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Carmelo Anthony unhappy with how Thunder, Rockets handled his exits

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Carmelo Anthony’s last three teams have decided they just no longer wanted him.

Anthony’s exit with the Knicks played out publicly with then-team president Phil Jackson declaring Anthony no longer fit in New York. Anthony’s finishes with the Thunder and Rockets went down more privately.

But appearing on ESPN today, Anthony explained his dismay with how both tenures ended.

Anthony on Oklahoma City:

It wasn’t until after the season that all this talk had started. Would he come back? Would he take a pay cut? Would he come off the bench? None of this stuff was ever discussed with me, as far as me coming off the bench. All I needed was somebody to communicate that with me. And I think people was afraid to stand up and communicate.

I wasn’t willing to accept that, because that never was explained to me. If you sat down with me man-to-man and said, “You know what, look, what’s best for this team is for you to come off the bench,” I probably would have fought it a little bit. But then I would have stepped away away from it and said, “You know what? This is what’s best for the team.” I went to Billy Donovan himself and said, “What do I have to do?” Right? “What do you need from me?” And everybody can vouch for that. “What do you need from me? What do I need to do?” And he told me. And I said, “Look, thank you. I appreciate it. This is what you’re going to get from me.” I really honestly wish the OKC situation would’ve worked out. I thought it was going to work out.

I think it was bigger than basketball. I think it was a tax situation. But I think they knew that for me coming in there. They was trying to get me to kind of revamp my contract. And at that point in time, I just felt like the situation wasn’t handled right. I felt like it was just a one-and-done situation in OKC. And I didn’t respect that. I didn’t want that. Because I went in there to fight.

After his lone season with the Thunder, Anthony said coming off the bench was out of the question. He said he couldn’t be effective in a small role.

It’s easy for him now to say he would’ve gotten over his ego if someone spoke to him face-to-face. But he was so opposed to coming off the bench. He made that very clear. It’s unfair of him to blame the Thunder for not talking him out of something he was proactively emphatic about.

Anthony exercised his $27,928,140 player option with Oklahoma City. That sealed his fate there. He was no longer worth anywhere near that high salary, especially with the Thunder so far into the repeater luxury tax. They traded him to the Hawks.

Atlanta waived him. Anthony joined the Rockets and played just 10 games for them last season.

Anthony on Houston:

I’m doing everything I’ve got to do. I never missed a practice, did all my work. I was real professional with everybody there. I don’t think there’s one person there that could say that I wasn’t a professional there. I did what I had to do, did my work. And then the 10th game come, I just didn’t understand where that had come from. I was reaching out to – I actually reached out to Daryl first and said, “Can we talk about how can we make this better? What can we do to fix? What can I do to fix this?” But then he had in mind that he wanted to come talk to me, too, about releasing me or letting me go. I didn’t like how that went down.

I was actually in San Antonio, in my room, getting ready for the game. And me and Daryl were supposed to speak that night, because I had reached out to him previously about just a heads-up meeting, like, “What’s going on? Let me know what I can do. I’m here to help the team. Let me know what I’ve got to do.” But he came in, and he was just like, “Look, basically your services are no longer needed.” And I’m like, “Hold up. What the hell are you talking about?” He’s like, “Nah, things just not working out, and you’ve got to figure out something to do.” And I’m like, “How the hell am I going to figure out something to do? I’ve got a game tomorrow.” “Nah, you’re not going to suit up tomorrow.” So, then I started taking it even deeper. He told me I wasn’t going to make the rotation. I’m like, “I can’t make a nine-man rotation? That’s what you’re trying to tell me?” I’m already starting to accept the fact that I have to come off the bench, which was very hard for me. I accepted that.

Anthony played poorly in Oklahoma City and even worse in Houston. The Rockets correctly diagnosed him as a problem.

However, it was strange they immediately dropped him from major role to completely off the team. Why not try to see whether he could help as a situational contributor? Anthony has a legitimate gripe there.

That said, he didn’t warrant a rotation spot. If he was going to cause problems sitting on the bench, Houston was correct to exile him. But the way Anthony tells it, he didn’t get much chance to come to terms with that before Rockets general manager Daryl Morey made up his mind.

Anthony also exposes Morey as untruthful. This meeting occurred Nov. 9, according to Anthony. On Nov. 11, Morey said Anthony was sick and would return to the rotation once healthy. Morey essentially called the Anthony-done-with-Houston reports fake news.

Morey also said earlier this summer he wouldn’t trade Chris Paul then traded Paul, anyway. There’s a pattern here.

Morey says whatever he wants publicly to downplay tension, true or not. That might be the right move in the short term for someone trying to help the Rockets. The rest of us should no longer trust him.

As for Anthony, getting fired usually isn’t enjoyable. There was probably no way for the Rockets to drop him and leave him feeling good about it. At least Morey spoke to him face-to-face.

Anthony remains a free agent wanting to get signed. He has clearly become more willing to accept a smaller role. Yet, he still sounds somewhat delusional about his place in the game.

Marginal players get rejected by teams all the time. Most of those players don’t get a national spotlight to complain about how it went down. It’s just the rough part of being, at best, a fringe NBA player.

That’s where Anthony is now.

Bulls big man Cristiano Felicio out 4-8 weeks with broken wrist

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This is not going to impact the Bulls’ rotations — Cristiano Felicio has yet to touch the court for the Bulls this season — but it’s a setback for a player trying to prove he belongs in the NBA.

Felicio fractured his wrist during the Bulls practice Monday and will be out at least a month, reports K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

Cristiano Felicio, who has yet to land on the active roster this season, broke his right wrist after falling in Monday’s practice, according to coach Jim Boylen. The Bulls’ coach said Felicio will miss four to eight weeks with the injury.

“We had the X-ray. It did not show up on the X-ray. Then we had the CT scan and it showed up on the CT scan,” Boylen said. “We’re going to do an MRI (Wednesday) just to let them give us a little more certainty on maybe how much separation there is in there and how much time it will be.”

The Bulls gambled on Felicio a couple of years ago and signed him to a four-year, $32 million contract. That roll of the dice has come up snake eyes so far, with Felicio playing a limited role the first two seasons — and this season no role at all.

It is expected the Bulls will try to use Felicio’s salary in any trade packages they put together closer to the deadline, this injury would not impact that.

Asked about getting stabbed in back, Chris Paul says trade from Rockets

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Chris Paul has gotten traded three times in his career.

New Orleans sent him to the Clippers – but only after David Stern nixed a deal with the Lakers – in 2011. In 2017, Paul engineered a trade to the Rockets by opting in. Then, in an unprecedented star swap, Houston dealt Paul to the Thunder for Russell Westbrook last summer.

Paul recently discussed trades with comedian Kevin Hart.

Hart:

Why is it always such a crazy time when it comes to these trades and whether they’re happening. You’ve been part of some big conversations. Is it at a point where it’s just business, or is it becoming personal?

Paul:

Every situation is different. But the team is going to do whatever they want to do. They’ll tell you one thing and do a smooth nother thing.

Hart:

That’s the business side.

Paul:

Exactly.

Hart:

Do you feel like there’s been times where, “Damn, that’s a little eye-opening. I got stabbed in the back”?

Paul:

Absolutely. This last situation was one of them. The GM there in Houston, he don’t owe me nothing. You know what I mean? He may tell me one thing but do another thing. But you just understand that that’s what it is.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is an easy target right now. Many people around the NBA resent him tweeting support for Hong Kong protesters (who are trying to maintain and expand their freedoms) and costing the league significant revenue in China.

But, in this case, Morey brought it upon himself. He said in June he wouldn’t trade Paul then did so, anyway.

Maybe that was to protect Paul’s feelings if he stayed in Houston. In that case, Morey could tell Paul he believed in him all along. There’d be no way to know Morey was fibbing. Now that Paul is gone, Paul being upset is someone else’s problem. It’s a common tactic by executives.

Paul reportedly requested a trade from the Rockets, but he denied it. I don’t necessarily believe Paul. There was plenty of evidence of tension between him and Harden. It’d be pretty conniving to request a trade then throw Morey under the bus for making the trade.

But Paul’s denial of a trade request is on the record. So is Morey’s declaration that he wouldn’t trade Paul.

Morey must own that.

Report: Rockets have lost about $7M in China revenue this season, $20M overall

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Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters, who are trying to maintain and expand their freedoms, has cost the NBA and its players a lot of money in China.

Probably no team has been harder hit than Houston.

Early estimates pegged the Rockets’ potential lost revenue at $25 million. It apparently hasn’t been quite that bad yet, but it’s already close. And the effects are trickling down to Houston star James Harden.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

League sources say the franchise has lost more than $7 million in revenue this season from cancelled Chinese sponsorship agreements and nearly $20 million overall when terminated multiyear deals are calculated.

For their superstar James Harden, the losses could be considerable if no resolution is reached. A source says Harden’s endorsement agreement with Shanghai’s SPD Bank Credit Card is imperiled.

This is why NBA teams are preparing for a lower-than-projected salary cap. It’s also why the union is planning to better educate its players on global issues.

The money involved is significant.

Nets, CEO David Levy part ways after fewer than two months

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Gersson Rosas – who lasted just three months as Mavericks general manager – was the standard for a short front-office tenure in the NBA.

David Levy, whom the Nets hired as CEO in September, is out after fewer than two months.

Nets release:

The Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center today announced that David Levy and the organization have mutually agreed to part ways. Oliver Weisberg, Chief Executive Officer of J Tsai Sports and NBA Alternate Governor of the Nets, has been named interim Chief Executive Officer of the Nets and Barclays Center.

“I want to thank David for his collaboration over the past several months and wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Weisberg. “As we enter an exciting next chapter of our organization, it’s important that ownership and management are completely aligned on our go forward plan. We are proud of the culture of the Brooklyn Nets under the leadership of General Manager Sean Marks and Head Coach Kenny Atkinson, and we look forward to continue bringing the best experience to our fans.”

This shockingly short tenure raises questions. Mainly: What happened? Absent other information, good luck convincing people there’s not a scandalous story behind this.

The Nets generally appear to be in a good place. They have Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and a good amount of young talent. Brooklyn (4-5) has been mediocre, but this was always going to be a limbo season before Durant returns.

There have been a couple controversial incidents. Nets owner Joe Tsai spoke up during the NBA’s China-Hong Kong-Daryl Morey crisis, toeing the Chinese government’s line. A report also emerged about Nets officials being concerned with Irving’s mood swings.

Does either relate to Levy’s exit?

This vague statement leaves the door open to speculation. That isn’t necessarily fair to the people involved, but it’s what they’ll have to deal with.