I know, I know. The big news last night was Carmelo Anthony‘s debut at Madison Square Garden and he didn’t disappoint. But Knicks fans have something else to be excited about after watching last night’s game. Chauncey Billups, Mr. Big Shot himself, was largely dismissed and discussed as basically a “throw-in” player in the blockbuster deal that sent ‘Melo to the Knicks.
Most consider him an aging player with diminishing skills and while he may not be the player he once was, he can still get it done! For a piece of the trade that was mostly written off as just a throw-in, he has the potential to be a huge part of the Knicks success this year and next. I know, most Knicks fans and male groupies don’t care until Chris Paul comes to the Garden, but Billups is a very solid piece to the puzzle.
There is no doubt that he’s a playoff proven, clutch player and he has tremendous experience playing with ‘Melo from their days in Denver. For a team with 4 new starters, that continuity and leadership cannot be overstated. Even in a drama filled first half in Denver this season he managed to average 16.5 ppg. He was even more impressive last night adding 21 points and 8 assists in the Knicks win over the Bucks.
Is Chauncey Billups the sexy addition that Chris Paul or Deron Williams would be? Of course not. But he’s a much better player, and a better immediate fit, than anyone has given him credit for since the trade. The Knicks, as any team that makes a move like this including the Heat, have huge holes to fill. But Chauncey removes one of those massive holes with a veteran, clutch, and capable point guard to lead the team.
Just ask the Heat how badly they would like to have a point guard with Billups’ skills for their playoff run. The Knicks aren’t going to win an NBA championship this year, but with Billups, they can do some serious damage in the playoffs.
Few things in the sporting world have been as annoying and frustrating as the Carmelo Anthony trade demand and subsequent trade rumors. For months we’ve known that despite what Anthony may say publicly, he wants no part of being in Denver or, for that matter, New Jersey/Brooklyn. There is little question that option A, B, and C for Carmelo Anthony has and will likely continue to be the New York Knicks.
With that being said, what in God’s creation could be the holdup? The Nuggets are in a tough situation with their superstar demanding a trade before his contract has expired. They’ve essentially lost the final year of Anthony’s contract despite having all legal rights to his services through this season. Sure, it’s horrible for the Nuggets and their fans, but at this point they have to have come to grips with it. There is little question that the Nuggets have long since moved into “get what we can” mode.
The Nuggets know they have lost their star, the whole world knowns Anthony only wants to be a Knick, and the whole world knows that the Knicks desperately want Anthony. So what in the world is holding this up!?
One of the best in the business, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is now reporting what I and others have been hearing whispers of for months. That the man who single-handedly destroyed, embarrassed, and nearly bankrupted the Knicks, Isiah Thomas, is once again calling the shots in New York.
Respected basketball executive Donnie Walsh has done a tremendous job in rebuilding the Knicks after Thomas’ continual mismanagement, but for some reason owner James Dolan has once again seeded power to Thomas. Technically, Thomas isn’t employed by the Knicks as of yet but according to this report he is driving everything through James Dolan including the handling (or rather mishandling) of the Carmelo Anthony trade, the departure of Donnie Walsh, and the future hiring of the Knicks’ next President and GM.
One front office executive is quoted as saying “Isiah is calling the shots in New York. It’s a disgrace. Donnie should walk.”
Dolan, under the direction of Isiah, has continually overruled Walsh throughout the trade talks and continues to undermine the authority and responsibilities that he once hired him to oversee. Walsh has reportedly stood firm in never wanting to trade Raymond Felton for Chauncey Billups and has firmly stood against trading Danilo Gallinari as a part of the package.
So when you start to think about why on earth this trade has taken months and seems like one of the most dysfunctional things in all of sports, that’s because it is. A man who once completely wrecked the Knicks has been essentially given the powers of the General Manager for perhaps the most important trade in history of the franchise. All the while, the man who worked tirelessly to restore the franchise to respectability is being continually disregarded, overruled, and undermined right in front of his face.
If the waiting games hasn’t turned Anthony off to the idea of playing for the Knicks, the idiocy and ridiculousness of this situation and James Dolan’s continual obsession with letting Isiah Thomas wreck his team should be enough to make him seriously consider option D, E, and F.
New Jersey Nets Billionaire owner, Mikhail Prokhorov has ordered his front office to abandon the trade that could have sent Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey/Brooklyn according to multiple sources including ESPN. Since taking over the team, Prokhorov made it clear that he wants to build a winner and do it fast. Many believed that therefore, he would do everything in his power to bring ‘Melo to the Nets in order to secure a legit NBA superstar.
For a man who has near infinite resources, the price associated with Carmelo Anthony was apparently too high. Prokhorov called off the scheduled meeting with Anthony and abruptly declared the deal dead.
“There comes a time when the price is simply too expensive,” he said during a news conference in New Jersey this afternoon.
“I’m instructing our team to walk away from the deal.”
Prokhorov said his meeting with Anthony, which was set for Thursday, is canceled.”It’s been too long and too expensive,” he said. When asked if that was a final decision, he responded, “for sure.”
It is certainly strange that after months of pursuing this deal and with a meeting schedule that the Russian billionaire would just call off the deal so quickly. Perhaps he received enough information that made it clear that Carmelo wouldn’t re-sign with the Nets. Carmelo has made it abundantly clear that he wants to go to the Knicks and only the Knicks.
Many believed that the Nets may be able to persuade Anthony to re-sign with the Nets, but barring an agreement that he would stay in New Jersey/Brooklyn, the trade made no sense for the Nets. ‘Melo wouldn’t make them a title contender this season so anything they gave up for him would ultimately be wasted.
Perhaps this is the reason Prokhorov called it off. With the Nets out of the picture, the Nuggets may now be forced to deal Anthony to the Knicks who were previously unable to meet the Nuggets’ steep asking price. But with only a short period of time between now and the trade deadline, the Nuggets are going to be forced to maximize their return in a no-win situation.
Many believe that the Knicks and the Bulls are the front-runners to land Anthony this season, but if I were the Nuggets, I’d send him wherever I got the best deal regardless of Anthony’s wishes. The issue is, however, that Anthony will be a free agent at the end of the season so whatever team that deals for him will only do so if they believe they can re-sign. This significantly reduces the field of legitimate suitors.
New day, new ‘Melo rumor, but this one is pretty interesting. Yahoo Sports is reporting that the 3 team trade that has been in the works to send Carmelo Anthony to the New Jersey Nets may be called off. The Nuggets have reportedly threatened the Nets to keep trade talks quiet or else. Or else what? The Nuggets say if trade talks are not kept quiet they’ll send the NBA Superstar across town to the rival New York Knicks.
We all know that the Knicks have been Carmelo’s preferred landing spot. This is something that the Nets know full well and so it places a great deal of leverage on the Nets to comply with the Nuggets wishes. But questions arise about the legitimacy of these threats as the Nuggets would likely need to take a much lesser trade package in return from the Knicks. After all, if the Nuggets could have gotten what they want from the Knicks, you would have to believe they would have done it quite a long time ago.
So the question then is, would the Nuggets really take part in a weaker trade just to make a point to the Nets and the rest of the NBA? I think it’s highly unlikely. This is about business and the Nuggets have a responsibility to make the most of a crappy situation. Their superstar has basically told them that under no circumstances will he resign with them and that he’s unhappy being there through the term of his contract. They can say what they want publicly, but ‘Melo has been asking, begging or demanding for a trade for quite some time. So the Nuggets are forced to maximize what they can get, which will not come close to the value they are giving up.
But if you’re the Nets, and you’re on the cusp of landing an NBA superstar, the player your cross town rivals so desperately want, why risk it? Would the Nuggets actually follow through on this threat? Doubtful. But it’s certainly not worth the risk. There is nothing to lose for the Nets to comply and to simply keep their mouths shut.
And according to Yahoo Sports, they have done just that. They report that the talks significantly changed tone yesterday and that the executives have gone “underground”. Meaning that NBA insiders have been unable to glean any information about the trade discussions and that both teams are doing as the Nuggets wish.
Who knows when the ‘Melo soap opera will come to a close, but at least for now, the 3 team mega-deal between the Nuggets, Nets, and Pistons seem to be back on track.
The rumor mill has been swirling since Carmelo Anthony turned down the 3 year $65M contract extension offered to him by the Denver Nuggets over the summer. Carmelo was one of the only high profile players to sign an extra 4th year on his deal as other stars like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade opted to sign only a 3 year deal. With the Free Agent frenzy this past summer, that move may have proven costly to Anthony as he is now subject to the wishes of the organization.
He has made it extremely clear that he not only wants out of Denver, but that he wants to go to New York. With the Nuggets visiting the Knicks last night, those rumors only strengthened and Carmelo’s comments only added fuel to the fire. When discussing the trip to New York, Anthony added this:
“Everybody’s yelling out the windows: ‘Melo we need you in New York’. Of course that feels good when you know someone out there wants you to come and represent their team and represent their city. That’s what I took from that.”
That’s all well and good, but he’s ignoring the fact that the Denver fans want him to represent their team as well so it’s a bit disingenuous to act like that has ANYTHING to do with it when in fact it’s only related to what he wants. And there’s nothing wrong with that if he would just come out and say it. What athletes today fail to realize is that they take more media scrutiny and ether from fans because they’re dishonest and treat people like they’re stupid. We know that ‘Melo wants to leave Denver and go to New York. Just say it. Don’t try to act like you give a damn about the fans and their thoughts.
So that wasn’t all and the next piece is what really stirs up the pot and gets the rumors going. Anthony is reported to have recently told the Nuggets that he will not sign the $65M extension unless he is traded specifically to the New York Knicks. This puts the Denver Nuggets in an impossible situation. Other teams may be able to provide a more lucrative package to the Nuggets but ‘Melo is now making known what has been speculated for months… he will not agree to sign anywhere long-term except for New York. So as I said in my blog last night, it doesn’t make sense for any team other than the Knicks to give up much of anything to get ‘Melo knowing he will leave after the end of the year anyway.
There are literally only a few teams in the league that ‘Melo could potentially put over the top and win a championship with that would make a trade worth it knowing you would only be renting him for a couple months. And even with that being said, what kind of effort in crunch time are you really going to get from a player who already has one foot out the door (i.e., LeBron James vs. Boston).
Anthony was asked about these comments after the game last night but he refused to answer them giving credence to the accuracy of the report. There is no question that ‘Melo wants to be in New York and to me, there is no question that he made it crystal clear to the Denver Nuggets that if they want to get anything in return for Anthony, they will need to take a lesser package from the Knicks. He has just about assured no team not named the Knicks will make a legit offer for his “talents”.
Denver Nugget Superstar, Carmelo Anthony has made no secret about his desire to be traded from the Nuggets as he is unhappy with the direction of the team and his ability to win in Denver. There is also no secret to the fact that ‘Melo desperately wants to play in New York, where he went to college and where he and his wife live. The Knicks are vastly improved this season with the addition of Amare’ Stoudemire and Ray Felton but they are a piece away from legitimately contending for an NBA championship. This mutual desire has lead to dozens of ‘Melo to the Knicks rumors but New York lacks an important piece to the ‘Melo trade puzzle. A draft pick.
It’s been reported that Denver wants a contributing player, an expiring contract, and a draft pick for Anthony. The Knicks have two of three and despite what Meatloaf might say, that’s not going to get a deal done. New York has Eddie Curry’s expiring contract and are willing to move Danilo Gallinari, but they don’t have the all important draft pick. So barring a 3rd team being willing to intervene and allow the Knicks to pick up a draft pick for another mostly irrelevant player, the Knicks are going to be hard-pressed to pull this off.
Speaking of the 3rd team… the latest rumor is that the Charlotte Bobcats are making a legitimate play for the superstar small forward under the direction of owner, Michael Jeffrey Jordan. The Bobcats have been previously rumored to be involved only as the 3rd team in more of a facilitative role but the latest and greatest rumor puts the Bobcats in true pursuit of Anthony.
Charlotte is rumored to be prepared to offer Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw at a minimum and potentially a draft pick. Could Charlotte put together a package that would finally entice Denver to move ‘Melo, which they’ve been previously slow and deliberate in doing? Probably. But the real question is should they?
In my opinion, barring a massive 180 on ‘Melo’s thinking, absolutely not. Anthony has made it quite clear that he wants to be in New York. At a minimum, if he were to agree to go anywhere else, I would think it would need to be another high profile team that is close to a championship and that has another legit star. There is no question that the NBA is going the way of the Miami Heat where the current superstars want to join forces rather than to compete head to head. The likely scenario for months has been that ‘Melo and Chris Paul would join Stoudemire in New York, forming the next “Super Team”. So, if he went anywhere other than New York, I would have to think he would join up with another team close to a title, with another star, like Orlando (To my knowledge, Orlando has shown no interest to the point).
So with ‘Melo wanting to play in New York or for another immediate contender, why in the world would he want to stay in Charlotte long-term? Charlotte was a decent team last year and they’re much better than they used to be, but they are not anywhere close to a legit contender. So why would Jordan give up that much to get ‘Melo for half a season when it’s not going to produce even a legit chance at a title?
The only plausible answer would be two-fold. Jordan thinks he can influence Anthony enough to convince him to sign a long-term extension following the trade and Jordan plans on making other blockbuster moves. It would only make sense for both parties if the Bobcats plan on adding another star (maybe Chris Paul or one of the players in the deep 2011 “one and done” class?). Why would the Bobcats give up so much to get ‘Melo unless they plan on adding another piece to make it at least possible to win? Why would ‘Melo all of a sudden have a change of heart and want to go anywhere other than New York?
The only way it would be possible is if Jordan pulls a Pat Riley-like coup and is able to shake up the entire power structure of the NBA. Jordan is an incredibly powerful and influential man, but his abilities as an NBA executive left much to be desired. He did after-all, draft Kwame Brown #1 overall. If there is ANY chance of Jordan pulling off the surprise trade and landing ‘Melo, he will already have another huge trade in the works.
At this point, it’s just a rumor and a highly unlikely one at that. But if anyone can persuade ‘Melo to change his mind about New York, Michael Jordan has as good of a chance as anyone. And I can’t say I would mind seeing another “Super Team” in the East to challenge the Miami Heat for years to come.
Blake Griffin has had an impressive start to his “rookie” season this year after missing all of last year to an injury. Well, he definitely looks to be back to 100%. He’s had his fair share of impressive plays and dunks but just take a look at this video. This may be the best dunk I’ve seen all year and there have been some good ones.
Blake Griffin looks to have fought back and debunked the “Clippers Curse” and if he keeps playing like this the NBA may need to implement it’s own version of the NFL’s “Defenseless Players” rule to protect Griffin’s opponents!
BFF’s Chris Paul & LeBron James
Chris Paul has not been a happy camper for quite some time. After early success in New Orleans, the Hornets franchise have been getting consistently worse each year. Last season, after a slow start, Byron Scott was fired by the Hornets, much to the dismay of one CP3. Chris Paul publicly criticized the organization for not consulting him on the move in a very LeBronesque move. After a good season for him individually, Paul sat out the rest of the season after a knee injury in February. And so it began….
We all know what happened in the NBA this summer when the players took complete control of the league and the “Super Team” formed in Miami. Amare Stoudemire also signed with the Knicks in hopes of attracting another big name player like Chris Paul, Tony Parker, and/or Carmelo Anthony. After THE DECISION, CP3 and LeBron spent some time together, LeBron talked Paul into joining his own “Marketing Firm”, LRMR, and Chris Paul was suddenly openly demanding a trade. After taking some criticism for his public trade demands, and after the Hornets made it clear that they were going to NOTHING to accommodate Chris Paul due to the 3 years left on his contract. CP3 backed off his stance and starting touting the typical company line that he liked what he heard in the “heart to heart” with Hornets brass and is excited to be a Hornet in 2010.
CP3 has been linked to the next potential Super Team, presumably, the New York Knicks. Other teams originally tied to Paul were the L.A. Lakers and the Orlando Magic. These talks died down after the Hornets made it abundantly clear that they were not going to deal CP3 with 3 years left on his contract, but it won’t take much for trade talks to pick back up. No matter what Chris Paul says publicly, he is very unhappy in New Orleans, he is literally BFF’s with LeBron James, and he utilizes one of the most inept, unprofessional, and incompetent organizations in the Country in LRMR. There is no question in my mind, that Chris Paul is biding his time and he will bolt at the first possible opportunity.
Today on Jim Rome is Burning, Chris Paul sat down for an interview with Rome that while it was encrypted, was very telling. When asked about his current team and their chances for success this year Paul indicated that they are a “hungry” team but that the problems and deficiencies on both sides of the court have not yet been addressed. This is obviously code for him saying that his team still sucks and he’s not happy that the franchise didn’t make moves to address the issues. He went on to specify, quite clearly, that the Hornets are no where near a playoff team and then added the typical company line that if they continue to work hard they can improve to that level.
Chris Paul was asked about his rookie head coach and if he’s been able to buy into the new coach, system, style, etc. CP3 completely deflected this question but didn’t sound too pleased that he was playing for an unproven, rookie head coach. Jim Rome again pressed Chris Paul on the problems from the summer and if everything was resolved. Paul completely deflected the question and provided his only true and honest answer of the interview (even though it had nothing to do with the question that was asked). CP3 spoke about how frustrating and difficult the off-season was for him and how excited he was to get to playing basketball. He said how he was so excited to run out onto the floor and be in the starting lineup again and that he was “in his happy place”.
He was asked to give his thoughts on LeBron joining two other superstars and was asked if he’s at all envious of those guys for getting to play together and for having a chance to win right now. Paul typically said that he wasn’t jealous at all and that he wishes LeBron and the other guys the best. It is PAINFULLY OBVIOUS, no matter what he says now or in the future, that he plans on following the LeBron James blueprint, maybe minus the hour-long special. He has been close friends with LeBron for years, is now under the umbrella of LRMR, has a close relationship with behind the scenes deal maker, World Wide Wes, and has made it publicly clear that he wants out of New Orleans. When CP3 was originally rumored to be headed to New York, LeBron James also typically, and cowardly, told Paul that he’d rather have him stay out West. Well, of course LeBron would rather have the next Super Team be out West! He wants the easiest possible path to the Finals! Some competitor huh!?
Chris Paul isn’t stupid though, and knew after demanding a trade and being immediately rebuffed by the Hornets that he would have to change his stance for the time being. After the response LeBron James got over the summer, CP3 would’ve been CRUSHED if he pouted and whined his way out of town. But make no mistake about it, the first chance he gets he’ll join up with a couple other superstars.
NBA Commissioner, David Stern
It seems that everyone, including just casual sports fans, are acutely aware of the NFL labor issues surrounding the current CBA negotiations. The NFL and the NFLPA have been posturing for months trying to apply pressure and preparing fans for the possibility of a likely Lock-Out. Less hyped, but equally imminent, is the likely NBA Lock-Out that is starting to pick up steam in the media due to David Stern’s recent comments and the well documented financial struggles of the NBA.
In an interview last week, Stern indicated that the NBA would need to cut salaries & benefits to players by up to 38%. Now, obviously, this is at least to some degree, posturing and negotiating and it’s probably at least double what they actually expect to cut. But when asked about NBA contraction, Stern also confirmed that it would a possibility that was on the table and being considered. Again, probably posturing and it’s unlikely that they would actually cut any number of teams whether it be 2, 4, 6 whatever. But I honestly believe that the NBA would be a better experience for the fans (and obviously probably not in these cities and I’ll assuredly piss people off) and the NBA would be more stable financially if they were to contract.
So why would less teams be better for the NBA and for us fans? First, less teams means less players under the NBA’s employ. This immediately and drastically cuts the salary & benefit number that they need to reduce in order to control their massive deficits. Secondly, EVERY professional sports league could actually benefit from contraction as there are too many teams that no one cares about, in many instances INCLUDING THEIR OWN FANS! When a league has too many teams you get too many fringe players to just fill out rosters and the talent is watered down. I think this is especially evident in the NFL (quarterbacks) and in MLB (pitching). You get a lot of poor play because there just aren’t enough guys in the world who can do the job and fill all the spots.
We also see TONS of games that most everyone just don’t care about. Can you name anyone outside of a dedicated hometown fan who really cares about seeing Memphis vs. Golden St. play in February? Remember, I don’t think this will happen, but I think the NBA would be better if it did. Here are my teams I would propose for contraction:
Lets face it, Golden State hasn’t been actually competitive or relevant since…. well FOREVER. Well, since they first came to Golden State that is. Now the sale of the team this year for $450 M would go directly against my argument, but I cannot comprehend that this team is worth that much money and that it’s actually a viable NBA franchise.
The Grizzlies came into the NBA in 1995 with Toronto and they were originally established in Vancouver. The franchise was never relevant and it was so poorly attended that the franchise was moved to Memphis. MEMPHIS!? I’m sure Memphis is a great city, but is it really the right place for an NBA franchise? An awful franchise for that matter? The Grizzlies could easily be eliminated and no more than about 130 people would care.
Obviously, the Raptors came into the league in 1995 and have really struggled to be relevant ever since. Sure, they’ve made the playoffs a few times, but after losing Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, and now Chris Bosh, this is one of the most irrelevant franchises in the NBA. Not to mention, the team is in CANADA! Canada is great, but again, not for basketball. Attendance will be horrible, the team won’t be competitive, and no one else in the NBA will care. Get rid of em!
Obviously this would eliminate 3 Western Conference teams and only one Eastern Conference teams so one team would need to be re-aligned to even things up. But Minnesota has really only been relevant for short period of time when Kevin Garnett was there and they were in the playoffs on a regular basis. Kevin McHale ruined this team and they have been AWFUL ever since. I don’t consider Minnesota a great basketball City… great football & baseball City sure. But they have been and will remain irrelevant for quite some time. Another team that only a handful of people would miss.