Carmelo Anthony says he re-signed in New York because of ‘unfinished business’ with Knicks


GREENBURGH, N.Y. — It was far from certain that Carmelo Anthony would return to the Knicks this season, especially when looking at the real opportunities he had to join a team much more ready to win in the immediate future when he took his summer tour as an unrestricted free agent.

Agreeing to play in Chicago or Houston would have made those teams championship contenders right away, whereas staying in New York would mean embracing a rebuilding process with no guarantees of reaching that high level of success.

But ultimately, Anthony decided he was up to the challenge.

Speaking from the team’s training facility at Media Day on Monday, Anthony said his free agent decision wasn’t easy, but he wouldn’t have felt right about leaving New York after forcing his way there midway through the 2011 season.

“For me to just get up and leave like that, now that I look back at it … I wouldn’t have felt right within myself,” Anthony said. “From a basketball standpoint it probably would have been maybe the greatest thing to do, but for me personally, I wouldn’t have felt right with myself knowing that I wanted to come here, I kind of forced my way here to New York, and I have some unfinished business to take care of. So I wouldn’t have felt right from a personal standpoint, just getting up and leaving like that.”

The money was better in New York, of course, but the vibe you got when hearing Anthony discuss his reasoning for staying was one of excitement, and belief that the changes made in the front office and on the sidelines will eventually yield positive results.

“I think anytime you have a new coach there’s a new energy along with that, “ he said. “You can just walk around the building and feel that energy. In the offseason I felt that energy with myself and my teammates. You can just see that everybody is rejuvenated again, everybody wants to win, everybody wants to do what’s right to help this team to be successful.”

There was plenty of talk about the Triangle Offense, and how it will affect Anthony’s game. He’s been working on learning it for weeks now, and while he understands that it’s a bit complex to implement, he’s trusting the process based on the way it’s been successful under Phil Jackson in the past.

“I got a good glimpse of what the system will be, and it’s fun,” Anthony said. “I know it’s not going to happen overnight, but for me, my main thing is just to embrace it. Embrace the new situation, the new regime, the new system and then along the way, we’ll have some fun … I know from being a student of the game and watching, knowing the history, that it will work.”

The contract may have been bigger to re-sign with the Knicks, but there will be a short-term sacrifice in terms of learning a new system and building upon it by adding more talent in subsequent seasons that will be the best overall fit. There’s also an opportunity cost, in terms of what Anthony could have done with another team in the years it’s going to take for New York to return to respectability.

But now that the decision has been made, he’s all in, and prepared to wait at least a little bit to see the plans of the front office executed successfully.

“I made the commitment to stay here in New York, I made a commitment to the Knicks organization, I made a commitment to Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson,” Anthony said. “I also made a commitment to my teammates, so that right there goes to show you that it wasn’t all about just running and jumping ship to try to get something in the immediate future.

“I’m willing to be patient. Now, how long I’m willing to be patient, I can’t really tell you that. But I’m willing to be patient, I’m willing to take risks and I’m willing to take that chance.”

Report: Kevin Durant says he wants to play in 2016 Olympics (his free agent summer)


This past summer, Kevin Durant showed up for the start of Team USA training camp for the World Cup in Brazil, but then bailed out after that first camp session ended.

Some thought it was due to the Paul George injury and him being frightened. Personally I’m in the Under Armour/Nike next shoe deal camp (he didn’t want to risk injury so close to signing a massive payday).

Durant has said from the start he was just tired from a couple long seasons and playoff runs and wanted the break. He emphasized that again to Sam Amick in a great story at the USA Today.

“It was a very hard choice, because I wanted to play,” he said. “If it was just games (with Team USA), like straight games, it would have been perfect. But the travel and the practice and the shoot-a-rounds, it was something where I (said), ‘All right, I’ve got to really scale back a little bit and get ready for our season…’

And to those who don’t agree or understand?

“Seriously, to be honest, I was like ‘(expletive) ’em.’ You can write that, too. Seriously, though. I’m just going to be me, man, and that’s how I felt.”

The key thing to know: Durant will be ready to go for Rio in 2016, something tweeted out by Marc Stein of ESPN.

That’s interesting because that is his free agency summer, and that prospect of not risking a big payday has held guys back from Team USA before.

Even if Durant has no intention of leaving Oklahoma City — it’s far too early, Durant doesn’t even know what he wants to do in two summers, but staying in OKC is the clear frontrunner — he needs to become a free agent and re-sign. Under the terms of the new CBA he gets more money and one more guaranteed year if he opts out then re-signs (ala Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks). Meaning this saga will play out to the start of July and could overlap with Team USA’s training schedule.

Would that payday keep Durant home from Brazil?

Probably not. Unlike the World Cup, which rates barely a blip on the American sports radar, the Olympics draws a lot of eyeballs. If you’re going to market your fancy Nikes and your personal brand, that is a hard stage to walk away from because a lot of casual fan eyeballs rest on you in the Olympics. It’s a big platform.

Plus, we in the USA are taught to value the Olympics in a way the FIBA World Cup can’t match.

Which is to say expect KD to suit up in Rio, along with Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving and a who’s who list of the NBA best players (maybe even LeBron James for one more go around). The Olympics dynamic is just different.

Carmelo Anthony guarantees Knicks will improve from last season


Phil Jackson says the Knicks “believe” they’ll make the playoffs, because what else are they supposed to believe, let alone say?

I bet 99 percent of players and coaches, asked before the season whether they believe their team will make the playoffs, would say yes.

But Carmelo Anthony went out of his way to make a (somewhat) bold proclamation about New York’s upcoming season.

The Knicks went 37-45 last year. They easily could clear that low bar.

But it’s hardy a given.

They had the NBA’s seventh-oldest team, weight by playing time, last season. Old teams, more often than not, decline.

They lost Tyson Chandler. Perhaps more troubling, they kept most of their other key players.

They face tougher competition in the East now.

Maybe Jose Calderon helps. Maybe Phil Jackson Derek Fisher helps. Maybe the ball bounces better for a team that had a Pythagorean record of 39-43 a year ago.

But I’m sure not as confident as Melo.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak: ‘We never felt it was realistic’ to land Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James in free agency


There’s a vocal minority of Lakers fans that are so passionate about the team that at times they come off as delusional.

Listen to L.A. sports talk radio and you’ll hear it, where wildly lopsided trades are suggested that would benefit the Lakers, but no one else.

Many of those in the group believed that once the Lakers had the cap space to sign a superstar free agent to the type of deal they would require, All-Stars would be lining up outside the Staples Center, clamoring to play alongside Kobe Bryant and try to usher in a new era of greatness to the once-storied franchise.

It hasn’t happened that way just yet, however, with free agents like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James choosing other, more palatable options this summer.

Thankfully, the team’s general manager doesn’t share in those fantasies, and takes a much more realistic approach.

From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

Things would have looked so different had the Lakers landed Anthony or, a real longshot, James. But they didn’t.

“Our expectations with either player just based on what we perceived the environment to be . . . we never felt it was realistic that we could get one or [both],” Kupchak said. “But if you don’t try you don’t know.

“We’ll get somebody. At some point we will.”

LeBron, of course, would only have considered leaving Miami to return home to Cleveland, and wouldn’t have even done that had the Heat managed to win a third straight NBA title. And Anthony, while he reportedly thought long and hard about making the jump to Los Angeles, ultimately chose more money to remain in New York, with the promise of optimism under a new regime headed up by Phil Jackson.

Kupchak was well aware of the likelihood of how these scenarios would play out. But with a max contract spot available and the Lakers in desperate need of an influx of star-level talent, he had to give it a shot.

Mark Cuban: Don’t expect any Mavericks to score 20 points per game


In 16 of the last 17 seasons, the Mavericks have featured a 20-point-per-game scorer. Heck, a couple of those years featured two 20-point-per-game scorers.

Between Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley, Dallas has not lacked a clear go-to scorer.

That’s about to change – at least if Mavericks owner Cuban gets his wish.

Cuban, via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

“I’m not expecting anybody on our team to be a 20-point scorer,” the owner said as the Mavericks introduced six new players at a news conference. “Not Dirk. I don’t want him to be a 20-point scorer. Seriously. Monta (Ellis) has that capability. Chandler (Parsons) has that capability. Dirk has that capability. Richard Jefferson’s got that capability. Jameer (Nelson could score) 15. Raymond (Felton) could do 15, if that was the focus, but that’s not our focus.

“That’s the cool thing. There are going to be times when we overpass. And that will be the challenge.”

Since the 2000-01 season, of the 70 teams with top-five offenses each season – and that’s the type of potential these Mavericks have – 62 have produced a 20-point-per-game scorer:

(Click here to view a larger, interactive, version of the chart)


Season Team Offensive rating rank Offensive rating Scoring leader Points per game
2013-14 LAC 1 112.1 Blake Griffin 24.1
2013-14 POR 2 111.5 LaMarcus Aldridge 23.2
2013-14 DAL 3 111.2 Dirk Nowitzki 21.7
2013-14 HOU 4 111 James Harden 25.4
2013-14 MIA 5 110.9 LeBron James 27.1
2012-13 OKC 1 112.4 Kevin Durant 28.1
2012-13 MIA 2 112.3 LeBron James 26.8
2012-13 NYK 3 111.1 Carmelo Anthony 28.7
2012-13 LAC 4 110.6 Blake Griffin 18
2012-13 DEN 5 110.4 Ty Lawson 16.7
12/1/2011 SAS 1 110.9 Tony Parker 18.3
12/1/2011 OKC 2 109.8 Kevin Durant 28
12/1/2011 DEN 3 109.2 Ty Lawson 16.4
12/1/2011 LAC 4 108.5 Blake Griffin 20.7
12/1/2011 CHI 5 107.4 Derrick Rose 21.8
11/1/2010 DEN 1 112.3 Carmelo Anthony 25.2
11/1/2010 SAS 2 111.8 Tony Parker 17.5
11/1/2010 MIA 3 111.7 LeBron James 26.7
11/1/2010 HOU 4 111.3 Kevin Martin 23.5
11/1/2010 OKC 5 111.2 Kevin Durant 27.7
10/1/2009 PHO 1 115.3 Amar’e Stoudemire 23.1
10/1/2009 ATL 2 111.9 Joe Johnson 21.3
10/1/2009 DEN 3 111.8 Carmelo Anthony 28.2
10/1/2009 ORL 4 111.4 Dwight Howard 18.3
10/1/2009 TOR 5 111.3 Chris Bosh 24
9/1/2008 POR 1 113.9 Brandon Roy 22.6
9/1/2008 PHO 2 113.6 Amar’e Stoudemire 21.4
9/1/2008 LAL 3 112.8 Kobe Bryant 26.8
9/1/2008 CLE 4 112.4 LeBron James 28.4
9/1/2008 DAL 5 110.5 Dirk Nowitzki 25.9
8/1/2007 UTA 1 113.8 Carlos Boozer 21.1
8/1/2007 PHO 2 113.3 Amar’e Stoudemire 25.2
8/1/2007 LAL 3 113 Kobe Bryant 28.3
8/1/2007 GSW 4 111.8 Baron Davis 21.8
8/1/2007 NOH 5 111.5 Chris Paul 21.1
7/1/2006 PHO 1 113.9 Amar’e Stoudemire 20.4
7/1/2006 DAL 2 111.3 Dirk Nowitzki 24.6
7/1/2006 WAS 3 110.1 Gilbert Arenas 28.4
7/1/2006 UTA 4 110.1 Carlos Boozer 20.9
7/1/2006 SAS 5 109.2 Tim Duncan 19.99
6/1/2005 DAL 1 111.8 Dirk Nowitzki 26.6
6/1/2005 PHO 2 111.5 Shawn Marion 21.8
6/1/2005 SEA 3 111.1 Ray Allen 25.1
6/1/2005 DET 4 110.8 Richard Hamilton 20.1
6/1/2005 TOR 5 109.5 Chris Bosh 22.5
5/1/2004 PHO 1 114.5 Amar’e Stoudemire 26
5/1/2004 SEA 2 112.2 Ray Allen 23.9
5/1/2004 SAC 3 110.5 Peja Stojakovic 20.1
5/1/2004 DAL 4 110.3 Dirk Nowitzki 26.1
5/1/2004 MIA 5 110.2 Dwyane Wade 24.1
4/1/2003 DAL 1 112.1 Dirk Nowitzki 21.8
4/1/2003 SAC 2 110.3 Peja Stojakovic 24.2
4/1/2003 SEA 3 107.3 Ray Allen 23
4/1/2003 MIL 4 106.5 Michael Redd 21.7
4/1/2003 MIN 5 105.9 Kevin Garnett 24.2
3/1/2002 DAL 1 110.7 Dirk Nowitzki 25.1
3/1/2002 MIL 2 108.8 Ray Allen 21.3
3/1/2002 GSW 3 108.3 Antawn Jamison 22.2
3/1/2002 LAL 4 107.2 Kobe Bryant 30
3/1/2002 MIN 5 106.1 Kevin Garnett 23
2/1/2001 DAL 1 112.2 Dirk Nowitzki 23.4
2/1/2001 LAL 2 109.4 Shaquille O’Neal 27.2
2/1/2001 SAC 3 109 Chris Webber 24.5
2/1/2001 MIN 4 109 Kevin Garnett 21.2
2/1/2001 SEA 5 108.9 Gary Payton 22.1
1/1/2000 MIL 1 108.8 Ray Allen 22
1/1/2000 LAL 2 108.4 Shaquille O’Neal 28.7
1/1/2000 UTA 3 107.6 Karl Malone 23.2
1/1/2000 DAL 4 107.1 Dirk Nowitzki 21.8
1/1/2000 HOU 5 106.7 Steve Francis 19.9

Unsurprisingly, a plurality of the exceptions are Spurs teams. Gregg Popovich’s squads move the ball, spreading the scoring.

Which is exactly what Cuban wants for his Mavericks.