it’s smart. It was their choice.”

If it’s smart to team up with other stars, why would Melo stay with the Knicks?

The closest thing they have to a star is Tyson Chandler, and he can’t stay healthy. At 31, he won’t have an easier time avoiding injuries in the future.

The Knicks will have no cap room this summer, and they’ve already traded their 2014 and 2016 first-round picks, so it will be nearly impossible for them to sign or trade for a star.

That must mean Anthony wants to go somewhere else, right? Melo, via Begley:

“I’m not saying I want to go somewhere else,” Anthony told Rashad. “When I first got to New York, I always told myself it would be a three- to three-and-a-half-year plan just to rebuild. I knew we took a step backwards as an organization for me to get here. So we had to rebuild.

It’s been nearly three years since the Knicks traded for Anthony, and they’re far worse than they were when they acquired him. Is there any way they’re going be rebuilt by the end of this season? I don’t see it.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $12,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Sunday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $2,500. Starts at 6pm ET on Sunday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The Knicks have two main hopes for re-signing Melo:

1. Melo preferring to be the lone star on a team

2. Convincing him that taking the contract they can offer him, larger than any other team, out weighs any other consideration

Melo’s comments shows No. 1 might not be the case. Better focus on No. 2.

Michael Avenatti charged with stealing money Hassan Whiteside intended to pay ex-girlfriend

David McNew/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Heat center Hassan Whiteside became the first player in NBA history to go from a minimum salary one season to a max salary the next.

Some of that money allegedly got embezzled by Michael Avenatti.

Avenatti – the infamous lawyer who represented Stormy Daniels, who claimed she was paid to keep quiet about having an affair with Donald Trump – has been charged with attempted extortion of Nike and stealing from other clients. One of those other clients: Whiteside’s former girlfriend, Alexis Gardner.

Michael Finnegan of the Los Angeles Times:

An actress and barista, she’d hired him just a few weeks before to negotiate a settlement of a potential lawsuit against Whiteside. It’s unclear what she would have alleged. Avenatti quickly struck a $3-million deal, and the $2.75 million was Whiteside’s first payment.

Avenatti, prosecutors say, was entitled to take just over $1 million in legal fees, leaving the rest for Gardner.

Instead, they allege, Avenatti hid Whiteside’s payment from her and immediately took $2.5 million to buy a share of a private jet.

Report: Lakers have no plans to replace Magic Johnson, who’ll still help team recruit FAs

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
3 Comments

Magic Johnson’s stunning resignation as Lakers president caused a commotion.

It didn’t create a power vacuum.

Rob Pelinka is clearly in charge. He’s the highest-ranking member of the front office. His title – general manager – is the one many teams give to the leader of their basketball operations. He’s running the Lakers’ coaching search.

Though they’ve been linked to big-name candidates for president, the Lakers could easily keep the status quo with Pelinka running the show. And it sounds as if that’s what Lakers owner Jeanie Buss will do.

Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:

Buss has no plans to hire someone to replace Johnson, who is still expected to be part of the Lakers’ free-agent recruiting this summer.

Allowing Pelinka to hire a head coach – which, again, he’s in the process of doing – then supplanting him would be absurd. At least it seems the Lakers aren’t doing that.

But Pelinka was part of the organization while it made a comedy of errors. The former agent also had front-office experience until getting hired with Johnson a couple years ago. It’s hard to believe he’s the right choice to lead the team as it enters this critical stage.

LeBron James is 34. The Lakers will have max cap space this summer. Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart are progressing toward establishing clearer value – one way or the other.

To entrust Pelinka in this situation, Buss ought to have a clear explanation for why Pelinka doesn’t deserve a fair share of blame for all the mistakes that occurred the last couple years. There are plenty of people, inside and outside the Lakers, who question him.

The wildest part about this report: Johnson still helping the Lakers recruit this summer. He’s an all-time great player and charismatic. But he also just said while resigning:

What I didn’t like is the backstabbing, the whispering. I don’t like that. I don’t like a lot of things that went on that didn’t have to go on.

How will he sell that to free agents – especially if Pelinka, suspected to be whom Johnson is referring to, remains in charge?

Russell Westbrook goes from ‘Next question’ to ‘That’s a good question. Not sure’ (video)

2 Comments

Russell Westbrook can be a pain.

Pain to his opponents. Pain to his teammates. Pain to the media.

Sometimes, it seems Westbrook even takes pride in being a jerk. Which is fine. His cutthroat attitude is part of who he is, and it has gotten him a long way.

Lately, Westbrook has clashed with Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. For months, Westbrook has answered all Tramel’s questions with, “Next question.” Yet, Tramel keeps asking them – as he should. Westbrook has earned control over a lot of things. Tramel shouldn’t cede control of his job to Westbrook.

The back-and-forth has gotten increased prominence during the playoffs, when postgame press conferences are nationally televised. Both sides have found plenty of support. Westbrook’s fans love that his intensity never relents. Many also respect Tramel’s professionalism.

Four years ago, Westbrook infamously told Tramel, “I just don’t like you.” Westbrook got into it with Tramel again two years ago. But Tramel continues to cover the Thunder the best he can.

Likewise, Westbrook is trying to lead Oklahoma City the best he can. That means picking battles, even small ones like this, and pushing himself to win them all.

But after the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Trail Blazers last night, Westbrook finally gave an inch. But just an inch.

Tramel asked how the Thunder’s defense of Damian Lillard changed from the first half to the second half.

“That’s a good question,” Westbrook said. “Not sure.”

Tramel asked about the lessons learned about overcoming a 3-1 deficit to the Grizzlies in the 2014 playoffs. (Oklahoma City trailed 2-1 and 3-2 in that series, but never 3-1).

“Really don’t know,” Westbrook said.

For Westbrook, those answers were a huge breakthrough. They surprised everyone, even Tramel. Just a few days ago, the columnist predicted Westbrook wouldn’t change his two-word answers anytime soon: “He’s not going to give in this playoff series.”

Maybe this means the series is over.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse leaves mouth agape a loooong time after odd call (video)

1 Comment

The Raptors got called for an extremely quick three-second violation during their Game 4 win over the Magic yesterday.

Toronto coach Nick Nurse couldn’t believe it.

Really couldn’t believe it.

Just couldn’t believe it one bit.