Carmelo Anthony reveals the Knicks had a chance to sign Dwyane Wade this summer

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LAS VEGAS — Next to Kevin Durant joining the Warriors, the biggest shock of the offseason was Dwyane Wade‘s decision to leave the Miami Heat, a franchise he’s as synonymous with as Kobe Bryant was with the Lakers. Wade signed a two-year, $47 million deal with his hometown Chicago Bulls after talks broke down with the Heat. But the Bulls weren’t the only team Wade would have considered joining, according to his close friend Carmelo Anthony.

On Wednesday, after practice with Team USA in Las Vegas, Anthony revealed that the Knicks had “a chance” to sign Wade, if only the timing had been a little better.

“We would have had to pull a rabbit out of a hat,” Anthony admitted. “If it was two days earlier, we probably would have had D-Wade.”

The math on signing Wade would have been tricky for New York, especially since center Joakim Noah agreed to a four-year, $72 million deal on the first night of free agency, when the assumption around the league was still that Wade would ultimately find himself back in Miami.

Following Noah’s signing, the Knicks locked up guard Courtney Lee to a four-year deal worth $50 million, backup point guard Brandon Jennings on a one-year, $5 million deal and re-signed forward Lance Thomas for a deal that starts around $6.1 million for next season. They also signed European prospects Willy Hernangomez and Mindaugas Kuzminskas to contracts above the minimum. If they had made none of those deals, they could have come close to approximating the deal the Bulls gave Wade.

For Wade, the appeal of playing with Anthony in New York would have been obvious. Along with LeBron James and Chris Paul, they are one half of the famous “Banana Boat Squad.” Their families are close, and they’ve vacationed together. Earlier this season, James hinted that at some point in his career, he would like to play with the rest of that group. Wade joining forces with Anthony would have made that dream much closer to a reality, although the complete group joining together would have likely required all four taking a pay cut at some point.

As it is, though, Wade is 34 years old and the Knicks largely made smart signings of younger players with more upside. Wade would have been a splashier name than anyone they acquired in free agency, but he would have been an awkward fit with Derrick Rose, and the Knicks were ultimately better off filling out the roster with their cap space instead of pooling it all to sign one player past his prime who wouldn’t have gotten them closer to contending for a title in the near future.

But it’s still fun to think about, and Anthony obviously wishes it had worked out that way.

Report: Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson to star in ‘Space Jam 2’

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LeBron James‘ first three picks in the All-Star draft reserve round: Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard.

Like many things LeBron does, that sparked theories about him recruiting stars to the Lakers. Casting for ‘Space Jam 2’ is another generator of recruiting speculation.

So, the overlap here will surely only intensify conspiracy theories.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Davis – who tipped his involvement in the film while still with the Pelicans – is already headed to the Lakers.

But Lillard is reportedly set to sign a super-max extension with the Trail Blazers, and Klay Thompson will reportedly re-sign with the Warriors.

Still, if Lillard and Thompson get a taste of Hollywood and enjoy it…

Report: Lakers didn’t negotiate Anthony Davis trade date with Pelicans for initial agreement

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With the Lakers’ trade for Anthony Davis, timing is everything.

The Lakers and Pelicans are reportedly set to complete the deal July 6. By making the trade then rather than July 30, the earliest the No. 4 pick could be traded as a signed player, the Lakers lose significant cap space.

With the later trade, the Lakers could use about $33 million of cap room then execute the deal with Davis getting his full $4,063,953 trade bonus.

With the earlier trade and Davis reportedly intent on receiving his full trade bonus, the Lakers project to have just $24 million of cap room.

That $9 million difference keeps the Lakers from getting a max free agent or reduces their spending power for role players.

Maybe the Lakers completely understood the ramifications of finalizing the trade July 6. It takes two teams to agree, and perhaps New Orleans – which would have faced complications flipping the No. 4 pick, not gotten him into summer league and had cap space tied up through July – refused to do the trade later.

But it sure doesn’t sound as if the Lakers knew what they were doing.

Ramona Shelburne on ESPN2:

If this was really their plan, they want to have a third star, this should have been central to the conversations with the Pelicans. And my understanding is that it was not, that it went all the way down the road and it was more, it has been described to me as, the Lakers called back – after everything had been discussed – about this.

It’s not necessarily too late for the Lakers to use max cap space and get Davis. They’re reportedly scrambling to include Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones in the trade.

But Wagner, Bonga and Jones have either positive or negative value. If they have positive value, the Lakers are surrendering even more in this trade. If they have negative value, the Lakers must surrender even more value – in the form of sweeteners – in the trade.

This could all be worth it. A team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and a third star will be a championship contender next season. That matters most.

But if the Lakers handled this better, they could be in a stronger position to build around their stars. Though stars matter most, supporting casts also factor.

Or maybe New Orleans would have refused if the Lakers requested a July 30 trade date during initial negotiations. We’ll never know. But considering their massive haul, I suspect the Pelicans would have acquiesced if Los Angeles pushed. Perhaps, it would have taken a small additional asset going from the Lakers to New Orleans. But I can’t imagine it requiring more than that.

Now, by waiting until after to agreeing to terms with New Orleans, the Lakers have lost so much leverage. Their desperation shows, and preying teams – Pelicans or otherwise – will look to take advantage.

Counter-report: Kyrie Irving has been ‘communicative and forthright’ with Celtics

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Kyrie Irving, according to a report, has ghosted the Celtics as free agency approaches.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Whoever leaked the initial information wanted to make Irving look bad. Whoever leaked this wanted to make Irving look good. Who’s telling the truth?

Who knows?

Maybe Irving’s and Boston staffers have differing definitions “communicative and forthright.” They could each be telling their own truths. But neither side is above spreading inaccurate rumors to sully someone else’s reputation.

Breakups get messy, and it appears this one is already there.

Beyond all the noise about how Irving is leaving, the most important detail: This is yet another report he’s leaving for the Nets.

Report: Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist opting in for $13 million

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The Hornets’ last hope for super-maxing out Kemba Walker and avoiding the luxury tax without trading or stretching anyone has been extinguished.

With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist‘s $13 million salary locked in for next season, Charlotte faces hard choices.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

If the Hornets re-sign Walker to the super-max, sign their draft picks (Nos. 12, 36 and 52) and add no other free agents, they’d project to be about $9 million over the tax line.

Would Walker take that large of a discount? That $9 million below the super-max would be for just next season. Over a five-year contract with max raises, he’d be leaving about $54 million on the table. And that’s all to maintain a lottery team that’s not really upgrading.

Would Michael Jordan pay the tax? He never has, and I doubt this mediocre team sways him.

The most likely outcome if Walker re-signs: Charlotte trades an undesirable contract – Kidd-Gilchrist’s, Nicolas Batum‘s, Marvin Williams‘, Cody Zeller‘s) – or stretches Bismack Biyombo. Trading those rotation players would probably require a sweetener. Stretching Biyombo would create a cap hit through 2022.

So, the Hornets get even more depleted in the long-term, maybe also the short-term.

That’s the cost of overpaying so many players – including Kidd-Gilchrist, who plays hard and defends well but hasn’t developed enough of an offensive game.