Tag:Anthony Randolph
Posted on: June 22, 2011 7:50 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 7:59 pm

Kanter back on the Wolves' board?

Posted by Matt Moore

I thought we had this settled. The Wolves were not going to take Kanter, it was down to Derrick Williams or a trade, and all was right the world. Well, chaos has just been reintroduced, potentially. 

ESPN reports:
Late Tuesday night, sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves were strongly considering taking Enes Kanter with the No. 2 pick.
via Wolves considering Kanter at No. 2? - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN.

Kanter would actually make a lot of sense. It doesn't create the logjam at SF for the Wolves after they used assets to acquire Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, and while Darko Milicic has been serviceable... he's still Darko. Ricky Rubio with Love and Kanter means they just need to find perimeter weapons and they're set, with Wes Johnson a definite maybe at one spot.

But hold on there, fellows and fellowettes. From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:
If Minnesota is unsuccessful in procuring a veteran star for the second pick, sources said the Wolves are comfortable selecting Arizona's Derrick Williams, who team officials strongly believe will be on the board after the Cavaliers select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving.
via Draft buzz: Nash, Smoove, and more - CBSSports.com.

ESPN also backed off on the Kanter talk today, saying it might be a smokescreen.  If it is, you have to wonder if the Wolves realize that if you leak a hundred things (as they've been rumored in talks with everyone except the Harlem Globetrotters, Manchester United and the New York Giants' cheerleading squad), it doesn't make what you're doing seem mysterious and unknowable. It just makes you seem like you don't know what in the holy name of Garnett you're doing. 

Kanter makes the most sense, so I'd steer clear of that pick as a selection for the Wolves. Much better to go with the player they don't want or need or their continued pursuit for a veteran star to pair with the Wolves who David Kahn says is done rebuilding. In truth? The Wolves likely won't know what they're doing until the call is made to Newark Thursday night.
Posted on: April 14, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 7:03 pm

The Kahn Saga: Wolves still chasing their tail

Posted by Royce Young

David Kahn held a press conference Wednesday. During that, he had a fun quote.

We're ahead of where we thought we'd be with the roster.

I can definitely see his point. The Wolves went an NBA worst 17-65 this season, still don't have Ricky Rubio, just signed Darko Milicic to a $20 million deal, don't have a roster with any cohesiveness and really don't appear to have an end game in this rebuilding project.

Yep, right where they want to be.

Kahn has found his way on to the hot seat so he's doing what any self-preserving person would do -- pass the buck. As Ken Berger wrote yesterday, Kahn refused to give coach Kurt Rambis any sort of vote of confidence and basically just stopped short of saying he was gone. Berger said, according to connected sources, that Rambis is pretty much a guarantee to be fired.

It's natural to blame Rambis, who hasn't been able to employ his run-and-gun version of the triangle offense in Minnesota. Under him, the Wolves are 32-132. That's a 2009-10 season of 15-67 and this season of 17-65. You can call it whatever you want -- rebuilding, restructing, whatever -- but the reality is, that's just terrible.

Those two years have also come with Kahn running the show after replacing GM Kevin McHale. Kahn inherited a 24-58 team and turned them into a 15-win disaster. Before that 15-win season, he drafted Ricky Rubio and then took another point guard another pick later. Rubio still has yet to play for the Wolves and might not ever. His other point guard, Jonny Flynn, has largely been a disappointment.

Kahn basically tried to dump the roster and unload his cruddy players with a mind to acquire talent and cap space, a la the Presti Plan that the Thunder used to build a winner. Two problems with that plan: 1) The Wolves didn't draft Kevin Durant and 2) David Kahn is not Sam Presti.

I don't think anyone could even dare to sum up the Kahn era better than the good people at Canis Hoopus did. One particular point they addressed was Kahn's statement that the roster was nearly complete. To quote Hoopus, "This is a horrifying thing to think about, let alone take seriously." Nothing quite says Kahn is out of touch with his own rebuilding project better than that. To see a roster that's chasing its tail, running the hamster wheel or whatever "stuck in place" analogy you want, and say it's right you want to be and even better than that, it's almost done, is borderline crazy talk.

There's good news though. I wrote about it a month ago. The Wolves DO have talent. They DO have some players to build around. Kevin Love is very good, Anthony Randolph is talented and Michael Beasley seems like a potential star scorer that's just a bit lost. Then there's the dream Ricky the Savior. But it doesn't feel like Kahn has any idea what to do with those players. It's kind of like someone dangles a talented but troubled player in front of him and he can't help but bite.

And how is he supposed to convince Love to hang around when it's going like this? Love's not stupid. He's not going to hear, "We're almost there!" and buy it. Kahn's press conference was the "Mission Accomplished" moment of his tenure in Minnesota. He's officially jumped his own shark.

Did you know: The Wolves last two seasons are the fourth-worst in NBA history. History! And somehow it's all right on track?

If this is the near finished product, I'm not sure that's really all that inspiring. Remember the whole "We're transparent!" thing the Wolves tried to pull back in October? They published a full-page ad saying honesty was the best policy. One part read, "
We now have more shooting, athleticism and depth at every position, which will make us a better team this season. So will we challenge for the NBA championship this year? Not likely. Ouch. This honesty thing is a bit painful. But the reality is, we still need that one dominant player." Come on down, Anthony Randolph!

I guess the Wolves were right. They had a little more at every position. As a result, they won two more games. From 15 to 17. Progress! One more snippet for fun:

"There’s been a lot of talk this off-season. The naysayers certainly have been vocal. And while we can understand a certain amount of skepticism, we know we’ve turned the corner. And we’re anxious to get after that first tipped ball so we can start to prove it. Enough talk. It’s time to play."

Gotta wonder if they're regretting trying to pull that whole honesty thing. When you stink, you stink. Kahn trying to tell fans and media in Minnesota that things are right on track sounds more like a pathetic attempt at positively spinning a disastrous season than being transparent and honest. Transparent and honest would've sounded more like, "Man, we've got a long way to go. I really thought we'd be better by now."

Kahn senses the bell tolling for him, so he's pulling out the stops and pointing at Rambis. I think Rambis is a good coach. Maybe the roster hasn't responded to him, but it's not his fault here. Reality is, this roster isn't ready to win even if John Wooden were coaching it.

But don't worry you guys, it's all part of the plan. 
Posted on: March 26, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2011 3:46 pm

With another chance, Anthony Randolph flourishes

Posted by Royce Young

He's held the imaginations of basketball junkies captive the past three seasons. He's shown flashes of brilliance, moments of incredible skill and stretches of terrific basketball. He's been mismanaged, misunderstood and mistreated. He's been benched, traded and traded again.

And he's finally getting another opportunity. This time, it might be one that's helps him turn the corner and find the potential we all know he's capable of.

If you love basketball and aren't fascinated by Anthony Randolph, then you may want to re-think yourself. 

If you fired up NBA 2K11 and created a player from scratch, you'd probably wind up with something close to Randolph. Even down to the left hand. He's 6-9, long, absurdly athletic, skilled with the ball and can step out and shooter a good 18-foot jumper.

NBA general managers have seen the same thing. The Warriors drafted him 14th in 2008 out of LSU, but between Don Nelson's erratic rotations and benchings and the fact Randolph was a bit inconsistent in his own right, Golden State traded him to New York as part of the deal that took David Lee out west.

Finally, most thought, in Mike D'Antoni's system Randolph will flourish. He'll settle in behind Amar'e Stoudemire and flash his talents in transition. Except Randolph suffered the same fate. He only appeared in 17 games for New York playing at least 20 minutes only once.

David Kahn targeted Randolph in the three-team Carmelo Anthony deal and nabbed him at the price of Corey Brewer and taking on Eddy Curry's contract. And finally, Randolph was seeing some opportunities. He's been getting routine playing time off the bench, but it wasn't until Love went down with a groin injury a week ago that Randolph saw real opportunity.

And seize it, he has.

Replacing Love in the starting lineup Minnesota's last two games, Randolph put up a career-high 31 points with 11 rebounds against Dallas and then 24 and 15 against Oklahoma City's imposing front line. Wolves coach Kurt Rambis pretty much raved about Randolph's skillset.

"His versatility. You can see that he can handle the basketball. He can put the ball on the floor, create a shot. He can play in areas that make it very difficult for big people to guard him," he said. "With his length and his athleticsim offensively and his ability to handle the basketball and shoot outside, it makes him a very difficult cover for a lot of big guys in this league.

"We want him to be very active and assertive at the defensive end," Rambis continued. "We see him as someone that can play very good on-ball defense and hopefully come from the weakside and block shots and be very well-versed in pick-and-roll situations and possibly even switch on to smaller people."

It's not the first time Randolph has teased us though. With Golden State, he had multiple, random nights of 28 points, 13 rebounds. It just never all came together for him. But think about this: He's only 21. Sometimes things take time. Sometimes, a new opportunity and a change of scenery helps it start to come together.

Thing is, Randolph has looked comfortable, confident. He's appeared very sure of himself and how he fits in. Against the Thunder, Minnesota was running a large amount of their offense through Randolph. He was their option. And it felt good for him.

"I'm going to continue to keep doing what I've been doing," Randolph said. "Even when I wasn't playing, I'm going to continue working hard and go from there.

"I just want to win. Just go out there and play my game, what got me to the league. And I just want to try and win games."

The Wolves have been more competitive than you think they've been at times this year. Yes, they're just 17-56 which is awful, but they've dropped 18 games by six points or less. And seven of those by a single possession. They're a young team that just doesn't know how to win yet.

Randolph has become part of the yearly rebuilding effort around the Wolves. He's not an answer, but he certainly is something. Make fun of the Wolves and Kahn all you want, but let's be honest here -- they have talent. Between Love, Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley, Jonny Flynn and Randolph, there's a core of young, albeit raw, talent there.

That's kind of become the problem though with the Wolves. It's become a collection of raw gifted players without much direction or plan. It almost seems like Kahn's building plan was grabbing players just like Randolph. But that's no good unless you know get a handle on how to use it all, or even better, develop it.

Kevin Durant came away impressed with the young Wolves Friday night. He said he thought Beasley was the type of player that could lead that young group to the playoffs. Maybe that's just Durant speaking highly of his old friend, but it's not that far-fetched.

Think about the Thunder three years ago. A young collection of talent that needed a direction. Granted, the gap between Sam Presti and Kahn is pretty much a Mariana Trench type of thing, but still. Maybe a better example is the Grizzlies who just needed a veteran that was ready to put it together like Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies were a ship without a rudder two years ago but it's all started to come together a bit with one piece. (And Chris Wallace isn't exactly the best and brightest GM out there either.)

I wouldn't assume that Kahn and the Wolves are counting on Randolph to be a savior or the missing piece (among many missing pieces I guess). But he is something you can build around. The guy has talent. Real talent. He's been held back over the years because inconsistency on his part, low basketball IQ and mismanagement of his talent. Now though, he might be getting it. Maybe. It is just two games. But two very good games.

Enough reason for a little optimism in Minnesota if you ask me. You can't dream of Rubio forever.
Posted on: February 21, 2011 11:35 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 9:11 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

Posted by Royce Young

It happened.

Carmelo Anthony has been traded to the New York Knicks. Finally.

This trade finally happening is kind of like Chinese Democracy. We knew at some point it was coming but now that it is, it's kind of a letdown. Carmelo was going to be a Knickerbocker, it was just a question of what it would take to get him there.

Despite the New Jersey Nets best efforts, Melo was never going anywhere other than Manhattan. Through all the posturing, all the leveraging, all the nonsense, we finally have the resolution we knew was coming when Ken Berger reported that Melo wanted to be a Knick way back in September.

The cost of getting Melo might be that the Knicks front office has been doused in gasoline and one little spark will blow the whole thing up. The Knicks tried to say they were unified in the plan to acquire the superstar swingman, but by all accounts, James Dolan may have stepped on Donnie Walsh's face in bringing in Isiah Thomas to backdoor the deal. In fact, the deal has Isiah's stamp all over it -- overpaying as a result of knee-jerk reaction.

However, this is a deal the Knicks had to make. Whiffing on Melo simply wasn't an option. Maybe they gave up a bit much, but the Knicks are better today than they were yesterday and that's the whole point.

Whatever the case is, Carmelo will be donning the orange and blue in Madison Square Garden. Here's the framework of the deal, according to Ken Berger:
  • The Wolves will be sending Corey Brewer to the Knicks, while receiving Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph and $3 million from New York.
The question left begging of course now is, was it worth it for New York to pounce sooner than later? The Knicks have Anthony to go with Amar'e Stoudemire, but with what they had to sacrifice to get the duo, can you really see the additions of Billups and Melo putting New York into the Eastern contender conversation? I mean, a starting five of Billups, Landry Fields, Melo, Stoudemire and (probably) Ronny Turiaf isn't all that bad, is it? Two superstars, a solid veteran point guard, a promising rookie role player and a dirty work center in Turiaf.

But remember: Carmelo Anthony isn't LeBron James. He isn't the kind of player that's automatically going to elevate the player of everyone around him. He's no doubt one of the most gifted scorers in the league and maybe the toughest player to defend in the world. In Mike D'Antoni's system, Anthony will fit better than most think, plus playing alongside Stoudemire gives the Knicks one of the absolute finest inside-out, one-two punches in the league. Still, I can't get on the contender bandwagon. Yet, that is.

We all tooted the same horn when the SuperHeat were formed. Yeah they have LeBron, Wade and Bosh. But if you're going to win, you've got to have the role players. You've got to have the depth. And that's what Pat Riley desperately built in grabbing Mike Miller, Eddie House, Erick Dampier and James Jones. It's a good-enough second unit to supplement the Heat's super trio.

The Knicks on the other hand are dropping four players, two of them young, promising talents in Chandler and Gallinari. Now the depth chart has Shelden Williams seeing big minutes with Toney Douglas, Brewer, Andy Rautins, Balkman and Shawne Williams. Not exactly a championship unit there. I guess on the positive side of things, they finally have that backup point guard they've been looking for. Too bad it's Anthony Carter though.

(An aside: I think Brewer could be an underrated steal for the Knicks. He's a good player that was just never in the right role in Minnesota. He was always pressured to be a scorer rather than playing a specific role tailored to his talents. Now in coming off the bench to spell Anthony and Fields, Brewer can try and assert himself as an athletic defensive stopper, while also finding a bunch of open outside looks in D'Antoni's system.)

I don't think there's any doubt that the Knicks have improved here. At 28-26, they're in the middle of the East. With Anthony and Billups joining Stoudemire, this team is going to battle the Magic for the four-seed the rest of the way. With 28 games remaining, it's not hard to see New York going something like 18-10 and finishing with something like 46 wins, while at the same time being a scary team to play in the postseason.

But a contender? Not yet. That was the issue at hand all along for Walsh. Giving up too much for Melo just didn't make a lot of sense when you were essentially bidding against yourself. The cost might be some tension in the front office, plus a hefty price tag of young talent shipped out to the Rockies.

With a lot of the financial flexibility Walsh fought tooth and nail over the past few years now jeopadized because of the imminent $65 million extension for Melo, how do the Knicks fill out this roster? If the plan is to wait until 2012 to add Deron Williams or Chris Paul, did they really do themselves any favors by making this move now, instead of just remaining patient and making the play for Anthony over the summer?

The Knicks didn't want to take any chances and let their opportunity to land Melo slip through the cracks the way LeBron did. They wanted to pounce now, no matter what the cost was. Yes, they're better. Yes, they're dangerous. I know I'd be nervous if my favorite team were playing them in a seven-game series. Having two top 10 offensive players makes anyone good.

But are they actually a legitimate threat to unseat the Celtics or challenge the Bulls or Heat? Hardly. Just like they were yesterday before this deal was made, they're still a year or two away.

-- For more on our coverage of the Carmelo Anthony trade to New York, check out:

Ken Berger's report on the breaking deal

Matt Moore examines the danger of giving all that power to one player.

Ben Golliver hands out trade grades and winners & losers .
Posted on: February 7, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2011 7:11 pm

New names in Nuggets / Knicks / Wolves proposal?

More names have surfaced in a Carmelo Anthony trade proposal involving the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves. Postedcarmelo-anthony by Ben Golliver.

The latest round of Carmelo Anthony trade proposal rumors have involved the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have tons of cap space to act a potentieal facilitator of a deal between the Denver Nuggets, who must trade their All-Star forward or risk losing him for nothing this summer, and the New York Knicks, who want Anthony but are trying to appeaer coy about the whole thing.

Last week, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger first reported the talks. Over the weekend, we noted one trade proposal that involved Knicks center Eddy Curry and forward Anthony Randolph going to Minnesota along with cash, Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer, a pick, and Knicks forward Wilson Chandler going to Denver, and Anthony going to New York. 

The New York Post reports on Monday that the talks are in "advanced discussions" and that a few other Knicks may be involved as well.
Rookie guard Andy Rautins and Kelenna Azubuike's expiring contract have been discussed as parts of the Carmelo Anthony three-team package, The Post has learned. The Knicks have to add more pieces to the reported three-team trade proposal for Anthony to make it work from a talent and financial perspective for the Nuggets, according to NBA sources.
The Knicks, Nuggets and Timberwolves have had advanced discussions on a three-team trade, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.The Knicks would also give up Wilson Chandler, Anthony Randolph (to Minnesota) and Eddy Curry's expiring contract.
Here's what it would look like in the trade machine, if you're interested. It can't go down exactly as constructed because Denver would exceed the league's 15-player roster maximum, so either Denver would need to shed some other pieces or the incoming package wouldn't include all four of the names that have been floated out there.

For Denver, all that's missing is talent! But, seriously, this is a huge discount on the New Jersey Nets offer that was discussed for the last few months. Financially, the Nuggets take on no future obligations -- acquiring three expiring contracts -- except Rautins, who is on a second-round pick's rookie deal. The picks would be nice, too, but still not nearly as attractive as the prospect of Derrick Favors. It is better than nothing, however, and we are entering the stage of negotiatons where "better than nothing" is starting to look better and better.

For New York, this is the dream scenario: upgrade from Chandler to Anthony without sacrificing a single core piece in the process. It allows New York to become a legit title contender in the East. Nothing more needs to be said.

Remarkably, Minnesota might come up even shorter than Denver here. The Wolves are one of only two teams, along with the Sacramento Kings, to have legit cap space, and that's proven to be a powerful trade deadline asset. To turn that space into Anthony Randolph, still a project, and enough cash to cover the difference between the remaining money owed to Curry and Brewer doesn't seem like a very good return on that asset. Surely there are better offers out there, either now or as we get closer to the deadline.

Any time two of the three teams are coming up short, that's probably a good sign this deal isn't going down as reported. But this triad of teams is worth keeping an eye on, purely for financial reasons. The Knicks have money to burn and a desire to get a deal done; given their respective ownership groups, both Denver and Minnesota are always in the market for financially beneficial moves and, in this case, Minnesota is in a perfect position to help make that kind of deal happen.

There's no reason to believe that these three sides shouldn't continue talking in an effort to craft a more even proposal that benefits all of the involved parties. But this iteration is lacking some needed clarity.
Posted on: February 6, 2011 2:00 am
Edited on: February 6, 2011 2:02 am

Wolves involved in latest N.Y. Melo talks

Knicks moving in closer on Carmelo Anthony. Again. Yes, it's different this time. We think.
Posted by Matt Moore

On Friday in his Post-Ups, Ken Berger shared the following update to the Knicks' pursuit of Carmelo Anthony: 

While the Nuggets realize they will have to seriously engage the Knicks in trade talks for Anthony before the Feb. 24 deadline, a third team already has stepped into the on-deck circle as a potential facilitator if talks between Denver and New York ever gain traction. That team, sources say, is the Timberwolves, who are willing to absorb Eddy Curry's $11.3 million expiring contract in a three-team scenario that would send Anthony Randolph to Minnesota and Anthony to New York. In this scenario, which one executive involved deemed "unlikely," the Wolves would simply waive Curry after the trade. Depending on the timing, Curry would likely have only five paychecks remaining for a total of $4.7 million. So taking on Curry would involve little or no cost to Minnesota; if the Wolves could negotiate a $3 million buyout covering the remainder of Curry's salary, that tab would be fully picked up by the Knicks, who could send as much as $3 million cash to Minnesota in the trade. But Curry's $11.3 million cap number would help make the complicated trade math work in a three-team deal.
via Only time will tell if Mavs have what it takes to win out West - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball.

Saturday night, Chris Broussard confirmed the report and added a few more specific names to the deal being discussed: 

In the proposed trade, New York would send Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota and the Timberwolves would send Corey Brewer and a first-round pick to Denver. Denver would also receive Wilson Chandler from New York. The deal is not expected to happen until the middle of next week at the earliest, and one source said it could drag out until the trade deadline. Denver, which has been exchanging proposals with the Knicks for the past couple weeks, is weighing other options.

via Sources: New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves discuss Carmelo deal - ESPN New York.

Ken Berger reports Saturday night that the deal has not progressed further since his report Friday afternoon. 

This deal isn't a disaster. In a way, everyone gets what they want: 

  • The Knicks get Melo.
  • The Timberwolves get Anthony Randolph who they inexplicably want. 
  • The Nuggets get a viable veteran wing to fill-in for Melo in the hopes of keeping them in the playoff race. They also get Corey Brewer who's a capable wing defender and still young.  The first round pick is a nice asset as well. 

But there is some context here. The Knicks get away free here, turning Wilson Chandler, Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph into Carmelo Anthony, which they've been after since the summer. The Wolves, though? Despite continuing issues between Brewer and his agent and Wolves' management, giving up on Brewer and a first rounder just to get Anthony Randolph and a little bit of cap space is a pretty steep deal. But the worst of this comes for Denver. 

Should Denver accept this deal or be forced to accept this deal to avoid losing Melo for nothing, they go from the Nets' offer of Devin Harris, three first rounders and Derrick Favors for Melo and Chauncey Billups to Wilson Chandler, Corey Brewer, and one first rounder. That's a terrible downgrade in return. It would represent a tremendous loss of leverage if the Nuggets are cornered into this deal. The Nuggets had reportedly held the Knicks at arms-length based on their lack of assets. Thanks to the Wolves and Mikhail Prokhorov's cutting off talks, Donnie Walsh may have found a way to get Melo at the right price after all. 

Kahn worked under Walsh with the Indiana Pacers from 1995 until 2004. 
Posted on: January 28, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 2:32 pm

Friday 5 with KB: Who's moving at the deadline?

Posted by Matt Moore

In today's Friday 5 with KB: who's getting moved at the deadline, where's White Chocolate going, and how's Kevin Durant's season going?

1. Guess what, Ken? February's here! Which means it's trade deadline season! Which means you won't get to sleep for a month! Get excited! Okay, give me one guy who if you absolutely had to put money on getting moved before the deadline, you'd put the cash down on. 

Ken Berger (CBSSports.com): With cash on the line, I should take the easy way out and say Anthony Randolph, who's either going to be traded to the Nuggets in a Carmelo Anthony deal or to Minnesota for a first-round pick the Knicks can use to replenish their stockpile after the cap-clearing trade with Houston last season. But that's like stealing candy from a blogger, so I'll be a little more risk-taking and say Joel Przybilla. The Blazers are likely to try to shake things up, and Przybilla's size and expiring contract will be in demand among contenders. Once Marcus Camby comes back from his knee scope, Portland will have the green light to explore how much those contenders will be willing to give up.

2.  Jason Williams released by the Magic this week. Any chance of him winding up in Miami? And if not, where then?

KB: The Heat haven't had any internal discussions of significance about Williams; despite their limitations, Miami seems content with the point-guard platoon of Mario Chalmers and Carlos Arroyo. The latest, as you know, is that the Grizzlies have serious interest -- especially now that O.J. Mayo has been suspended 10 games for using a banned supplement.

3.  Your big feature on Antoine Walker this week showcased the problems with players who squander their money in rather horribly pathetic ways.  Is this an issue of personal responsibility only, or one that either the union or the league will feel compelled to act further upon? There have been classes, resources, advisers, all made available to the players and yet we see things like this. Is it foolish to hope for anything more provided to the players to avoid situations like Walker's?

KB: As you point out, the league and union do try to educate players about the perils of mismanaging their money, trusting it to friends or so-called investment gurus, or simply squandering it on an outlandish lifestyle. As in any walk of life, some players listen and some don't. That is always going to be the case no matter how much education is available. That's why I like this idea, and since the CBA is up, it's the perfect time to implement it. Let's set aside a small percentage of the profit when a team is sold and  put it in the pension fund for retired players. It would be a forced-savings mechanism and a safety net for players who get into financial trouble -- whether it's their own fault or not.

4. O.J. Mayo tests positive for DHEA, which is a borderline substance, but banned nonetheless, with a previous instance of suspension against Rashard Lewis. A bill failed to have DHEA classified as an anabolic steroid, but the considerations of the substance are all over the place. Any impact of this suspension beyond O.J. Mayo's continuing "worst month ever?"

KB: Just another cautionary tale for players to be aware of what they're putting in their bodies. Look around any NBA locker room and you see five-hour energy drinks in multiple lockers and guys chowing down on horribly unhealthy pre- and post-game meals. Then you have Steve Nash, who won't let a single granule of processed sugar pass through his lips. To each his own -- but beware of the consequences.

5. Kevin Durant drops 47 this week on the Timberwolves, days after an 0-5 performance down the stretch in a loss to the Hornets, which was days after a killer fading 3-pointer against the Knicks. What are your thoughts on KD's season, one with heightened expectations but less press than we were expecting from the superstar?

KB: Well, his shooting and scoring numbers are down slightly from last season, but I think that's more about the  emergence of Russell Westbrook as a legitimate scoring option than it is about KD taking a step back. His game is sensational and only growing and getting better. I don't think you'd find too many GMs who'd say that, given the choice, they'd want to start a team today with anyone else. The best way to judge Durant's season so far, and the way he'd do it? Through 45 games, the Thunder (29-16) are five games ahead of where they were last season, when they won 50 games and put a scare into the Lakers in the first round.

Have a burning NBA question you need answered? Email us at cbssportsnba@gmail.com, or drop Ken a question for the Friday 5 on Twitter at@cbssportsnba . 
Posted on: January 26, 2011 1:02 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 1:06 pm

Does Anthony Randolph make sense for Denver?

The Denver Nuggets are reportedly re-thinking their interest in New York Knicks forward Anthony Randolph. Posted by Ben Golliver. anthony-randolph

Back when the New Jersey Nets and owner Mikhail Prokhorov walked away from the Carmelo Anthony trade talks, I noted that it was time for the Denver Nuggets to re-assess their feelings about the trade assets placed on the table by the New York Knicks had placed, as they would likely represent the best available offer.

On Wednesday, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the Nuggets are apparently doing just that, kicking the tires on seldom-used, super-long forward Anthony Randolph.
While Nuggets officials continue to weigh their options, a person familiar with the team's strategy told CBSSports.com Wednesday that there are indications Denver could be warming to the idea of trading Melo to the Knicks. One component of such a trade, the source said, would be Anthony Randolph, with Denver officials apparently coming around in their opinion about the 21-year-old big man. 
Earlier in the process, Nuggets executives were not high on Randolph, viewing him as mistake-prone and too much of a project. But that was when the Nets had 2010 No. 3 pick Derrick Favors on the table as the centerpiece of a package that far exceeded what the Knicks could offer. With New Jersey out of the mix, at least for now, the Nuggets have begun to internally re-examine the Knicks' young players. 
On the plus side: George Karl can coach anybody. Literally anybody. So there's that. Also, Randolph is bound to be more productive when he leaves New York, as he's yet to make three shots in a game this season and has appeared in only 14 games.

The biggest problem here is that the idea of Anthony Randolph is so much better than the actual Anthony Randolph, or even the first round pick which he can supposedly command on the open market. You're telling me you want to pair Randolph -- an emotional, young player still struggling to find an NBA identity and position -- with J.R. Smith?  That idea alone seems like it should give Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri reason to pause. And then push stop. And then hit eject.

Denver is stuck, though, as beggars can't be choosers. Carmelo Anthony's departure is a given. After that, their frontcourt could be next to go, as Berger also recently reported that Nene is making noise about leaving. Even if you keep Nene, who surrounds him? Both Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen are getting up there in age and injury issues. Al Harrington is under contract long enough, but he's not a low-post guy you can count on. The rest are role-playing scraps.

In other words, addressing the frontcourt should be a top priority in any Carmelo Anthony trade. But Randolph, as spindly as they come and not known for his rebounding prowess, doesn't do much to address the issue. Denver has been known as much for its physical interior play as it has been for Anthony's scoring in recent years, and they should make maintaining that identity a top priority in their post-Anthony reality. Randolph, a face-up player with a fairly versatile offensive game, just doesn't seem like a proper fit.
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