67RIEFNS No. 17: Jose Calderon setting up Carmelo Anthony offensively

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The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

The triangle offense’s affect on Carmelo Anthony has been discussed in great depth. Alone, we’ve written four posts on it.

But I don’t think the scheme of Knicks coach Phil Jackson Derek Fisher will have the largest effect on Melo.

That honor would go to New York’s new point guard, Jose Calderon.

Calderon is a pinpoint passer, careful ball-handler and sweet shooter. If you were designing the ideal complement to Melo offensively, he’d look something like Calderon.

Melo has been criticized for being selfish – and that was before he led the NBA with a career-high 35.6 usage percentage in 2012-13. Last year, Melo’s usage fell settled in at an above-career-average 32.4, which ranked fourth in the league.

To some degree, those numbers are unavoidable. Melo is a better scorer than passer. He works well in isolation, particularly in the post. This is just who he is.

But don’t completely blame Melo for the ball stopping. In New York, his point guards have been Raymond Felton, Jeremy Lin and an over-the-hill Chauncey Billups. That’s asking him to do to much.

But Calderon can change all that.

Calderon-Melo pick-and-rolls should create high-value looks within the flow of the offense. Calderon can throw quality entry passes to Melo. And Calderon is a strong spot-up shooter, making it more difficult for opponents to double Melo inside.

As the Knicks’ point guards have gotten worse while he has been in New York, Melo has gotten better. He’s expanded his offensive game, becoming capable of scoring efficiently in a variety of ways.

Now, he can pair those skills with a legitimately good offensive point guard whose style fits his. This is a good match, one that makes one of the NBA’s best scorers even better.

Just don’t think about how these two pair defensively.

Kyrie Irving (shoulder) out for Nets-Pacers

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Kyrie Irving missed the Nets’ win over the Bulls on Saturday.

He’s not healthy enough to play the Pacers tonight.

Nets public relations:

Kyrie Irving (right shoulder impingement) is OUT.

Brooklyn (5-7) lags behinds Indiana (7-6) in the Eastern Conference’s middle morass. The Nets must try to catch up in the playoff race without their best player.

But it’s a long season. Brooklyn has plenty of time to gain ground. Spencer Dinwiddie is capable in relief, and the unselfish Nets can create ball movement while Dinwiddie rests.

I’m more concerned about next week. A segment of Brooklyn’s schedule:

  • Nov. 24 at Knicks
  • Nov. 25 at Cavaliers
  • Nov. 27 at Celtics

That’s the team Irving spurned in free agency, the team Irving requested a trade from and the team Irving just left after pledging to re-sign. Those are juicy matchups. Hopefully, Irving is healthy enough to play in all three.

Ray Allen says he would’ve returned to Celtics if they signed Kevin Durant in 2016

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Ray Allen left the Celtics on bad terms in 2012. He finished his career with the Heat in 2014.

But Allen apparently could have come back with Boston in 2016… if Kevin Durant signed there first.

Allen, via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston:

“I had a conversation with (Ainge) and I told him this was my last-ditch effort. I would’ve went back,” Allen said on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria” radio show.

“This was when Kevin Durant was a free agent. He was thinking about going to Boston. And I said, ‘Hey, if you guys land Kevin, I would certainly look at lacing them back up one more time and try to make something good happen here in Boston.’ “

This is a fascinating “what if?” – for the Celtics on the court and for Allen’s legacy in Boston.

But it also probably didn’t come close to happening. Durant said his top two choices in 2016 free agency were the Warriors and Thunder. Even Allen himself said he never neared a comeback.

Still, it’s interesting – after all the animosity – Allen even spoke to Celtics president Danny Ainge about returning.

European coach berates his players: ‘You’re good guys. F— you’ (video)

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Remember Luigi Datome? He spent a couple seasons with the Pistons and Celtics.

He makes an appearance in this wild video featuring Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic (warning: profanity):

A partial transcript the best I could muster:

YOU’RE GOOD GUYS. IN YOUR EYES, YOU’RE GOOD GUYS. F— YOU, EVERYBODY! F— YOU, OK!

F— YOU, GIGI DATOME. OK? SHAME ON YOU. AND YOU…

Festivus isn’t for another month, but someone is already ready for the airing of grievances.

Report: Rockets waiving Ryan Anderson

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To facilitate a trade from the Rockets to the Suns last summer, Ryan Anderson reduced the guarantee of his 2019-20 salary by $5,620,885. Anderson barely played in Phoenix, got traded to the Heat, barely played in Miami and got waived. He again signed with the Rockets this summer.

Now, after barely playing in Houston, Anderson will continue his odyssey elsewhere.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Anderson was guaranteed $500,000 on his minimum-salary contract this season. By the time he clears waivers, he will have earned $434,704. So, assuming Anderson goes unclaimed, Houston will be on the hook for the remaining $65,296.

This might end the career of the 31-year-old Anderson. Once a premier stretch four, he no longer stands out in a league where 3-point shooting has become a common skill for power forwards. He’s also a major defensive liability.