Tag:Carmelo Anthony
Posted on: July 11, 2011 6:23 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 10:23 pm
 

What teams risk in a lockout: Northwest Division

A look at what is at stake for the NBA's Northwest Division if a whole season was lost due to the lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver.

ricky-rubio

Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the Southeast Division, the Atlantic Division, the Central Division and the Southwest Division. Let's continue with the Northwest Division.  

MINNESOTA Timberwolves


The NBA's worst team won just 17 games last year, had the league's seventh-worst home attendance and is generally mentioned at the top of the list of examples that "prove" the NBA's economic system is broken. That's because their local television, ticket and memorabilia revenue simply cannot compete with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics of the world. Despite all of that, the Timberwolves might very well have more to lose than any other team in the Northwest Division if the league were to miss an entire season.

Let's start with 2009 lottery pick Ricky Rubio, who against all odds took the plunge and decided to finally join up with Minnesota. For multiple seasons, Rubio has represented hope, carrying Timberwolves fans through ugly winters and late-season collapses. The wait was excruciating. The uncertainty about whether he would or wouldn't stay in Europe further into the future made it worse. Now that he's on board, he's been greeted at an airport, introduced to his teammates, sold some jerseys and rallied the collective fan spirit a bit. To lose an entire season would make that interminable wait that much longer. It would also rob Rubio of a valuable development and acclimation year, which would be an absolute disaster. This is a point guard who needs to start on Day 1, entrusted with the full support of his coaching staff and allowed to make mistakes and build chemistry with his teammates while learning on the job. No season means no opportunity to do any of that.

Aside from Rubio, there are financial risks as well. That might be surprising, because the Timberwolves currently are the only team in the NBA that does not have anyone on their books for more than $6.3 million next season, a fairly astonishing accomplishment. Of course, there's a catch: All-Star power forward Kevin Love is on his rookie deal. Indeed, Love is heading into the last pure season of his rookie deal before Minnesota either must issue him a qualifying offer or sign him to an extension. Worse yet, it's possible that Love, one of the league's premier rebounders, will command a mini-max extension or close to it. The point here? He's set to make just $4.6 million next season, a bargain for his production. If the season is lost, the Timberwolves miss out completely on that outstanding value and are one year closer to biting the bullet on extending him without having reaped full benefits. That's tough.

Last but not least, a lost season is the perfect excuse for any franchise to delay tough decisions or to talk themselves into trying to make things work. With an imbalanced roster full of mixed and matched pieces, the Timberwolves, despite their accumulated talent, are going to struggle mightly again next season. The pains of those struggles, theoretically, could be enough to finally convince owner Glen Taylor to pull the plug on president David Kahn, a man who hasn't shown the ability to construct a team and outright wasted two second round draft picks on technical mistakes during the 2011 NBA Draft, by trading a hurt player (Jonny Flynn) and drafting someone who lied about his age (Tanguy Ngombo). A year without games, then, is a year without losses, which means another year for Kahn to preach patience and wiggle out of responsibility for this mess. The sooner Kahn is gone, the sooner this ship turns around. A lost season will make "sooner" feel like never.

OKLAHOMA CITY Thunder

While the Timberwolves need to get headed in the right direction, the Oklahoma City Thunder are already there. With the best designed roster in the league, two young All-Stars, an undisputed Northwest Division title and a Western Conference Finals appearance under their belt already, and a passionate fanbase that is guaranteed to provide 40+ home sellouts next season, the Thunder would happily start the season today. A lost season, then, would be a nightmare.

Name something, anything, and it's at risk for the Thunder. They lose the value of Russell Westbrook playing on a rookie deal. They lose the value of James Harden on a rookie deal. They lose the value of Serge Ibaka on a rookie deal. They lose one year of Kevin Durant's Hall of Fame playing career. They lose another season of playoff experience. They lose a very good chance at making a run at an NBA Finals. They lose a season of having their top eight players (Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefalosha, Nick Collison, Eric Maynor) all locked into affordable contracts. They lose the chemistry and momentum that goes with having an entire nucleus together for multiple years.

What's worse: they have nothing to gain from a work stoppage, other than perhaps the money that would come with increased revenue sharing. Without a single bad or untradeable contract on their books, there is no financial reason OKC would root for a year away from the game. In fact, any change to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that firms up the cap would make it more difficult for the Thunder to keep all this talent in house. That means they wouldn't get the chance to win now and their ability to win later could be compromised.

Usually, young teams that make a deep run through the playoffs can't wait to get back on the court for a second go-around. Multiply that feeling by about 10 and that's the situation facing OKC. 

PORTLAND Trail Blazers

lockoutYou might think the injury-plagued Trail Blazers would welcome some time off to lick their wounds and assess the damage, but missing an entire NBA season wouldn't necessarily be a good thing for this franchise. Really, it's a muddled picture.

The main benefit is clear: the Blazers have a very difficult cap situation next season, thanks to a mini-max contract for guard Brandon Roy, who is apparently no longer capable of reaching his previous All-Star level of play. Saving the $15 million owed to Roy, as well as the $10.5 million owed to aging center Marcus Camby, would be a tempting proposition for most small-market owners. Money aside, saving the miles on Roy's knees wouldn't hurt either.

Blazers owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, however, has dealt with serious health problems in recent years and is clearly in spend-big, win-now mode. He would cut a check tomorrow for five times his team's total salary cap if it meant a shot at the NBA Finals, no questions asked. It's difficult to imagine a financial enticement that would make it worth Allen's while to take a year off. 

Aside from Roy, the other big question is center Greg Oden. Missing an entire NBA season doesn't play in Oden's favor, as he hasn't taken the court for an NBA game since December 2009. A lost season means his layoff would extend nearly three full years to October 2012. That's a long, long time to be away from basketball. Complicating that further for the Blazers is the fact that Oden is a restricted free agent this summer. The Blazers would retain matching rights on Oden if a season was lost but they would be forced to offer him an extension without being able to see whether he recovers fully to be able to take the court and, more importantly, withstand injury once he's out there. Oden could command a mid-level type of offer on the open market, which would be a major investment for Portland, because the Blazers have already committed to nearly $80 million in salary for next season, with contracts to Roy, forwards LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace and guard Wesley Matthews already on the books into the future. Without another center on their roster who is in their long-term plans, though, the Blazers wouldn't have a choice. They'd have to pay up. Given that situation, you want as much information as possible; a lost season would mean no information.

Finally, the Blazers have a big question at the starting point guard position. His name is Raymond Felton, and he was acquired in a draft day trade for previous point guard Andre Miller. Felton is in a contract year and hasn't played meaningful minutes with any of his current teammates, except for a stint in Charlotte with Wallace. Felton will require a good-sized contract extension next summer as well and the Blazers would surely like to see how he gels with their core, particularly Aldridge, before they commit to him long-term. Without any starting quality options on the roster, they would again find themselves stuck in a corner, forced to do what it takes to retain Felton without a readily available back-up plan.

To boil it down: the Blazers have enough questions without a lost season. Missing a full season would simply create an array of complications and made some tough roster decisions that much more difficult and, potentially, costly. 

DENVER Nuggets

Sure, the Denver Nuggets lost franchise forward Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks, but they did an excellent job of stripping their roster down to allow for a quick bounceback rebuilding effort. The Nuggets, somewhat like the Thunder, are in a financial position where their salary cap situation makes it more advantageous for next season to take place unhindered. The Nuggets currently don't have a truly horrible contract on their books, although the mid-level deal for Al Harrington and the $15 million or so left to be paid to Chris Andersen over the next three years are regrettable. Indeed, the Nuggets have committed to less than $40 million in salary for next season, pending a potentially major financial commitment to big man Nene, who has decided to test the free agency waters, and a decision on guard J.R. Smith.

The biggest risks for Denver would be missing out on the value of point guard Ty Lawson on his rookie deal and managing whatever concerns might arise about Denver's ability to use its salary cap flexibility to continue work on its rebuilding situation. Most analysts believe teams with salary cap room will be in a position of strength, regardless of how the new CBA shakes out, so perhaps that uncertainty is more of an annoyance than a true concern. 

The Nuggets have a lot of questions. How will they spend their money? Who will they bring back? Who will they let go? Are the players under contract currently good enough to compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference next year or is it better to continue slashing and burning for another season? These are good questions to have because they all point to one fundamental truth: The Nuggets have flexibility thanks to their young, cheap assets. The worst case scenario is that Nuggets fans have to wait a year to watch a promising, athletic upstart group entertain. That's not too bad. 
 
UTAH Jazz

If I'm the Jazz, I'm totally cool with taking a year off. A lost season means that Utah would save $14 million owed to Al Jefferson, $10.9 million owed to Mehmet Okur, $9.3 million owed to Devin Harris and $8.1 million owed to Paul Millsap. While Millsap is probably worth his number, the other three certainly aren't worth theirs, especially on a team that lost its foundational identity when it shipped franchise point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets at the trade deadline.

Right now, Utah's finances are pretty tight, with $61.5 million already committed for 2011-2012. Look ahead just one year, though, and that number drops to $48.7 million. To make things even nicer, Jefferson, Harris and Millsap will all be expiring that season. The Jazz will be poised to take advantage of their new-found flexibility, keeping the parts that fit (probably only Millsap) and dispensing with the rest.

The biggest risk in a cancelled season for Utah would be the lost development for younger guys like Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and 2011 first-round picks Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. In Favors, they have a potential franchise forward who needs to start enjoying a loose leash so he can blossom into the player the Jazz expect him to be. Forcing him to take a year off does him no good and, depending on how he responds, could do him some harm. Kanter, meanwhile, looks like an even bigger risk on paper because he was forced to sit out last year at Kentucky, his only year at the college level, due to eligibility issues and because he hasn't yet tasted the NBA game. A lost season would mean two full years away from competitive basketball, not an ideal situation for someone the Jazz selected with the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft. As for Hayward and Burks, they are lesser concerns. Both have shown promise and clearly have room for improvement. Losing a year wouldn't be critical, but it would be better for them individually if it could be prevented.

On balance, the financial rewards seem to outweigh the development risks for the Jazz.

Salary numbers courtesy of StoryTeller's Contracts.
Posted on: June 30, 2011 11:44 am
Edited on: June 30, 2011 2:09 pm
 

Report: Melo still getting elbow treatment

Posted by Matt Moore

Carmelo Anthony is reportedly still receiving treatment for elbow bursitis at Knicks facilities, according to the New York Post
Carmelo Anthony has been secretly rehabbing a bum right elbow at the Knicks practice facility, and has been prohibited from lifting weights and any on-court work, including shooting, since the season ended in late April, The Post has learned.

Anthony is suffering from elbow bursitis, a condition he had earlier this season in Denver. It flared up with the Knicks in late February when he talked about the possibility of having a drainage procedure but added he "doesn't like going under the knife."

Anthony's Westchester rehab would end because of the expected lockout tomorrow -- one of the major behind-the-scenes detriments of NBA commissioner David Stern's work stoppage. Anthony would no longer be able to talk to the coaching or medical staff or have elbow treatment at the practice facility.
via Knicks' Anthony rehabbing sore elbow - NYPOST.com.

Anthony's elbow apparently didn't affect his shooting touch. With the Knicks he registered his highest field goal percentage since 2006. But it's still a nagging concern that it has bothered him this long. While the lockout will obviously hamper his ability to get treatment for free, Melo can still tend to it. Not like the guy can't afford health care for it. 

It's a nagging injury but if it doesn't improve and the lockout looks like it will be extended, and it will, Melo might choose to go under the knife to go ahead and take care of it. But then again, that probably won't happen since he won't want to deal with it outside of the context of the team, even though his insurance will undoubtedly cover him, and again, he can afford it.

It is one more sign of just how beaten up the Knicks were at the end of last season, with Amar'e Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups both struggling with injuries versus the Celtics. Perhaps some depth would solve that proble... oh, right.
Posted on: June 21, 2011 3:39 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 9:45 am
 

Why Jimmer Fredette makes sense for the Knicks

Posted by Matt Moore

It should be apparent by now that I'm not big on Jimmer Fredette as an NBA prospect. I've been trying to cool the irons on him since March. I've plugged him in as low as the late teens in mock drafts. I listed him in the "Buyer Beware" post. Basically, if you wanted to make the case that I'm a "hater," you wouldn't have to spend long cooking up the formula. In reality, I merely have concerns about his length, athleticism and adaptation to the NBA game. But in light of Ken Berger of CBSSports.com's recent post wrapping up the latest draft news, there's one scenario where Fredette can not only survive in the NBA game, but flourish. From the halls of Brigham Young to the streets of New York. From KB: 

If Toronto passes on Biyombo, some execs believe he could slide as far as 14-18, and the Knicks, with the 17th pick, are known to be high on him. But the apple of the Knicks’ eye is BYU sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette, and New York officials are trying to compute how far they’d have to trade up for him and what it would cost.
via NBA draft buzz: Kyrie No. 1 - CBSSports.com.

New York is the one place where Jimmer could not only become a decent role player (which is possible anywhere he's drafted, the kid can play after all) but develop into a legitimate star. While he'll never be Steve Nash, D'Antoni's system does reward players with quick instincts and efficient jumpers, which Jimmer has both of. D'Antoni has a knack for taking players of odd-fitting ilk (Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa, Toney Douglas, Landry Fields) and producing effective players by employing them correctly in his fast-paced dance. 

Fredette's never going to win any foot races in the NBA, but by filling in on the perimeter in transition to find open shots and by learning to distribute by sheer volume of opportunity, Fredette can become something more than he would be otherwise in the NBA. It's certainly true that D'Antoni preferes accomplished veterans whose athleticism prevails, but there's something to be said of the nexus of talent where D'Antoni's machinations so often play. Yes, Nash is a daring specimen in terms of conditioning despite his back problem, but it's always been his guile that has set him apart, as it did under D'Antoni. Fredette can quite simply remain a threat at all times as he loops under the basket and around it, while aslo working off of Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. Fredette in the pick and roll with either player could be deadly as Fredette's shooter's touch would deny the defense's ability to cut under the screen and dare the ball-handler to shooot. Instead, due attention would have to be paid to Fredette which would open up angles for the superstars on the roll.

Granted all this is dependent on Fredette actually falling to wherever the Knicks wind up picking on Thursday. But as New York continues to pursue deals to move up -- among the many teams that should be wary of Fredette's limitations -- New York provides the right situation for Jimmer to thrive and be the firecracker his narrative so desperately sells him as.

Plus, no one will be able to tell if he can't play defense in New York. Sorry, the joke had to be made.
Posted on: June 19, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 9:51 am
 

Trade rumor: Knicks after Wolves G Jonny Flynn?

The New York Knicks are reportedly considering trading for Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Jonny Flynn. Posted by Ben Golliver. jonny-flynn

Clear the decks for Ricky Rubio!

The Minnesota Timberwolves have finally convinced the Spanish point guard to come to the NBA for next season. That means the team must now resolve a problem created when the Timberwolves drafted two point guards in the first six picks of the 2009 NBA Draft.

The easiest way to make sure that Rubio has enough playing time and space to get acclimated to the NBA game? Ship out Flynn, of course.

The New York Daily News reports that the Timberwolves and New York Knicks have discussed a Flynn trade.
The Knicks have had preliminary discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves about a trade for point guard Jonny Flynn.

No formal deal is in place, but the Knicks are debating whether Flynn, the sixth overall pick of the 2009 draft would be a viable option to back up Chauncey Billups for at least one season. Flynn has become expendable now that the Wolves have signed Spanish guard Ricky Rubio, who was taken one pick ahead of Flynn.

Toney Douglas would likely be the player traded for Flynn.
If All-Star appearances were handed out based on personality, Flynn would be a perennial selection. Unfortunately, a back injury and a rough transition into coach Kurt Rambis' triangle offense have stunted his growth as an NBA player. 

To date, he's proved to be a jitterbug that can provide some scoring punch but not much else. Flynn's fit as a backup point guard would be slightly better than Douglas' but not markedly so. Both are scoring guards, but Flynn has more upside as a distributor. It's quite possible he looks much better as a playmaker when he's sharing the court with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony rather than Darko Milicic and Martell Webster.

A change of scenery will no doubt do Flynn a lot of good. Trading for Flynn, who's coming off an injury and playing for a terrible team for two years, is the definition of "buying low." One concern: He is on the books for $3.4 million next season, which is a bit more than teams like to pay for a relatively unproven backup point guard. 

The Knicks, of course, have bigger questions at point guard. They will need to move Billups at some point if they hope to become a true championship contender. This trade is definitely one you consider from New York's perspective. The more talent you get behind Billups the better. Flynn's quickness would seem to be a major asset in coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system. 

This wouldn't be a game-changing move for the Knicks, but Flynn's charisma seems like a natural fit at Madison Square Garden.
Posted on: June 17, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 6:48 pm
 

Magic Johnson trashes Peter Vecsey on Twitter

Hall of Famer Magic Johnson takes to Twitter to bash New York Post columnist Peter Vecsey. Posted by Ben Golliver. magic-johnson

Boy, it's been a tough week for New York Post NBA columnist Peter Vecsey.

First, Vecsey was sued for libel by an ESPN writer upset with something he had written about the Carmelo Anthony trade negotiations with the New York Knicks last winter. 

Then, Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA legend Magic Johnson took to Twitter to bash Vecsey, who used to appear on NBC's television broadcasts of the NBA.
"Is Peter Vecsey still on TV? That's right, no, because he wasn't very good.

"For those of you who don't know, Peter used to be a powerful figure in the NBA back in the day, but now he's the low man on the totem pole."
What prompted these comments? We can't be totally sure, but a recent Vecsey column included a shot at Johnson.
A former player finds it unreal for Magic Johnson to go an entire Finals as an ABC analyst without offering the slightest insight whatsoever. "I assume he remembers something about the game."
Somewhat improbably, both men are correct here.

Johnson isn't particularly insightful or engaging in his NBA analysis these days. Sure, he's still got the Magic charisma, but he's not dropping knowledge bombs left and right.

And Vecsey isn't nearly as well connected as he once was, as evidenced by his swing and a miss on the Anthony trade talks. His one big get in recent years was the Gilbert Arenas gun in the locker room scandal, but some of the details in his original report didn't entirely hold up. 

Does this war of words really amount to anything?

Probably not. But Vecsey isn't one to take a shot without responding, so this could just be the beginning.
Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Basketball players lead top 50 richest athletes

Posted by Royce Young

It's good to be a basketballer.

Sports Illustrated released its annual "Fortunate 50" list that compiles the top 50 earners in sports. And basketball players lead the way with 19 of the top 50. Baseball was second with 17, the NFL third with eight, NASCAR and golf tied for fourth with three.

LeBron James was the top basketball money-maker, coming in third overall with an estimated $44.5 million this past year. That included $30 million from endorsements alone. All that badwill created from The Decision didn't appear to hurt King James in the pocketbook. Maybe he can offer Dirk Nowitzki a couple milion to touch the trophy.

Kobe Bryant checked in sixth making $34.8 million total, Kevin Garnett was seventh making $32.8 milion total and Dwight Howard 10th making $28.6 million total. So if you count that up, four of the top 10 came from the NBA. Three came from the NFL, and two apiece from golf and baseball.

(One thing to note: The original 50 list doesn't include international athletes. Yao Ming made $35.6 million last year and would've ranked sixth, ahead of Kobe, but he's on a separate international list. Dirk and Pau Gasol both made around $21 million.)

The rest of the NBA list:

11. Dwyane Wade: $28.2 million
16. Amar'e Stoudemire: $24.5 million
21. Carmelo Anthony: $23.1 million
24. Tim Duncan: $22.3 million
27. Vince Carter: $20.5 million

29. Rashard Lewis: $20.3 million
31. Kevin Durant: $20.0 million
34. Michael Redd: $18.5 million
36. Gilbert Arenas: $17.9 million
37. Zach Randolph: $17.7 million

40. Kenyon Martin: $16.8 million
43. Joe Johnson: $16.5 million
45. Elton Brand: $16.5 million
49. Paul Pierce: $15.6 million
50. Chris Bosh: 15.5 million

Posted on: June 1, 2011 6:48 pm
 

Kobe tops LeBron as highest-paid NBA player

Kobe Bryant tops LeBron James as the highest-paid NBA player. Posted by Ben Golliver. kobe-lebron

After a dominant, awe-inspiring performance against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, it seems like nobody can beat Miami Heat forward LeBron James on the court.

When it comes to who is bringing home the big money off the court, however, King James isn't yet the King.

In a Forbes.com evaluation of the world's 50 highest-paid athletes, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant checks in ahead of James. Forbes says Bryant has earned $53 million in the last 12 months, $5 million more than James' $48 million.

Bryant and James are the only two NBA players ranked in the top 10. Golfer Tiger Woods holds the No. 1 spot at $75 million.
Bryant leads 15 basketball players that made the list, more than any other sport. Bryant added Turkish Airlines and Mercedes-Benz’s Smart Car to his endorsement portfolio this year. His $24.8 million salary with the Los Angeles Lakers is $4 million more than any other NBA player. No. 3 on the list is Miami Heat forward LeBron James, who earned $48 million over the past year.
Forbes notes that its rankings "are derived from salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees, licensing and endorsement income in the 12 months ending May 1" and do not account for "taxes or agents’ fees."

Just as James looks poised to win his first NBA title this month, he could overtake Bryant -- and possibly even Woods -- on this list in the future. A recent report noted that a Heat championship could mean a billion dollar windfall in China for Nike and could push James past Bryant in terms of popularity in that crucial market. 

The next highest NBA player on Forbes' list is Houston Rockets cente Yao Ming, ranked No. 18, at $27.7 million. Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard is ranked No. 19 at $27.6 million. Dwyane Wade, James' Heat teammate, and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony are the other NBA players that appear in the top 25.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 6:17 pm
 

Basketballers abound in top 50 most marketable

Posted by Royce Young

There's really no denying that "The Decision" had a major impact. LeBron James knew what he was after. He wanted to become a bigger star, expand his brand become more marketable.

Well, looks like it worked.

SportsPro released their list of Top 50 Most Marketable Athletes and James ranked No. 2 only behind Usain Bolt. One other basketball player was in the top 10 (Carmelo Anthony, No. 6).

Also on the list: Yao Ming (11), Kobe Bryant (13), Dwyane Wade (15), Kevin Durant (30) and Deron Williams (48). Surprising omission? Where's Dwight Howard?

But the fact remains: Basketball players have always done in marketability. You can clearly see their face, see emotions and connect better with them. They're some of the most exposed athletes in the world and it's easy to get a sense of what they're like.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com